Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Bowl Previews: Part IX

Part IX of our bowl previews. Part VIII was yesterday.

#11: Gator Bowl (January 1, 2011)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 SEC) vs. Michigan Wolverines (7-5, 3-5 Big East)
GUGS: 54.7

Justin: The press really talked up Denard Robinson at the start of the year, and there's no denying he's been impressive. The problem is that a single person doesn't make a whole offense. The (46) Wolverines play fast -- nearly 180 plays per game -- but aren't particularly efficient at only 19.6 PPH. The (39) Bulldogs don't even have that (16.5 PPH) but have an amazing defense that allows only 13.7 PPH; that's better than (10) Auburn. The Bulldogs will look to turn this into a grind'em-out, slow game, whereas Michigan will want to make this a track meet. TFG says that this one will be one of the closest bowl games, with Mississippi State taking home a 31-30 victory with 53.8% confidence.
Eddie: This is going to be a great game.  (49) Michigan rides on the back of Denard Robinson to the tune of 33.6 +/- 23.0 PPH of offense, but (34) Mississippi State is quite good defensively at 5.2 +/- 12.5 PPH.  Although we like to think of Michigan's offense as being explosive, it holds only a 1.0 PPH advantage over the Bulldogs.  However, Michigan plays absolutely no defense whatsoever; Mississippi State holds a 7.2 PPH defensive advantage over the Wolverines.  No longer the SEC West punching bag, Mississippi State should  bully Michigan in a 31-24 victory with 59.9% confidence, probably knocking out Denard Robinson in the process.

#10: Cotton Bowl (January 7, 2011)
LSU Tigers (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (9-3, 6-2 Big XII)
GUGS: 56.2

Eddie: (15) LSU and (28) Texas A&M have something in common:  defensive consistency.  The Tigers hold a slight 1.6 PPH edge, but that falls into the range of statistical noise.  However, LSU holds a 4.5 PPH offensive advantage.  Together, these add up into a respectable advantage.  RBA says that LSU should win a tough defensive game, 27-21, with 73.0% confidence.
Justin: This is another game that, on its face, looks competitive; Vegas also thinks it'll be close since the (9) Tigers are only 1-point favorites. TFG thinks otherwise, as LSU has a 5.7 PPH advantage on offense and a 1.5 PPH advantage on defense over the (30) Aggies. So why is this considered a toss-up? Pace. LSU plays slow (157 plays per game) and the Aggies play fast (181 plays per game), which means the raw, unadjusted stats give the Aggies a 3.0 points per game advantage on offense. TFG sees through that, though, and taps the Tigers as 70% likely to win by about a touchdown.

#9: Sugar Bowl (January 4, 2011)
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2, 6-2 SEC)
GUGS: 56.8

Justin: Depending on the most recent news out of Ohio State, we might have to toss this prediction out the window. If that ends up being a non-issue, though, we're back to this prediction: The (3) Buckeyes are every bit the equal of the (4) Alabama team that defeated (15) Arkansas at the start of the year. The Razorbacks have the 7th-best offense in FBS thanks to Ryan Mallet, but the Buckeyes have the 2nd-best defense in FBS. TFG says that defense wins games, and in this case it makes the Buckeyes 3-to-1 favorites to win, 36-31.
Eddie: I'm going to try to be as reasonable as possible here.  (6) Ohio State holds a decisive 7.9 PPH defensive advantage over my (13) Razorbacks.  The Hogs sport only a 1.9 PPH offensive advantage, but the Buckeyes are the 7th flakiest offensive unit in the country with a 31.3 PPH variance.  If everything plays out according to plan, Ohio State should pick up their first SEC bowl victory since 1979 with a 28-24 victory at 73.1% confidence.  Let's just say that I politely disagree that a team with zero wins over BCS top 25 teams has that kind of advantage over a team with four wins over BCS top 25 teams that also led two more BCS top 25 teams in the fourth quarter.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(46)Michigan30 (39)Mississippi St.31 53.8 (49)Michigan24 (34)Mississippi St.31 59.9
(9)LSU33 (30)Texas A&M27 69.5 (15)LSU27 (28)Texas A&M21 73.0
(15)Arkansas31 (3)Ohio St.36 76.3 (13)Arkansas24 (6)Ohio St.28 73.1