Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Bowl Previews: Part VI

Part VI of our bowl previews. Part V was yesterday.

#20: Meineke Bowl (December 31, 2010)
South Florida Bulls (7-5, 3-4 Big East) vs. Clemson Tigers (6-6, 4-4 ACC)
GUGS: 50.4

Eddie: I'm saying this right now.  You should believe the opposite of whatever RBA picks for this game and bet the house on it because RBA misses more (30) Clemson picks than it gets correct.  That said, Clemson should be favored on both sides of the ball.  (53) South Florida is anemic offensively at 10.5 PPH, and the Tiger defense is pretty good at 11.3 PPH.  However, Clemson isn't particularly good offensively at 13.9 PPH, either.  RBA says Clemson should win a defensively-oriented game, 24-17, with 68.9% confidence.  You have been warned.
Justin: Ah, Clemson. So fickle. First you're in the top 25, then you're out of it; then you're in the top 25, then you're out of it. In September you visited Auburn and lost by a field goal in OT when WR Jaron Brown dropped a game-winning TD reception in the end zone; in November you hosted South Carolina and lost by three touchdowns. TFG still likes you -- you're still ranked 29th thanks to your 10th-ranked defense -- but not as much as it did two months ago. (55) South Florida, though, has about 0.8 PPH less offense and gives up 2.9 PPH more on defense. The Bulls have played nothing but close games for the last month, though, with no game decided by more than a touchdown since October. This'll be close, but TFG picks the Tigers by a field goal over the Bulls, with about 2-to-1 odds of winning.

#19: Poinsettia Bowl (December 23, 2010)
Navy Midshipmen (9-3, 1-0 Ind) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (8-4, 5-3 MWC)
GUGS: 50.7

Justin: The (38) Midshipmen were actually one of the motivating factors for an early-season revamp to the TFG algorithms. Previously it only looked at points scored as a measure of a team, but after watching Navy ring up nearly 500 yards of offense on a hapless Maryland squad but still lose 17-14, thanks to two fumbles inside the Maryland 5, a missed 32-yard FG, and four failed attempts to score as time expired. Any reasonable person would agree that Navy would win that game 4 times out of 5. Now a team's offensive efficiency is roughly a 90/10 mix of points scored and yards gained. This approach puts the Midshipmen as 3-to-2 favorites over the (63) Aztecs. SDSU is a good team, but what's hurt them the most is their defense; allowing 19.0 PPH is going to make too many games too close, even if you've got a good offense. Contrary to Vegas' line, TFG says Navy by a field goal.
Eddie: (25) Navy is methodical and consistent on both sides of the ball.  The Middie offensive and defensive variances are 13.9 PPH and 3.1 PPH, respectively, making them one of the most predictable teams in college football.  (62) San Diego State is another amazingly consistent team with variances of 7.9 PPH and 14.2 PPH, respectively.  Ultimately, the matchup comes down to the matchup between the Navy offense and Aztec defense.  This game is going to be very close, so whichever unit comes up with a big play could decide this game.  RBA says Navy wins a tight game on a two-point conversion, 29-28, with 60.5% confidence.

#18: Texas Bowl (December 29, 2010)
Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6, 4-4 Big Ten) vs. Baylor Bears (7-5, 4-4 Big XII)
GUGS: 51.1

Eddie:  The previous matchup consisted of two predictable teams.  This one is the opposite.  (47) Baylor has had problems due to their inconsistent defense and its 31.0 PPH variance.  (48) Illinois has all the offensive inconsistency problems you'd expect from a freshman quarterback at 22.2 PPH variance.  If everything goes according to plan, this should be a good team with dead-even defensive matchups and a +1.0 PPH offensive advantage by Baylor.  However, the inconsistency makes this pick risky.  RBA says Baylor wins another close one with two-point conversion, 29-28, with 56.3% confidence.
Justin: Another pair of middle-of-the-pack teams facing off in a bowl game most people haven't heard of. The Illini have gone 1-3 since the end of October, but those three losses have come by a total of 8 points; the Bears have gone 0-3 over the same stretch, but none of those games have been particularly close. Illinois' 67-65 track meet against Michigan notwithstanding, the Illini have a slight edge on both sides of the ball. This game will be a bit more high-paced than usual; expect about 170 plays. In the end this one will be close, but look for Illinois to sneak past Baylor at the finish; TFG says Illinois by 2, with a 58.5% chance of winning.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(29)Clemson27 (55)South Florida24 65.2 (30)Clemson24 (53)South Florida17 68.8
(63)SDSU33 (38)Navy36 62.1 (62)SDSU28 (25)Navy29 60.4
(61)Baylor33 (44)Illinois35 58.5 (47)Baylor29 (48)Illinois28 56.3