Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 Bowl Previews: Part X

Part X of our bowl previews. Part IX was two days ago (we were off for Christmas).

Today's themes are "the ACC" and "consensus."

#8: Music City Bowl (December 30, 2010)
North Carolina Tar Heels (7-5, 4-4 ACC) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (6-6, 3-5 SEC)
GUGS: 56.9

Eddie:  I know that it was awarded to Gene Chizik with good reason, but my vote for SEC Coach of the Year would have to be for Derek Dooley.  By all accounts, (36) Tennessee has absolutely no business playing in a bowl game.  For that matter, neither does (29) North Carolina after they lost a ton of starters to NCAA rules violations.  Although UNC holds advantages both offensively (1.2 PPH) and defensively (2.6 PPH), this game should be surprisingly close because it is effectively a home game for the Volunteers.  The Tar Heels should pull out the victory with a game winning field goal, 27-24, with 55.9% confidence.
Justin: The (36) Tar Heels and the (47) Volunteers are slightly different variations on the same theme: weak offense, respectable defense, and methodical pace. Both teams are south of 20 PPH on offense and around 16 PPH on defense, but UNC has a 1.1 PPH advantage on offense and a 0.9 PPH advantage on defense. Those numbers add up to a profile that's going to make for a close game. Both teams are going to have to bring their best game and avoid mistakes if they want to have a shot at winning this game. TFG gives a slight nod to the Tar Heels, 30-28, but only with 56.7% confidence.

#7: Champs Sports Bowl (December 28, 2010)
West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3, 5-2 Big East) vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack (8-4, 5-3 ACC)
GUGS: 63.5

Justin: We see a huge jump in the GUGS ratings between the previous game and this one. Close losses to (83) Syracuse and (49) UConn -- the latter aided by seven fumbles -- deprived (16) West Virginia of the Big East title. The (33) Wolfpack had similar close losses to (29) Clemson and (59) Maryland -- the latter was particularly painful as the Wolfpack outplayed the Terrapins most of the game -- depriving them of a shot at the ACC title. This game features two teams that really deserve more respect than they've gotten this year, and should be good. Both teams have offenses in the neighborhood of 20.0 PPH, but the West Virginia defense is a beast, allowing a mere 11.9 PPH (8th in FBS). The Wolfpack will need to find offense if they want to have a shot, but TFG currently taps the Mountaineers to win this, 31-29 (63.0% confidence).
Eddie: Once known for its powerful offense under Rich Rodriguez, (14) West Virginia has reinvented itself as a defense-first team, yielding 7.7 +/- 3.5 PPH.  (31) NC State is an offense-first team at 29.1 +/- 17.0 PPH. As expected, the Wolfpack hold an offensive advantage, but it isn't as big as you would think at 0.7 PPH.  Meanwhile, the Mountaineers hold a 6.7 PPH defensive advantage that should lead them to a 27-21 victory with 56.6% confidence.

#6: Sun Bowl (December 31, 2010)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5, 0-0 Ind) vs. Miami Hurricanes (7-5, 5-3 ACC)
GUGS: 64.5

Eddie: It's Catholics versus Convicts Redux!  I must express my extreme shock that (23) Miami's offense is the second most consistent in the country at 16.6 +/- 1.4 PPH.  I guess Jacory Harris throws picks with high consistency, resulting in a 2.0 PPH offensive advantage for the Hurricanes.  (33) Notre Dame has a slight 0.9 PPH disadvantage on defense, but that can fall into the statistical noise category.  RBA says Miami wins this one by a field goal, 24-21, at 54.3% confidence. Bonus points will be awarded if the kicker wields his helmet as a weapon after hitting the game winner.
Justin: TFG thinks this one will be good, featuring two evenly-matched teams in the top 25. I'd like to remind everyone once again that this is a computer and has no allegiance or sense of tradition. The (24) Fighting Irish are only in the top 25 because of the raw numbers, and the raw numbers say that Notre Dame has a decent offense and a great defense. The (22) Hurricanes have an identical defense, a slightly better offense (+0.7 PPH), and play at a nearly identical pace (+2.2 plays per game) as Notre Dame. This will be a reasonably fast-paced but low-ish-scoring game, where the Hurricanes win the coin flip for a 29-28 victory. There's only a 51.9% chance of them winning, though, which means calling this a "coin flip" isn't too much of a hyperbole.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(36)North Carolina30 (47)Tennessee28 56.9 (29)North Carolina27 (36)Tennessee24 55.9
(33)North Carolina St.29 (16)West Virginia31 63.0 (31)North Carolina St.21 (14)West Virginia27 56.5
(22)Miami-FL29 (24)Notre Dame28 51.9 (23)Miami-FL24 (33)Notre Dame21 54.3