NCAA Football Analysis

Unguardable

2015 College Football Bowl Primers: The Boxing Day Special I

We’ve already seen a handful of bowl games, and mostly good ones. Will today be any different?

St. Petersburg Bowl: Connecticut Huskies (6-6) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (9-3). 11 AM ET, ESPN

This doesn’t seem like a good one.

You’d be right. While Connecticut does have one of the best defences in the country, they also face a Marshall defence around the same calibre. The difference? Marshall can actually score points. The Huskies were held under 14 points five times this year, and only scored more than 28 twice. Compare this to Marshall, who were held under 28 points only three times this season.

So there’s no hope for the Huskies?

Unfortunately not. The Herd is substantially better than they are in almost every statistical category besides punting.

Is Connecticut doomed to fall ass-backwards into every bowl game they play from here on into eternity?

Yes, but we prefer if you call this phenomena by its proper name; “Randy Edsall’s haunting.” Can’t wait to see Maryland in the Burp Bowl next year.

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Miami Hurricanes (8-4) vs. Washington State Cougars (8-4). 2 PM ET, CBS

Who should I be more surprised about: Miami,  or Wazzu?

The Cougs seem like the obvious choice, but don’t forget that Miami was ass in disguise. They got trounced by every team worth a damn, required a miracle (and some shady rulings) to get by Duke, and had a defence that was less than inspiring. I will agree that having Al Golden coach you for more than half the year is going to factor in, they didn’t improve (or falter) on the field. For perspective, Washington State was 50 points away from an undefeated season. Miami lost to Clemson 58-0.

How is Miami preparing to stop Mike Leach’s offence?

The defensive backs sprinted from Miami all the way to El Paso. Gotta get faster somehow.

All joking aside, the Canes (or generally anyone outside of the Pac-12 and Big XII) haven’t seen an offence like this before, so there’s a steep learning curve ahead. Miami’s opponents gained 1,971 passing yards on 302 attempts throughout the season. Wazzu had 1,982 yards by game five, and attempted 332 passes by week six.

The final key is putting quarterbacks on the ground. Washington State allowed 39 sacks this year, but Miami could only muster 18 sacks all season. Yikes.

Both teams are top 30 in passing and bottom 110 in rushing. Is it possible that we see a single running play this game?

The answer is a definitive “why not?”. Both teams allowed around five yards per rushing attempt, and both feature running backs that average around that number as well. If both teams try to exploit each other’s defensive weaknesses, this game will be boring as hell. So let’s not do this.

Didn’t Wazzu lose to Portland State?

Haha yes

Winner: Wazzu

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Washington Huskies (6-6) vs. Southern Miss Eagles (9-4). 2:20 ET, ESPN

Could Chris Peteresen work some upset magic here?

That would be impossible, considering you have to be the underdog to upset someone. Washington is favoured by 8.5 points. Why? Well you’re bound to lose a few games when you’re an alright team facing the 20th hardest schedule in the country (according to Sagarin). Ten of their opponents made bowl games. Southern Miss only beat one team better than 5-7 throughout the whole season.

This can’t be decided on schedule alone. Give me some stats!

I guess we can point to Southern Miss’ offence, which has scored 28 points or more in 11 games this year. They have two running backs with 1,000 yards each and a QB that threw for over 4,000 yards. But Washington held opponents under 28 nine times, racking up 30 sacks on the season and amassing 27 takeaways.

I feel Washington has a fatal flaw somewhere.

You’d be right. The Huskies gave up 32 sacks this year, which is favourable for Southern Miss, who had 31 on the year. Will this turn the game? Potentially, seeing as UW can only convert 37% of their third downs. If you can’t pass on passing downs, you might be screwed.

Isn’t it good to see Southern Miss rise from the ashes and return to college football respectability?

Too late. They sold their respectability to pay for new helmet decals. Sorry.

Winner: Washington

 

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This entry was posted on December 26, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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