Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Impact of the NFL's Kickoff Rule Change

After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?

15 Dec 2011

SDA Bowl Spectacular Part I

by Brian Fremeau and Robert Weintraub

Bowl games reward mediocrity in glorious fashion, but who’s complaining? There are worse things in life than college football on a nearly daily basis for a three-week stretch to ring in the new year. We’ll be presenting our annual bowl picks in three sets, starting with the first twelve games analyzed below. There are duds, for sure, including multiple games featuring teams that didn’t defeat a single top-75 team in our ratings. But there are a few potential gems as well.

Among the possible highlights in the first set: Mountain West champion TCU takes on WAC champion Louisiana Tech in San Diego, and Southern Mississippi and Nevada will battle in a potential shootout in Hawaii. Toledo versus Air Force is a clash of offensive styles. Boise State’s trip to Las Vegas to face Arizona State has potential for high entertainment value as well. A handful of other teams that salvaged a season down the stretch, including Louisville, Purdue and California, have a chance to finish the year with a victory to get something going for 2012. And for many others, this will be their lone national spotlight of the year.

Previews

Wyoming (+6.5) vs Temple
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Saturday, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Wyoming
Has the Ball ...
When Temple
Has the Ball ...
Category Wyoming
(8-4)
Temple
(8-4)
Wyoming
Off
Temple
Def
Wyoming
Def
Temple
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 101 23 90 29 93 49
2011 FEI Rk 94 42 89 48 87 62
2011 S&P+ Rk 97 31 80 32 97 36
2011 FPA Rk 39 7
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 88 45 102 30
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 89 59 90 55
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 100 59 95 53
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
63.5% Run
(38th)
84% Run
(fourth)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 83 27 113 97
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
29.4% Run
(86th)
47.8% Run
(seventh)

The Cowboys aren’t a very good football team. Actually, they're the worst bowl-bound team this year according to F/+. They managed to cobble together eight wins in part because they ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin, which allowed freshman quarterback Brett Smith to ease into his role in the offense. Smith’s 18 touchdown passes were best among freshman signal callers this year, and he also added 645 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. But ultimately, the Owls should be able to neutralize him, and have their way with Wyoming offensively as well according to our data. Temple allowed only 20.6 percent of opponent possessions to cross the Owls 30-yard line, third-fewest in the NCAA behind only LSU and Alabama. On offense, Temple running back Bernard Pierce ranks second only to Wisconsin’s Montee Ball in points per game (13.6), posting three or more touchdowns in six games this year, and Wyoming boasts only the 102nd best rushing defense according to S&P+.

Ohio (+2.5) vs Utah State
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Saturday, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Ohio
Has the Ball ...
When Utah State
Has the Ball ...
Category Ohio
(9-4)
Utah St.
(7-5)
Ohio
Off
Utah St.
Def
Ohio
Def
Utah St.
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 58 73 46 84 74 42
2011 FEI Rk 63 66 49 70 65 31
2011 S&P+ Rk 62 55 58 77 63 27
2011 FPA Rk 40 117
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 89 96 78 31
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 50 87 91 59
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 84 68 91 60
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
64.1% Run
(35th)
74.7% Run
(11th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 58 109 91 11
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
36.1% Run
(36th)
44.3% Run
(11th)

Between them, Ohio and Utah State played 16 games this year that were decided by a single score. The Aggies took Auburn to the brink in Week 1 and decided they’d like to play every game on the edge if possible. Utah State led by more than one score in only 10 percent of their possessions played on the year, almost all of which came in their their best performance of the year, a blowout win over Wyoming. They moved the ball well all year, primarily on the ground via running back Robert Turbin (1416 yards, 19 touchdowns), but they better have moved the ball well against what was the easiest schedule in college football according to FEI. Ohio almost won the MAC championship, but three interceptions from quarterback Tyler Tettleton facilitated a comeback victory for Northern Illinois. Ohio has more field goal attempts (33) than anyone in the nation this year, and Utah State has only ten attempts, fifth-fewest nationally. Neither team is particularly consistent at making them.

San Diego State (-5) vs UL-Lafayette
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When San Diego St.
Has the Ball ...
When UL-Lafayette
Has the Ball ...
Category SDSU
(8-4)
ULL
(8-4)
SDSU
Off
ULL
Def
SDSU
Def
ULL
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 69 81 77 86 57 74
2011 FEI Rk 75 79 75 81 59 82
2011 S&P+ Rk 58 76 66 75 47 71
2011 FPA Rk 20 64
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 70 93 60 106
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 100 92 25 52
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 81 102 17 70
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.2% Run
(51st)
55.4% Run
(87th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 98 85 87 94
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
32.9% Run
(63rd)
36.2% Run
(35th)

Aztecs sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman is the only underclassman ranked in the top-10 nationally in yards per game (138.0), and he's fresh off his second-straight 1500-yard season. He’s also one of only two underclassmen ranked in the top-15 in yards from scrimmage. According to our opponent-adjusted numbers, the San Diego State offense hasn’t been too special, but Hillman will have a chance to garner some national attention with a big game against a weak Louisiana-Lafayette defense. According to S&P+, it will be the Aztecs 17th ranked standard downs defense that has the biggest edge in the game. Louisiana-Lafayette ranks 99th in the nation in avoiding three-and-outs on offense, though they have had some big-play success through the air in recent weeks. This is the Ragin’ Cajuns first eight-win season since 1993, and their first bowl game since 1970. It’s too bad they didn’t get at least an out-of-state trip out of it.

Florida International (-4) vs Marshall
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg (Tuesday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When FIU
Has the Ball ...
When Marshall
Has the Ball ...
Category FIU
(8-4)
Marshall
(6-6)
FIU
Off
Marshall
Def
FIU
Def
Marshall
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 53 97 78 71 38 95
2011 FEI Rk 65 91 95 69 55 99
2011 S&P+ Rk 61 93 72 70 42 105
2011 FPA Rk 37 73
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 81 52 82 111
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 85 53 38 71
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 78 74 53 95
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
64.4% Run
(33rd)
57.8% Run
(74th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 102 54 80 100
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
30.3% Run
(82nd)
35.5% Run
(42nd)

Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato not only has a fantastic name, he will have an opportunity to prove he made the right decision in choosing Marshall over FIU last fall. The true freshman has had a roller coaster of a first season, leading his team to an upset of Louisville, but also getting benched in midseason. He came back in time to lead Marshall to two narrow wins over Memphis and East Carolina to get the Herd bowl eligible. Their opponent, Florida International, started fast at 3-0 and appeared poised to gain some mainstream buzz (especially with sacked CNN-er Rick Sanchez doing analysis on the Panthers radio network). Instead, senior quarterback Wesley Carroll got hurt against Louisiana-Lafayette, and FIU struggled in midseason before winning three straight to get to the BOBB. Wide receiver/kick returner T.Y. Hilton will be the best player on the field -- you might remember him catching a hook-and-ladder in last year's Little Ceasar's Bowl to get FIU in position for a game-winning field goal.

No. 16 TCU (-10.5) vs Louisiana Tech
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Wednesday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When TCU
Has the Ball ...
When Louisiana Tech
Has the Ball ...
Category TCU
(10-2)
La. Tech
(8-4)
TCU
Off
La. Tech
Def
TCU
Def
La. Tech
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 15 46 18 18 31 71
2011 FEI Rk 28 43 27 35 46 81
2011 S&P+ Rk 14 51 13 19 26 88
2011 FPA Rk 11 5
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 22 21 5 86
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 17 21 70 97
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 34 36 20 88
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
64.3% Run
(34th)
57.6% Run
(76th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 10 3 66 104
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
41.9% Run
(19th)
32.4% Run
(69th)

The Frogs were out of the top 25 and looked lost after dropping early-season games to Baylor and SMU. Seven straight wins, including the upset on the Boise Blue, instead put TCU on the cusp of a third-straight BCS appearance. It was not to be, but a trip to San Diego for the holidays will suffice. Casey Pachall seemed a sorry replacement for Andy Dalton in September, but at season's end he had a 24 touchdowns to only six interceptions, and managed 8.6 yards per attempt. Pretty solid numbers for a first-year starter. Speaking of starts, it will be the final one for linebacker Tank Carder, the hero of last year's Rose Bowl, who won his second straight MWC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011. Louisiana Tech has one of those as well -- linebacker Adrien Cole, who had 13 tackles for loss with the Bulldogs, surprise winners of the WAC. True, they benefited greatly from Boise's move to the Mountain West, but Louisiana Tech plays good offense (averaging 31 points and nearly 400 yards per game) and they have excellent special teams, led by punter Ryan Allen, the Ray Guy Award winner.

No. 8 Boise State (-14) vs Arizona State
Maaco Bowl Las Vegas (December 22, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Boise State
Has the Ball ...
When Arizona State
Has the Ball ...
Category BSU
(11-1)
ASU
(6-6)
BSU
Off
ASU
Def
BSU
Def
ASU
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 4 37 7 60 7 30
2011 FEI Rk 10 38 26 62 30 24
2011 S&P+ Rk 3 49 8 60 3 31
2011 FPA Rk 1 28
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 32 67 6 29
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 6 50 5 47
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 19 61 8 40
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
58% Run
(70th)
52.1% Run
(100th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 14 62 17 28
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
28.3% Run
(91st)
22.3% Run
(107th)

One measly missed field goal. Had Dan Goodale converted on his last-second kick against TCU, Boise would most likely be playing for all the Tostitos against LSU on January 9. Instead, the Broncos tumble all the way to the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas. Small wonder they will defy geography and join the Big Continent Conference (nee Big East) in 2013. Kellen Moore might have won the Heisman, or at least been invited to the ceremony, had that kick gone through. He will aim to finish his career with a 50-3 record as a starter. To do so, Moore will need to avoid Sun Devil linebacker/mad dog Vontaze Burfict -- maybe. Burfict was benched after one of his numerous personal fouls in the season finale against Cal, then reportedly refused to re-enter the game. The preseason All-American was "pretty average" this year, according to his just-fired coach, Dennis Erickson (Burfict's lack of sacks was a large reason for Erickson's getting the sack), so even if Burfict plays, he may become frustrated enough by Boise's precision attack that yet another personal foul becomes an inevitability. Look for Burfict to be mocked to Detroit heavily this spring if he turns pro.

No. 22 Southern Miss (-6) vs Nevada
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (December 24, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Southern Miss
Has the Ball ...
When Nevada
Has the Ball ...
Category So. Miss
(11-2)
Nevada
(7-5)
So. Miss
Off
Nevada
Def
So. Miss
Def
Nevada
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 21 66 40 75 19 43
2011 FEI Rk 30 72 66 95 24 35
2011 S&P+ Rk 27 36 38 50 21 28
2011 FPA Rk 9 102
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 72 69 22 47
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 42 34 36 40
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 72 37 26 46
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.8% Run
(48th)
69.2% Run
(19th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 26 79 68 40
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
31.1% Run
(78th)
28.8% Run
(88th)

Clubbing Houston to win the Conference-USA championship earned Southern Miss a nice reward -- a trip to the islands and a game on Christmas Eve. Nevada is a regular at Aloha Stadium, having played in this bowl in 2005 and 2009. The Wolf Pack rolled up the yards as usual this season -- 522 per game, fifth in the nation -- but failed to translate the movement to points in far too many meetings, as they finished just 31st in points per game. The game will be coach Larry Fedora's swan song in Hattiesburg, as he has traded up for the North Carolina job. Sadly, Fedora wears a baseball cap during most games, not his namesake chapeau. Also bidding farewell to the Golden Eagles after this game is quarterback Austin Davis, a former walk-on who threw for 28 touchdown passes this season and thoroughly outplayed Case Keenum in the C-USA title game. Davis won the Burlsworth Award for best walk-on-turned-scholarship-player in the nation. Be honest, how many of you had heard of the Burlsworth Award before reading that sentence?

North Carolina (+5) vs Missouri
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl (December 26, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When North Carolina
Has the Ball ...
When Missouri
Has the Ball ...
Category UNC
(7-5)
Mizzou
(7-5)
UNC
Off
Mizzou
Def
UNC
Def
Mizzou
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 41 33 31 51 48 24
2011 FEI Rk 34 26 44 49 16 23
2011 S&P+ Rk 30 42 29 45 38 41
2011 FPA Rk 100 57
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 61 31 23 34
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 19 32 47 53
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 26 42 40 22
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.4% Run
(49th)
65% Run
(31st)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 23 6 55 78
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
31.1% Run
(76th)
41.2% Run
(21st)

Before abandoning the Big 12 for the SEC, Mizzou will get a little taste of the south in Shreveport, Louisiana. Change is afoot in Chapel Hill as well, as Everett Withers coaches in this game as interim coach before Larry Fedora takes over. Missouri will have to attack an above-average UNC defense without leading rusher Henry Josey. The sophomore sensation was lost for the season in mid-November, while he was leading the conference in rushing and was averaging eight yards per carry. The Tigers will rely on the dual-threat of sophomore quarterback James Franklin, who threw for 20 touchdowns and ran for 13 more. The Heels have an array of NFL-ready players, but that failed to translate into victories, just like last year. Freshman running back Gio Bernard was among the best in the country in his age group, and wideout Dwight Jones is one of the less-heralded wideouts in the nation, despite his 11 touchdowns and 14.2 yards per catch average.

Purdue (-2.5) vs Western Michigan
Little Caesars Bowl (December 27, 4:30 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Purdue
Has the Ball ...
When WMU
Has the Ball ...
Category Purdue
(6-6)
WMU
(7-5)
Purdue
Off
WMU
Def
Purdue
Def
WMU
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 76 48 82 82 76 36
2011 FEI Rk 78 57 76 102 82 46
2011 S&P+ Rk 87 54 84 84 79 20
2011 FPA Rk 24 18
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 76 104 59 62
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 91 79 94 36
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 67 89 77 44
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
63.4% Run
(39th)
47.6% Run
(109th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 61 102 47 43
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
32.8% Run
(64th)
21.8% Run
(110th)

The Boilermakers were on the wrong end of a few nasty blowouts against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Notre Dame, but a win over Ohio State in mid-November was the key to securing a bowl bid. Perhaps it was a win that head coach Danny Hope can build some momentum upon. A trip to Detroit for the Little Caesars bowl isn’t a particularly exciting December destination, but it won’t be too taxing for either fan base to attend. Purdue’s limited success on offense has been rather methodical. The Boilermakers rank second-to-last in generating explosive drives on the year. Meanwhile, Western Michigan rang up 60-plus points in two of its last three games, and Broncos receiver Jordan White led the nation in receptions per game (10.6), yards per game (137.2), and ranked second in receiving touchdowns (16). Purdue’s secondary has been victimized a few times this year, so their ability to neutralize White will be critical.

N.C. State (-2.5) vs Louisville
Belk Bowl (December 27, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When N.C. State
Has the Ball ...
When Louisville
Has the Ball ...
Category N.C. St.
(7-5)
Louisville
(7-5)
N.C. St.
Off
Louisville
Def
N.C. St.
Def
Louisville
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 68 43 60 54 68 38
2011 FEI Rk 49 27 59 37 25 39
2011 S&P+ Rk 78 64 98 56 54 65
2011 FPA Rk 78 35
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 110 51 64 59
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 79 88 48 49
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 108 47 48 62
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
56.4% Run
(79th)
60.2% Run
(57th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 57 89 48 56
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
23.4% Run
(105th)
34.1% Run
(55th)

Ah, how we long for the good old days, when this was simply called the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Wait -- that was only last year. The debut of Belk as sponsor coincides nicely with an invite to local favorite NC State, and ticket sales are reportedly brisk in Charlotte. Will those fans see the Wolfpack can build upon its surprisingly strong (in context -- they were only 7-5) season and defeat the equally surprising Big East co-champs? Much will depend on the play of quarterback Mike Glennon. Glennon threw for 28 touchdowns while playing in the deep shadow of Russell Wilson, who NC State coach Tom O'Brien essentially kicked out of Raleigh so he could start Glennon. While he's no Wilson, Glennon had his moments, in particular a monster comeback in the season finale against Maryland that got NC State to a bowl game. Elsewhere in basketball country, Charlie Strong continued his excellent work at Louisville, steering the Cards to the brink of the BCS despite starting ten freshmen, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. If the young pups can hold up in a hostile environment, the 'Ville has a decent chance at a second-straight bowl victory.

Toledo (-3) vs Air Force
Military Bowl (December 28, 4:30 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Toledo
Has the Ball ...
When Air Force
Has the Ball ...
Category Toledo
(8-4)
Air Force
(7-5)
Toledo
Off
Air Force
Def
Toledo
Def
Air Force
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 30 79 27 104 40 58
2011 FEI Rk 37 90 36 84 60 43
2011 S&P+ Rk 23 71 16 98 43 39
2011 FPA Rk 43 105
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 18 86 19 46
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 23 116 52 38
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 14 103 85 30
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
64% Run
(37th)
82.4% Run
(fifth)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 30 118 51 101
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
35.6% Run
(41st)
61.7% Run
(third)

The Air Force Academy has the Commander in Chief trophy on its mantle, but there wasn’t too much else to celebrate in 2011. The Falcons were discussed as a potential conference contender back in August, but they flopped miserably against TCU and Notre Dame in the first half of the season, and never were able to put together a consistent effort the rest of the way. The five FBS teams they did beat won a total of 11 FBS games combined. The Falcons did rank second in rushing yards per game and 22 percent of their drives last at least 10 plays. Methodical success can control the clock and will keep the ball away from the Rockets explosive potential. Toledo features playmaking wide receiver and kick returner Eric Page, who ranked fifth in the nation this year in total all-purpose yards (2032). Toledo scored 218 points in four November games, and averaged more than 60 points per game in three mid-week kickoffs this year. Hooray for Wednesday bowl #MACtion!

California (+3) vs Texas
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (December 28, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When California
Has the Ball ...
When Texas
Has the Ball ...
Category California
(7-5)
Texas
(7-5)
California
Off
Texas
Def
California
Def
Texas
Off
2011 F/+ Rk 45 20 47 5 34 65
2011 FEI Rk 46 35 57 9 47 74
2011 S&P+ Rk 32 26 55 9 24 77
2011 FPA Rk 85 62
2011 Rushing S&P+ Rk 69 4 44 56
2011 Passing S&P+ Rk 60 9 15 98
2011 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 69 10 15 76
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
57% Run
(77th)
70.6% Run
(16th)
2011 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 93 2 50 91
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
34.8% Run
(50th)
33.7% Run
(58th)

A 7-5 season and a bowl berth certainly beats last year’s losing record in Austin, but the Longhorns were dangerously close to matching last year’s disappointment. They survived two nailbiters against Texas A&M and BYU that made all the difference. Texas was terribly inconsistent offensively again, as the Longhorns sought stability at the quarterback situation all year long. The Longhorns defense, though strong in our opponent-adjusted metrics, couldn’t do anything to slow down the Big 12’s best offenses. California doesn’t pose anywhere near the same threat as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or Baylor, though. Against the rest of their schedule, Texas allowed fewer than 1.2 points per drive and held eight opponents under 20 points for the game. The Bears best weapon is running back Isi Sofele, who carried for more than 130 yards in each of Cal’s last three victories. However, Texas’ rushing defense is excellent, and California quarterback Zach Maynard will need to get receiver Keenan Allen more involved to loosen the pressure. Allen racked up 1261 yards, but his six touchdowns are fewest among top-20 yardage receivers.

Picks

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Rob F/+
Wyoming +6.5 Temple Wyoming Temple*
Ohio +2.5 Utah State Utah St. Ohio
San Diego St. -5 UL-Lafayette ULL ULL
Florida Int'l -4 Marshall FIU FIU
TCU -10.5 La. Tech TCU La. Tech
Boise St. -14 Arizona St. Boise St.* Boise St.
Southern Miss -6 Nevada So. Miss So. Miss
N. Carolina +5 Missouri Missouri N. Carolina
Purdue -2.5 W. Michigan WMU WMU
N.C. State -2.5 Louisville N.C. St. Louisville
Toledo -3 Air Force Air Force Toledo
California +3 Texas Texas Texas
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
Last Week
Season Total
F/+: 6-4 (1-0) 71-68-1 (8-6)
Rob: 3-7 (0-1) 73-66-1 (6-7-1)

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 15 Dec 2011

10 comments, Last at 20 Dec 2011, 11:51am by Brian Fremeau

Comments

1
by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/15/2011 - 8:49pm

Brian, do you have any data regarding a team that plays at sea level going to play a bowl game at 5000 feet, against an opponent that plays its home games at altitude? Does not the current data show that for a sea level athlete, arrving several days before the game, to the city at altitude, is about the worst thing to do in terms of avoiding the effects of altitude?

I'm kinda' interested in the Wyoming/Temple game, just to see if the Cowboys, who practice at 7000 feet , have a big edge in the 2nd half against the sea-level Owls.

2
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 12/15/2011 - 9:01pm

Good question. I don't have the data, and I'm not sure if a handful (or fewer?) games would be too conclusive, but it will be interesting if Temple looks gassed in the second half as you suggest they might. Or maybe the Owls will be so far ahead by then it won't matter.

3
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 3:13am

Yeah, if you are coaching the Cowboys, keeping the 1st half a low possession contest might be critical, with the idea of running the entire 2nd half in no hudddle. Or maybe you just roll the dice, go no huddle the whole game, and try to gas them in the first quarter.

5
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 11:44am

The problem with that is Temple is fully capable of playing at a glacial pace, with a solid two-deep at RB, and three guys who have played QB on the season who can run. Temple doesn't hurt for ball-carriers.

The thing in Wyoming's favor is that Temple is notoriously hot and cold. This game might be a blowout either way. Depends on which Temple gets off the bus.

7
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 1:45pm

It's the big guys who get gassed at altitude worst. I'd say Temple should avoid the glacial pace in the 1st half, and try to jump to a big lead, and then go glacial in the 2nd, if possible. Of course, I have no idea of what sort of depth Temple has among the big guys.

4
by zlionsfan :: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 10:09am

I doubt Purdue has any momentum left from that Ohio State win: a near loss to Indiana in the season finale took away whatever remained.

Besides, it didn't do any good the last time Hope's Boilers defeated Ohio State. (In one of the crazier stats you're ever likely to see, Hope is 2-0 against the Buckeyes. "An NCAA investigator walks into a Columbus bar ...") The next season, Purdue went 4-8, posting a listless 2-6 conference record that included a loss to hapless Indiana, the Hoosiers' only conference win of the season.

In three seasons, Hope's done little to show that he can do anything more than restore the anti-glory of the Akers/Colletto years. The same team that stunned Illinois and Ohio State lost to Rice and squeaked past Middle Tennessee State. The roster is largely devoid of Big Ten-caliber talent, particularly on offense, and what little they have on offense is frequently injured.

I would love to see a win in Detroit. It would help preserve Purdue's unlikely status as a generally successful bowl team - they're one of just three Big Ten teams with a winning record in bowl games; they also won their first four bowl games, a streak no other Big Ten team can top (Michigan also won their first four; you may be familiar with their first win) - and honestly, I don't think much of the idea of rooting against your team so that you get a new coach, not that Burke would fire Hope after a bowl loss anyway. (Yes, from what I've read, there are some people who feel that way.)

6
by TV_Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 12:46pm

Why do both Rob and FEI pick ULL over San Diego State? It looks from the FEI numbers I see (and the 5 points San Diego State is giving in the line) that San Diego State would be the pick.

Of course, the game is in Louisiana.

9
by TV_Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2011 - 1:52pm

I thought I heard that San Diego State had a number of injuries. Good pick on ULL (basically a home game for them)!

Does Home field advantage come into play with FEI? I know Sagarin Predictor and Ranking take it into consideration (about a 3-point advantage).

10
by Brian Fremeau :: Tue, 12/20/2011 - 11:51am

Home field advantage is factored into the data that goes into FEI as well as the projections, when applicable. For bowl games, I treat all games as a neutral site. San Diego State was ranked 75th and Louisiana-Lafayette was ranked 79th heading into the bowl. The numbers picked SDSU to win by 2, so the pick against the spread was ULL.

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by Tom Gower :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 1:01pm

Picks, which may not be marginally better than coin flipping, since I've hardly seen any of these teams play except against other teams I actually want to watch: Temple, Ohio, San Diego St., FIU, TCU, Boise St., USM, Missouri, Purdue, Louisville, Toledo, and Cal. Cal and San Diego St. are the counter-consensus picks, and I'll take the Aztecs as my Edelstein lock.