Welcome to the bowl edition of By the Numbers. For 2010, this is the only issue of By the Numbers that I've put together. Sorry about the silence. Every four years or so, I have trouble finding the time to do this, due to the timing of revisions of my calculus book. It's been an interesting year. In the first ratings that I ran, James Madison was #4. This is why I NEVER publish anything early in the year. Auburn only jumped into the top three in this week's ratings. Maybe Auburn rates low because of the penalty that I put into my formula for injuring Clemson QB's. But it's probably the lack of money from the Newtons. (They say the check's on the way, but ...)
Like most BCS computers, my ratings clearly say that the Pac 10 was the best conference this year. The four top-rated teams not in a bowl are all from the Pac 10. None of them were bowl eligible, largely because the Pac 10 has this bizarre scheduling tradition of everybody playing everybody else in the conference. The West Coast "bias" continues with Boise still at #4. Is it possible that the New York TV people don't give the West Coast teams enough credit? It's interesting that the top four teams here have the top four Heisman candidates.
The ratings give one perspective from which to judge the bowls, which often are the first time the teams have played in years. Historically, the predictions are only about 50-50 against the spread. One reason for this lack of success might be that the relative strengths of conferences are primarily set by early season games. Another reason could be the oddity of playing on a neutral site, in Florida sunshine or on a blue field in Idaho. But I suspect that the main reason why bowls are hard to predict is the month or more off for the teams. Coaches change, new schemes can be introduced in practice and there is a month of being a favorite or underdog. Bowl games can be more like first games of the year than the tenth-game-in-a-row grind it out that occurs throughout the year. In any case, I don't recommend large bets based on bowl games.
If you scroll to the bottom, you'll find the ratings as of 12/5.
Enjoy the bowl games and have a great holiday!
BEST BOWLS (largest total ratings):
1. BCS, 2. Orange, 3. Rose, 4. Sugar, 5. Las Vegas
WORST BOWLS (smallest total ratings):
1. Go Daddy, 2. New Orleans, 3. Little Caesars, 4. Armed Forces
BEST TEAMS NOT IN A BOWL :
1. Southern Cal, 2. Arizona State, 3. Oregon State, 4. California
WORST TEAMS IN A BOWL :
1. Middle Tennessee, 2. UTEP, 3. Florida Int., 4. Troy
The following predictions are directly from the ratings, with no points
added for home field (even Hawaii).
The comments are not always backed by good research.
Below each game, I listed what I thought were the teams' best and worst results
of the year.
12/18 New Mexico Bowl: BYU over UTEP by 13
2:00 ESPN. Albuquerque.
Not where BYU expected to end up the year, but freshman QB Jake Heaps is supposed to be worth watching. Expect the Cougars to molest the Miners.
BYU (6-6): W Washington 23-17, L Utah State 13-31
UTEP (7-5): W SMU 28-14, L Houston 24-54
12/18 Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno over Northern Illinois by 1
5:30 ESPN. Boise.
NIU has a tradition of great running backs, but Fresno back Robbie Rouse has a better name. Bulldogs versus Huskies, but not a dog of a game.
Fresno (8-4): W Illinois 25-23, L Boise State 0-51
N Illinois (10-3): W Toledo 65-30, L Iowa State 10-27
12/18 New Orleans Bowl: Ohio over Troy by 4
9:00 ESPN. New Orleans.
Ohio has QB Boo Jackson but otherwise this is a frightening game.
Ohio (8-4): W Miami 34-13, L Kent 6-28
Troy (7-5): L Oklahoma State 38-41, L La-Monroe 14-28
12/21 St. Petersburg Bowl: Southern Miss over Louisville by 1
8:00 ESPN. Florida.
35 bowls is too many to expect a clever comment on each game.
So Miss (8-4): W UCF 31-21, L S Carolina 13-41
Louisville (6-6): W Connecticut 26-0, L Cincinnati 27-35
12/22 Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State over Utah by 9
8:00 ESPN. Las Vegas.
Boise has always played great as an underdog, this is a chance to try out the huge favorite role. I hope it doesn't come down to a late field goal attempt.
Boise (11-1): W Virginia Tech 33-30, L Nevada 31-34
Utah (10-2): W Pittsburgh 27-24, L TCU 7-47
12/23 San Diego Bowl: San Diego State and Navy even
8:00 ESPN. San Diego.
San Diego played everybody, including Missouri and TCU on the road, tough. Navy always plays well in bowls. Kind of a home game for both, given the naval base in San Diego. Ricky Dobbs and Ronnie Hillman are excellent runners.
SD State (8-4): W Air Force 27-25, L Missouri 24-27
Navy (8-3): W Notre Dame 35-17, L Duke 31-34
12/24 Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii over Tulsa by 6
8:00 ESPN. Honolulu.
Nice comeback year for Hawaii, GJ Kinne has led Tulsa to 6 straight wins.
Hawaii (10-3): W Nevada 27-21, L Boise 7-42
Tulsa (9-3): W Notre Dame 28-27, L Oklahoma State, 28-65
12/26 Little Caesars Bowl: Toledo over Florida International by 7
8:30 ESPN. Detroit.
Toledo receiver Eric Page had 94 catches, FIU goes to its first bowl ever.
Toledo (8-4): W Purdue 31-20, L Arizona 2-41
FIU (6-6): W Troy 52-35, L Pittsburgh 17-44
12/27 Independence Bowl: Air Force over Georgia Tech by 9
5:00 ESPN2. Shreveport.
Another "academy" game for Air Force, with ex-Navy coach Paul Johnson at GT. The nation's top (GT) and second best (AF) running attacks (yards per game) are here, although it never felt like the Ramblin Wreck was hitting on all cylinders this year.
Air Force (8-4): W Army 42-22, L TCU 7-38
Georgia Tech (6-6): W North Carolina 30-24, L Kansas 25-28
12/28 Champs Sports Bowl: West Virginia over NC State by 1
6:30 ESPN. Orlando.
Almost the Big East and ACC Atlantic champs bowl, but not quite. Russell Wilson and Geno Davis may put on a show anyway.
West Virginia (9-3): W Pittsburgh 35-10, L Syracuse 14-19
NC State (8-4): W Florida State 28-24, L East Carolina 27-33
12/28 Insight Bowl: Missouri over Iowa by 11
10:00 ESPN. Tempe.
My insight here is that both teams had huge wins from which they never recovered. Blaine Gabbert had the Tigers in the top 10, Ricky Stanzi had the Hawkeyes at 7-2 before disappointing finishes.
Missouri (10-2): W Oklahoma 36-27, L Nebraska 17-31
Iowa (7-5): W Michigan State 37-6, L Minnesota 24-27
12/29 Military Bowl: Maryland over East Carolina by 9
2:30 ESPN. Washington DC.
Could be a fun game if freshman turtle Danny O'Brien and Pirate QB Dominique Davis have big games.
Maryland (8-4): W NC State 38-31, L Clemson 7-31
East Carolina (6-6): W NC State 33-27, L Navy 35-76
12/29 Texas Bowl: Baylor over Illinois by 1
6:00 ESPN. Houston.
Robert Griffin has led the Bears to new heights, Illini QB Scheelhaase leads the nation in double-vowels.
Baylor (7-5): W Texas 30-22, L TCU 10-45
Illinois (6-6): W Penn State 33-13, L Michigan 65-67
12/29 Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State over Arizona by 7
9:15 ESPN. San Antonio.
The Cowboys have weapons Weeden, Hunter and Blackman. They scored 41 in both of their losses. Arizona lost their last 4.
Oklahoma State (10-2): W Baylor 55-28, L Nebraska 41-51
Arizona (7-5): W Iowa 34-27, L Stanford 17-42
12/30 Armed Forces Bowl: SMU over Army by 5
12:00 ESPN. Dallas.
A home game for the Mustangs, and a matchup of option running plays versus option passing plays.
SMU (7-6): W Tulsa 21-18, L Houston 20-45
Army (6-5): W Duke 35-21, L Notre Dame 3-27
12/30 Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State over Syracuse by 8
3:20 ESPN. New York.
Football returns to Yankee Stadium, and Syracuse returns to respectability.
Kansas State (7-5): W Texas 39-14, L Nebraska 13-48
Syracuse (7-5): W West Virginia 19-14, L Washington 20-41
12/30 Music City Bowl: North Carolina over Tennessee by 3
4:00 ESPN. Nashville.
Not sweet music for UNC, which had higher hopes, but a bowl game for Tauren Poole and the Vols.
North Carolina (7-5): W Florida State 37-35, L Miami 10-33
Tennessee (6-6): W Kentucky 24-14, L Georgia 14-44
12/30 Holiday Bowl: Nebraska over Washington by 11
10:00 ESPN. San Diego.
Up 17-0 on Oklahoma, this was not the holiday the Huskers had in mind. Nor is Washington the opponent they wanted, although Jake Locker can be outstanding.
Nebraska (10-3): W Missouri 31-17, L Texas 13-20
Washington (6-6): W Syracuse 41-20, L Stanford 0-41
12/31 Meineke Car Care Bowl: Clemson over South Florida by 3
12:00 ESPN. Charlotte.
Two offenses with severe transmission difficulties. A healthy Clemson gave Auburn fits; the bodies will finally heal, how about the psyche?
Clemson (6-6): W Maryland 31-7, L Boston College 10-16
South Florida (7-5): W Miami 23-20, L Florida 14-38
12/31 Sun Bowl: Notre Dame over Miami(F) by 3
2:00 CBS. El Paso.
Will they care enough to brawl like in the good old days? Oh, yeah, Holtz and Johnson don't coach there anymore. Who does coach there?
Notre Dame (7-5): W Utah 28-3, L Navy 17-35
Miami (7-5): W Pittsburgh 31-3, L Florida State 17-45
12/31 Liberty Bowl: Georgia over UCF by 1
3:30 ESPN. Memphis.
Georgia has improved with the return of AJ Green and the development of Aaron Murray. UCF has the best record in the state of Florida, no lie.
Georgia (6-6): W Tennessee 41-14, L Colorado 27-29
UCF (10-3): W East Carolina 49-35, L So Miss 21-31
12/31 Chick-Fil-A Bowl: South Carolina over Florida State by 1
7:30 ESPN. Atlanta.
The consolation game from the SEC/ACC games. The Noles beat Florida and now have a crack at Spurrier. Marcus Lattimore is excellent for the Chickens, a healthy Christian Ponder would help the Florida State cause.
South Carolina (9-4): W Florida 36-14, L Auburn 17-56
Florida State (9-4): W Florida 31-7, L Oklahoma 17-47
1/1 Ticket City Bowl: Texas Tech over Northwestern by 8
12:00 ESPNU. Dallas.
Cool, a New Year's Day bowl in the Cotton Bowl! Tech no longer puts up video game numbers, but Taylor Potts still had 31 TD passes. Dan Persa led the Wildcats to a 5-0 start before it all fell apart.
Texas Tech (7-5): W Missouri 24-17, L Oklahoma 7-45
Northwestern (7-5): W Iowa 21-17, L Purdue 17-20
1/1 Outback Bowl: Florida over Penn State by 5
1:00 ABC. Tampa.
These teams' "best wins" may say it all. QB troubles, defensive lapses define a bad year.
Florida (7-5): W Kentucky 48-14, L Florida State 7-31
Penn State (7-5): W Northwestern 35-21, L Illinois 13-33
1/1 Capital One Bowl: Alabama over Michigan State by 5
1:00 ESPN. Orlando.
Sparty overcame a lot of adversity to tie for the Big 10 title. The Tide has a lot of talent and probably should have done better.
Alabama (9-3): W Florida 31-6, L S Carolina 21-35
Michigan State (11-1): W Wisconsin 34-24, L Iowa 6-37
1/1 Gator Bowl: Miss State over Michigan by 3
1:30 ESPN2. Jacksonville.
Interesting game: Dan Mullen is a hero for getting MSU here, Rich Rodriguez a villain for getting Michigan here. Denard Robinson struggled against good defenses like the Bulldogs.
Miss State (8-4): W Georgia 24-12, L LSU 7-29
Michigan (7-5): W Connecticut 30-10, L Ohio State 7-37
1/1 Rose Bowl: TCU over Wisconsin by 5
5:00 ESPN. Pasadena.
The Frogs have been in big bowls before: in 1938 Davey O'Brien led them to a Sugar Bowl victory and a national championship (they beat, ahem, Carnegie Tech). TCU's small, quick 4-2-5 defense will have to figure out a way to slow down the bruising Badgers. Trivia of the week: Davey O'Brien went to high school with my Mom and was in FBI boot camp in World War II with my Dad.
TCU (12-0): W Utah 47-7, W San Diego State 40-35
Wisconsin (11-1): W Ohio State 31-18, L Michigan State 24-34
1/1 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma over Connecticut by 19
8:30 ESPN. Glendale.
Great accomplishment by the Huskies to qualify, but nobody wants them here. Sooners have lost in similar circumstances, but with Landry Jones and DeMarco Murray it's hard to imagine that happening here.
Oklahoma (11-1): W Florida State 47-17, L Texas A&M 19-33
UConn (8-4): W West Virginia 16-13, L Michigan 10-30
1/3 Orange Bowl: Stanford over Virginia Tech by 9
8:30 ESPN. Miami.
Andrew Luck got the Heisman love, but Tyrod Taylor may be playing better. This is a matchup that the BCS can be proud of.
Virginia Tech (11-2): W Miami 31-17, L James Madison 16-21
Stanford (11-1): W Washington 41-0, L Oregon 31-52
1/4 Sugar Bowl: Ohio State over Arkansas by 2
8:30 ESPN. New Orleans.
Outstanding QBs with different styles (Pryor and Mallett). The Buckeyes look to exorcise their SEC demons, Hogs look to exercise the Buckeye defense.
Ohio State (11-1): W LSOP 38-14, L LSOP 18-31
Arkansas (10-2): W S Carolina 41-20, W Auburn 43-65
1/6 GoDaddy Bowl: Miami(O) over Middle Tennessee by 12
8:00 ESPN. Mobile.
Maybe the commercials will be good. Miami has won their last 5 after finishing 1-11 last year.
Miami (9-4): W N Illinois 26-21, L Cincinnati 3-45
Mid Tenn (6-6): W FIU 28-27, L Ark State 24-51
1/7 Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M over LSU by 1
8:00 FOX. Arlington.
Two old rivals in a good matchup at Jerry World. Aggies have been on fire since switching to QB Ryan Tannehill. LSU still needs a hot QB but has the "Mad Hatter" at coach.
Texas A&M (9-3): W Oklahoma 33-19, L Missouri 9-30
LSU (10-2): W Alabama 24-21, L Arkansas 23-31
1/8 Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh over Kentucky by 7
12:00 ESPN. Birmingham.
Dion Lewis had trouble getting his bearings for Pitt, the Cats look to Randall Cobb for direction.
Pittsburgh (7-5): W USF 17-10, L Miami 3-31
Kentucky (6-6): W S Carolina 31-28, L Florida 14-48
1/9 Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada over Boston College by 14
9:00 ESPN. San Francisco.
The Pack may be the best unknown 12-1 team ever. Colin Kaepernick is an excellent QB and RB Vai Taua leads the NCAA in vowel-to-consonant ratio. But BC has been a tough bowl team.
Nevada (12-1): W Boise 34-31, L Hawaii 21-27
Boston College (7-5): W Clemson 16-10, L NC State 17-44
1/10 BCS Title Game: Oregon over Auburn by 4
8:00 FOX. Miami.
A lot of hype and points expected. Between the "Heisman jinx" and more recruiting revelations, will Cam Newton be on task? The Ducks are young, will they quack under the pressure? Should be fun!
Oregon (12-0): W Stanford 52-31, W Cal 15-13
Auburn (13-0): W S Carolina 56-17, W Clemson 27-24 OT
|29||North Carolina St||51.46|
|40||San Diego St||48.73|
|81||William & Mary||39.53|
|90||Stephen F. Austin||37.07|
|99||North Dakota St||34.90|
|123||South Dakota St||30.82|
|128||SE Missouri St||29.91|
|136||San José St||28.28|
|142||Cal Poly SLO||27.45|
|144||Middle Tennessee St||26.68|
|150||Sam Houston St||25.93|
|156||New Mexico St||24.70|
|171||Central Conn St||21.80|
|176||South Carolina St||20.92|
|187||Prairie View A&M||19.09|
|194||Texas St-San Marcos||17.26|
|202||SE Louisiana St||14.70|
|231||St Francis PA||1.47|
|238||North Carolina Central||-2.06|
|240||Mississippi Valley St||-6.12|
|241||North Carolina A&T||-7.86|