Monday, December 18, 2006

Matchup Comparison Rating – appetizer special

Earlier we unveiled the Bowl game Matchup Comparison Rating or MCR to give our readers an idea of the quality of a particular game. With so many bowl games on the college football carte du jour, it’s tough to choose, and we hope to help. We started with the major BCS bowls but now it’s time to back off and check out the little guys. The games intended to whet the appetite… the proverbial hot poppers of the college football menu.

mmmm, artery-clogging fun!

Before we begin, let's recap the rating system to refresh your memory.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Northern Illinois (7-5) vs. TCU (10-2)
Dec. 19, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2

The bowl season starts off with a bowl named after a flower that was once thought poisonous, but like the Poinsettia myth, this bowl may not be too potent. NIU QB Phil Horvath sustained a knee injury late in the season and was replaced by Dan Nicholson who threw three interceptions in their final regular season game. Throw in a quick, but grossly undersized Northern Illinois defense and you have the makings of a blowout. The only thing going for the Huskies is Division I-A leading rusher Garrett Wolfe who is always fun to watch – just ask Ohio State (171 yds rushing – 114 yds rec).

TCU boasts a pretty good rushing attack with runningbacks Aaron Brown and Lonta Hobbs combining for 1305 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Horned Frogs' defense has been stout against the run and is capable of sustained pressure. One of Northern Illinois’ losses was to 5-7 Toledo, this could get ugly real fast. At least the boys from Illinois will get a chance to spend some time in sunny San Diego, California.

+1 Garrett Wolfe factor
-1 blowout likelihood
+1 first bowl of the season
-1 record disparity
MCR 1 (Woman’s Heart) – our scientifically derived scale doesn’t go below a 1 therefore it’s a 1 by default.

Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl
Oregon (7-5) vs. BYU (10-2)
Dec. 21, 8:00 PM - ESPN

The best team that you haven’t been paying attention to may be BYU. At 10-2 they seem to have the resume but the Cougars only win of note was against No. 17 TCU; with their two losses coming at the hands of Arizona and Boston College. BYU boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the country – 5th in totally yards and points scored. Cougar QB John Beck has completed 70.4% of his passes for a mind-boggling 3510 yards and 30 touchdowns. RB Curtis Brown has 890 yards rushing and 554 yards receiving with more catches then anyone on the team.

Oregon is 11th in the nation in rushing yards per game and 9th in totally yards. Ducks RBs Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson have combined for 1563 yards and 20 TDs. It’s uncertain who will play at Quarterback for the Ducks - dangerous open-field runner Dennis Dixon was replaced by pocket passer Brady Leaf. Yes, THAT Leaf – Brady is brother of mega-flop Ryan Leaf. Neither team has a defense to write home about. Oregon is serviceable but they will be without leading tackler LB Blair Phillips and they tend to be weak against the run. BYU’s D has had trouble down the stretch but manages to keep people out of the endzone. If you like offense, this one is for you.

+1 two prolific offenses
+1 possibility of legendary Leaf tantrum with media
+1 super accurate quarterback

-1 Oregon uniforms could cause seizures

MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Rice (7-5) vs. Troy (7-5)
Dec. 22, 8 PM – ESPN2

ESPN suggests that this is a matchup between two “explosive” offenses. Rice is 51st in total yards while Troy is 80th. Troy is 65th in points scored while Rice is 40th, is that considered “explosive?” I doubt you will find anyone describing Penn State’s 73rd ranked scoring offense explosive, yet they are one notch behind Rice in Totally Yards at 52nd.

Rice has one of the best turnover margins in all Div I – Troy has one of the worst. Rice has a Swiss-cheese run defense and Troy likes to run the Spread offense. Half of Rice’s 2350 yards through the air landed in the hands of WR Jarret Dillard while Troy likes to spread the ball around with no receiver over 600 yards. Trojan QB Omar Haugabook is a mobile quarterback but has thrown 16 interceptions. Rice has done statistically better against the pass but is that because teams like to run against them? Troy will be looking for their first bowl win while Rice will be looking for their first since 1953. In a nutshell, anything could happen.

+1 evenly matched teams
+1 two teams desperate for a bowl win
-1 potential for sloppy game

MCR 1 (Woman’s Heart)

That should get you through the early part of bowl season. Later we will take a look at the Holiday Specials – those bowl games sandwiched around Christmas.


Mike said...

I can't believe you actually put effort into scouting these crappy bowl games. Kudos, man.

Galen said...

It was that or watch ESPN - I think I made the right choice.