Monday, December 28, 2009

Matchup Comparison Rating: the segue edition

Segue, not Segway!

Moving on to the games that cover the work week between Christmas and New Year's, these are the "Segue games." If you're one of the poor souls that have to work the couple days before New Year's eve, these games get you through until the big ones on New Year's day.


ADVOCARE V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5)
Dec. 28, 5:00 PM – ESPN2

A word from our sponsor: Advocare is the manufacture of supplements targeting a wide range of activities from weight management to performance enhancements (the legal kind). Unfortunately the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl website looks like it was done by a high school kid for his senior project.

Seriously, if their goal was to throw as much random shit on one web page, mission accomplished.

On the field: If you're a fan of offense, you're gonna want to tune in to this game. Georgia's defensive was so bad coach Mark Richt fired three of his defensive assistants including the defensive coordinator. All three coaches declined to coach in the bowl game leaving erstwhile defensive line coach Rodney Garner to prepare for Texas A&M by his lonesome. It will be a tough task considering the Aggies have the 5th best and the 14th highest scoring offense in the FBS. Georgia's offense isn't as potent but will be helped out by the fact that Texas A&M's defense suuuuuuccccckkkkkkksssss! They come in 107th in total defense giving up 431.33 yards per freakin' game. They also give up 32.67 points per game, 104th in the FBS.

On the offensive side of things, Texas A&M has one of the most underrated QB's in the country in Jerrod Johnson who has completed 60% of his passes for 3217 yards, 28 TD's and only 6 INT's. He's also rushed for 455 yards and 8 scores. Georgia found it's ground game late in the season rushing for 252.0 yards on the ground in its last four games thanks to freshman Washaun Ealey and sophomore Caleb King who each averaged 9.2 yards per carry in an road upset of then #7 Georgia Tech for their regular season finale. The scoreboard operator will be busy.

+1 strong offense
+1 kick-ass QB
+1 shootout possibility

-1 total lack of defense

MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)

EAGLEBANK BOWL
UCLA (6-6) vs. Temple (9-3)
Dec. 29, 4:30 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor:
The EagleBank Bowl's focus is to recognize and pay respect to the dedication and sacrifices made by all those who serve our country, at both the U.S. military academies and in the U.S. Armed Forces. The EagleBank Bowl brings together three of the largest forces in our economy – the government, the military and private enterprise – in one venue. This unique event is an opportunity to show your appreciation for those who protect our freedom. So it's all patriotic to watch.

On the field: Hey, we get a chance to see Penn State's best out of conference opponent in Temple. It's been an amazing turnaround for Temple, just a few short years ago the Owls were 1-11 in coach Al Golden's inaugural season. This is only the fourth winning season for the Owls in the past 30 years. This team had a nine game winning streak until losing to Ohio which kept them out of the conference championship game. Golden has a school record 8 players named to the all-Mac first team led by MAC freshman of the year Bernard Pierce who rushed for a conference leading 1,308 yards and was second with 15 touchdowns. The Owls control the ground, they have the 23rd best rushing attack averaging 192.3 yards per game while giving up only 108.8 on defense, good for 19th best.

UCLA wouldn't even be here if Army had beat Navy, the Black Knights would be playing in this game against Temple. The Bruins have been inconsistent opening up with three straight wins and then losing their next five. They then had another three game winning streak snapped by USC in their last contest. Despite the shoddy record UCLA does boast four All-Americans led by second teamer Rahim Moore who leads the nation with 9 interceptions and Lou Groza Award winner (best kicker) Kai Forbath. The problem is on offense where inconsistent play from freshman quarterback Kevin Prince has led to the Bruins getting held under 20 points six times. Both QB's in this game won't scare anyone.

+1 former PSU player and assistant coach
+1 consummate underdog vs. evil west coast team (they're coached by Rick Neuheisel for cryin' out loud)
-1 two pathetic quarterbacks

MCR 1(Woman's Heart)

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Miami (9-3) vs. Wisconsin (9-3)
Dec. 29, 8:00 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor: The Champs Sports Bowl (also known as the Florida Citrus bowl) is sponsored by a wide array of corporations from the title sponsor Champs Sports to Capital One to Budweiser, to Coca Cola and Dasani. So drink a lot and user your credit card to buy some overpriced sports equipment.

On the field: Call this a matchup of contradicting styles. While both teams average more than 30 points per game and both defenses only allow 321 yards or less per game, Wisconsin does it with their usual plodding ground attack and Miami does it through the air. The Badgers are 14th in the nation in rushing at 206.7 yards per game and are led by Big Ten offensive player of the year John Clay who ran for 1,369 yards and 16 TDs on the season. Miami is led by quarterback Jacory Harris who ranked 15th in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 3,164 passing yards and 23 TD's. His Achilles heel though would be the 17 interceptions he's thrown to go along with all those touchdowns. The Badgers are used to controlling the ground game on defense but are not known for their secondary. Both defenses should be tested in this game and turnovers will play a big roll, Wisconsin is 30th in the country at forcing turnovers, Mimi is 70th.

+1 two statistically evenly matched teams
+1 two decent defenses
+1 two strong offense

+1 pass-happy offense vs. plodding road grader offense

MCR 4 (Viper/Shelby Cobra)

ROADY'S HUMANITARIAN BOWL
BGU (7-5) vs. Idaho (7-5)
Dec.30, 4:30 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor: What could be more boring than a bowl in Boise, Idaho? A bowl game in Boise Idaho sponsored by equally boring corporations like Roady's truck stops, the Idaho lottery, and the Boise convention and visitors bureau.

On the field: The two teams come into this game going in different directions: Bowling Green won their last four games while Idaho lost their last three. This will be a matchup of two high powered offenses, Idaho boasts the 10th best offense in yardage and BGSU has the nation's 8th best passing attack (Idaho is 12th). Idaho QB Nathan Enderle is the seventh best rated passer in the FBS completing over 64% of his passes for 2666 yards and tossing 18 TD's and only 9 INT's. BG QB Tyler Sheehan is no slouch either throwing for a career-high 3,664 yards with 23 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Bowling Green's star though is wide receiver Freddie Barnes who led the nation in receptions (138) and touchdowns (16) and is third in receiving yards (1,551). Barnes would have won Biletnikoff Award easily had there not been someone from a team named Notre Dame on the ballot. If Barnes makes 5 catches he will set an NCAA record for catches during a season. It will be a home game for Idaho something the Falcons will have to overcome. It should be a shootout as neither team has a decent defense, Idaho ranks below 100 in seven different defensive categories. Bowling Green is a little better but not by much.

+1 two evenly matched teams
+1 best wide receiver in the nation
+1 two high powered offenses
-1 two pathetic defenses

MCR 2(Microwave Dinner)

PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL
Arizona (8-4) vs. Nebraska (9-4)
Dec.30, 8:00 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor: Besides the title sponsor this bowl has a who's who of corporate supporters. There's Bank of America, AT&T, Bumble Bee Foods, Dr Pepper, Jack in the Box, Sea World and the World Wide Leader. Like I said earlier, the closer you get to New Year's Day the more the big boys step up.

On the field: After watching two god-awful defenses in the earlier game we'll get a chance to see two of the best defenses in the nation. Both Nebraska and Arizona were seconds away from winning their conferences but both teams fell just short. Nebraska had Texas beat 12-11 in the Big 12 championship game when Texas quarterback Colt McCoy threw the ball out of bounds as time expired but the officials replayed the play and put 1 second on the clock. That allowed kicker Hunter Lawrence to make a 46-yard field goal and pull out the win for Texas. Similarly Arizona was pulling off an upset of Oregon leading 31-24 in the final minute, but an eight-yard Ducks TD pass with 6 seconds sent the game into overtime and Oregon won 44-41.

Arizona has the better offense statistically with QB Nick Foles who completed 66% of his passes for 2438 yards and 19 TD's. The Wildcats' offensive line, which has only allowed 11 sacks all season, will have one thing on their mind: find a way to slow down Defensive Tackle freak Ndamukong Suh who finished fourth in the Heisman Voting. Suh lead the Huskers with 82 tackles, 12 sacks and 23 tackles for loss but put on his best performance against the Longhorns. Facing double teams all day he had 12 tackles, 9 for zero or negative yards and 4 ½ sacks. Nebraska is second in the FBS in points allowed at 11.2 per game and ninth in total defense, giving up an average of 284.5 yards. On the other side of the ball, Nebraska relies on running back Roy Helu who rushed for 1,139 yards and 9 TD's.

+1 two tough defenses
+1 best DT in the nation vs. strong offensive line
-1 two average offenses

MCR 1(Woman's Heart)

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