Friday, December 17, 2010

PS Bowl-A-Thon: New Mexico Bowl

New Mexico Bowl

The Where and When:
December 18th, 2:00 p.m. est, University Stadium, Albuquerque,NM. ESPN/ESPN3.

The Who:
Brigham Young Cougars (6-6, 5-3 MWC) vs. UTEP Miners (6-6, 3-5 CUSA)

The Why:
BYU rolls into it's sixth straight bowl game after closing out its final season in the Mountain West Conference in 5th place. After a slow start the Cougars kicked it in to finish strong to close the season.

UTEP is the first non-WAC or MWC team to participate in the New Mexico Bowl. Coming in 8th in C-USA, they were the sixth team selected from the conference to participate in a bowl game this season. And is their first bowl game since 2005.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
BYU has had a defensive focus all year long. Just 80th in total offense, 84th in scoring offense they have ran the ball with more success than they've passed ball. Although they are fairly balanced rushing for 163 yds/game and passing for 190 yds/game. But they rely on their defense to keep them in games. Ranking 33rd in total offense, 32nd in scoring offense they stop the pass (21st) better than the run (61st).

UTEP is more or less a similar team to BYU. Only, offensively, they are slightly better. Ranking 72nd in total offense, 70th in scoring offense, they have a balanced attack ranking 69th with 149 rushing yds/g and 60th with 221 passing yds/g. Defensively they are not as impressive as BYU. Ranking 86th in total D, 58th in scoring D, 89th and 73rd in rushing and passing respectively.

Neither of these teams are dominate in any phase of the game. They are both .500 against non-AQ teams. BYU is 5-1 against non-winning teams where UTEP is just .500. BYU came on at the end winning 4 of it's last five and UTEP fell off going 1-4.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Cougars vs Miners? Really. Cougars are so totally in right now, I mean look at Courtney Cox! And Miners? Well maybe if they were Chilean and El Paso isn't in Chili, right?

Vegas Edge
The current line has BYU as 11.5 point favorites. The Cougars are 4-1 ATS in the last five games and UTEP is just 2-3. University Stadium is grass. BYU is 7-4 ATS on grass and the Miners are 1-2 ATS on the surface.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
I can't see BYU losing this game. The two teams are about equal offensively and BYU has the edge on defense. With UTEP reeling to close the season and the Cougars figuring things out to finish strong, look for the Cougars to win by a couple scores and cover.

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