Friday, December 30, 2011

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: AutoZone Liberty Bowl



AutoZone you've come a long way baby!

The Where and When:
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN, December 31, 2011 3:30 ET ABC

The Who:
Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3, 5-2 Big East) vs Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6, 2-6 SEC)



The Why:
Historically, the Liberty Bowl, paired the C-USA champion against a team from a multitude of other conferences. In 2004 the SEC signed on to send a team to face the C-USA. Built into the contract with SEC is an clause that allows the SEC to choose it's opponent every two years. So after last year's Georgia loss to UCF, the SEC said "you know what, we're scared to So Miss so we'll take a Big East team, just in case we lose again". I wouldn't make this up. So that is why So Miss had to play in front of 12 people in Hawaii as opposed to a packed house in Memphis. It's also why Cincinnati rolls into town after it's three-way tie for the Big East Title. This is Cincy's 13 bowl game all time.

Vandy is finished 8th in the SEC with a monster 2-6 record. That my friends is SEC scheduling at it's finest. This is Vandy's fifth fifth bowl all time

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
Cincy comes into the game with a fairly decent offense. When SR QB Zach Collaros went down in the West Virginia game, SO QB Munchie Legaux stepped in an directed the 55th ranked total offense to a 2-1 finish. They Bearcats are the 28th ranked scoring offense putting up 33.5 ppg. They are pretty balanced rushing for 175 ypg (37th) and passing for 218.3 ypg (70th).

Defensively they've had a surprisingly good season. They 6th ranked rush defense holds down most teams as they only allow 20 ppg (20th). They are 47th in total defense. They are susceptible to the pass ranking 106th. Listen for SR LB J.K. Schaffer because you'll likely hear his name a lot as he leads the team in tackles.

Vandy is all about defense. They are pedestrian to bad offensive. Yes they did play a tough schedule (33rd) but they did avoid LSU in conference play and played no-one outside conference.Ranking 60th in scoring they put up 26.9 ppg. They are better running the ball at 47th. And are 97th in passing and total offense.

Defensively they are decent. The rank 26th in scoring and rush defense and are 33rd against the pass. Most impressive is they are 19th in total defense only giving up 324.6 ypg. SR LB Chris Marve is leader of this Commodores defense. He should be pretty active this game.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
I was a Northwest Bearcat so I'm partial to them (Even when Brian Kelly was there). But man, the Commodores were a sweet group back in the day. I mean Brickhouse! Come on. I'm torn really. I'll go with my love of funk in this one. Go Vandy!

Vegas Edge:
The line has opened at Vandy -2 and has stayed that way. Vandy is 8-3 ATS. they went 2-3 down the stretch and were 0-4 vs winning teams on the year. They were only favored three times this year and won all three. But they were also all at home. Cincy went 5-5 ATS this year. They did go 6-1 against non winning teams. They were the dog only twice this season and went 1-1. The O/U is 48 and the under might be a solid play here.

Sweatpants Verdict:
It's been hard to take a Big East team in any of these bowl games. But I just can't get past Vandy's 0-4 record against winning teams. I think Cincy has too much offense and will match Vandy's defensive output. Cincy 24-20.

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