Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: Catholics versus Criminoles





The Where and When:
Champs Sports Bowl (hosted at the Citrus Bowl), Orlando, FL – December 29th, 2:30 p.m. – ESPN/ESPN3

The Who:
Florida State Seminoles (8-4, 5-3 ACC) versus Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8 –4)



The Why:
Both of these teams came into the 2011 season with high expectations, but the expectations may have been two much for a couple of second year head coaches. It takes time to change the culture of a program and both teams have shown progress, just not quick enough for some fans and the media. Other than making it to a BCS game this game is a good game that has garnered quite a bit of excitement among the fans. The game sold out within the first week, which if you have noticed the crowds at the other early bowls, is quite an accomplishment.

The Champs Sports Bowl is the third bowl game in the ACC tie-in games, but since Virginia Tech was chosen by the Sugar Bowl as the second ACC representative in a BCS game, the Champs Bowl went to the 4th place Seminoles. The Bowl was fortunate to get Notre Dame and their national following as the second team in the bowl this year. Notre Dame can pretty much pick where they want to go between about 20 games that they have a tie in, but when all else is equal they will always pick playing in the fertile recruiting grounds of the State of Florida.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
The Seminoles bring in the 6th ranked total defense in the nation and Notre Dame ranks 34th which is also very respectable, but not exactly an elite defense. The disparity on the offensive side of the ball is also pretty wide, but it is in Notre Dame’s favor. The Irish have the 34th ranked offense nationally and the Seminoles bring only the 73rd ranked total O. At face value the Irish look to be the more balanced of the two squads, but they have one glaring statistic that may even the playing field. The Irish are 116th in the nation in turnover margin, this fact lost them more than one game this year and going against an aggressive defense could be a problem for a turnover prone team.

Quarterback play will be very important in this game. Whichever teams signal caller has the light bulb go on will have the upper hand and more than likely a bowl victory. Expect to see both Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix for the Irish in an attempt to identify the future quarterback. For Florida State most fans are still waiting for the breakout game for a talented EJ Manuel, he has yet to put together a complete game where all phases of the offense are clicking under his leadership.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Bowl preparation has been a little rocky for the Seminoles with having a couple of players end up in the slammer for non-violent offenses. This has allowed the good Catholics with the forgiveness in their hearts to print up t-shirts labeling this game the “Catholics v. Criminoles.” Hey it happens, young men screw up and you have seen arrests at many institutions since the season’s end, but Florida State has the misfortune of playing a religious university and having a name that is easy to rhyme with criminal. I have the Noles in my pool, but with a low confidence factor. I don’t think you could go wrong either way, I really think that it will depend on which qb gets hot at the right time.

Vegas Edge:
The Noles are favored by three and half in this game and would suggest staying away from that line. I think a good option if you have to put a wager on this game may be the under. The over/under is 46 and with the Noles only putting up 95 yards in their victory over the Florida Gators and having an outstanding defense this might be the right play.

Sweatpants Verdict:
GO NOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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