Thursday, December 29, 2011

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Why not whip up some Kraft Mac and Cheese while you fight hunger by watching two teams without a winning record play for a trophy? Also you can gouge your eyes out with the spoon!

The Where and When:
Saturday, December 31st; 3:30 p.m.
ATT Park, San Francisco. ESPN/ESPN3.

The Who:
UCLA Bruins (6-7, 5-4 PAC12) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6, 2-6 B1G).

The Why:
Because Kraft is a global snacks powerhouse with an unrivaled portfolio of brands people love and they want to host a bowl.

UCLA won the PAC-12 South Division because USC was ineligible. They promptly fired Rick Neuheisel and dropped to here. They petitioned the NCAA to allow them to play in a bowl even though they do not have a winning record.

Illinois won 6 straight and rocketed up the national polls. Then they lost 6 straight including the season finale to Minnesota. They promptly fired Ron Zook and found their way here. The B1G does not have a tie in here and Illinois will be the first conference team to play in this ridiculous bowl.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
The Illini defense is not the problem. They rank nationally as fourth in pass defense (159.1 ypg) and seventh in total defense (291.8 ypg). The Illini also lead the Big Ten and rank fifth in the nation in tackles for loss (7.7 per game), and ninth nationally in sacks per game (3.0). They are lead by consensus All American DE Whitney Mercilus who leads the nation in sacks.

The offense is lead by QB Nathan Scheelhasse who runs some sort of spread offense. He likes to throw to B1G receptions leader WR A.J. Jenkins. The offense is 91st in the country in yards, right behind Indiana with 358 per game and 22 points.

The Bruin offense is run by QB Kevin Prince. Against Oregon, he was 13 of 26 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 15 times for 31 yards. RB Johnathan Franklin averaged 72 yards per game on the ground. It’s a balanced offense that scores 23 ppg.

The Defense is ironically 91st in yards per game and gives up 32 points per game. I would tell you who plays for them, but honestly they were a worse statistical defense than Northwestern!

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
I think I would go to UCLA if I could go back to college. Illinois sucks as a school and a state.

Vegas Edge:
Illinois is a three-point favorite. I’m pretty sure they just made that up. Both teams have been awful and neither team has a real head coach or a reason to show up for this game. The over/under is 47.

Let me say this slowly- you should NOT bet on this game. It is literally a crap shoot and no one has any idea what is going to happen.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
I don’t know. Illinois can’t move the ball and UCLA can’t stop the ball. Both are ranked 91st. Something has to give.

The Illini defense is stiff at 7th nationally and the UCLA offense while balanced is 46th. Advantage Illini.

I think the Illini win this one. Good defense vs a bad defense. Illini 17 UCLA 7. But honestly, no one has any idea what will happen here. Too many variables.

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