Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: Music City Bowl

Julie Andrews could play defense for the Deacons.

The Where and When:
Friday, December 30th; 5:40 p.m. CST
LP Field, Nashville. ESPN.

The Who:
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6, 5-3 ACC) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6, 2-6 SEC).

The Why:
Because Nashville makes a lot of money off this bowl. How much? Try $15 million according to this story. Both campuses are a stone’s throw away from Nashville and making their first appearance in the bowl…so it should be a good crowd despite the mediocre records.

The dogs beat Memphis, La Tech, UAB and UT-Martin out of conference. Then won 2 SEC games. And that ladies and gentlemen is how you schedule yourself into a bowl game.

The Deacons didn’t win much outside the ACC. Their only win came against, gulp, Gardner Webb. Jim Grobe’s team lost to Syracuse, Vandy and Notre Dame. Somehow they beat Florida State. Head scratcher for sure.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
The Deacons average 374 yards pg (good for 76th nationally) and 26 ppg. They tilt to more of a passing team with Junior Wide Receiver Chris Givens in the top 5 of virtually every Deacon receiving category. He owns the single season receiving yard record with 1,276 yards thus far.

The defense is plain bad. They give up nearly 400 yards per game, 69th nationally. Josh Bush is a first-team All ACC Safety. But yeah, that’s not good.

The Dogs are also awful on offense. 87th in the country awful with 355 yards per game and 25 ppg. They are a balanced bad though with 168 on the ground and 186 through the air. They are lead by senior rusher Vick Ballard who has gone over 1,000 yards rushing this season with 8 touchdowns.

Their defense is much better, also allowing 355 yards per game and nearly 20 points. That’s good enough for 19th nationally. They are led by starting linebackers Cam Lawrence and Brandon Wilson who could become the school’s first pair of 100 tacklers in over a decade.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
A demon deacon? I don’t even know what that is. It’s kind of an oxymoron. I also couldn’t tell you where Wake Forest is on a map or what city it is in. I also have no idea why it’s called Wake Forest. Also, former Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill once castrated a bull to fire up his team. Count me in.

Vegas Edge:
Mississippi State is a 6.5 point favorite with a 48 for over/under. Neither offense is explosive, plus the Bulldog defense should control Wake Forest and run the ball. I’d take State to cover and the under here.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
Wake seems awful to me. They won some ACC games, but nothing that makes me excited (sans Florida State).

And while it appears to me that MSU beat cupcakes to get here, they did play good competition in the games they lost. There is also this: Dan Mullen has never lost to a team that is unranked or not receiving votes in his three seasons in Starkville.

It’s hard to pick against a team that plays defense and runs the ball. I’ll go Bulldogs by a 24-14 score.

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