Tuesday, December 27, 2011

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Only The Boss would conceive a Bowl Game in NY in December.

The What and Where:
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Yankee Stadium, NY, December 30th 3:20 ET ESPN/ESPN3

The Who:
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4, 4-3 Big East) vs Iowa State Cyclones (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)

The Why:
Rutgers finished 4th in the Big East and is headed to their sixth bowl in seven years. The Knights finished 3-2 down the stretch. The Cyclones finished 8th in the Big 12 and faced the nations second most difficult ranked schedule. This marks ISU's 11th bowl game all time and first since 2009.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
Rutgers is all about defense. Offensively they come in at 100th in total offense. Surprisingly, they pass much better than they run ranking 46th in passing and 115th rushing. Scoring 26.3 ppg, they are the 65th ranked scoring offense. Which is fine because they are the 12th ranked scoring defense forfeiting just 18.8 ppg. They are also 12th in total defense, shutting down the pass (11th) better than the run (56th). Look for JR DB Khassem Greene's name to be called a lot as he leads the Knights in tackles.

Being a Big 12 team it's no surprise that ISU's focus is on offense. Ranked 56th in total offense, the Clones are scoring 23.5 ppg. They are fairly balanced, but will look to get SO RB James White and the 35th ranked rushing attack going early.

Defensively, the clones are ah...not so good. Ranked 99th in total defense they give up 29.6 ppg (82nd). They are vulnerable against the run (100th) and will give up yards passing to the tune of 237.2 ypg. Given that they faced the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 12th and 13th ranked offenses, we'll give them a bit of a pass statistically.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Scarlet Knights sound really fancy. And Cyclones are dangerous. But, my parents live in Iowa and I don't really know anyone from New York. But why do the Cyclones have a bird as their mascot? I've never understood that. Oh well, go crazy, windy birds!

Vegas Edge:
The line opened with Rutgers a 2.5 point favorite and since as dropped to 1.5. On the year Rutgers is 4-8 ATS where the Clones are 7-5. Against non-winning teams Rutgers went 5-1 and 4-4 vs AQ schools. The Clones went just 2-5 against winning teams and 5-6 vs AQ qualifiers. Under 44.5 might be the play here.

Sweatpants Verdict:
This is a tough game. I covered the Big East all season and one thing I learned is that all those teams can win or lose in any week. Rutgers is basically at home. Unfortunately for them, nobody goes to see them play. I look at the Clones schedule couple that with what I know about the Big East, its seems like an easy pick. But Vegas is throwing me a bit. I think Rutger's schedule has helped their stats a bit, one ranked team on the entire thing. Even at 6-6, I think the Clones are going to be too much for Rutgers. Iowa State 24 - 17.

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