Sunday, January 1, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: Gator Bowl

Its all about Urban.

The Where and When:
Monday, January 2nd; Noon CST
Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL. ESPN2.

The Who:
Florida Gators 6-5 (3-5 SEC) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes 6-6 (3-5 B1G).

The Why:
These two teams are here because the Gator Bowl does not normally get a chance at them and because it makes a great story line with Urban Meyer’s old team and new team playing.

Long before that though, there was the Terrell Pryor and Jim Tressel affair that essentially ended Ohio State’s season. The Buckeyes recovered, knocked off Wisconsin, and got themselves bowl eligible. This is only the second time they have been to Jacksonville.

The Gators muddled through another disappointing campaign in the SEC. How bad were they? They dropped 6 of their last 8, with wins against Furman and Vanderbilt. The Gators are here because playing a stone’s throw from Gainesville sells tickets and the aforementioned storyline. Keep in mind that Florida plays Georgia here every year. This was not a great debut for Will Muschamp and if he loses this game, the seat will be getting quite warm as he starts his second year.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
This game features the 102nd and 107th offenses in the nation. Ohio State has shown signs of life with Braxton Miller at QB, but obviously they don’t move the ball well. Florida lost Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis for this game which will not help the situation.

The Buckeyes are 27th in rushing yards and awful at throwing it. There were a couple of games this year where the passes attempted were in the single digits. Florida to its credit really isn’t good at throwing or running the ball.

The defenses though have picked up the slack. Ranked 25th and 27th nationally. There is no real statistical difference between them.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Uninteresting side note: the Gator Bowl is the only bowl game I have been too. It was 2000 and Miami beat Georgia Tech 28-13. Ah the good old days. Ohio State is of course a B1G conference member playing a Florida school. My heart is with our conference brethren.

Vegas Edge:
Vegas makes the Gators a two point edge. I have to assume the reason is because it’s essentially a home game. Otherwise the two look very much like the same team. Good defense, atrocious offense.

The Gators are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as a favorite. The Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog. Something has to give.

It’s a 44 point over under, which has got to be high.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
This is counter intuitive; I should pick the SEC team in a New Year’s Bowl game that’s 40 miles from campus. However, their speed advantage is neutralized because they run a pro-style offense instead of the spread. (Good call, Charlie).

Additionally, the defense is full of athletes on both sides of the ball. This will come down to motivation and big plays. Ohio State just got banned from a bowl next year, but Urban Meyer takes over on Tuesday and players, fans, etc are predicting multiple national championships. It just feels like the Bucks have momentum.

I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but Ohio State 16, Florida 15.

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