Friday, December 14, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2012: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

The When/Where:
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID, December 15th, 2012, 4:30 pm ET, ESPN

The Who:
Toledo Rockets (9-3, 6-2 MAC) @ Utah State Aggies (10-2, 6-0 WAC)

The Why:
The Potato Bowl takes the WAC #1 or #2 and pits it against the MAC #3. This year, however, it had to reach deep into the MAC handbag to choose Toledo, who finished fourth in the MAC. Why? Because MAC Champion, Northern Illinois, is taking a trip to the Orange Bowl. Utah State found it's way to Boise after a stellar WAC season becoming the dissolving league's final champion.

This will be Toledo's 13th bowl in it's history and it's 3rd in three years. The Aggies come into their ninth bowl game seeking their second ever bowl victory and first since 1993. 

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
On paper it looks like this game should provide a ton of offense. The Rockets are 28th in the nation in total offense and 39th in scoring. They have a balanced attack that leans towards the run ranking 34th and 44th in rush and pass offense respectively. Utah St's raw numbers are better in almost every category, save rushing offense. But when you look at OFEI they are 68th in the nation to Toledo's 41st. All in all neither team has a significant statistical advantage over the other.

But, offense is only half the ledger here. Defensively, it's a whole other story. The Aggies have been stifling on defense all year ranking 8th in scoring D, 15th in total D, 12th in rush D and 36th in pass D. And they are the 18th ranked D FEI team. Toledo on the other hand has been more of a revolving door. They are 108th in total D, 73rd in rush, 121st in passing and 59th in scoring D. Needless to say they rely on their offense to win games.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
My favorite Karaoke song is Rocket Man. And I still don't know what the hell an Aggie is. So I think it's going to be a long long time til touchdown brings me 'round again to find I'm not the man I am at home.

The Vegas Edge:
If you've read The Divination at all this season, you know that Utah State was one of my favorites all season; finishing 10-1 ATS and winning me some mullah in the process. Toledo wasn't nearly as good to Vegas bettors at 7-5. Consider also that the rockets are 2-3 against winning teams and 0-1 vs ranked teams, you get why the spread is 10.5. Toledo is 6-0 ATS as a dog with spreads between 3 and 10 the past three seasons. Where Utah State has gone 9-2 against non-conference foes over the last two years.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
So yes, the Aggies disappointed me in the last game of the year by not covering. But that was a huge spread and the game didn't really matter. I wouldn't let that sway you. Chuckie Keeton should have a huge game and the Aggies defense should buckle down after showing a little rust early on. I'm not a huge fan of double digit spreads in bowl games, but you can't really argue with 10-1 ATS. If this stays about 10, I think you have to take the Aggies.

 #WACtion holds down #MACtion!

Utah St 33 - 20

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