Monday, December 24, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2012: The Little Caesars Bowl


The When/Where:
Little Caesars Bowl, Ford Field, Detroit, MI, December 26th 2012, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN

The Who:
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5, 4-4 Sun Belt) @ Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6, 4-4 MAC)

The Why:
The Pizza Pizza Bowl, as it's commonly called 'round these parts, typically gives us thrilling reruns of early season matches when they line up the number one team from the MAC and the number 8 team from the B1G. But this season, since the B1G sucked hairy donkey balls and the MAC produced a BCS team, we're seeing the seventh ranked MAC team and the fifth ranked Sun Belt team. Which actually, at first glance, looks like a pretty decent match up.

You may scoff at the Pizza Pizza Bowl, but the Hilltoppers are ecstatic as it is their first bowl since 1963 where they won their second of two bowl appearances. The Chips are making their seventh bowl appearance where they are just 2-4 all time. 

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
Statistically this game is what it is: two mediocre teams lining up against one another. Offensively the edge goes to Central as they edge out Western KY in offensive efficiency 64th to 85th. They will look to pass out of their spread offense as they are 53rd in the nation in passing and jsut 74th rushing. They rank 67th in total offense and put up 29.3 ppg, good for 60th overall. The line for WKY's offense is similar with the rush and pass offensive rank swapped: 70th, 41st, 93rd and 68th in total, rush, pass and scoring.

Defensively the edge goes to the Hilltoppers. They are the 22nd overall defense and 60th most efficient. they rank 32rd against the run, 31st against the pass and 51st in scoring defense. On the other side of the field it's not so pretty. The Chips are the 103rd most efficient defense in the land. They are 93rd, 97th, 77th and 98th in total, rush, pass and scoring defense. Yeah, not so good.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Directional mania! I grew up in the "central" part of the country. But now I live out west. So that's a wash. I did go to Western/Central weekend when I was a freshman in college with some football buddies of mine that were from Detroit. We partied from Friday to Monday, killed a couple kegs and got on TV. It was a pretty damn good weekend. So go Chips!

The Vegas Edge:
Western Kentucky is a 5.5 pt favorite. The over/under is set at 57.5. Despite their 6-6 record, the Chips are an alluring 8-4 ATS on the year. But they are just 0-4 against winning teams and 4-5 against non-AQ schools. The Hilltoppers are a 5-1 against non-winning teams and 5-4 against non-AQ's. What jumped off the page for me was that WKY is 7-0 ATS on turf the past two seasons and the Chips are 0-7 ATS against winning teams in the same span. A nugget like that makes that 5.5 look a little more appealing now doesn't it.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
So far the MAC isn't off to the greatest start to the bowl season. And you can't deny the season the Sun Belt had. What makes me nervous is the fact that Western Kentucky lost their coach and hired Bobby P. I never like backing a headless football team. The good news is interim head man, Lance Guidry will take the reins, a position he held successfully for Miami OH in 2011's bowl.

I just can't see the Hilltoppers stumbling in this game. It's their first bowl game as an FBS team and they will want to make a statement. Despite the Chips basically playing a home game, I don't think they'll be able to stop WKY.

Western Kentucky 35 - 20

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