Monday, December 31, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2012: Outback Bowl

This is what we really want from the Outback Steakhouse.

The When/Where:
Outback Bowl, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL, January 1st, 2013, 1:00 pm ET, ESPN

The Who:
(10) South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) @ (18) Michigan Wolverines (8-4, 6-2 B1G)

The Why:
The Outback Bowl is one of those conference measuring stick games between the SEC and B1G. It takes the #3 or #4 SEC team and the #3 B1G team. The SEC leads the head-to-head series 11-8.

SCAR finished 4th in the SEC and enters it's 4th Outback Bowl where they've gone 2-1. They have just a 5-12 all time bowl record. Michigan also finished 4th in its conference and enters it's 5th Outback Bowl, tying Georgia for most appearance. They've gone 3-1 in the Bowl and have a 20-21 all time bowl record.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
I hope you like defense because that's what you're going to get. South Carolina is the 12th ranked total D giving up 312 ypg. They are 16th, 17th and 12th in rush, pass and scoring defense. Michigan counters with the 10th ranked total D. They are 57th, 2nd and 16th ranked rush, pass and scoring D. Both of these teams give up less than 20 points per game.

Leading us to look at their middling offenses. SCAR ranks 88th, 85th, 66th and 47th in total, rush, pass and scoring offense. Michigan is less balanced as the 79th, 40th, 98th and 58th ranked total, rush, pass and scoring O. These two teams average 31.4 and 30 ppg respectively.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Roosters against wolverines. Easy pick.

The Vegas Edge:
SCAR has Vegas' lean as a 5.5 point favorite. The Over/Under is 46.5. With both these teams averaging about the same number of points on both sides of the ball, 5.5 seems like a lot. But when you look at how Michigan fared ATS this season (5-7), SCAR's 8-4 ATS looks much better. Add in that they are just 6-16 ATS against winning teams the past three years and it's hard to get behind the Wolverines.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
You all know I'm a huge Michigan fan, so it's hard for me to look at this game rationally. Three of Michigan's losses were to teams with a combined one loss (Alabama). I still think they would've beat Notre Dame if Denard hadn't been so giving with the ball. And the Nebraska loss isn't one if Denard doesn't go down.

That said, SCAR has a great D and Michigan has struggled against good defenses. And with that ATS record on the season my rational mind tells me to give the points and go with SCAR. But I'm not rational, I'm a Michigan fan. And Spurrier is just 8-10 in bowl games. Brady Hoke is 2-1. I'm going with the complete homer pick.

Michigan 27 - 26

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