Saturday, December 28, 2013

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2013: Belk Bowl

Crazy things happen at Belk!

The When/Where:
Belk Bowl, Bank of America, Charlotte, NC, December 28th 2012, 3:20 pm ET, ESPN

The Who:
Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3, 6-2 American) @ North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6, 4-4 ACC)

The Why:
In it's inaugural season the American was pretty top heavy and had a couple good teams. Too bad one wasn't Cincinnati. The Bearcats return to the Belk Bowl with a similar record as last year looking to take on last year's ACC participant's arch rival.

North Carolina had it's struggles early, but turned it around in the second half of the season to reach the Belk after last year's ban from post-season play. 

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
Cincy is a pretty solid defensive team according to the numbers. The 12th, 5th and 9th ranked scoring, rush and total defense, they're only giving up 19.5 ppg. Pretty solid. On the other side of the ball, they are a balanced offense that has had more success throwing than running. They are putting up 33.3 ppg.

North Carolina, statistically, is representative of it's record. Not particularly great in any one thing. They struggle a bit stopping the run and are more reliant on the pass on offense. The Heels put us 32.3 ppg while giving up 25.1.

Looking that the efficiency numbers is tells a different tale. UNC is 40th overall with the offense at 34th and the defense at 54th. While Cincy comes in at 64th, 50th and 49th respectively. And I think that stems from the fact that Cincy played all of 2 teams with a winning record.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
The powder blues baby! That. Is. All.

The Vegas Edge:
UNC -2.5 O/U 57

The line has a lot to do with the fact that this is basically a home game for the Heels. UNC has the slight ATS edge going 7-5 (vs 6-6 for Cincy). Surprisingly Cincy was 7-5 on the over where UNC was 4-8. Both teams went 2-1 with lines in this range. If you consider this a home game for UNC, they went 5-2 ATS at home this year.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
Cincy played two teams with winning record on the year. I know it's not their fault, but that does bloat the stats a bit. While I think UNC's schedule was tougher, these two teams seem pretty even to me. That said, UNC is 0-3 in this bowl game and Cincy is the defending champ bringing back the Belk Bowl MVP at QB. It's just hard to tell how good the Bearcats are. I think they'll be good enough and bad enough to keep the game close. I wouldn't be surprise to see overtime. But in the end UNC pulls out a squeaker.

UNC 24 - 23

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