Thursday, December 19, 2013

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2013: Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl


Royal Purple is a motor oil. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

The When/Where:
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV, December 21nd, 2013, 3:30 pm ET, ESPN

The Who:
(20) Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1 MW) @ (25) USC Trojans (9-5, 6-3 Pac-12)

The Why:
Well we have our first sponsor switch of the season. What use to be the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, is now the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. So at least it doesn't sound weird any more.

The Vegas bowl typically pits the winner of the Mountain West against the team that finished fifth in the Pac-12. And this year is no exception. The Mountain West team has dominated this bowl the last 10 years going 7-3. I also think it's important to mention this is the sixth different name for the bowl since moving to Vegas in 1999. 

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
Fresno has the statistical edge in this game. They are the 3rd ranked total offense, 5th in scoring, first in passing and 72nd in passing. The latest Carr brother, Senior Derek, has been lighting it up. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Carr doesn't play defense where they are 72nd in scoring and 92nd in total defense. Great stats, but average in efficiency where the Dogs are ranked 44th overall 23rd offensively and 62nd defensively according to Football Outsiders. These rankings take into account competition and meaningless scores in already decided games.

This is where USC shows up better. At 12th overall, they are the 38th and 6th ranked offense and defense. The raw stats give Fresno the edge, which is why I like the F+ rankings from the FO guys.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
LA verse Fresno. Um, do I even have to discuss this with you? I mean really? Fresno? Come on.

The Vegas Edge:
USC is a 6.5 point favorite right now. After opening at -4.5, the public has inflated this line quite a bit. Neither of these teams were great ATS, USC (6-7) did finish a tad bit better than Fresno (5-7), but you really had to pick your spots with them. One thing that did jump out at me was that Fresno is 10-2 ATS against the Pac-12 in their last 10. That and Fresno hasn't been a dog all season. The Over is sitting at 62. USC went 4-9 where as Fresno went 6-6 on the over.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
USC has now lost it's second "head" coach this year. They are headed to the Las Vegas Bowl to play at Mountain West team. Motivation has been a problem for this team all season. Fresno on the other hand has a chance to knock off the big, bad Trojans. USC is clearly the better team. Their defense has been great. But Fresno has enough offense to make it interesting. I'm taking Fresno and the points in this game, but I think USC wins the game on sheer talent.

USC 31 - 27

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