Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bowl Pool Update: December 29, 2011


Missouri 41, North Carolina 24
This was a classic shitstomping. North Carolina came into the game giving up 108 rushing yards per game. Missourah had two different players rush for at least that amount, and totaled 337 yards on the ground. The Tigers only ended up outgaining UNC by 160 yards, but a lot of that is cosmetic, as Missourah ran off 31 straight points after spotting the Tar Heels an opening touchdown drive. Missourah finished the game 10-14 on third downs and gained 7.1 yards per play for the game. And UNC’s defensive coordinator and interim head coach is now coming to OSU! Oh goody!

Purdue 37, Western Michigan 32
Unequivocally the wildest bowl game thus far, it will take something flat-out insane for some other game to outdo this one. The teams combined for 927 yards and eleven (eleven!) turnovers. Here’s how batshit crazy this game was: two different times in the second half, Purdue forced a WMU turnover then fumbled the ball back to WMU on the return. Twice! Purdue threw a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown in for good measure. Bronco QB Alex Carder threw for 439 yards, 3 TDs, and 4 INTs, and was harassed by the Purdue D-line all game. Purdue’s lines won this game, as the Boilers rushed for over 250 yards, stuffed WMU’s run game (2.0 yards per carry), and pressured the crap out of Carder.

N.C. State 31, Louisville 24
A remarkably even game, as Louisville finished with more yards, N.C. State had a better yards per play average, and both teams turned it over three times. The difference was that one of Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater’s three interceptions was returned 64 yards for a touchdown. The Wolfpack D threw the kitchen sink at Louisville, as Bridgewater was sacked five times and N.C. State finished with twelve tackles for loss. The teams combined to go 1-for-7 on fourth down attempts.

Toledo 42, Air Force 41
Is it a coincidence that probably the two most entertaining games of bowl season thus far (YMMV on SDSU/LaLaf) featured a heaping helping of hot steamy MACtion? The Rockets and Falcons both went over five yards per play, both turned the ball over twice, and the game was 28-28 at halftime. Toledo got an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown from Buckeye Tormentor Eric Page. Air Force went 5-for-6 on fourth down conversions. With all the wackiness back and forth, the game’s denouement was downright Tressel-ian in its focus on special teams: Toledo downed consecutive fourth quarter punts inside the Air Force five (Fox Force Five?) yard line, and forced consecutive three-and-outs, taking over at the Falcon 39 and punching in the go-ahead TD. Air Force went down the field and scored their own TD with about a minute left (on fourth down, naturally), then went for two on a fake extra point. The holder fumbled the ball out of the end zone (it looked to me like he was trying to pitch it to the trailing kicker and just derp’d the ball to the ground) and the Rockets recovered the onside kick. Seriously, how could someone look at wild games like this one, the Pizza Pizza Bowl, and the N’Awlins Bowl and say with a straight face that there are too many bowl games?

Texas 21, California 10
This, on the other hand, was anti-MACtion. The teams combined for 450 yards. Texas won comfortably despite amassing just 255 yards of offense and going 3-for-14 on third downs. How? They gave up less than 200 yards, on just 2.8 yards per play, finished with thirteen tackles for loss including six sacks, and won the turnover battle 5-0. Actually, how the hell did they only win by 11? Not a lot of offense in this game: the teams combined to go three-and-out NINE TIMES. Not upholding the Holiday Bowl’s fine tradition of providing a wild, major-conference equivalent of MACtion.

In the pick 'em, Jeff has thrusted his way into the lead on the strength of a 7-1 stretch for 178 points, where the fewest points he had on any of his wins was 19 and his lone loss was his 1-point game. Tyler, Elliott, Todd, and Sean all look dangerous, as they're in the top 10 and have only lost very low-point games. Katy Keenan is a sneaky threat, as she's in 15th but her three losses were her 1-, 2-, and 3-point games. Down in 18th, Defending Champion Former Co-worker and One-Time Cuervo Participant Ben is 10-2 and has only lost his 3- and 4-point games. At the other end of the table, the last 7 or 8 people pretty uniformly did not adjust their confidence points, so their entries are super back-loaded, and we will see where they end up.

Top fifteen is below.

1Next Kansas Coach: ErinJeff8-4367205
3Which Way Do I Geaux?Joel M.9-3378200
4Probably not 8-0 goodEne10-2412185
5Make it Rainey on Dem HosTyler10-2429184
6Dantonio BanderasElliott9-3431183
8Dr. Bacon McBratwurstSean9-3442169
9Falcon AmazingAly10-2529165
10Aww, Fuck It!Christina9-3429160
11ArmpunterDonnie Smavels9-3446157
12Picks? Nope: Chuck TestaYours Truly8-4408155
13I Just Want My Kids Back!Fred10-2471154
14Skee Town SizzlersWolfe9-3446150
15rustyballoonknotK. Keenan9-3484140

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