Here’s a quick-read into some illuminating numbers heading into college bowl season and the stretch run of the NFL schedule.
Ups and Downs
The bowl team whose second half overall stats (from Game 7 out as opposed to the first six games of the season) improved the most was Rice, whose 78 net yards per game improvement tops the pack.
Nipping at the Owls’ beak were Wisconsin (+74), Northern Illinois (+73) and Virginia Tech (+60).
The bowl team whose overall team stats regressed the most from Game 7 out was Texas Tech, who slipped a whopping 141 net YPG during the 2nd half of the campaign.
Other teams going backward dramatically after the midway point include Oklahoma State (-117), Arizona State (-109) and Duke (-108).
Four bowl teams head into the postseason having been pushed all over the field to conclude the season.
We’re speaking primarily of teams who have lost the overall yardage stats in at least their last three games.
This year’s ‘leaking oil’ contingent includes: Central Florida and Ohio University in each of its last three games, Duke in its last four games, and, amazingly enough, Kansas State in its last five contests.
Incidentally, the Wildcats were out-statted in each of their final five games of the campaign last season when they went on to drop a 13-point decision to 9-point favorite Arkansas.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
In weighing this year’s bowl contestants on a performance scale in games against teams with a winning record at the time of the game this season, these were the best and worst teams from a straight up perspective: Kansas State (8-0), Notre Dame (8-0) and Northern Illinois (5-0).
On the opposite end of the SU ladder were: Purdue (0-5), Central Florida (0-4) and Minnesota (0-4).
When the money was on the line, the best spread beaters in games against winning opposition included: Kansas State (7-0-1), Utah State (5-0), Kent State (4-0-1) and Rice (4-0).
Teams still looking for their first paycheck in games against winning opponents this season are Minnesota (0-4) and East Carolina (0-2).
The Fab Five (NFL)
It’s arguable this is the best crop of rookie quarterbacks to hit the NFL since 1983 and, who knows, perhaps ever.
The astonishing quarterback class of 1983 saw six QB’s drafted in the first round, including Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
This year’s group of fledglings, namely Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson, are currently 30-30 combined straight up and 35-22-1 ATS (against the spread).
The quintessential quintet has shined at home (20-8-1 ATS) and as underdogs (29-12-1 ATS). And as a result they’ve been murder as home dogs (15-3-1 ATS).
The Achilles heel has been in games in which they’ve been forced to lay points, going just 6-10-1 ATS as favorites.
Stat Of The Week
The New England Patriots are 20-0 SU (straight up) during the second-half of the season since 2010, with +51 net turnovers (57-6) in those games.