Sunday, December 28

Humanitarian Bowl: Because "Boise" + "December" = "Humane"

Seriously, what the fuck? The idea behind this bowl originally was like the ideas behind the Hawaii and New Mexico bowls - free 12th or 13th game for Boise State, and it's a home game to boot. Well, turns out that of the now 12 years that this bowl's been around, Boise's been in the bowl a whopping total of 4 times. Good job, guys. At least this bowl has been pretty consistent about its WAC-ACC ties in the last 5 years (before that, god only knows), so they've got that going for them. So far, the ACC is 3-2 ... this year, someone's gotta win.


This little inconsiderate shitbag of a team managed to give up more points than it scored - and still ended up at 7-5. You want road wins from these guys? Then it sucks to be you; only a relative de-pantsing of Clemson at high noon on a Saturday counted as a road win (Black Hole Theory: Clemson's talented on offense -> Maryland wins). They couldn't even beat MTSU on the road (final record: 5-7 - Black Hole Theory: they suck -> Maryland loses). Really, you could use the Black Hole Theory in most Maryland games this year; the only exceptions were Delaware (close win), Eastern Michigan (blowout), and NC State, although that NC State win was their last loss of the year, so ...maybe that doesn't count. That being said, somewhere around the last month of the year the Black Hole collapsed in on itself, evidenced by blowout losses to Florida State and Boston College (although BC has nothing on offense, so maybe Black Hole Theory still applied; the FSU game was an aberration).

Predictably, these fuckballs can't do anything right; even their second-in-the-ACC passing numbers of 207 yards per game was good enough for 65th(!) nationally. You want defense? Fuck you! How's it feel to be outrushed AND outpassed on an average basis? That being said, Da'Rel Scott is the only thing that passes for (functional) talent on offense (959 yards on the season); you'd think that for all the press Darius Heyward-Bey gets, he'd average more than 3.5 catches per game. Of course, that's also the Maryland offense in a nutshell. Chris Turner blows.

Defensibly, they're pretty much terrible. Don't stop the run, don't stop the pass, only 8 INT against 17 TDs allowed through the air, allow nearly 20 first downs per game, can't pressure the QB, and can't penetrate past the line of scrimmage. So of course they only allow 36% of third down conversions. When it comes to turnovers, they blow - we'll just tell you they're -8 on the season and leave it at that.

What do they have to do to win? We have no fucking clue.


Nevada's a 7-5 team who pretty much went 7-2 against anyone who wasn't Texas Tech, Missouri, or Boise State. Of course, beyond those three they didn't exactly play anybody of note; hhwhat-hever.

Nevada's mantra for the season has been to dominate the ground. They get outpassed 321-219 but make up for it with a 291-74 rushing edge, on average. Does it work? Like we said... roughly half of the time, sure. Nevada outrushed opponents in both wins and losses, but in wins the margin was +270 while in losses it was down to +130.

Colin Kaepernick owes his solid QB rating to a 19/5 ratio; the percentages (54.8%) and averages (7.4 ypa, 206.6 ypg) are pedestrian, but he's not going to burn the team with turnovers. In the option attack, he's chipping in 92.9 ypg rushing, to go with main back Vai Taua's 118.3; the two have combined to pound it in 30 times as well.

Nevada's passing game chips in about 220 ypg regardless of win or lose. It's the passing defense that matters here, giving up 385 ypg in losses to just 275 ypg in wins. TD/INT ratio is about 2:1 either way, but there's a 10% difference in completion percentage. Surprisingly, this team is practically even in turnovers in both wins and losses.

What's their strategy against Maryland? Simple - pound the ball, and don't get burned through the air. Maryland's a team who's already getting outrushed on the season, so the former shouldn't be too much of a concern. (put another way, if they can't even win the ground game against Maryland, they're just being outclassed) Chris Turner hasn't been great, and Maryland's success is actually inversely related to his passing numbers (go figure). The Terps are vastly better when they're rushing for 186 ypg in wins than they are when they're rushing for only 62 ypg in losses. So I'd actually go against Nevada's apparent defensive indicator of passing ypg and just focus on stopping the run. Win the ground game by 100-150 yards, and let Turner's mediocrity fall short of being able to turn the tide.