Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Mexico Bowl 2013

It's NCAA football bowl season!!  I am so excited that over the next few weeks there are 35 bowls being played.  As I have done for the last few years, I will be doing a quick analysis of each team playing in each bowl game.  That's 35 blogs to start.  I will post each one on the morning (hopefully) of the game, so that means for today I have four bowl game blogs to write.  I will be using the Complex Invasion College Football Production Model for all of these bowl game blogs.

So I am up early and going to get started on the first bowl game of the season, that being the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I even have some Hatch green chili to make a dip for my tortilla chips later today.  But enough of that, on to the game analysis.

This year the Gildan New Mexico Bowl pits the Colorado State University Rams of the Mountain West Conference (and where I received my Ph. D. in economics) against the Washington State University Cougars of the Pac 12 Conference.  Below is a quick look at the two teams by the numbers.

New Mexico Bowl 2013

Rams Cougars
Wins 7 6
Losses 6 6
Total 52 82
Offense 24 63
Defense 84 100
SOS 83.69 58.08
Best 78 43
Worst 109 54

Colorado State is currently 7-6 playing against an "easier" strength of schedule than the league average.  I have linked to another blog about how I measure strength of schedule based on the Complex Invasion College Football Production Model in the previous sentence.  I determine a team's SOS is easier if the calculated SOS number is between one and two standard deviations above the mean SOS for the "league", which CSU's SOS of 83.69 at the end of the regular season as compared to the regular season average of 67.13.  CSU has played only three games against teams that are currently ranked in the upper half of the production rankings (Alabama, Utah State and Boise State) and all three were losses.  Colorado State's best win (victory over highest current ranked opponent) was against #78 ranked Wyoming.  Of CSU's other six victories, only one was not ranked above 100 - that being Nevada.  In fact, CSU lost to two teams currently ranked above 100 (Colorado and Tulsa) with the worst being Tulsa currently ranked at #109.  Thus CSU has not had success against teams that are currently very productive teams.  That said, CSU currently ranks as the #52 most productive team in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision, with a top 25 offense (#24 ranked offense) and the #84 ranked defense.

Washington State is currently 6-6 at the end of the regular season, while playing against an average SOS (within one standard deviation of the "league" mean SOS).  WSU's SOS number is 58.08.  Washington State's best game was a 10-7 victory against currently ranked #43 USC early in the season.  All six of the Cougars losses have been to team's currently ranked in the top half of the Production model, with their worst loss to #54 currently ranked Oregon State.  The Cougars are currently the #81 ranked team in total production, with the #63 ranked offense and the #100 ranked defense.

Look for the New Mexico Bowl to be an offensive game with two above average offenses playing against two below average defenses.

So which is more compelling - a statistically more productive team (CSU) or the team that has played statistically more difficult opponents with some success?  For me I will be using the model as my guide, so given that Colorado State has been more productive this season than Washington State, the model "predicts" that Colorado State will be the victor in this years Gildan New Mexico bowl.

Previous New Mexico Bowl Posts

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