Monday, December 27, 2010

NC State - West Virginia Champs Sports Bowl Preview and Prediction

Continuing the bowl prediction series with the Champs Sports Bowl featuring NC State and West Virginia focusing on the three areas I think are most important. 

Who Has The Better Team?
NC State: 8-4, 29th in Sagarin, 45th Strength of Schedule
W. Virginia: 9-3, 30th in Sagarin, 73rd Strength of Schedule

Wolfpack Yards Per Point: 12.5 Offense (lower # is better), 14.9 Defense (higher # is better)
Mountaineers Yds Per Point: 14.2 Offense, 19.4 (3rd best of bowl teams)

State played the much tougher schedule and had the better offense, but the defensive edge clearly goes to West Virginia.
Edge: Even

Which Coach Will Have His Team More Prepared In A Bowl Game?
Tom O'Brien is a sizzling 6-2 in bowl games, but lost his last one two seasons ago.  It also must be noted that O'Brien faced lesser competition many times at Boston College as his Eagles were passed over by better bowls because of their lack of traveling fans. 

Bill Stewart is 2-1 in bowl games including a blowout of Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl after replacing Rich Rodriguez. 
Edge: Even

Which Team Is More Motivated?
I don't really see much of an edge for either team.  Both teams have reasons to not be motivated as both missed out on opportunities to win their conference but blew it.  West Virginia players may have been surprised in finding out that next season will be Stewart's last and his replacement has already been named, but that seems very far off to 18-22 year olds.
Edge: Even

Well, usually I see a clear advantage somewhere, but this game looks to be one of the most even bowl matchups this season.  In the end,  I think West Virginia's defense giving up just 13 points per game on the season will be the difference.

West Virginia 27 NC State 21

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