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College Football Bowl Picks: Key stats, matchups for every game (Part 1)

With so many matchups to consider this college football bowl season, you’re officially forgiven for not having an intricate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of teams like UAB and Georgia State. However, if you want to win your college bowl pick ’em pool or make some money betting on the games, you need to educated advice based on stats and not simply on hunches.

On that front, TeamRankings.com provides expert picks for bowl pick ’em contests and algorithmic bowl betting picks that do all the number crunching for you. In fact, in past years our customers have won bowl pick ’em pools more than three times as often as expected — a huge edge.

College Football Bowl Picks: Stats, matchup highlights

If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer or just curious about the numbers, we’ve compiled stat highlights for every 2017-18 college bowl team on both offense and defense. We’ll cover the first 19 scheduled bowl games in this post, and follow up Wednesday with the rest.

(Note that Predictive Ranking is our proprietary measurement of team quality, designed to best predict the outcomes of future games. Among other factors, it takes into account a team’s schedule strength, point margins of victories and losses, and game locations. Finally, these stats ONLY include games against other FBS teams this year; FCS matchups are excluded.)

College Football Bowl Picks: Key stats, matchups for every game (Part 1) CFB

New Orleans Bowl: North Texas vs. Troy

North Texas ranks 17th in passing yards per game, but it could be without No. 1 wide receiver Jalen Guyton (concussion), who has missed the Mean Green’s past two games. His loss would be a blow.

North Texas

Predictive Ranking: No. 95

Offense Highlight: Pass Yards Per Game (295.9, No. 17)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Completion Percentage (54 percent, No. 21)

Troy

Predictive Ranking: No. 63

Offense Highlight: Points Per Play (0.442, No. 34)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage (58.97 percent, No. 1)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs. Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky had the third-highest passing play percentage in college football and the seventh-most passing yards. Now, it’s facing a Georgia State squad that ranks 103rd in pass yards allowed per game (252.1).

Georgia State

Predictive Ranking: No. 116

Offense Highlight: Completion Percentage (62.71, No. 27)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage  (79.41 percent, No. 38)

Western Kentucky

Predictive Ranking: No. 102

Offense Highlight: Pass Play Percentage (62.24 percent, No. 3)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Passing Yards Per Game (190.3, No. 23)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon

The strength of Oregon is its running game, and as a result Mario Cristobal was just promoted from co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach to head coach, replacing the recently departed Willie Taggert.

Boise State

Predictive Ranking: No. 38

Offense Highlight: Giveaways Per Game (0.8, No. 4)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Play (4.7, No. 15)

Oregon

Predictive Ranking: No. 31

Offense Highlight: Rush Yards Per Game (260.7, No. 11)

Defense Top Ranking: Opponent Third Down Conversion Percentage (33.33 percent, No. 22)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State

These teams were similarly mediocre over their past five games (CSU ranks 91st in our “Last 5 Games” ranking, while Marshall ranks 99th), but Vegas has CSU favored by 5.5 early on.

Marshall

Predictive Ranking: No. 78

Offense Highlight: QB Sacked Percentage (1.91 percent, No. 2)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone percentage (71.05 percent, No. 8)

Colorado State

Predictive Ranking: No. 71

Offense Highlight: Third Down Conversion Percentage (50.65 percent, No. 2)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Completion Percentage (56.89 percent, No. 52)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Camellia Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State

Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen has put up big numbers this season, but he’s also been a turnover machine, contributing to the Red Wolves ranking No. 7 in giveaways per game.

Middle Tennessee State

Predictive Ranking: No. 98

Offense Highlight: Pass Play Percentage (52.72 percent, No. 22)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Play (4.8, No. 20)

Arkansas State

Predictive Ranking: No. 75

Offense Highlight: Passes Per Game (41.9, No. 7)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Completion Percentage (50.6 percent, No. 5)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Boca Raton Bowl: Akron vs. Florida Atlantic

Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic squad is favored by the most points of any bowl game, thanks in large part to their overpowering running game, which averages 270 yards rushing per contest.

Akron

Predictive Ranking: No. 94

Offense Highlight: Pass Play Percentage (53.45 percent, No. 25)

Defense Highlight: Takeaways Per Game (2.1, No. 11)

Florida Atlantic

Predictive Ranking: No. 52

Offense Highlight: Yards Per Rush (5.9, No. 7)

Defense Highlight: Takeaways Per Game (2.0, No. 14)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Frisco Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. SMU

SMU head coach Chad Morris has departed for Arkansas, but not before a complete three-year offensive turnaround with one of the top passing offenses in the country.

Louisiana Tech

Predictive Ranking: No. 93

Offense Highlight: Giveaways Per Game (1.1, No. 23)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage (71.88 percent, No. 10)

SMU

Predictive Ranking: No. 66

Offense Highlight: Points Per Game (38.5, No. 10)

Defense Highlight: Takeaways Per Game (1.9, No. 22)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. Florida International

Temple’s defense can get to the quarterback, which could pose a problem for a Florida International team that ranks just 54th in offensive sack percentage.

Temple

Predictive Ranking: No. 88

Offense Highlight: Passes Per Game (35.5, No. 34)

Defense Highlight: Sack Percentage (8.5 percent, No. 14)

Florida International

Predictive Ranking: No. 105

Offense Highlight: Red Zone Scoring Percentage (97.3 percent, No. 2)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage (77.08 percent, No. 24)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

College Football Bowl Picks: Key stats, matchups for every game (Part 1) CFB

Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio

Ohio leading rusher A.J. Ouellette will miss the game due to a shoulder injury, and No. 2 running back Dorian Brown is questionable with a hip pointer. The team may need to rely on mobile quarterback Nathan Rourke even more than normal.

UAB

Predictive Ranking: No. 106

Offense Highlight: Third Down Conversion Percentage (48.68 percent, No. 4)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Completion Percentage (51.93 percent, No. 8)

Ohio

Predictive Ranking: No. 61

Offense Highlight: Yards Per Rush (5.8, No. 10)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Rush Play Percentage (44.11 percent, No. 2)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming

Top NFL prospect quarterback Josh Allen missed Wyoming’s last two games with a shoulder injury, and his team lost both contests. He’s questionable for the bowl game.

Central Michigan

Predictive Ranking: No. 85

Offense Highlight: Quarterback Sacked Percentage (4.12 percent, No. 25)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Pass (5.8, No. 5)

Wyoming

Predictive Ranking: No. 79

Offense Highlight: Red Zone Scoring Percentage (96.3 percent, No. 5)

Defense Highlight: Takeaways (2.6, No. 1)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech vs. South Florida

South Florida senior quarterback Quinton Flowers could run wild against a Red Raiders defense that’s allowed 33.7 points per game this season (No. 102), albeit in a tough Big 12 conference.

Texas Tech

Predictive Ranking: No. 43

Offense Highlight: Passes Per Game (40.6, No. 10)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Rush Play Percentage (46.92 percent, No. 5)

South Florida

Predictive Ranking: No. 41

Offense Highlight: Rushes Per Game (53.7, No. 5)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Interception Thrown Percentage (4.68 percent, No. 4)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State vs. Army

Teams typically don’t run often on the Aztecs due to their 3.6 yards per rush allowed (No. 20), but it’s pretty much a certainty that Army will try early and often.

San Diego State

Predictive Ranking: No. 48

Offense Highlight: Giveaways Per Game (0.8, No. 6)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Game (303.5, No. 10)

Army

Predictive Ranking: No. 60

Offense Highlight: Rush Play Percentage (91.56 percent, No. 1)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone Percentage (70.83 percent, No. 8)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo

Appalachian State has thrived, partly thanks to turnover margin (where they rank No. 10). They’ll likely need to hope that trend continues against a prolific Toledo offense that’s putting up 38.5 points per game (No. 11).

Appalachian State

Predictive Ranking: No. 68

Offense Highlight: Quarterback Sacked Percentage (2.16 percent, No. 4)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Interception Thrown Percentage (4.5 percent, No. 9)

Toledo

Predictive Ranking: No. 45

Offense Highlight: Yards Per Play (7.0, No. 6)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Completion Percentage (53.79 percent, No. 18)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Hawaii Bowl: Houston vs. Fresno State

The key to stopping Houston will likely be getting them off the field on third down. Houston ranks No. 21 in third down conversion percentage this season thanks to their efficient passing game.

Houston

Predictive Ranking: No. 53

Offense Highlight: Completion Percentage (70.11 percent, No. 2)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage (76.19 percent, No. 21)

Fresno State

Predictive Ranking: No. 55

Offense Highlight: Quarterback Sacked Percentage (2.23 percent, No. 5)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Points Per Play (0.273, No. 14)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has the best bowl game winning percentage in history (10-1 record all-time), and he gets a fortunate draw, as West Virginia will be without quarterback Will Grier (finger).

Utah

Predictive Ranking: No. 36

Offense Highlight: Pass Yards Per Game (259.1, N0. 39)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Rush Play Percentage (48.46 percent, No. 12)

West Virginia

Predictive Ranking: No. 37

Offense Highlight: Pass Yards Per Game (323.9, No. 10)

Defense Highlight: Third Down Conversion Percentage (34.97 percent, No. 30)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

Duke

Predictive Ranking: No. 40

Offense Highlight: Passes Per Game (35.9, No. 33)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Interception Thrown Percentage (4.95 percent, No. 3)

Northern Illinois

Predictive Ranking: No. 62

Offense Highlight: Rushes Per Game (43.5, No. 26)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Rush (3.0, No. 5)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA

Kansas State

Predictive Ranking: No. 34

Offense Highlight: Points Per Play (0.474, No. 21)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Rush Play Percentage (42.11 percent, #1)

UCLA

Predictive Ranking: No. 50

Offense Highlight: Pass Play Percentage (58.76 percent, No. 4)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Pass Play Percentage (37.3 percent, No. 6)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Independence Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Florida State

Southern Miss

Predictive Ranking: No. 89

Offense Highlight: Yards Per Rush (4.9, No. 33)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Game (338.5, No. 20)

Florida State

Predictive Ranking: No. 23

Offense Highlight: Red Zone Scoring Percentage (90 percent, No. 22)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Pass (5.9, No. 7)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College

Boston College is set to miss starting quarterback Anthony Brown (knee) for a third straight game, but it managed to win two straight games on the road at the end of the season by leaning more heavily on running back A.J. Dillon.

Iowa

Predictive Ranking: No. 17

Offense Highlight: Interceptions Thrown Percentage (1.76 percent, No. 24)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Yards Per Pass (5.9, No. 8)

Boston College

Predictive Ranking: No. 32

Offense Highlight: Rushes Per Game (47.9, No. 10)

Defense Highlight: Opponent Interception Thrown Percentage (4.57 percent, No. 6)

Full Stat Comparison on TeamRankings.com

Via sportingnews.com

Written by FansWired

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