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2018 Bowl Preview

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Duquesne Frog


Let's not dither and pretend there are any other bowl games that matter.  ESPN will try to convince you that there are bigger games, like probably the Orange or maybe the Cotton.  But we all know that there is only one game, one game to rule them all, pitting the alma maters of Ladainian Tomlinson and Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Hughes and Jared Goff, Bob Lilly and Craig Morton, Jim Swink and Joe Kapp, Slingin' Sammy Baugh and Vic Bottari, between two teams with a combined 13 wins ... yes, you heard right, THIRTEEN wins! ... and sponsored by what can only be described as the most iconic brand of highly processed, nominally cheese-based, boxed snack cracker (yes, you heard me Cheese Nips, #$%@ you), the inimitable, the indefatigable, the inestimable ...


Image result for cheez-it bowl

I get a little chill running down my spine just seeing that picture.


The state of Arizona hasn't been very good to the Horned Frogs over the last 45 years.  Our two bowl games in the state represent two of the last three bowl losses LRBW2XAPCotYHCGMFP has sustained, the ugly 17-16 loss to Michigan State in the 2012 BW3 Bowl, the painful 17-10 loss to Boise in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.  The Frogs are also 1-3 all time against Arizona schools, although the one win did come in the state of Arizona, another low-scoring win (13-10) in 2003 against the Arizona team that John Mackovic ruined after he ruined UT. 


And you can almost bet the house that this game will be another low scoring contest as both teams have stout defenses and borderline anemic offenses.


Here are Cal's numbers week-to-week:


Opp:     UNC    @ BYU      Ore    |   @ Zona       UCLA      @ OreSt    |   Wash      @ WSU     @ USC   |       Col      Stan

PD:       -2.20        5.10   -12.40  |     -12.30      -43.09          20.40     |   11.55         8.20          0.09    |      9.90     -6.00

YD:     -51.30   142.70   -28.10  |    -175.50     -99.18        152.00     |   88.00      -11.00       -82.36   | -125.00      3.10

DO:       -3.95      10.31    -9.63   |      -16.70     -33.53          20.96     |   11.96          4.93        -3.93    |      0.54     -3.85

Score: 24-17      21-18   24-42  |       17-24         7-37            49-7     |   12-10        13-19       15-14   |     33-21    13-23


Particularly after Cal's inexplicable blow-out loss to UCLA, their defense was stout, giving up an average of 16 points a game over the last half of the season.  But make no mistake, taken as a whole, Cal has shown very little evidence that they are anything other than an utterly average team.  Their only fairly impressive performances were a blow-out win against a hapless Oregon State and a solid shutdown of the Huskies in Week 9.  They struggled to beat a bad North Carolina team, lost to a bad Arizona team, and were a little lucky to have beaten USC and Colorado late in the year in games where they were significantly outgained.


Of course, the Frogs were pretty damn average most of this season too.


As done last year, I'll compare how DUSHEE, Sagarin (Predictor), and SRS see the bowl matchups as compared to the opening Vegas odds.


When I checked the ESPN site linked above, oddsmakers had the Cheez-It Bowl even, but all the computer models like the Horned Frogs.  Throughout this post DO = DUSHEE Original, DX = DUSHEE Extra Crispy, DA = average of DO and DX, Sag = Sagarin, and SoS is the DUSHEE-based strength of schedule.  Here are the computer numbers for the two teams


Bowl Location   Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Cheez-It Phoenix, AZ   TCU  6-6 0.72 4.49 76.09 3.33 4.52
      California  7-5 -2.08 -1.82 73.15 2.34 0.18


The Frogs have had a clear advantage in Strength of Schedule, which makes TCU a stronger favorite in the DX model, by almost a TD.  DUSHEE Original and Sagarin like the Frogs by roughly a field goal and SRS likes the Frogs by a point.


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
TCU  2.80 TCU  6.31 TCU  4.56 TCU 0 TCU  2.94 TCU  1.0


Other Big XII-II Bowls

It's a bit of a rough slate of games for the Big XII-II.  Only West Virginia is favored based on the starting lines coming out of Vegas and the Frogs are the only other team favored by the computers.  There is a good chance the conference comes out of the bowl season no better than 2-5.



It's the Rapey Bears against the Gilded Age Robber Barons in this battle of mediocrity in Houston.  All of the computer models like the Commodores (She's a brick .... house) both straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS).


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Baylor  6-6 -3.51 -2.34 69.95 2.03 1.47
Vanderbilt  6-6 3.20 7.09 73.31 7.85 6.38


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Vanderbilt  6.71 Vanderbilt  9.42 Vanderbilt  8.07 Vanderbilt  2.5 Vanderbilt  3.36 Vanderbilt  5.8


Camping World

West Virginia is the clear favorite in Disney World against the Sicilian Orangepersons.  Only the SRS metric doesn't like the Mountaineers against the spread.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
West Virginia  8-3 14.84 19.70 85.94 13.73 2.01
Syracuse  9-3 6.02 5.52 77.19 11.08 -0.90


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
West Virginia  8.82 West Virginia  14.19 West Virginia  11.50 West Virginia  7 West Virginia  8.75 West Virginia  2.7



The location of many a furious and historic Frog comeback sees the return of the dread pirate Mike Leach against an Iowa State team that faded coming down the stretch.  The computer models all agree that the starting line on this game was far too low with DUSHEE and Sagarin both liking the Cougars by more than a touchdown.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Iowa St.  8-4 5.47 4.79 75.62 7.73 2.73
Washington St.  10-2 13.53 14.27 83.46 12.46 -1.45


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Washington St.  8.06 Washington St.  9.48 Washington St.  8.77 Washington St.  1.5 Washington St.  7.84 Washington St.  4.7



Another matchup where the computer models think Vegas is being far too generous with the Big XII-II team, all taking the Tigers ATS.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Missouri  8-4 16.65 22.70 84.27 15.19 7.84
Oklahoma St.  6-6 4.84 7.74 78.75 5.52 2.74


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Missouri  11.80 Missouri  14.96 Missouri  13.38 Missouri  4.5 Missouri  5.52 Missouri  9.7


NY6 Bowls



Everybody likes the Khaki Pants in this one.  Only the SRS would take Flo Rida, barely, ATS.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Florida  9-3 10.59 15.63 82.91 12.20 6.78
Michigan  10-2 24.34 28.24 91.78 19.25 3.06


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Michigan  13.75 Michigan  12.61 Michigan  13.18 Michigan  7.5 Michigan  8.87 Michigan  7.1



The first game in our summary where there is substantial disagreement between the models.  Generally speaking, this most often happens when there is a big difference in strengths of schedule, as is the case this time.  Starting off, Vegas likes LSU a lot, so much so that all the computer models, while disagreeing on the winner SU, all like the Kaniggits ATS.  DUSHEE Original and the SRS like UCF to win the game, DUSHEE XC and Sagarin like the Bayou Bengals.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
LSU  9-3 13.78 19.59 84.00 14.73 7.85
UCF  12-0 18.26 17.77 82.46 16.22 -2.57


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
UCF  4.48 LSU  1.82 UCF  1.33 LSU  10 LSU  1.54 UCF  1.5



Unanimous agreement that the Buckeyes are both the favorite SU and ATS.  Only about 2.5 points separates the models.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Ohio St.  12-1 19.13 21.49 91.87 18.09 1.07
Washington  10-3 12.00 13.95 86.84 11.84 2.60


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Ohio St.  7.13 Ohio St.  7.54 Ohio St.  7.34 Ohio St.  4 Ohio St.  5.03 Ohio St.  6.3



No one thinks this is going to be close.  Sagarin gives a slight edge to the Horns ATS.  DUSHEE thinks UGa wins by three scores, but DUSHEE has been lower on Texas than the general consensus all year.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Georgia  11-2 26.02 33.68 92.68 22.64 7.27
Texas  9-4 6.74 9.12 81.67 9.83 3.18


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Georgia  19.28 Georgia  24.56 Georgia  21.92 Georgia  12.5 Georgia  11.01 Georgia  12.8



Neither of the Semi-Finals look to be competitive.  Clemson is a heavy favorite in this matchup.  DUSHEE likes the Tigers by nearly 20, Vegas by 10.5.  Only the SRS likes the Fightin' Rudys ATS.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Clemson  13-0 34.21 37.26 100.01 23.61 0.94
Notre Dame  12-0 17.01 18.18 87.59 19.06 0.30


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Clemson  17.20 Clemson  19.08 Clemson  18.14 Clemson  10.5 Clemson  12.42 Clemson  4.6



The models are even more unanimous (is that a possible thing, logically?) about the other Semi-Final, although not ATS, where Sagarin and SRS like the Sooners.  For some reason, my gut tells me that the Sooners are going to be better here than all the numbers suggest, but the numbers are clear.  Roll Tide.  Blech.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Alabama  13-0 36.99 42.89 102.68 27.18 5.16
Oklahoma  12-1 20.67 23.30 90.16 17.96 2.94


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Alabama  16.32 Alabama  19.59 Alabama  17.96 Alabama  14 Alabama  12.52 Alabama  9.2


Other Bowls of Regional Interest


New Mexico

The Fightin' Greene Eagles of Denton face off against the former team of technological's new coach, Utah State.  The Aggies are the unanimous favorite but all the computer models like the Mean Green ATS.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
North Texas  9-3 7.03 1.62 66.89 1.68 -8.86
Utah St.  10-2 13.44 10.15 77.65 8.52 -6.54


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Utah St.  6.41 Utah St.  8.53 Utah St.  7.47 Utah St.  11 Utah St.  10.76 Utah St.  6.8



The Bowl of Generic Suburban Dallas pits THE Ohio University against the Fightin' Montezuma's of Far Southern California.  Ohio is the unanimous favorite SU and the unanimous choice ATS. 


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Ohio  8-4 12.07 8.04 70.85 4.00 -5.87
San Diego St.  7-5 -0.89 -2.31 65.31 -1.59 -2.09


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Ohio  12.96 Ohio  10.35 Ohio  11.65 Ohio  3 Ohio  5.54 Ohio  5.6


Armed Forces

Played in our Frogs humble home of Amon G. (Patterson) Carter Stadium, the Black Kaniggits of the Hudson have been DUSHEE favorites all year, and true to form, DUSHEE likes the Cadets in this game way more than everybody else.  That said, the computers all agree that Army should be the favorite in the game while Vegas likes Cougar High.  Note that the Army-Navy game is not included in Army's totals as I am writing this before the game has occurred in the space-time continuum.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Army  9-2 11.11 10.61 72.33 6.63 -1.90
Houston  8-4 1.72 -1.70 71.86 3.50 -5.12


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Army  9.40 Army  12.31 Army  10.85 Houston  3 Army  0.47 Army  3.1



First Responder

The Smurf Donkeys rebounded from a very bad loss to Oklahoma State early in the year to have a very nice little season, and for that, they get rewarded with a bowl game in the dilapidated Cotton Bowl against a barely .500 ACC team.  A reminder of what life was like as a have-not.  As with Army, DUSHEE likes Boise far more than anybody else, but Boise is still the unanimous favorite over the Fightin' Fluties.  DUSHEE and SRS like the Broncos ATS; Sagarin says to take BC and the points.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Boston Coll.  7-5 2.29 2.94 77.00 4.92 2.07
Boise St.  10-3 15.27 15.43 78.79 8.61 -1.04


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Boise St.  12.98 Boise St.  12.49 Boise St.  12.73 Boise St. 2.5 Boise St.  1.79 Boise St.  3.7



I guess this is a good bowl?  Seems like agricultural deserves better.  Two of their losses were respectable games against the two inarguably best teams in the country and they had the toughest schedule, per DUSHEE, in all of college football.  NC State was a schizophrenic team this year, looking like maybe a legitimate challenger to Clemson early in the season with impressive wins over a good Marshall team and what then appeared to be a good Virginia team.  Then not so much toward the end of the season as Clemson, Syracuse, and lowly Wake Forest all beat the Wolfpack. 


This game has one of the larger differentials in schedule strength, and as expected, DUSHEE Extra Crispy likes the Ags a lot more than Original, the latter being more in line with Sagarin and SRS.  Agricultural is a unanimous favorite with only Sagarin picking NC State ATS.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Texas A&M  8-4 15.48 23.30 83.06 12.14 10.12
N.C. State  9-3 12.17 9.14 81.22 7.85 -1.82


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Texas A&M  3.31 Texas A&M  14.15 Texas A&M  8.73 Texas A&M  3 Texas A&M  1.84 Texas A&M  4.3



The Bowl that should hold a soft spot in the heart of every Frog fan this year pits the Frog's bowl opponent from last year against the 7-6 ACC Coastal Division champion.  Pitt's SOS puts them as the favorite per DUSHEE Extra Crispy, but everyone else likes the Trees.  All the models say to take Pitt and the points except for Sagarin who is exactly on the Vegas spread.


Team Record DO DX Sag SRS SoS
Pittsburgh  7-6 2.23 7.12 73.61 6.14 6.89
Stanford  8-4 4.45 6.51 82.11 8.05 3.09


DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Stanford  2.22 Pittsburgh  0.62 Stanford  0.80 Stanford  8.5 Stanford  8.50 Stanford  1.9


All the Rest


Bowl   DO Fav DDO DX Fav DDX DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag SRS Fav DSRS
Cure   LA Lafayette  1.37 LA Lafayette  2.69 LA Lafayette  2.03 Tulane 3.5 Tulane  5.70 LA Lafayette  0.4
Las Vegas   Fresno St.  12.29 Fresno St.  12.46 Fresno St.  12.38 Fresno St.  3.5 Fresno St.  5.66 Fresno St.  6.0
Camellia   East. Michigan  0.01 East. Michigan  1.17 East. Michigan  0.59 East. Michigan 3.5 East. Michigan  0.02 Georgia Southern 3.3
New Orleans   Appalachian State 10.60 Appalachian State 8.89 Appalachian State 9.74 Appalachian State 9 Appalachian State 10.35 Appalachian State 7.2
Boca Raton   UAB 7.57 UAB 6.56 UAB 7.06 Northern Illinois  1 Northern Illinois  0.44 UAB 0.0
Gasparilla   Marshall  10.57 Marshall  11.76 Marshall  11.16 South Florida  2 Marshall  1.57 Marshall  4.3
Bahamas   Toledo  3.57 Toledo  4.90 Toledo  4.24 Toledo  4.5 Toledo  7.75 Toledo  1.8
Idaho Potato   BYU  7.18 BYU  9.20 BYU  8.19 BYU 14 BYU  7.88 BYU  4.8
Birmingham   Memphis  9.23 Memphis  7.32 Memphis  8.28 Memphis  4.5 Memphis  3.24 Memphis  2.1
Dollar General   Buffalo  5.67 Buffalo  7.84 Buffalo  6.75 Buffalo  4 Buffalo  1.21 Buffalo  0.7
Hawaii   Louisiana Tech  2.96 Louisiana Tech  2.85 Louisiana Tech  2.90 Hawaii 2.5 Louisiana Tech  2.97 Hawaii  4.5
Quick Lane   Georgia Tech  2.11 Georgia Tech  0.02 Georgia Tech  1.07 Georgia Tech  3.5 Georgia Tech  3.13 Georgia Tech  1.1
Independence   Temple  14.48 Temple  9.76 Temple  12.12 Temple  5 Temple  1.94 Duke  0.0
Pinstripe   Miami (FL)  1.61 Miami (FL)  1.27 Miami (FL)  1.44 Miami (FL)  2.5 Miami (FL)  1.87 Miami (FL)  2.6
Music City   Auburn  1.03 Auburn  3.03 Auburn  2.03 Auburn  3.5 Auburn  4.48 Auburn  0.5
Belk   South Carolina  3.49 South Carolina  9.77 South Carolina  6.63 South Carolina  3.5 South Carolina  5.83 South Carolina  4.1
Arizona   Arkansas St.  4.27 Arkansas St.  3.16 Arkansas St.  3.71 Arkansas St.  0 Arkansas St.  0.31 Arkansas St.  3.9
Military   Cincinnati  20.56 Cincinnati  19.39 Cincinnati  19.98 Cincinnati  7.5 Cincinnati  5.28 Cincinnati  8.2
Redbox   Michigan St.  2.51 Michigan St.  6.08 Michigan St.  4.29 Oregon  1.5 Michigan St.  0.50 Michigan St.  0.5
Holiday   Utah  11.31 Utah  12.50 Utah  11.91 Utah  8.5 Utah  7.35 Utah  4.7
Outback    Mississippi St.  5.60 Mississippi St.  10.34 Mississippi St.  7.97 Mississippi St.  4 Mississippi St.  1.35 Mississippi St.  0.9
Citrus   Penn St.  7.88 Penn St.  5.90 Penn St.  6.89 Penn St.  7 Penn St.  7.46 Penn St.  1.1


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