Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BCS Bowl analysis, part II

Miami, FL
Jan. 3, 8 p.m. (ABC)
Penn State (10-1) vs. Florida State (8-4)

This is the over-achiever/under-achiever bowl.

Penn State came into this season with very low expectations. The last few years had not been kind to JoePa and the Nittany Lions. In fact, my sources tell me a lot of Penn Staters were praying JoePa would finally hang it up and let some new blood into the coaching ranks. But the ever classy Joe Paterno had a few tricks left, and pulled off an almost unbelieveable 10-1 record, winning against a very good Ohio State team, @ a scrappy Northwestern, a lack luster Purdue, and a respectable Wisconsin (9-3), and losing by only 2 points @Michigan.

Florida State on the other hand had high expectations and had a mostly bad season, despite winning the ACC and making it to a BCS bowl with 4 (count 'em 4) losses. They did beat Miami in one of the overall ugliest games of the year, but did not have another respectable win until upsetting Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game. They did lose to Virginia, Florida, Clemson, and lowly NC State (6-5). The last three losses came in a row at the end of the season, which made the victory on Virginia Tech all the more improbable.

Offensive production: Penn State is 48th in pass effiency with a rating of 129.4. Florida State is nowhere on the charts in this category, as many where calling for the offensive coordinator (coincidentally the head coach's son) to be fired. FSU is still 15th in passing yards a game however, but has thown as many interceptions as touchdown passes. Penn State rarely passes, but averages almost 219 yards a game rushing, and 26th in overall yardage a game with 262. FSU is not in the top 50 in either of these categories, and is in fact 109th in rushing yards. Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson is up against Florida State's fleet defense. The Seminoles wouldn't let Virginia Tech's Marcus Vick hurt them with his feet in the ACC championship game, but Robinson will be tougher to stop on the ground.
Key Stat:
PSU scores 35.2 points a game for 13th.
FSU averaged 29.3 for 44th
Advantage: Penn State

Defensive Production: FSU has only allowed more than 30 points a game twice this season, and coincidentally were both losses. Penn State has never allowed more than 30 points a game the entire season, and only allowed 25 or more points twice, one of them being the one loss @Michigan (25-27). Considering they lost four times, FSU has a lot more footage for PSU coaches to look at and emulate.
Advantage: Slight Penn State

Overall Talent: Penn State has had some lean years and recruiting is not what it once was. However, Penn State is 10-1 and has made the most of the talent they do have. Florida State is the opposite. They have had great recruiting the last few years, but with 4 losses, are seriously underachieving, except in games they show up to play and win (Miami/VTech).
Advantage: Florida State

Special Teams: Penn State has the 15th rated kicker with 15 field goals and 46 extra points on the season. FSU has no kicker of note, but does have a punter that averages 42.5 yards a kick. Penn State has returned one punt this season for 19 yards, and has returned 6 kickoffs for an average of 34.8 yards. FSU has not returned any punts or kickoffs of note.
Advantage: Penn State

Intangibles: Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, bring their combined 712 victories to Miami for a game nobody saw coming. The two winningest coaches in NCAA Div. I history is nothing to be sneezed at. JoePa might retire if he goes out on top. FSU desperately needs to win to get a leg up on next season's recruiting wars. PSU is the feel good story of the year; FSU is largely a disappointment, if a season with a BCS berth can be a "disappointment."
Advantage: Slight Penn State

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