“Orange Bowl Prediction”

This evening, in another pretty lackluster BCS Bowl matchup, the Big Ten meets the ACC.  Iowa versus Georgia Tech.  Size of the Big Ten versus one of the ACC’s faster squads.   Neither of these conferences were thought of too highly this season, but these are both top ten teams for the moment.    This is probably the least anticipated of the BCS bowl games, but in my opinion should be a pretty competitive game. 

These teams are pretty much opposites.  Georgia Tech has a high-powered offense while Iowa wins behind a stingy defense.  The Yellow Jackets run a unique spread option offense.  This offense really gives teams fits who have not seen it or something similar before.  Iowa’s front 7 will really be tested in this one and should be apt to the challenge.  Do not sleep on the size of the front 7’s in the Big Ten.  Size is definitely a department that the Big Ten is not lacking in.

In my opinion these are both pretty evenly matched teams.  The difference in this game.  Paul Johnson is a better coach than Kirk Ferentz in my eyes.  Even though Iowa starting QB, Ricky Stanzi, returns for this game and was 9 and 0 as the starter, I feel that Paul Johnson will have his guys more prepared for this one.  Both teams have had nearly a month to think about this game.  These bowl games generally favor the teams with strong coaches even more than regular season games in that coaches have almost a full month to prepare.  Give a mastermind a month to prepare and see what happens.  For example Urban Meyer with the Sugar Bowl..

So the prediction here is a 7 to 10 point victory for the ACC champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.  Look for this to be a pretty close game throughout though.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Sportskraze.



4 responses to ““Orange Bowl Prediction”

  1. Better defense almost always beats a better offense. With a month to prepare, all they had to get ready for was the option. If you were betting, would you have taken Iowa +7 or GT -7 points?

    IMO, wrong team was favored here. I have a few people giving me money to make bets/picks for them, but in return I have to do a write up last night. Check out what I wrote up:

    Georgia Tech runs a 1-dimensional attack and although it seemed to get better this year in Paul Johnson’s 2nd year, this is still an attack where you know what is coming you just have to play disciplined on defense and don’t over-pursue. I don’t think there is a more disciplined team, a more intelligent team, than Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Hawkeyes. They have terrific linebackers, they have a senior/junior-laden defense, they will not over pursue, they will play sound against this option attack. And if Jonathan Nesbitt has to throw in this game, this secondary is a bunch of ballhawks, top 5 in the country in forcing INTs.

    Option attacks have traditionally not done well over the years in bowl games. The defenses usually have time to prepare, and focus 1 full month on option football, and that puts the surprise of the option attack at a disadvantage. This year, however, we have seen 2 option attacks cover and win (Navy and Air Force) because both were playing soft, finesse defenses that had soft finesse offenses. Here, you have an option attack facing a fundamentally sound, tough, physical team that prides itself on defense and playing good football without the razzle dazzle. Iowa is a disciplined team, something that TCU was NOT last night. Iowa is a top 5 team in least penalties per game, they have only 9 fumbles on the year, which is top 15, and they play solid special teams.

    I’d rather find out about a team and how good they are and how they perform in big situations, in tough situations, where they are behind 2 scores, or behind 1 score, or tied going into the 4th quarter and all this Iowa team has done is find a way to win. That is not a flaw, that is an unusual characteristic to have. It starts with this senior and junior laden depth chart and the experience this team has. Iowa has a lot of starters on both sides of the ball that are seniors and juniors, and Georgia Tech has a lot of juniors and sophomores. There is going to be an experience advantage here and possible strength and size advantage for Iowa.

    Iowa has lost 2 games this year, both without QB Ricky Stanzi, some without starting TB Adam Robinson, some without LB Jeremiah Hunter. Everyone is healthy for Iowa, and when this team has been healthy, they have not been beaten. Even when they weren’t healthy, they never lost by more than 7 points. Iowa is 4-0 as an underdog this year and it is a role that they LOVE.

    Meanwhile, in Georgia Tech’s 7 games vs bowl teams, they have either lost outright or were not able to win by more than 5 points in 6 of those 7 games. In other words, only once this season in 7 tries against a bowl team did they win by more than 5 points.

    Again, the Big Ten is built around running the football and teams from out of conference that plan on playing teams from the Big Ten, and they don’t come at them with a tough, athletic attack that includes throwing the football are going to struggle. Georgia Tech has not put up their average of 35 points per game vs. the good defenses they have faced: North Carolina (24), Virginia Tech (28), Miami (17), Clemson (30, and 39), Georgia (24) and even a fundamentally sound Wake Forest team (24 in regul). That is an average of about 26 points per game, down almost 10 points from their season average, when they face a top 50 defense. With Iowa they will face one of the top defenses they have seen all year, but Iowa is way more disciplined than North Carolina and Virginia Tech. So if Iowa holds Georgia Tech to what they average against decent defenses (26), and Iowa scores their season average (and Ga Tech gives up their season average), Iowa should score around 24 points in this game. You can see, regardless of Iowa wins or loses this game, that the points should come into play in this game, as the #1 component to covering point spreads is not having a great offense, it’s having a great defense.

    Iowa is 10-3 ATS last 13 games vs. a team with winning record. Kirk Ferentz is 6-4 in bowl games, Paul Johnson 4-6. Ferentz is 3-1 in bowl games when his team comes in with at least 9 wins.

    Wrong team favored.

    Iowa 27
    Georgia Tech 24

  2. you were right though, it was a close game and IMO could have gone either way. I think it came down to experience in tight games, and Iowa got the job done all year when it counted.

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