Champs Sports Bowl-By the Numbers

Badgermaniac breaks down the numbers in the Champs Sports Bowl match-up between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Florida State Seminoles. In Part One, he examines scoring offense and scoring defense.

Welcome to part one of my four part statistical breakdown of the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl matchup between the Badgers and the Florida State Seminoles of the ACC. If you are new to my bowl breakdowns, essentially what I do is compare a team's numbers relative to their opposition to get an idea as to what to expect during the game.

I do not include games against the team's in question. For instance, Wisconsin is not penalized for hurting Indiana's rushing defense simply because they ran for a million yards against the Hoosiers.

Also realize that games against FCS teams (Cal-Poly, Western Carolina, Chatanooga) are included, even though most of their numbers were compiled against non FBS teams.

Finally, while I hope the numbers are informative, I wouldn't call them predictive in purest sense, as sometimes matchups or game conditions obviously will affect how teams will perform.

In part one, I take a look at the scoring offense and scoring defense of both Wisconsin and Florida State. What should we expect to see from each team in terms of bottom line offensive/defensive production?

Wisconsin Offense vs. Florida State Defense

Wisconsin averaged 28.7 points per game. The defenses they faced typically allowed 24.3 points per game. That gives the Badgers offense a net gain of 4.4 points per game. That means they scored about 4 points more per game than a typical opponent given the teams they played. These numbers are almost identical to last year and indicate a good, but not great offense.

Their best offensive games were against Marshall (+26), Indiana (+22), and Minnesota (+13). Their worst game of the year was Fresno State (-20). They scored more than a touchdown above expected point totals in 5 games, more than touchdown less just once, and were within a touchdown of expectation 6 times. Of note is that they closed the year with 6 consecutive positive games.

Florida State allowed an average of 20.8 points per game. The offenses they faced typically scored 24.1 points per game. That gives the Seminoles defense a net gain of 3.5 points per game. Like the Badger offense, the numbers indicate a good, but not great defense.

Their best defensive games were against Western Carolina (-19), Maryland (-19), and Wake Forest (-10). Their worst game of the year was against Miami (+12). They allowed more than a touchdown below expected point totals in 4 games, more than touchdown more just once, and were within a touchdown of expectation 7 times.

Analysis: On paper, we have a very even match-up. If you want to get technical, the Badger offense was very slightly better, but we are talking about a point difference. The good news for Badger fans is that the offense closed with three very solid games, while Florida State had just one really good defensive game in their last five, so the trend does favor the Badgers here.

Florida State Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense Florida State averaged 32.7 points per game. The defenses they faced typically allowed 22.3 points per game. That gives the Noles offense a net gain of 10.4 points per game. While the Seminoles only averaged about 4 points more per game than the Badgers, they also faced tougher defenses, making that difference really stand out.

Their best offensive games were against Western Carolina (+44), Clemson (+27), and Miami (+18). Their worst game of the year was Wake Forest (-17). They scored more than a touchdown above expected point totals in 8 games, more than touchdown less just once, and were within a touchdown of expectation 3 times. Their offense was consistently very good all year long.

Wisconsin allowed an average of 25.3 points per game. The offenses they faced typically scored 28.4 points per game. That gives the Badger defense a net gain of 3.1 points per game. The Badger defensive numbers are almost identical to Florida State's defensive numbers. They allowed more points, but played against better offenses. Their defense is also very similar to their offense (good, but not great).

Their best defensive games were against Fresno State (-21), Akron (-14), and Illinois (-13). Their worst game of the year was against Minnesota (+9). They allowed more than a touchdown below expected point totals in 6 games, more than touchdown more 4 times, and were within a touchdown of expectation 2 times. In other words, there was quite a big split between the "good Badger defense" and the "bad Badger defense". Also of concerns is that three of their better games came in their first three games of the year. Since that time, it has been a mixed bag.

Analysis: Of the four primary units, we have three solid but unspectacular groups. The one group that stands out as being really good is the Florida State offense, which is surprising given that much of the publicity has surrounded the FSU defense. On paper, the offenses both get an edge, indicating an offensive game, but the big key for the Badgers will be controlling the Seminole offense in order to stay in the game.

Next: Rushing Game


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