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Everybody Have Fun Tonight! Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!

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Cause for celebration indeed: bowl season is officially here! Fireworks and fist pumpings abound: EDSBS, SMQ, RBR! Who are we to miss out on the fun?

We'll contribute to the bowl bonanza in our own way: with a laborious, uber-serious, hyper-analysis of each bowl game. Woo fun!

Below is the statistical overview of each team; analysis to follow.

TCU has compiled a 10-2 record against some pretty bad competition (combined record of 48-71), with a margin of victory of +15.4 points. Northern Illinois, meanwhile, went 7-5 against equally uninspiring opponents (combined 52-77 record) - margin of victory a more modest +7.2 points per game. As another rough guide, Jeff Sagarin lists TCU's strength of schedule as 89th toughest in the country and Northern Illinois' as 113th.

How are these two teams performing statistically? Below are tables of each team's season totals, with national rank in parentheses.



Northern Illinois By The Numbers: Offense





TCU By The Numbers: Defense


Northern Illinois By The Numbers: Defense


The next, final, step, is to put those numbers into context. The following chart shows the national rank in total offense and total defense for each of TCU and Northern Illinois' 2006 opponents. Indiana State (NIU) and UC Davis (TCU) are excluded.

TCU-Northern Illinois Opponents' Positional Ranks
TCU By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
194.3 (9) 4.56 (26) 20 (33) 210.2 (49) 7.8 (30) 14 (69) 137.2 (37) 404.5 (17) 28.6 (34)
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
180.2 (17) 5.22 (7) 24 (15) 208.3 (50) 6.8 (67) 16 (59) 121.5 (67) 388.5 (24) 27 (43)
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD Opp. QB Rating Total Defense Scoring Defense
67.6 (4) 2.4 (4) 8 (13) 181.9 (35) 5.9 (17) 9 (9) 104.7 (12) 249.5 (4) 12.8 (5)
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD Opp. QB Rating Total Defense Scoring Defense
115.6 (34) 3.5 (36) 10 (26) 241.5 (104) 7.6 (90) 21 (94) 142.6 (101) 357.1 (80) 19.8 (42)
Total Offense Rank TCU Opponent Total Defense Rank -- Total Offense Rank Northern Illinois Opponent Total Defense Rank
86
@Baylor
110
--
15
@Ohio State
13
6
Texas Tech
49
--
106
Ohio
31
5
BYU
51
--
109
Buffalo
100
44
@Utah
56
--
51
@Ball State
115
112
@Army
79
--
80
@Miami (OH)
59
90
Wyoming
8
--
84
@Western Michigan
11
83
@UNLV
96
--
119
Temple
117
89
@New Mexico St
99
--
29
@Iowa
67
108
San Diego St
73
--
71
Toledo
61
100
@Colorado St
57
--
31
Central Michigan
71
69
Air Force
78
--
107
@Eastern Michigan
98
72
Average
68.7
--
72.9
Average
67.5

Charts? Charts.

To the mats with the numbers:

*Okay, first things first: these teams have played some truly awful competition. Temple, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Army, New Mexico State, San Diego State, UC Davis, and Indiana State all have to be filed in the "horrific" category.

*TCU, at least on paper, looks like a two touchdown favorite, no? They are, in fact, favored by 13, and looking at the numbers, you can see why. The Horned Frogs have some elite defensive numbers and a passable offense. Northern Illinois, reasonably sound against the run, has been embarrassingly bad in pass defense. Keep in mind, again, though, that these teams have been playing some true cupcakes. That's cause for more concern with Northern Illinois, though. They're 7-5, with middle of the road numbers, against the 6th easiest schedule in the country.

*TCU looks pretty well set up to deal with Northern Illinois' super speedster Garrett Wolfe. Assuming they can keep him from erupting, putting up enough points to win shouldn't be a problem. All told, that line looks a little low to me. I've already placed my wager: I'll take TCU to win this one comfortably, 30-14.

--PB--