Commentary

Advanced intel for bowl season

A deep look at the numbers reveals the key matchups in several bowl games

Updated: December 14, 2011, 1:47 PM ET
By Brad Edwards | ESPN Insider
LaMichael JamesJason O. Watson/US PresswireLaMichael James and the Ducks again have one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

Every bowl season, the keys to winning are matchups and motivation.

Unless you're on the practice field leading up to the game, motivation (or lack thereof) is difficult to identify. We know one or two favored teams will show up with a lack of intensity and lose to an inferior opponent. It happens every year. Trying to pinpoint those teams in advance, however, is a tricky proposition.

Statistical mismatches, such as Temple's seventh-ranked rushing offense against Wyoming's 115th-ranked rushing defense in the New Mexico Bowl, are much easier to spot. There are always a few of those, as well. But with 35 bowl games, there are also plenty of intriguing matchups.

So here are a few numbers to add to your bowl enjoyment or, in some cases, to consider before assigning your confidence points on Bowl Mania:


Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio: Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers

When: Jan. 2, 5 p.m. ET (Watch)

The number: 76

After having no running play gain more than 13 yards in their season-opening loss to LSU, the Ducks returned to their explosive form and lead the FBS with 76 rushes of 15 yards or more, which is the most for any team in a season since ESPN's statistical archive began in 2004.


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• Analyzes college football and the BCS as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app