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2013 Bowl Notes and Facts

Computer says over half of bowl games to be decided by less than 7 points

by Dave Congrove
December 13, 2013

The 2013 bowl season opens on Saturday, December 21 in Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Boise and New Orleans, and ends on January 6 in Pasadena where the 2013 BCS Championship will feature Florida State and Auburn. A win by the Tigers would give the SEC an 8th straight national title, and a 5th consecutive crown for a school from the state of Alabama.

The Congrove Computer Rankings predict 18 games will be decided by less than 7 points and 10 of those have forecasted margins under 3 points. Somewhat surprisingly, the BCS title game has the second-largest margin at 16.67 points in favor of Florida State, while Notre Dame's projected winning margin over Rutgers ion the Pinstripe Bowl is 17.80.

Five games come in at under a 1-point difference, topped by USC's 0.24-point edge over Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The bowl season is the shortest in recent history with 35 games compressed into a 16-day window. Still, both of the participating teams in the BCS title game will have to endure a 30-day wait from the last time they took the field in their respective conference championship games on December 7th.

Very few games have changed names. The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas becomes the Texas Bowl again after Meineke dropped its affiliation; the Independence Bowl becomes the AdvoCare V100 Bowl; and, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl becomes the Fight Hunger Bowl after Kraft dropped its title sponsorship.

This year marks the last season for the BCS as a 4-team so-called playoff goes into effect next year. Instead of using human polls and computer rankings to determine the final 2 teams, a group of 13 individuals will sit in a back room and implement their own individual criteria and agendas to determine which 4 teams will get to play up to 2 more games to be crowned champion. The College Football Playoff is, at worst, a recipe for disaster and, at best, a farce to be called a playoff.

The computer, for the second straight year, was 24-11 picking bowl games and is 329-209 since the inception of the rankings in 1993.

In all, 79 teams fully qualified for bowl selection this year, and UTSA was conditionally qualified as a team in transition from the FCS to the FBS. Alas, the Roadrunners were not able to be selected and their 7-5 season goes un-rewarded Western Kentucky (8-4) was also shunned, along with Toledo (7-5) and a number of 6-6 teams (Central Michigan, FAU, San Jose State, South Alabama, Troy, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas State).

North Texas is in a bowl game for the first time since 2004 and its opponent in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, UNLV, is making its first postseason appearance since the 2000 season.

The New Mexico Bowl also features a pair of teams haven't been bowling in quite some time. Colorado State last made a bowl trip in 2008 and Washington State is getting a taste of the postseason for the first time since 2003.

Meanwhile, Florida's run of consecutive bowl trips ends at 22 while Florida State (32) and Virginia Tech (21) keep their streaks live.

UCF is the upstart team to watch in the BCS as the Golden Knights received the new American Athletic Conference's automatic bid and will face-off against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.

As of this writing, 4 teams will be led in their bowl games by assistants who were appointed as interim head coaches after losing their head man to another school- Arkansas State, Boise State, Bowling Green and USC. Arkansas State has the unique story of going 27-11 over the last 3 seasons despite being led by a different head coach in each campaign. John Thompson will lead the Red Wolves for the second time as an interim head coach when they meet Ball State in a return trip to the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

COMPUTER SUCCESS:
The computer's preseason rankings correctly tabbed the Sun Belt and PAC-12 champions, in addition to the winners of both PAC-12 divisions, the Big Ten Leaders and the Mountain West Mountain division. 68 of the 75 teams it said would make a bowl game did in fact qualify for the postseason.

The Congrove Computer Rankings preseason forecast pegged the exact final record of 30 teams before a single snap was taken (31, if Army loses to Navy on December 14 as expected). It missed by just one win or loss on 36 other teams, and two wins or losses on 20 more teams.

BOWL FACTS:
Only the newest teams in the FBS - Georgia State, Massachusetts, South Alabama, Texas State and UTSA - have not made it to a bowl game. Only Georgia State and UMass were fully ineligible for selection this year.

First Time In A Long Time
Of the teams that made it this year, these had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
UNLV, 2000
Tulane, 2002
Washington State, 2003
North Texas, 2004
Colorado State, 2008

Waiting To Return
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl absence:
New Mexico State, 1960
Eastern Michigan, 1987

Bowl Appearance Streak
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:
Florida State, 32
Virginia Tech, 21
Georgia, 17
Georgia Tech, 17

Bowl Winning Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis):
Auburn, 5 (2005)
Florida State, 5 (2007)
Mississippi, 5 (2000)
Alabama,4 (2008)
Boise State, 4 (2008)
BYU, 4 (2008)

Bowl Losing Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis):
Ball State, 6 (Never)
Kansas State, 5 (2002)
Minnesota, 5 (2004)
UTEP, 5 (1967)
Western Michigan, 5 (Never)
East Carolina, 4 (2007)
Fresno State, 4 (2007)

Note: Last year, Northwestern snapped a 9-bowl losing streak dating back to the 1948 season with a 34-20 win over Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. The loss snapped a 5-game winning streak for Mississippi State that dated back to the 1998 season and was tied for longest in the nation with Auburn and Rutgers when the 2012 bowl season began.

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Ball State, 0-6
Western Michigan, 0-5
Kent State, 0-2
Akron, 0-1
Buffalo, 0-1
Louisiana-Monroe, 0-1
UAB, 0-1
Western Kentucky, 0-1

Best Bowl Winning Percentage
(Minimum 20 appearances. Source: College Football Data Warehouse)
USC, .653 (32-17)
Oklahoma State, .652 (15-8)
Mississippi, .647 (22-12)
Penn State, .636 (27-15-2)
Florida State, .634 (25-14-2)
Auburn, .622 (22-13-2)
Alabama, .608 (35-22-3)
Oklahoma, .598 (27-18-1)
Georgia, .594 (27-18-3)
Boston College, .591 (13-9)

Most Bowl Wins
Alabama, 35
Southern Cal, 32
Georgia, 27
Oklahoma, 27
Penn State, 27
Texas, 27
Florida State, 25
Tennessee, 25
Nebraska, 24
Georgia Tech, 23
Auburn, 22
LSU, 22
Mississippi, 22
Florida, 20
Michigan, 20
Ohio State, 20

UNDEFEATED AND WINLESS TEAMS:
Only Florida State finished the season unbeaten. Georgia State and Miami (Ohio) were the only teams to go winless.

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS schools were a collective 95-16 (.856) in FBS-FCS matches this season and are 831-81 (.911) since 2003.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
9/14: Fordham 30, Temple 29
9/14: Bethune-Cookman 34, FIU 13
9/21: Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT)
11/9: Old Dominion 59, Idaho 38
11/23: Georgia Southern 26, Florida 20

Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.

Originally, 106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes this year. But Colorado later replaced a game it lost vs. Fresno State (due to flooding) with Charleston Southern. Thus, 106 FBS schools played a total of 111 games vs. FCS foes. The schedule change also made Colorado the 4th FBS team to face at least two such schools this year. The others are Clemson and Georgia Tech with 2 apiece while FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.

STREAKS:
Florida State - 15-game winning streak (FBS longest). Plays Auburn in BCS Championship game.

Auburn - 9-game winning streak. Plays Florida State in BCS Championship game.

Michigan State - 9-game winning streak. Plays Stanford in Rose Bowl.

Northern Illinois - 26-game home winning streak (FBS longest) in true home games (at own venue); 15-game road winning streak (FBS longest) in true road games (at opponent venue). Plays Utah State in Poinsettia Bowl.

LSU - Won 45 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Plays Iowa in Outback Bowl.

Georgia State - Lost 16 straight (tied for FBS longest). Season complete.

Miami (Ohio) - Lost 16 straight (tied for FBS longest). Season complete.

Kansas - Lost 24 straight road games (FBS longest). Season complete.

Kentucky - Lost 16 straight conference games (FBS longest). Season complete.