Crank it up: The Game of the Year!
Seems like a lot of folks are caught up in the hype of this week’s Michigan-OSU game. Obviously, the winner moves on for a crack at the glass football, and the loser might not be out of it either. Media hype is overwhelming and fan interest seems to be devouring the hype. Lost in all this is the battle that will take place a week later. On November 25 two teams will clash for the right to lay claim to another title: Worst Team in College Football.
That’s right, folks. If Duke (0-10) can continue their losing streak against Georgia Tech, and if UNC (1-9, with a 3 point victory over 1-AA Furman) can ensure that John Bunting’s final clash with Chuck Amato ends in defeat, we will have the pillow fight of the year to determine who is the worst team in D-1: Futility Bowl 2006.
The stats paint the picture for us. This game is a pretty even tilt. Offensively, both teams are ranked near the bottom in almost every measurable category.
Duke: 115th with 11.4 points per game
109th with 292.3 ypg
91st with 169.4 pass ypg
97th with 103.5 rushing ypg
89th with 16.3 1st downs/game
111th with a 29.5% 3rd down conversion rate.
101(t) with a 33.3% 4th down conversion rate
UNC: 109th with 14.8 points per game
104th with 294.9 ypg
85th with 176.6 pass ypg
96th with 103.7 rushing yps
107th with 15.5 1st downs/game
104th with a 32.6% 3rd down conversion rate
30(t) with a 61.5% 4th down conversion rate
Defensively, the picture looks pretty much the same:
Duke: 103rd with 31.2 pts/game, and they are allowing 222.7 passing ypg and 160.2
UNC: 105th with 31.3 pts/game, and they are allowing 179.4 passing ypg and 189.0
The numbers don’t lie. Not only is this an incredibly even match-up, but both teams truly have earned their way into Futility Bowl 2006.
This is going to be a tough game to call, but, if we look at the kicking game, we see the area of separation:
Duke: extra points, 9/12
field goals, 3/9
punts, 36.3 avg.
UNC: extra points, 16/16
field goals, 6/6
punts, 41.3 avg.
Clearly, UNC has a major advantage in the kicking game.
We predict that UNC will be able to turn that advantage in the kicking game into the difference. UNC will also use their Top 30 4th down conversion rate to their advantage. Instead of a constant flow of 3 and out, as has been their modus operandi this season, the Heels are going to convert a few fourth downs to get themselves in field goal range and come through with their first victory against a D-1 (Duke is still D-1, right?) opponent this year.
John Bunting will be carried off the field in orgasmic victory celebration of his leading Carolina to victory in Futility Bowl 2006. If I remember correctly, when Bunting took over 6 years ago, the first thing he may or may not have said was: Carolina will never be the worst D-1 team on his watch. Way to go coach! That in and of itself makes your turn at the Carolina helm a successful one.
Butch Davis, come on down! YOU are the next contestant on: I CAN WIN AT CAROLINA!