Matchup Comparison Rating makes its triumphant 2009 debut

12:00 Cholis Back 0 Comments

It's that wonderful time of year when life is much simpler, friends come together, and there's good will toward men. Of course I'm talking about Bowl season, and it starts this weekend. Just like the Holidays we've established a grand tradition here at TNL; over the past three bowl seasons we always bring out the Matchup Comparison Rating or MCR to rate the bowls before they start (yes I'll finish it this year). Think of it as a public service to all our readers. An extremely scientific (read: totally random) way for you to gauge the two teams matched up in each bowl so that if you must miss a game you can pick the right one. Thank us later. Just as last year the rating system goes from 0 to 5 and of course 0 is as bad as it gets. Without further ado let's bring on the rating system and the weekend games!


Wyoming (6-6) vs. Fresno St (8-4)

Dec. 19, 4:30 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor: Now this is a winner of a bowl! Just look at all the New Mexico based sponsors, it's practically a cornucopia of venerable businesses. If the New Mexico State Parks or the New Mexico Department of Agriculture don't impress you then surely Bob Turner's Ford Country does. At the very least El Pinto with its "Salsa Locator" will astound you. Logon and join the El Pinto blog or twitter feed so you can get all the latest news and discussions… about salsa.

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On the field:

Fresno State is playing in its second straight New Mexico Bowl (must be the fresh salsa) and 10th bowl game in the last 11 seasons. For Wyoming, they squeaked out a win in the final game to make it to their first bowl in five years under first year coach Dave Christensen. Fresno ended the season with a 53-52 win over the Fighting Zookers of Illinois. Bulldogs running back Ryan Mathews led all FBS running backs with 151.3 yards rushing per game and QB Ryan Colburn threw for 2,333 yards and 18 TD's completing 60 % of his passes. Wyoming has a similarly proficient QB in freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels who completed 59% of his passes but for only 1752 yards. In fact Wyoming's offense has struggled at times this season getting shut out three times. So this is a slam-dunk victory for Fresno right? Wrong. Both teams are abysmal on defense, Fresno is 111th against the rush and boasts the 81st scoring defense. Similarly the Cowboys gave up 27.3 points per game and are 91st against the rush. This one could get messy.

+1 nation's best runningback

+1 bichin' offense

+1 shootout possibility

-1 two horrible defenses

MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)


UCF (8-4) vs. Rutgers (8-4)

Dec. 19, 8:00 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor:

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On the field:

It's a battle of the Scarlet Knights versus the plain ole' Knights. The Knights (of the scarlet variety) are looking to win their fourth bowl in a row and the Knights (of the Florida variety) are just happy to be in a bowl after taking last season off. Statistically speaking UCF and Rutgers are almost a push. They are 73rd and 74th in rushing yards, respectively, and 70th and 64th in points scored. Neither team is going to light the scoreboard up but there are some offensive weapons in this game. RU RB Joe Martinek is averaging nearly 5 yards a rush and leads the team with 9 TD's and 923 yards rushing. UCF QB Brett Hodges threw for 705 yards and 5 TD's over the last three games for the Knights leading them to wins. On the season Hodges has completed over 61% of his passes for 2263 yards. UCF has the fourth best defense against the run but they gave up 205 yards on the ground against UAB in their final game. Rutgers inconsistency was largely due to freshman QB Tom Savage who was last in the Big East with a 52.3 completion rate.

+1 two evenly matched teams

+1 one decent defense

-1 two pathetic offenses

MCR 1(Woman's Heart)


So Miss (7-5) vs. M Tenn St (9-3)

Dec. 20, 8:30 PM - ESPN

A word from our sponsor: R+L Carriers live by the motto "We ship anything, anywhere, anytime… Guaranteed." Yeah right, I'll bet they can't deliver an elephant to Springfield.

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Stampy was NOT delivered by R+L Carriers

On the field:

Middle Tennessee is trying to finish off its best season since joining the FBS with a seventh straight win against Southern Miss. Directional Tennessee boasts the ninth best player in the FBS in total yards, QB Dwight Dasher. After getting fired from Auburn in the middle of last the season, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin installed the spread offense at Middle Tennessee and it paid off. Just like the St. Petersburg bowl both these teams are evenly matched and both have explosive offenses. The two teams rank 30th and 31st in total yards, 42nd and 45th in passing and both score over 30 points per game. Unlike the St. Petersburg bowl both teams have very good defenses. Middle Tennessee has the nation's best defense in tackle for loss (8.83 per game) and are fourth in sacks (3.17 per). Cornerback Marcus Udel was among the nation's best with 7 INT's. Southern Miss is no slouch on D, they rank 12th in sacks and 22nd in TFL. The one glaring weakness for SMU is the lack of pass defense, they rank 113th.

+1 two evenly matched teams

+1 two active defenses

+1 two prolific offenses

-1 offense/defense mismatch

MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)