Thanks again to What If Sports we can take a peek into the college football bowl season and see what's in store for the Big 12's participants. Texas A&M gets things rolling for the conference with this afternoon's match-up against the Georgia Bulldogs. Here are a few Independence Bowl predictions.
Texas A&M Aggies
1) This game won't feature a lot of defense. The Aggies were last in the Big 12 in scoring defense and when you're playing with teams like Baylor and Colorado (both sitting home for the bowl season) that says a lot. Texas A&M surrendered an average of 32.7 points per game. Meanwhile Georgia didn't necessarily impress on defense either. The Bulldogs allowed 26.4 points per game and ranked 10th in the SEC. This will all equate to a lot of offense for both teams which should make for an entertaining game.
2) It will be a tale of two halves. Our simulation shows the Aggies starting strong and finishing slow. Before the protest start filling in from College Station let me remind you of a few games from the season. On October 3rd the Aggies had a 10-7 lead over Arkansas and ended the game with a 47-19 loss. A week later Texas A&M had a 15-14 halftime lead over Oklahoma State and lost 36-31. Then there was the 21-10 halftime lead over Colorado on November 7th that turned into a 35-34 loss. The second half collapse predicted by our simulation isn't that much of a stretch at all.
3) Both team's running games will work. Texas A&M had the Big 12's second best rushing attack at 190 yards per game but the Aggies also ranked 10th in the conference in rushing defense, allowing opponents to run for 169 yards per game. Georgia ranked third in the S.E.C. in rushing defense but an average of 128 yards per game makes that stat a little misleading. In comparison, Oklahoma had the Big 12's third ranked rushing defense at 89 yards per game. The Bulldogs average nearly 160 yards of rushing offense per game which pretty close to what the Aggies are giving up. There may be times this afternoon where it looks like these two teams are playing touch football.
4) The player of the game will be Georgia's Richard Samuel. It's only fitting that a running back gets this recognition. Samuel is an unexpected choice but our simulation has him running for 117 yards on 9 carries with 3 scores. He's currently the third leading rusher for the Bulldogs and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry.