AccuScore.com has run more than 10,000 simulations for every bowl game for Yahoo! Sports, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. Here's AccuScore.com's analysis of the Hawaii Bowl.
Baseline: Boise State 74%, East Carolina 26%; Score: Boise State 42, East Carolina 29
In its last game in Honolulu, Boise State lost to Hawaii and failed to win a sixth consecutive Western Athletic Conference title. A year removed from the BCS, the Broncos return to the island as a 75% favorite against East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl. Simulations have the Broncos scoring more than 42 points with quarterback Taylor Tharp throwing for 245 yards and at least two scores. Tharp's main target is sophomore Jeremy Childs. The California native had a breakout season with 82 catches for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns. He is projected for at least 60 yards on 5.6 receptions. Ian Johnson will continue to be a focal point for the Broncos' ground game and is forecasted to rush for 85 yards and a score.
Running back Chris Johnson will carry the load for East Carolina and is projected to have more than 105 yards on less than 20 carries. East Carolina will rotate Patrick Pinkney and Rob Kass at quarterback. The duo is combining to throw for more than 223 yards and 1.6 touchdowns with just 0.7 interceptions in simulations.
Pick youth over experience?
Ian Johnson has scored 45 touchdowns in his three-year career and rushed for 2,744 yards the past two seasons. He vaulted to prominence last season by scoring the winning touchdown against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl before proposing to his girlfriend on national television. By all accounts Johnson is a college football star, but if you were to look at this year's production, freshman Jeremy Avery has been better on a per-carry basis. Johnson missed two games earlier this season because of injury. In those games, Avery ran for 234 yards and four touchdowns.
Avery ran for an impressive 6.1 yards per carry. While Johnson ran for a healthy 5.1 yards per carry himself, Avery has clearly shown big-play ability. Although the difference in per-carry average may be due to differences in situation and opponent, AccuScore replayed this game with Avery as the primary back. In this situation, Boise State won 77% of simulations. That represents an increase of three percentage points over the baseline simulations. While Johnson is the workhorse for the Broncos and is obviously a very good player, Avery just may be the more talented player.
|Boise State||Win%||Ian Johnson||Jeremy Avery|
|Baseline||74%||17 rush, 85 YD, 1.3 TD||6 rush, 40 YDS, 0.6 TD|
|Scenario||77%||8 rush, 39 YD, 0.6 TD||17 rush, 92 YD, 1.4 TD|
East Carolina should stick with Patrick Pinkney
East Carolina has utilized two quarterbacks all season, rotating Pinkney and Kass under center. Pinkney has been more accurate with a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Kass. He also brings another dimension to the offense with his mobility. Pinkney has rushed for 253 yards this season compared to just 13 for Kass. Kass did play very well against Tulane in the final game of the regular season, going 12 of 18 for 177 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The final game aside, East Carolina is better off with Pinkney at quarterback rather than splitting snaps with Kass. Under this scenario, East Carolina would win 32% of simulations, which is a six percentage point improvement.
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