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AccuScore simulation: Holiday Bowl

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AccuScore 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's analysis of the Holiday Bowl.

Baseline: Texas 60% Arizona State 40%; Score: Texas 32, Arizona State 28

Texas will take on Arizona State in what is likely the best matchup of the early bowl season. Both teams are probably disappointed at not being part of the BCS party, but this traditional face-off between the Big 12 and the Pac-10 should be a good one.

The Longhorns are winning over 60% of simulations by just over four points on average. Colt McCoy is projected to throw for 255 yards while throwing an equal amount of touchdowns and interceptions. On the ground, Jamaal Charles is forecasted to continue his late-season surge by rushing for over 155 yards and at least one touchdown.

Sun Devil quarterback Rudy Carpenter is forecasted for 215 yards passing and two touchdowns. The ASU defense is also forcing 2.5 turnovers per simulation (compared to 1.85 for Texas), which should give the Sun Devils quality scoring opportunities.

Jamaal Charles dictates who wins

Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Rudy Carpenter will draw plenty of attention, but AccuScore says Jamaal Charles is the real key to the game.

AccuScore simulated two different scenarios. In the first situation, we simulated without Charles and saw Texas's win probability decrease 16 percentage points to 44 percent. In the second scenario, we simulated the Sun Devils being able to contain Charles, which made the game much closer.

Jamaal Charles Texas Rush YD YPC TD
Baseline 70% 26 155 6.0 1.2
Without Charles 44%
Contain Charles 50% 23 90 3.9 0.8

Charles is Texas' trump card. His speed and big-play potential give the Longhorns the ability to score from anywhere on the field and open room for the receivers to operate. If Arizona State can contain Charles on a neutral field, then the game is a true coin-flip. However, our baseline simulations forecast Charles to have a strong game, thus making Texas the favorite.

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