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Pac-12 Bowl Game Team Comparison and Projection (Part 3)

Two more bowl games for the Pac-12 until Oregon and Washington play on New Year’s Day

Oregon State v Arizona Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

This is the third part of a series which will look at the bowl games for the Pac-12. The final part will look at the two NY6 games featuring Pac-12 teams: the Fiesta Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. Today’s game featuring USC was included in part two, which was published last week. (https://www.uwdawgpound.com/2023/12/21/24007280/pac-12-bowl-game-team-comparison-and-projection-part-2)

The Pac-12 is back in action this week with two bowl games: Arizona in the Alamo Bowl and Oregon State in the Sun Bowl. This will look at both games to compare the teams in that bowl game using advanced stats and show who is favored in the games.

Alamo Bowl: Arizona vs Oklahoma

Arizona v Arizona State Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images

Arizona was one of the most improved teams in 2023, going from 5-7 last year to 9-3 this year. And they could have been even better since two of their losses were overtime losses on the road (at Mississippi State and at USC). And their 3rd loss was at home to the Pac-12 champions, UW.

Oklahoma also improved this year. They went from 6-7 in Brent Venables’ first year to 10-2 this year. Oklahoma had a great win over Texas and two close road losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State.

In the Massey Composite Rankings, Oklahoma is #10 and Arizona is #16.

Here is how both teams look in some of the advanced stats.

Advanced Stats Ranking Comparison-Arizona vs Oklahoma

School FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank FPI
School FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank FPI
Arizona 17 18 21 12 24
Oklahoma 9 12 13 8 8

The advanced stats rankings look similar to the Composite Rankings. They all show Oklahoma with the advantage.

Here’s what the advanced stats look like for both sides of the ball for each team.

Off/Def Stat Comparison-Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Team/Side FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank
Team/Side FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank
Arizona Off. 11 10 11 6
Oklahoma Def. 21 24 33 16
Oklahoma Off. 7 7 6 5
Arizona Def. 32 39 43 36

Both teams have very good offenses. Oklahoma’s offense does rank slightly better, and their defense is better as well.

Several sites are projecting which team will have the advantage in the game.

  • ESPN’s FPI has Oklahoma with a 75.5% win percentage.
  • Beta Rank has Oklahoma with a 62% win percentage.
  • Massey has Oklahoma with a 79% win percentage.
  • SP+ has Oklahoma with a 60% win percentage.

So, all of these sites see Oklahoma with a significant advantage in the game. (Those same sites all had Utah with an advantage over Northwestern, and we saw what happened in that game.) As with a lot of bowl games, the outcome could come down to which team has the most motivation and the least impact from opt-outs.

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs Notre Dame

Oregon State is surprisingly 2-0 in games against Notre Dame, including the infamous Fiesta Bowl smackdown on January 1, 2001 (41-9). Will that trend continue?

Stanford v Oregon State Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images

Husky fans are all-too-familiar with Oregon State, one of the two remaining schools in the Pac-12 (2) conference. They were ranked as high as #11 in the CFP poll until they had back-to-back games against UW and Oregon and ended at #19.

Notre Dame handed USC their first loss of the season (convincingly), but also lost a close game to Ohio State. Their best win is over #18 NC State, and they also lost to Louisville and Clemson. They are ranked #16 in the final CFP ranking.

In the Massey Composite Rankings, Notre Dame is #14 and Oregon State is #18.

Here is how both teams look in some of the advanced stats.

Advanced Stat Comparison-Oregon State vs Notre Dame

School FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank FPI
School FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank FPI
Oregon State 15 16 17 16 20
Notre Dame 10 10 9 9 10

Notre Dame’s ranking is very consistent, and consistently above Oregon State. Notre Dame is ranked higher in the advanced stats than their ranking in the CFP. They are ranked ahead of UW in all but the FEI.

Here’s what the advanced stats look like for both sides of the ball for each team.

Off/Def Stat Comparison-Oregon State vs Notre Dame

Team/Side FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank
Team/Side FEI F+ SP+ Beta Rank
Oregon State Off. 8 13 23 13
Notre Dame Def. 10 11 11 11
Notre Dame Off. 17 18 17 14
Oregon State Def. 42 36 32 31

Both teams have good offenses that are similar and rely on the running game. Notre Dame averages 181.5 yards per game (5.33 yards per run) while Oregon State average 180.8 yards per game (5.06 yards per run). Notre Dame averages 247.8 yards per game passing (9.0 yards per attempt) while Oregon State averages 246.1 yards per game (8.4 yards per attempt).

Oregon State’s defense hasn’t been as good this year as they were last year, but it is still decent. (They went from #9 in 2022 to #42 in FEI this year.) Notre Dame’s defense has been a little better.

Both teams played Stanford this year. Notre Dame won 56-23 while Oregon State won 62-17. Oregon State’s win was at home while Notre Dame’s was at Stanford. Both were big wins over a bad team; I’m not sure that much can be taken from those games other than to note that both teams won big when they were supposed to.

Several sites are projecting which team will have the advantage in the game.

  • ESPN’s FPI has Notre Dame with a 66.2% win percentage.
  • Beta Rank has Notre Dame with a 67% win percentage.
  • Massey has Notre Dame with a 66% win percentage.
  • SP+ has Notre Dame with a 60% win percentage.

Those are surprisingly consistent and fit with the advanced stats advantage for Notre Dame.

As with a lot of bowl games, the outcome could come down to which team has the most motivation and the least impact from opt-outs. That’s particularly true with this game as Oregon State had two of their top QB’s opt out. Plus, this will be the first game for Oregon State under new head coach, Trent Bray.

Poll

What will the Pac-12 record be in these two bowl games (Arizona vs Oklahoma and Oregon State vs Notre Dame)?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    2-0 (Both teams win)
    (41 votes)
  • 57%
    1-1
    (107 votes)
  • 20%
    0-2 (Both teams lose)
    (38 votes)
186 votes total Vote Now