Rushing Into the Bowls



New member
Sep 21, 2004
Rushing Into the Bowls

We published this article early in the college preseason and with the regular season winding down and bowl season right around the corner we added the 2003 numbers. Being able to run the ball in college football has always been a key factor in the overall success of a team. The same adage also goes for teams who have the ability to stop the run as well. Putting these two factors together can produce some very positive results in a team’s record both straight up and against the spread. Lets take a look at our 2002 and 2003 results and show you how the significance of a solid running attack on both sides of the ball can produce some very nice profits.

We have our own formulas that rank the rushing offense and defense of teams which are based on yard per game (ypg), yards per carry (ypc), Td’s scored and allowed, power ratings and strength of schedule. At the end of 2002, our top 5 rushing offensive teams consisted of Kansas St. West Virginia, Penn St., Air Force and Nebraska, not big surprises by any means since all were in the top 10 in the nation in ypc. The same holds true for our top 5 rushing defensive teams (TCU, Kansas St., South Florida, Ohio St. and Troy St. as all were in the top 10 in ypc allowed). For this example, we will look at the top 20 on each side of the ball and see how noteworthy these stats can be when handicapping games.

Offensively, here is our top 20 with their final ORR (Offensive Rushing Rating) for 2002:

22.07 Kansas St.
19.37 West Virginia
18.68 Penn St.
18.58 Air Force
17.14 Nebraska
15.91 Navy
15.73 Colorado
15.12 Toledo
14.52 Miami Fla
14.24 Wake Forest
14.03 Boise State
13.87 Auburn
13.78 Bowling Green
13.76 Virginia Tech
13.32 Maryland
13.18 Iowa
13.14 Oklahoma
13.13 Alabama
13.01 Colorado State
12.62 Arkansas

Of these 20 teams, only Navy finished the season with a losing straight up record while only 6 of the 20 teams finished with a sub-.500 ATS record (Nebraska, Navy, Miami Fla, Wake Forest, Blowing Green and Arkansas). Overall, the 20 teams combined for a 179-70 record straight up and a 139-94 record ATS (59.7%). Even more impressive, these teams combined for a 40-25 record ATS (61.5%) as underdogs. This solidifies the maxim “Always look at the rushing dog”.

Now let’s look at the 2003 rushing numbers, listing the top 20 with their final ORR:

20.99 Minnesota
19.39 Navy
19.05 Rice
18.58 Texas
17.90 Missouri
16.39 Oklahoma St.
16.35 Kansas St.
15.67 Arkansas
15.32 Air Force
15.10 Louisville
14.51 Virginia Tech
12.70 New Mexico
12.69 Tulsa
12.36 Wake Forest
12.17 Nebraska
12.06 Bowling Green
11.96 Northwestern
11.54 Michigan
11.50 Auburn
11.49 West Virginia

Rice and Wake Forest are the only teams in the top 20 that finished below .500 on the season. Just like 2002, only 6 of the 20 finished with a sub-.500 ATS mark (Kansas St., Air Force, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Auburn). Overall, the 20 teams combined for a 160-79 SU record and 125-97 (56.3%) ATS record which is down compared to the prior year but very profitable nonetheless. As underdogs, they combined for a 40-29 (58.0%) ATS record.

Defensively, the numbers are just as impressive. Our top 20 and their DRR (Defensive Rushing Rating) in 2002:

1.51 TCU
1.64 Kansas St.
1.98 South Fla.
2.08 Ohio St.
2.64 Troy St.
2.83 Alabama
2.89 Washington St.
3.13 Southern California
3.23 Oregon St.
3.30 Utah
3.44 Notre Dame
3.44 Iowa
3.45 Boise St.
3.69 Oklahoma
3.94 Louisville
4.11 North Texas
4.12 Georgia
4.15 Washington
4.18 Penn St.
4.26 Arkansas

Two of these teams finished with a losing straight up record (Troy St. and Utah) while only 3 finished with a losing ATS record (Utah, Washington and Arkansas). Overall, the top 20 combined for a 182-60 straight up record and a 139-85 ATS record (62.1%). How did these teams finish the season as an underdog? A very impressive 35-16 ATS (68.6%).

Similar to the offense, the defensive numbers fell somewhat in 2003 but again they were moneymakers. The 2003 top 20 with their final DRR:

1.46 Southern California
1.54 LSU
1.55 Ohio St.
2.07 New Mexico
2.11 Boise St.
2.33 Georgia
2.48 Washington St.
2.60 Oregon St.
2.73 TCU
2.82 Kansas St.
2.88 Purdue
2.94 Iowa
3.04 Memphis
3.05 Auburn
3.23 Oklahoma
3.32 Miami (Ohio)
3.39 North Texas
3.41 Mississippi
3.50 South Fla.
3.50 Michigan St.

All of these teams finished with a winning record straight up with Auburn having the worst record at 7-5. Overall, the top 20 finished 186-52 SU and 128-99 (56.4%) ATS. As underdogs, they finished 29-22 (56.9%), which is less than last season but still in the black.

Not surprisingly, in 2002 the bottom 5 teams both offensively and defensively finished a combined dismal 31-91 straight up and 69 ATS (39.6%) 2003, the bottom 5 finished 109 SU and 49-78 ATS (38.6%). Obviously during bowl season, all of the bad teams won’t be around with the exception of only a couple. But it is a good idea to look at these good rushing teams, both offensively and defensively, in their bowl games.

[This message was edited by The General on December 04, 2003 at 02:09 PM.]


Another Day, Another Dollar
Mar 1, 2002
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New member
Sep 21, 2004
Great info InsiderEdge - thanks! A couple of questions if you have the time -

1) How did the teams in your top 20 in each category perform in the bowl season last year? Have you tracked these in previous bowl seasons?

2) If you don't mind sharing, how do you devise the formula to arrive at your score? BCS like

3) Have you used a formula like this in the NFL and if so what sort of results have you seen?

I am always interested in different rushing stat formulas and how they peform, thanks....!

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