2005 extended its dominance over the last half of the season with another victory over 2017, although the bowl game results were closer in the last few games.
NOTE: John McCargo returned to 2005’s lineup for the bowl game, while Bradley Chubb sat from 2017’s bowl to protect his draft status by avoiding injury. I replaced Chubb in the metrics analysis with Shug Frazier who will be a key contributor in the next few years.
Bowl Individual Stats:
2005 lead in each of the key individual stats racking up more tackles, three times as many TFLs, and a half-sack more for good measure.
Bowl Team Stats:
Although 2005 gave up more rushing yards overall, the yards per carry is the telling stat, and 2017 gave up over three-quarters of a yard per every attempt. Football is still about scoring points . . . 2005 did not allow a rushing TD (2017 gave up one) . . . and along with the rest of the defense, pitched a shutout.
Opponent quality should be considered of equal strength. Due to the tiered system of choosing bowl participants, generally speaking, bowls are relatively successful in matching teams with comparable results
South Florida’s 2005 version finished 6-6 (4-3; 3-way tie for 3rd in Big East) – Big Win = #9 Louisville in Tampa; two of their five losses heading into the bowl game were to ranked opponents = #9 Miami in Miami and #12 West Virginia in Tampa (they also lost their opener to an unranked Penn State team in Happy Valley – a team that would finish 11-1 with a #3 national ranking).
Arizona State finished 7-6 (6-3; 2nd in South Division of Pac-12) – Big Wins = #24 Oregon & #5 Washington (both games in Tempe); one loss to ranked opponent = #8 Southern Cal in Tempe.
Both teams were victorious, but 2005 delivered a shutout (14-0) while 2017 won a shootout (52-31). If First-Team All-America DE Bradley Chubb had played, the results of 2017’s bowl game would surely have been different. However, we cannot revel in “might-have-been” (keep in mind that during 2005’s season, John McCargo (the third of that year’s D-Line first-round NFL draft picks missed five regular season games).
With 2005 winning the statistical battle and shutting out their opponent, they earned the victory in the Bowl Game edition.