Air Force -2.5 3.3% play
To me both offenses are a wash as they are both unique in their own way, but traditionally the triple option is harder to prepare for even with extra time. We have seen Washington State and this air raid offense struggle in bowl games, and against teams with extra time to prepare for it. The last 4 years Washington State has scored -9.5, -13, -26, and -11.5 points in their bowl game compared to their season average. When you look at Army, Navy, the last 3 years they have done better in their bowl games. Army last year scored 70 points +38, In 2017 they scored +12 points and 2016 +8, while Navy’s last 3 bowl games were +19, +7, +7.2 against their season average, so extra time to prepare for the option did not matter. I project a score of 41-31 here in favor of Air Force. Washington State did not beat a bowl team all year.
Air Force is also better at containing their opponent’s offensive strengths as their pass defense has a pass rush ranked in top 50, and they can study these route tree’s and come up with a turnover or two. Their pass defense is better than Washington State’s run defense which ranks 107th. Air Force’s defense is also more balanced, as they can stop the run ranking 26th, while Washington State ranks 114th vs. the pass. Air Force also is very good at limiting big passing plays ranking 36th in 10+ yard passing plays allowed and 14th in 20+ yard passing plays. Washington State will have a hard time scoring fast in this game. Meanwhile, Air Force ranks 14th in 10+ rushing yard plays, and Washington STate 104th in 10+ rushing yard plays allowed.
Air Force also the stronger team as far as third downs and red zone are considered, and they are better in TO margin and special teams. This game I feel is also more important to Air Force who is trying to get to 11 wins, and it is their first bowl game since 2016. Pac 12 has struggled in bowl games of late. I do think some PAC 12 teams are live and backed Washington already, but Washington State is not a team I think you can bet on.
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