There are myriad factors that come into play when a committee enters the selection process for a college bowl game. Pairings, ticket sales, revenue, et cetera. After all, if it all came down to which team was better, this wouldn't be a contest.
Barring some odd results in this weekend's college football conference championship slate, either the Chick-fil-A bowl or the Gator Bowl (most likely) will be given the option to select either the 8-4 Vanderbilt Commodores or 8-4 Mississippi St. Bulldogs.
Here's anyone's best attempt to compare the teams based on their on-field performances (source: statmilk.com):
|Total Offense, Rank||70th||78th||+08.0|
|Total Offense, Yards/Game||393||388||+04.6|
|Scoring Offense, Rank||61st||56th||–05.0|
|Scoring Offense, Points/Game||29||30||–00.9|
|Rushing Offense, Rank||53rd||87th||+34.0|
|Rushing Offense, Yards/Game||171||140||+31.0|
|Passing Offense, Rank||73rd||50th||–23.0|
|Passing Offense, Yards/Game||221||248||–26.4|
|Total Defense, Rank||18th||57th||+39.0|
|Total Defense, Yards/Game||326||390||+63.5|
|Scoring Defense, Rank||18th||29th||+11.0|
|Scoring Defense, Points/Game||18||22||+04.2|
|Rushing Defense, Rank||51st||73rd||+22.0|
|Rushing Defense, Yards/Game||151||166||+15.4|
|Passing Defense, Rank||10th||47th||+37.0|
|Passing Defese, Yards/Game||176||224||+48.1|
|Turnover Differential||- 5||+ 16||–21.0|
Of course, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State didn't exactly play the same schedule, so it's hard to just rely on unadjusted performance. With that in mind, here's how the Commodores and Bulldogs stack up in the various rankings that comprise the BCS (source: cbssports.com):
If either the Chick-fil-A or Gator bowl committees pick Mississippi State over the Commodores, it will be because Vanderbilt fans haven't stepped up to the plate. Have you preordered tickets through Vanderbilt? UPDATE: Or because Nebraska got the snot kicked out of them by Wisconsin...THAT'S TWICE THIS YEAR, BADGERS.