The last time you and I met, was right before the shellacking that the Aggies put upon the Missouri Tigers. A lot has transpired since then: 1) Johnny Football wins the Heisman, 2) Luke Joeckel wins the Outland, 3) America went over the fiscal cliff but held onto the roots of a cliff-hanging tree near the top, 4) Florida went over the Driskel cliff and lost to Louisville, 5) Etcetera, Etcetera... This week we will look at how the potent Oklahoma team (#11 BCS) stacks up against the Texas Aggies (#9 BCS).
Oklahoma has survived the Big 12 offenses and only dropped one (1) conference game – one they probably should have won, in retrospect - to KSU. However, in two (2) of the last three (3) games of the season OU got itself into shootouts versus in-state rival OSU (51-48 W/OT) and West Virginia’s Mountaineers (50-49 W). Texas A&M is 1-2 versus teams that had 2 losses or less prior to the bowl games - #2 Alabama, #3 Florida, #8 LSU; OU is 0-2 losing to #5 K-State and #1 Notre Dame. Pay special attention to the quarter by quarter matchups of these two teams… they are eerily similar results.
Some other statistics to pay attention to down below:
1. Texas A&M’s Offense is #1 in the SEC in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense, scoring offense, plays per game, average per rush, 1st downs, 3rd down conversions, and TD scoring in the redzone.
2. OU leads the Big 12 pass efficiency defense, average per pass defense, 1st down defense, 3rd down conversions, TD scoring in the redzone, and kickoff return defense.
Before you skip to the analysis, please let me first explain the scope, drawbacks, and purpose of this chart. Once you're familiar with this information, you can happily skip ahead in the future. But I insist that you READ THIS NOW before you proceed.
Key to the chart below:
Blue Metric = Top 20 in the Nation
Red Metric = Bottom 20 in the nation
Advantage = One team is more than 20 spots ahead of the other team’s inverse metric in the national ranking; i.e. Texas A&M was ranked 68th in Rush Defense versus SMU’s 98th ranked Rushing Offense; therefore, due to A&M being 30 spots ahead of SMU in that metric's national ranking, they get the "advantage".
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Disclaimer 1: The prediction formula is an algorithm that I created which takes into account yardage offense and defense, how a team has performed relative to its direct competition, injuries, red zone scoring, home/away/neutral, turnover margin, average points scored and allowed, and a multitude of other factors that are all represented on the above "Foundation of Facts". I have been tweaking the formula for 3 years, but nonetheless I have not found a way to accurately predict the outcome of each game because (as my quote above implies) there are simply TOO many variables to account for and too much uncertainty in each game. However, it is fun to include the objective, stat-based, and numbers-only prediction for a conversation piece. (Besides, if my formula was really that accurate I would horde it to myself and be a multi-millionaire like alternate-Biff in the movie Back to the Future 2)
Disclaimer 2: I take no responsibility if you attempt to use this prediction for betting; unless you win - in which case I demand a 10% gratuity. But seriously, if you have a gambling problem and use this to bet, and lose... do not hold me responsible and seek help to beat your addiction.
Some notable statistics and questions from the "Foundation of Facts" above:
1. The A&M offense has been essentially unstoppable all season long except for 2 quarters versus Florida and 2 quarters versus LSU (both Top-7 defenses).
2. A&M, either through Johnny’s scrambling ability or on the back of Malena and Michael, should be able to run all over Oklahoma’s porous run defense (94th in Avg Per Rush)
3. With OU’s DT rotation maligned and A&M’s superior offensive line talent, they will have a hard time getting to Johnny Manziel – who has proven that he will chuck it down the field if given time in the pocket.
4. Landry Jones has passed the ball 107 more times than JFF, but only has 5 more TDs.
5. Not listed in the Top-3 runners for A&M above is Trey Williams, a stellar true freshman who has four (4) TDs and average 5.7 per carry.
6. Even though no starting cornerbacks or safeties are listed in the Top-5 of A&M’s defense, I expect those guys to get a lot of work this game and if they can hold on will be the star unit of the game.
7. I actually feel sorry for Corey Nelson and Tom Wort in having to stop fellow Texan Johnny Manziel from scrambling around and running all over the OU defense.
8. Two (2) OU secondary players have accounted for 9 of their interceptions – CB Aaron Colvin (4) and SS Javon Harris (5).
Gut Feeling: Aggies beat OU 41-34 in a wild one that sees lots of scoring early, few mistakes, and tired defenses at the end of the game.
LOOK AHEAD: Could this be the start of Manziel’s 2013 Heisman campaign? I say yes! 2013 National Signing day is February 6th. The Aggie Maroon and White game will probably wind up being around the 20th of April if they stick to the same general time-frames they did last year.