I don't think anyone but Auburn fans thought that the Auburn Tigers football team could make this big of turnaround in one year under Coach Malzahn (a la Texas A&M 2012). Auburn has a potent running offense, three effective tailbacks, and a mobile quarterback. I think everyone saw how Ole Miss' Barry Brunetti tore through our lacking defense and actually scored two (2) passing touchdowns because the Aggie defenders were biting so hard on the play action (Howard Matthews must improve on his ability to be completely duped by this playcall and stick with his receiver as the "last line of defense").
Auburn completely dominates the stat-line in their offense versus our defense - it is no time for "Wrecking Crew" chants in 2013. On the other hand, can anyone stop the Aggie offense or a motivated Johnny Manziel when he needs to come from behind? (Spare me the Alabama jibes, the refs missed two blatant PI calls in that game - one for a pick-six - which turned the tide [pun intended]).
Both teams sport a 4-plus-headed rushing attack. It's going to be Mason - Artis-Payne - Grant - Marshall versus Manziel - Malena - Carson - Williams - Williams. Auburn is 7th in the nation (1st in the SEC) in the ground game and Texas A&M is simply not good at grinding down an opponent's ground game. This might be REALLY painful for us Ags, and we will have to answer every inevitable, long Auburn scoring drive with an efficient and effective drive of our own to win.
I know this looks like a bloodbath in Auburn's favor, so you may be wondering how the - objective - formula has the Aggies on top. Well, the formulas both take into account: Sagarin Ratings, Home Field, Turnover Margin, Past Competition, Scoring Efficiency Rates, and the like. I am fairly confident we will NOT slow down Auburn's ground game much (who has?). I am also confident we will score in the 40+ range for the 10th straight game and keep our unblemished record versus Auburn.
Hey, have you guys ever seen the work they've done over at StatMilk? You can compare any two teams in the nations and pretty match up like-for-like statistics, but you can't take them offense vs defense head-to-head like I do here... It's very interesting stuff though with automated INFOGRAPHICS!
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 25 in the Nation
Red Metric = Bottom 25 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".
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 4 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 "Stat Simulation" above and each team's website:
1. The A&M offense has had 45 "explosive" rushing plays from scrimmage of 10+ yards (18th) and 81 "explosive" passing plays of 10+ yards (12th) equaling 126 long-plays from scrimmage (4th). They are only 1 of 12 teams with a play over 90 yards this season.
2. In the flip side, A&M has given up 98 plays of 10 yards or more (99th), 37 of which were from runs.
3. Heisman #2 Watch: Johnny has 2,262 total yards in 6 games, landing him 4th in total yards per game (behind some gunslingers Sean Mannion and Derek Carr, and a Johnny Football clone in Brett Smith from Wyoming - seriously: 7 less yards rushing and 19 more yards passing on the season, so far). Marcus Mariota is 6th (358.3 ypg) and Bryce Petty is 8th (347 ypg).
4. Texas A&M scores a touchdown every 13.6 plays while Auburn takes 18.9 plays between touchdowns on average.
5. Texas A&M has only allowed 6 sacks this season (19th); Auburn has allowed only 4 (4th)! This does not bode well for an A&M team that has only earned 5 total sacks on the season (120th).
6. Auburn QB Nick Marshall has only thrown for 4 TDs in combined games all season. Johnny has thrown for 4 TDs in three (3) separate games this season - Rice 4, SHSU 4, and Bama 5.
7. Auburn has lost 6 fumbles (of 15 forced) - 1 per game; the Aggies have lost 2 fumbles (of 7 forced). Auburn has only forced 3 fumbles all year; A&M 5 forced. Both teams have thrown 5 interceptions.
8. 1,107 of Auburn's rushing yards have come against 3 non-conference foes. Against the 3 conference teams they've faced, they've only managed 615 rushing yards (less than their passing yards - 656) which means Total Offense versus conference opponents is 8th.
9. Versus conference opponents, Texas A&M is 9th in rushing yards allowed, giving up 189.33 per game (feels like a lot more, doesn't it? That's probably because we allow a league-worst 5.68 yards per rush)
RANDOM IRRELEVANT STAT OF THE WEEK
Johnny Manziel is 2nd in the Country in Passer Rating in 4th Quarters of games. Check out this stat line - in combined 4th Quarters:
(4 of 6 games he's played in the 4th quarter, btw)
26-32-0; 5 TDs, 441 yards passing, 81.3%, 248.57 passer rating
11 rushes, 90 yards, 8.18 per rush, 1 TD
Aggies beat the Tigers 44-31 in a game that many Aggies saw coming with our defensive woes. This game is going to be exactly what we think it is: Scary at times, unbelievable at others, but ultimately the Aggies cruise to the win.
Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3 Conf) will face the Aggies for the first time... EVER. There has never been a game between these two teams in 120 years possible matchups. Vanderbilt is 0-3 in conference, and is the envy of private schools like Baylor. Well, here's to putting a good ol' Aggie-on-Baylor beat down of the Commodore's next week.