SpreadsheetAg's Guide to Statistical Comparisons

This statistical comparison is mostly a simple eye-chart which draws on the official statistics posted at the NCAA website for NCAA Division I Football (http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/mainpage.jsp). A good portion of the statistical categories are common and well-understood by everyone; such as: Total Offense per Game, Time of Possession, Rushing Defense per Game, etc. Then there are some statistics that I have come up with myself using the well-known official statistics, for example: Points per Yard Gained; Points per Play Executed, etc. And finally, there are some statistics that, although identified easily on the NCAA website, are not sorted for National & Conference rankings; these include stats like: Yards Allowed per Rush, Passing Plays per Game, Yards Gained per Pass Attempt. All of these metrics are compared side-by-side with the opponent’s inverse; i.e. Texas A&M’s Offense metrics versus the opponent’s Defensive Metrics. So for each offensive or defensive metric on the Aggie side (below, left) the corresponding opponent metric is shown (below, right), but for defense and offense respectively.

All of that being said (or written in this case), I realize that there are some pitfalls in this method. I list these proactively because I KNOW they exist, but I chose to do this comparison anyways. I have been doing these comparisons and displaying them on Aggie-related message boards and our opponents' message boards for years. And inevitably, there is a fan who does not read the disclaimer (i.e. this section) and tries to argue either the metrics themselves, the setup, or the known pitfalls which I already acknowledged. This is pointless because the metrics are concrete from the NCAA website, the setup is of my own design and has worked for years, and the pitfalls are acknowledged ahead of time to prevent such pointless discussion. So what are these drawbacks?

1. At the beginning of the year, there are no STATS to use! Even though I can draw on the previous year’s stats, players have graduated, coaches have entered the carousel, strategies have reformed, players have returned from injury, etc., etc., ad nauseum. I realize this, I acknowledge the shortcoming, but I press on anyways. It generally takes until about the 4th or 5th game to get real buy-in from everyone that we "know" these teams for the current year and they can trust the averages from the NCAA website for the current year. Until then, yes!, it’s all conjecture based on last year’s actual numbers and a handful of this year’s actual games. So, in the spirit of this being a CONVERSATION piece and not the final say so (Hey! That’s why they play the game), I acknowledge this glaring discrepancy in the stats, I realize that the sample size is small or non-existent, but at the end of the day I enjoy doing these and looking at the comparison, and I hope you do too (however flawed it may be).

With that in mind, let me explain what this chart is and is not. This chart is not subjective, this chart is not an attempt to predict a winner, and this chart is not infallible (I am human afterall). However, this chart is intended to be a "Platform of Facts" that one can use while in conversation to make knowledgeable points instead of baseless claims. I am trying to prevent the fans from both sides from looking like morons or assholes by spouting off ignorant and uninformed opinions instead of researched information. Use the factual and actual metrics presented here to make your subjective opinions. i.e. "We were awesome at defense last year allowing only 299 yards per game, and there is no reason to think that will change since we’re returning many of those same players and same coaches; therefore I think the last game was a fluke and we will lock it down between Weeks One and Two and come out strong against the Aggies at Kyle Field…"

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