What is it that makes me love stats so much? I was in real disbelief last week when I saw what the formulas predicted for the final score. I mean, I knew that Arkansas was down this year, but they are still very talented and I thought that surely our defense was an anomaly (Battered Aggie Syndrome; we've been down, duped, and delirious for so long it was just hard to believe we actually had a good defense). So when the predictions were 46-10 and 47-12, respectively, I was apprehensive to post the Arkansas Foundation of Facts chart at all...
BUT THE AGGIES CAME THROUGH! The defense performed superbly and, even though they sieved yards to Arkansas in the air and didn't get to Tyler Wilson much, they made the stops that counted in the red zone.
Odd Question of the Week: Who are the top 5 teams in point differential per game in the FBS? You may be surprised by a team or two (go to the bottom for answer).
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 it's 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. This should be another pass-fest from Johnny Football; see the Ole Miss pass defense and scoring defense; this after facing juggernauts Central Arkansas, UTEP, and Tulane.
2. The RebelBearAckbars best quarter is the 1st Quarter and their worst is the 2nd Quarter. The Ags on the other hand, have had superb 2nd and 3rd Quarters; not allowing a single touchdown all season in either the 2nd or 3rd Quarters. Add to that the fact that A&M has played alot of 2nd and 3rd stringers in the 4th quarter and that probably accounts for one of the TDs there... So if you think about it, A&M 1st Team Defense has only allowed a single (1) Touchdown in the cumulative 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters this season... wow.
3. Special Teams: The Ags are 1st in net punting, 9th in Punt Returns, and no worse than 40th in any other return category (offense and defense). On the other hand, Ole Miss is 92nd in net punting (field position), 94th in Punt Return Def, 112th in Punt Returns, 107th in KOR Coverage... (allowing 26 yards per KO return).
4. Turnovers... A&M just doesn't do them. Our Backup QB threw 1 interception this season. That's it. We've "fumbled" the ball 7 times, but recovered each one ourselves. Ole Miss is -1 in turnover margin giving away 2 per game and taking 1 per game on average. Bo Wallace has thrown 6 interceptions in 5 games.
5. Surprise: A&M's defense only allows .158 points per play (4th in nation, 2nd in SEC) and .0347 points per yard (3rd in Nation, 1st in SEC). Also, teams are only converting 3rd Down on us 26.5% of the time (7th in NCAA, 1st in SEC)
6. Ole Miss has just as many people running with the ball as the Ags do; but they don't have Johnny "Football" Manziel. Jeff Scott needs to get more carries, he averages 10 per game, but 6.3 per carry... questionable decision-making by the Ole Miss staff there. Has the Aggie defense faced a mobile quarterback like these 2 before? Maybe Florida's Jeff Driskel?
7. SACKS, SACKS, SACKS! Don't look now but the Ags fell from their 1st place perch in sacks; however, they are still averaging 4 per game (6th in NCAA, 2nd in SEC) while Ole Miss allows 3.2 per game. Perhaps we should say: SACKS, SACKS, SACKS, SACKS,..., SACKS!
I hope you enjoy this feature and will come back next week to see how the Aggies will fare, statistically, against the LaTech Bulldogs in Game 6.
Gut Feeling: Aggies Win 38-24
Answer to Odd Question of the Week: Adjusted for FBS opponents only and on a per game basis:
1. Alabama at 33.2 avg pt diff
2. Texas Tech at 31.4 avg pt diff
3. Texas A&M at 30.0 avg pt diff
4. LSU at 29.0 avg pt diff
5. Oregon at 28.5 avg pt diff
p.s. Don't forget to make your predictions for the game here!!!
LOOK AHEAD: Louisiana Tech is 21st in Total Offense, but 5th in Scoring Offense. They haven't scored less than 44 points in any game, but their opponents have lacked any credibility (UH, RIce, Illinois, Virginia). What LaTech has in its prolific offense is made up for by a horrendous defense: 118th place allowing 530 yards per game (162 on the ground and 369 through the air) and allowing 24 points or more in every game (UH scored 49!). Mike Evans, Ryan Swope, and Thomas Johnson are licking their chops at the though of facing a worse secondary than Arkansas (hello 500 yards passing version 2.0)! Maybe Johnny Football can set an NCAA record afterall?