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2012 Foundation of Facts – Game 9: Texas A&M vs Mississippi State

See how the Mississippi State Bulldogs stack up against Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggies in this week's Foundation of Facts...


Texas A&M put the pedal to the floor and didn’t look back against the west division's bottom team, most likely speeding up the eminent departure of Auburn’s Top Eagle, Gene Chizik. This week we will look at how the muddy Mississippi State Bulldogs stack up against the Texas Aggies.

Try to wrap your head around this: Mississippi State is 3-1 in conference, but all of its conference wins come against teams that have not won a single SEC game this year. They beat Auburn (1-7, 0-6) by a score of 28-10 at home, then beat Kentucky (1-8, 0-6) by a score of 27-14 on the road, and then beat Tennessee (3-5, 0-5) by a score of 41-31 at home.

Some statistics to pay attention to down below:

1. Texas A&M’s Offense is still #1 in the SEC in rushing, total offense, scoring offense, plays per game, pass plays per game, average per rush, 1st downs, and 3rd down conversion efficiency.

2. Miss St. leads the SEC in one category: Punt Return Coverage. However, they are ranked #2 in sacks allowed per game, TFL allowed per game, turnovers lost, and turnover margin.

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.

Description: Star-divide

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".

Download: Full Image | PDF


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. I expect Texas A&M to be able to move the ball yet again. We should make a lot of progress on the ground versus Miss St.’s 45th ranked rush defense. If the Aggies can do that, then…

2. The Passing game should open up at some point even against a more-stingy Miss St. pass defense.

3. Again, who has Miss St. played? Two (2) FCS teams, an underwhelming Troy and Middle Tennessee St., the three (3) worst teams in the SEC who have a combined ZERO (0) SEC wins, and then top-ranked Alabama who smashed them 38-7.

4. The Aggies have outgained our FBS completion by 42.3% of their combined average defense (our opponents combine to average 381.4 yards allowed per game, while we average 542.9 per game).

5. Miss St. creates opportunities with turnovers and does not give up the ball much. However, against the one good (great; ranked) team they’ve played, they fumbled four (4) times and lost two (2) of those, and Tyler Russell was intercepted once.

6. Mississippi State scores the least amount of both teams in the 1st Quarter (58 points is the least amount scored in a quarter by either team), but they also allow the least amount of points between both teams in the 1st quarter. Is that about to change? A&M has scored 82 points in the 1st Quarter and only gives up 34 points. The 2nd Quarter should be fun, both teams have their biggest advantage there. (Caveat: Miss St. did not score on Alabama until 4:39 left in the 4th quarter… probably against 2nd or 3rd teamers)

I hope you enjoy this feature and will come back next week to see how the Aggies will fare, statistically, against the Alabama Elephants in Game 10.

Gut Feeling: Aggies Win 34-24

p.s. Don't forget to make your predictions for the game here!!!

LOOK AHEAD: Alabama is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC. They have the 1st ranked defense at 203 yards allowed per game, and the 41st ranked offense at 436 yards gained per game. They are also ranked 1st in the nation in the following individual metrics: Rushing Defense, Pass Efficiency Defense, Scoring Defense, and Pass Defense. If LSU can get 50 yards through the air and 100 yards on the ground this week, I will be impressed.