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Stat Simulation – Game 2: Texas Aggies vs SHSU Bearkats

Analyzing how the Sam Houston Bearkats stack up against Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggies in this week's Stat Simulation...

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

So hoo who thought Rice might put up that many points?  Who thought they might gain that many yards?  This is why the players play the game fellas - because next to no one knew A&M as going to sit so many starters due to suspensions, nor that 9 true freshman would see the field on defense.

Again, there is, in fact, no way to predict these things so early in the season, but this is a fun pastime for me so I do the best to use associated data from the past season and don't dwell too much on the impossibility of extrapolating accurate datapoints from biased historical data forward to this season. So again this week, I am showing a glimpse of what it might have been had these two teams met up at the end of last year.

I did have to do a little finagling and re-sorting of the national rankings to show where SHSU might have been in relation to other FBS teams in the final 2012 stat rankings.  So, I simply replaced all the stats from Colorado with the SHSU stats and re-ranked each list to get the national rankings for each category.

Also, since they are an FCS opponent and we are FBS, I had to change the qualifiers for "Advantage" so that if the Aggies were more than 10 spots ahead in the NR, they got the advantage, but the Bearkats would have to lead by 30 spots in the NR to get the advantage - just a gut feeling there.

(In short; 2012 ≠ 2013 AND FCS < FBS... but there is no way to quantify the differences.  However, I want to paint a picture of what this matchup will look like, so sit down, shut up, and let your eyes take in the glory of my work.)

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.

The Chart

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


Download: Full ImagePDF

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.

Other Stuff

Some notable statistics and questions from the "Stat Simulation" above and each team's website:

1.  The A&M offense was essentially unstoppable all season long in 2012 except for 2 quarters versus Florida and 2 quarters versus LSU (both Top-7 defenses) - and looks to repeat that performance despite losing OC Kliff Kingsbury, OT Luke Joeckel, and WR Ryan Swope.  Indeed, this showed last week as Rice had no answer to QB Matt Joeckel, QB Johnny Manziel, RB Ben Malena, RB Tra Carson, WR Mike Evans, etc.

2. Three former A&M players are on the SHSU squad: DB Johntel Franklin, WR Chance Nelson (SO), and DE Andrew Weaver (SR).  Good luck to these young men while facing their former teammates.

3.  SHSU blocked two (2) punts versus hapless HBU who is in their inaugural season of fielding a college football team.

4.  SHSU had 13 players record at least a ½ TFL in their first game.

5.  SHSU ran the ball 56 times in the opener compared to just 13 throws.  Of those 13 throws five (5) were completed.  Those five (5) completions totaled 90 yards.  Of those 90 yards, 66 came from one play.  Did you catch that?  Four (4) throws for 24 yards, one (1) throw for 66, 8 incompletions, and the rest were run plays.  (2 of their TDs came from passes)

6.  SHSU had 7 rushers with at least 3 attempts; all of them averaging over 5.0 yards per carry.

7.  Richard Sincere averaged 21.3 yards per rush, with a long of 23... meaning at a minimum his other two rushes were at least 19 yards)

8.  Deshazor Everett recorded the 4th most tackles on the team (7, 2 solo) in just under a half of play.

9.  Last week the Aggies slowly tapered the Rice ground game, allowing the following averages per rush each quarter: 1st - 13.75; 2nd - 4.92; 3rd - 5.76; 4th - 2.79

I hope you enjoy this feature and will come back next week to see how the Aggies will fare, statistically, against the Alabama Crimson Tide in Game 3.

Gut Feeling

Aggies beat "Sam" 56-17, handily.  Johnny starts, plays through the end of the 3rd quarter, scores 6 touchdowns, still does the "Money Rub" gesture, and doesn't get ejected or a PF (Oh, he will be taunted, but will simply walk away this game).

Look Ahead

Alabama has won two national championships in a row, but each won was tarnished with a loss - 2011 LSU, 2012 TAMU - and they want that crystal trophy clean and sparkling when they go for it again this year.  Can the Aggies dash those hopes and the dream of a three-peat?  It will be tough, but the game against VaTech exposed some weaknesses in the ‘Bama game, especially on offense - if not for 3 D/ST touchdowns, the final score would have been 14-10.  AJ McCarron barely threw over 100 yards and the team could not muster more than 100 yards on the ground.  They must improve a lot on offense in order to keep up with the Aggie Offensive machine that will surely put some big points on the board.