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.
1. This is truly the battle of Best Passing Offense versus Best Passing Defense. The edge, in my opinion usually goes to the defense in these battles. Especially when the offense has the added penalty of catching the dropsies disease in the last 2 games.
2. Ole Miss has the best pass defense in the conference, but a mediocre pass rush. This implies that their linebackers and secondary are just that good. This is also backed up with their league-leading interception rate (2 per game).
3. Ole Miss is not a good running team, they utilize small scat backs not the typical power runners the SEC is known for. Their QB Bo Wallace has lead them to the #2 conference ranking in passing yards per game, but has shown a penchant for not getting it done on the road (in the past). A&M will have to get to Bo early and often, this being a night game in Kyle Field should certainly invigorate the Aggie Fans as well.
4. Ole Miss is a prime opportunity for A&M to finally get some take-aways. The Aggies 102nd ranked turnover margin might be improved going against a team that loses just less than 1 fumble and just over 1 interception per game.
5. I know Time of Possession is not a major factor, especially with this offense (we have the worst TOP but the most plays run per game in the SEC), but keeping the ball and sustaining drives is very important. We may run at a dizzying pace, but we can’t seem to keep drives going, especially in the first half. We need to learn that keeping the ball is more important than making the dazzling big play.
6. Ole Miss is the SEC’s worst in Kick-Off Returns and Punt Returns.
7. Finally, a team that commits as many penalties the Aggies!
8. Even after losing to Miss St., Jeff Sagarin still has the Aggies ahead of the Bulldogs in the Sagarin rankings. Ole Miss is ahead of both at #3.
The Aggies will have tough time pulling the upset at home, but Kyle Field is rocking as everyone understands the stakes and wants to test the potential volume of new Kyle Field. Bo Wallace throws 2 interceptions – one of them a pick-6. The Aggies win 30-27.
The Aggies travel to Tuscaloosa to take on a seething Alabama team at home – where A&M upset then #1 Bama two years ago behind the dazzling play from freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. Nick Saban will remind his team what happened "in their house" last time and will make extra sure his team is prepared for retribution in 2014.