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Stat Simulation – Game 3: Texas Aggies vs Rice Owls

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Analyzing how the Rice Owls (0-1) stack up against the Fightin’ Texas Aggies (#7) in this week's Stat Simulation...

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Well, truthfully, Rice is not a very good football team; they were annihilated by Notre Dame in their first game 48-17.  Granted, Rice did hang around in the early goings, trailing Notre Dame by only four (4) points midway through 2nd quarter, but it was all Irish after that.  Also notable, is that Notre Dame went on to blank Michigan 31-0 in Week 2, showing that the Rice loss to the Irish (and being able to put up 17 points in the process) was perhaps not as bad as it appeared at first glance.

Of course, since this is only week 2, and each team has only played 2 and 1 opponent(s) respectively, these stats are pretty much meaningless.  However, I need the practice for later in the season, and my spreadsheet needed to be updated to account for the addition of 3 new FBS teams: Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), and Old Dominion (Conf USA).

I would like to point out the score predictions below are the most lopsided that my spreadsheet formulas have ever churned out.  I hope they’re correct.

I would also like to point out that my "GUT FEELING" from Week 1 versus SC was pretty much spot on:

"The Aggies defense should be markedly improved over last year (how can they not be?), and if I was Kevin Sumlin, I’d let Kenny test out USCe’s young secondary from play #1 in the 1st quarter with a deep ball to Speedy Noil or a middle seam to RSJ (6-5", 235 lbs WR).  If successful, it could rattle USCe early, which is what A&M will need to pull off the upset of the #9 team in the country – a la Alabama 2012."

Sumlin didn’t exactly air it out on that first drive (using Brandon Williams to run on play #1) but we did score quickly and pretty much silence their stadium.

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".

Download: Full Image || PDF

2014_tamu_rice_0913_long

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.

GUT FEELING

The Aggie defense will continue to show that they’ve improved from 2013.  They won’t get the shut out against this mobile Rice QB, but they also won’t allow a 100 yard rushing day by any Owl runners.  Kenny Hill will continue to show why he is a Heisman contender, and he should be resting by the end of the 3rd quarter, giving Kyle Allen a chance to show his skillset.

Aggies 66 – Rice 13


LOOK AHEAD

SMU is just a terrible, terrible football team.  Who knew that losing Garrett "The Grape" Gilbert would hurt so bad?  The Mustangs have a bye week this week going into the A&M game. Interesting Storyline Alert: Starting QB Neal Burcham is reported to be out for this game, does that mean former Texas A&M QB Matt Davis will get his first start versus his old college team?