The Ags ‘n Bacon game is back in Jerryworld. The pathetic Arkansas of yesteryear has transformed itself into a rushing behemoth, but can they pass the ball? Texas A&M was supposed to take a major nosedive without Johnny Manziel, but they may have improved without the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner at the helm.
In Arkansas’ one (1) SEC game this year, they hung tough with #5 Auburn before getting handled decisively in the 2nd half. The score was 21-21 at halftime of that game (in Auburn); however, the Pigs couldn’t seem to make any further progress after the break. In the 2nd half, Auburn held them to 43 yards in the 3rd Quarter and 18 yards in the 4th quarter – including -5 rushing for Arkansas in the 4th Quarter.
The rest of the Arkansas season has been a series of beatdowns against inferior competition – including Texas Tech’s 97th Ranked Total Defense (125th in Rushing Defense). The Piggies demolished Nicholls St. 73-7 (the same team UNT demolished 77-3 last week), followed by a chest-beating thump of Texas Tech 49-28, and a dismantling of Northern Illinoin 52-14.
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. Arkansas QB Brandon Allen has passed for 552 yards in 4 games, combined. For those of you keeping tabs, that’s 41 more yards than Kenny Hill had against South Carolina, alone. Allen averages just 138 yards per game. (Hint to DC Nyder: Stuff the box and bring down Howard Matthews in run support - where he's actually really good)
2. In the Auburn game, Arkansas elected to run on 21 of 29 first downs (72.4%). On 2nd down, it was the complete opposite, with Arkansas throwing for it 16 of 19 times (84.2%). On 3rd down, Arkansas stuck with the thing they are worst at, passing for 7 of 11 of those downs (63.6%). Can you say, RUN-PASS-PASS? (Side Note: 15 of their 19 2nd Downs against Auburn were 2nd and Long)
3. The Aggies Top 2 Receivers (Malcolm Kennedy & Ricky Seals-Jones) have combined for 581 yards, which is 11 more yards than Arkansas’ top 8 receivers combined.
4. Arkansas’ top 2 RBs are each averaging over 97 yards per game (Alex Collins = 122.5 rypg, Jonathan Williams = 97.75 rypg)
5. Arkansas’ defense has allowed 10 of 13 3rd and short passes to be completed and 13 of 24 3rd and long passes (total 23 of 37, or 62%)
6. KR Korliss Marshall has returned a kickoff for 97 yards and a touchdown, and is thus averaging 37 yards per return.
7. The Aggies Special Teams has been stellar in the first 3rd of Games this year so far. They are ranked in the top 20 in Punt Returns (14th), Kick Returns (12th), Punt Return Defense (4th), and Kick Return Defense (17th). Shout out to ST Coach Jeff Banks!
8. Arkansas starts each game quickly, scoring 77 points to their opponents 21. However, they really do poorly after halftime to get going again, giving up 28 points while only scoring 21 points in the 3rd quarter.
The Aggies will win this game by a couple of touchdowns. I feel pretty confident in the score predication my formula put out, with the Ags pulling ahead in the 2nd half, ending up 42 – 24 good guys.
The Aggies travel to Starkville to take on Dak Prescott and a #14 Mississippi State team that just demolished then-#8 LSU on the road. Mississippi State is the 3rd team this season that will have a bye-week prior to playing the Aggies (Rice, SMU, Miss St.). They currently have the #15 ranked Offense (537.5 ypg) and the #79 Defense (401.5 ypg).