Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week 12: Saturday Matchups

This week we give you two games to watch, the coin toss game of the week, and a new item: the "No, You're An Idiot" game, in which Eddie and I explain how the other is just plain wrong.

Games to Watch

Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers.
Justin: Here are two teams that are better than their 4-7 records would indicate.  (80) Indiana lost two of their last four by a combined total of four points, and played a good Iowa team solid into the second half until they were overcome by penalties and turnovers.  (52) Purdue suffered a string of close losses early in the season -- four of them by a touchdown or less -- but has pulled it together recently.  Both are looking to salvage something from this season, and it's going to come down to defense.  Both teams have similar offensive efficiencies, but Indiana's defense has been porous, allowing 21.2 PPH.  Barring a big turnaround, expect Purdue to score late and pull out a close victory.
Eddie: You can call this game the pillow fight of the week if you want, but RBA suggests that it's going to turn into a high-scoring affair with (75) Purdue expecting 18.1 PPH and (91) Indiana expecting 19.8 PPH while pushing the tempo to around 170 plays.  Both teams struggle mightily with turnovers and penalties but should provide each other with short fields and scoring opportunities.  Expect a late Purdue turnover to send the Old Oaken Bucket back to Bloomington with a Hoosiers' 32-31 victory.

LSU Tigers at Mississippi Rebels.
Eddie: The BCS computers say (19) LSU is a top 10 team, but RBA isn't buying it thanks to an offense that doesn't bother to show up against quality opponents.  (28) Ole Miss, in typical Houston Nutt fashion, is ten different types of erratic, committing turnovers and penalties at an alarming rate but getting strokes of brilliance from WR/RB Dexter McCluster.  For all their faults, LSU plays sound defense and doesn't turn the ball over, so they pull of a close win in Oxford, 18-17.
Justin: While we agree on the outcome, I expect (18) Mississippi to have slightly better odds of pulling the upset against (13) LSU than Eddie's system (56.5% versus 62.8%).  And while we're in agreement over who's going to leave Oxford a winner, we apparently both disagree with the oddsmakers who have Ole Miss as a four point favorite.  While Ole Miss has put up better offensive numbers than LSU, LSU has the slight edge on defense that will be the deciding factor.  Expect this one to go to the wire with LSU emerging as 27-24 victors.

The "No, You're An Idiot" Game of The Week

Oklahoma Sooners at Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Justin: Of all my rankings that have been the target of the most ridicule, having Oklahoma as the 6th-best team in the nation is right up there.  The (6) Sooners haven't been winning games with offense; it's been their 4th-ranked defense -- behind only TCU, Alabama, and Ohio State -- that keeps them near the top of the rankings.  The (16) Red Raiders have had problems with good defenses, only managing to put up 24 against a solid Texas defense and a season-low 17 against a mediocre Oklahoma State.  It's fair to say that TTU hasn't seen a defense like this and are the clear underdogs.  Expect Oklahoma to get enough offense in bits and pieces to put away Texas Tech, 35-31.
Eddie: I don't think it's a stretch to call (21) Oklahoma the best four-loss team in America, but they certainly aren't the #6 team in the country.  RBA isn't as bullish as TFG because Oklahoma's offense exhibits a pretty steep drop-off against better defenses.  (22) Texas Tech doesn't have an elite defense, but when adjusted for strength-of-schedule and tempo, they're better than Miami (FL) and BYU who both beat Oklahoma.  Texas Tech is also relatively opportunistic, averaging a shade under two takeaways per game.  Oklahoma's defense may slow Tech down, but home field advantage tips the game in favor of the Red Raiders, 27-24.

Coin Toss Game of the Week

North Carolina Tar Heels at Boston College Eagles.
Eddie: Neither team has been particularly impressive, despite identical 7-3 records.  (38) UNC is consistently bland offensively, with efficiencies between 9.9-13.1 PPH across all opponent strengths.  In this matchup, we expect (40) BC to produce only 11.9 PPH, compared to UNC's 13.6 PPH, but BC's home field advantage and reduced penalty count make up the difference.  RBA says 21-20 Boston College.
Justin: While my tempo-free stats put the (35) Tar Heels as favorites over the (36) Eagles, it's going to be a close one.  Both systems tag this as the most up-in-the-air game this week, so we'd be lying if we said we had a favorite.  UNC is on a bit of a hot streak recently, having put away Miami-FL and Virginia Tech, and is looking to end the season on a high note.  The law of common opponents, the tempo-free numbers and my gut all tell me UNC pulls this one out.  Final score: 24-20.