Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week 13: Saturday Matchups

Once again we give you two games to watch, the coin toss game of the week, and the "No, You're An Idiot" game, in which Eddie and I explain how the other is just plain wrong.  Currently Eddie has been correct once, and I have yet to be correct.

Games of the Week

Utah Utes at Brigham Young Cougars
Justin: This game is a perfect example of why it's better to lose early in the season.  The 21st-ranked Cougars were crushed at home by (3) TCU 38-7 a month ago, whereas (20) Utah received their 55-28 shellacking from TCU on the road two weeks ago.  Both have similar strength of schedule and both have identical records.  But BYU is ranked four spots higher in the BCS and is a 7-point favorite.  The TFG numbers disagree, giving Utah a 4-point edge in this game, but only as a 53% favorite.  The Utes are thin at the running back position, but the good news is for them it's always been about defense.  If they can stop BYU's offense -- similar in adjusted efficiency to (12) Oregon -- they'll pull out the victory.
Eddie: RBA considers this a near toss-up because the teams have identical SoS-adjusted strengths.  (28) BYU is expected to put up 16.1 PPH, whereas (29) Utah should produce 17.1 PPH.  They have nearly identical tendencies with takeaways and penalties.  BYU tends to turn the ball over once more per game, but they're playing at home.  RBA favors BYU over Utah by a single point, 28-27, in what should be one of the best games of the day.  The winner of the turnover battle wins the Holy War.

Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Eddie: I love Paul Johnson and what he has done for (11) Georgia Tech.  They absolutely flatten teams with the flexbone, but RBA keeps them out of the top 10 because their defense has been terrible.  How bad?  I'm talking about Baylor-level bad, surrendering 15.4 PPH to average opponents.  On the bright side, they're consistently bad, so we expect similar performance against a (59) Georgia team looking to put the defensive ineptitude of the 2009 season behind them.  Barring a turnover-ridden game, the Yellow Jackets will out-play the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball, win decisively 41-24, and send Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez to the unemployment office.
Justin: The (22) Yellow Jackets possess the third-most efficient offense in the nation behind only (1) Florida and (2) Texas.  Why, then, does TFG think so poorly of Tech that it has them 20 spots behind the Longhorns?  Defense, defense, defense.  And those three words are about as much defense as the 38th-ranked Bulldogs are going to see this weekend.  This is going to be a slow but high-scoring game, as both Tech and the Dawgs possess exceedingly average defenses; think Michigan or Washington for adjusted-efficiency analogs.  The Bulldogs' game plan needs to be all about slowing down Tech's offense because they shouldn't need to worry too much about scoring against the Yellow Jackets.  However, I remain skeptical about Georgia's ability to do just that, so look for Tech to walk away as 38-31 winners.

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

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Duke Blue Devils
Justin: This didn't turn out so well for me last week, but I've got a better feeling about this game.  Mainly because my system picked (63) Wake Forest and Eddie's picked (81) Duke.  Yes, for football.  The Blue Devils had a reasonable streak in the middle of the season, defeating Maryland, North Carolina State, and Virginia.  In restrospect, however, defeating the 59th, 80th, and 89th ranked teams in the nation does not a BCS contender make, and the Blue Devils have slipped over the last several weeks.  Wake Forest has been playing well, but against tough competition.  Expect the Demon Deacons to put it all together this weekend and pull off the 27-24 victory.
Eddie: Newsflash!  (88) Wake Forest falls in the same category as (113) Maryland, (107) NC State, and (72) Virginia.  As miserable as (74) Duke has been lately, Wake Forest has been even worse.  Duke should put up 16.4 PPH against Wake's 14.5 PPH.  Duke also turns the ball over less frequently, takes the ball away more frequently, commits fewer penalties, and plays at home.  RBA is picking Duke over Wake Forest, 31-24, in a game where the Blue Devils simply make fewer mistakes than the Demon Deacons.

Coin Toss Game of the Week

Utah State Aggies at Idaho Vandals
Eddie: (66) Idaho has made serious improvements since last year but has been run over by everybody with a solid pulse, losing to Washington, Nevada, Boise State, and Fresno State by a staggering score of 206-114.  Luckily for them, (102) Utah State has been on life support for a couple of seasons now.  Idaho has been very, very sloppy on occasion, surrendering as many as seven turnovers against Boise State.  Unlike the Broncos, the Aggies' sport one of the worst defenses in the country.  In this one, the Vandals simply suck less and are playing at home.  RBA says Idaho over Utah State, 34-20 with 73.2% odds.
Justin: This matchup isn't going to be on ESPN Prime-Time anytime soon, but this should be a good game.  The line has (90) Idaho as three-point favorites, but TFG likes (86) Utah State for the upset.  Neither team plays anything really really resembling "defense", but at least the Aggies have an adjusted efficiency resembling that of Georgia (19.8 PPH versus 19.2 PPH) whereas the Vandals have a porous defense with an AdjE of 25.6 PPH, good for 9th-worst in FBS.  The Aggies, however, make up for it with an offensive efficiency of 14.5 PPH.  This game isn't likely to be described in retrospect as "pretty", but expect a lot of scoring and for the game to be decided in Utah State's favor on a late drive.  Final score: 35-31.

Full predictions available here.