Saturday, October 30, 2010

Week 9: Saturday Matchups

Here we are at week 9, and both TFG and RBA have teams that are starting to pull away from the pack. The RBA top 25 has 3 teams that have established themselves as potential front-runners, and the TFG top 25 has four teams that are pulling away. The only two teams that are consensus frontrunners, though, are Alabama (RBA #2, TFG #3) and TCU (consensus #1). The problem with this, though, is that Alabama might not make the SEC title game, much less the national title game, and TCU will have to cross their fingers and hope that everyone else gets one loss before they'll have a realistic shot at the title game. With that in mind, we move on to our games of the week.

Game of the Week
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Kansas State Wildcats.
GUGS Score: 67.7

Eddie:  It seems that the Big XII has declared a moratorium on defense this season, and this game is no exception.  (42) Kansas State is in a hole on both sides of the ball in this game.  The (30) Cowboys have a +1.6 PPH advantage on offense and a +3.8 PPH advantage on defense.  The defensive statistic indicates how incredibly bad Kansas State's defense actually is against decent competition, surrendering 21.9 PPH to Oklahoma State.  Home field keeps it close, but Oklahoma State should escape a 53.3% nail-biter in Manhattan with a 32-31 victory.
Justin: Yes, we are claiming that no-longer-undefeated (31) Oklahoma State at the (51) Kansas State Wildcats is the best game this week. The Cowboys have a solid offense that yields 24.1 PPH, and pairs that with a frantic 177 PPG pace. Their defense allows a respectable 17.1 PPH, but probably looks a lot worse thanks to their pace. Traditional stats actually rate the Wildcats as having a better defense -- 25.9 points/game compared to 30.6 points/game for OKSU -- but TFG knows better. The Wildcats allow 19.7 PPH, but barely get through 161 PPG; this slow pace gives their opponents fewer scoring opportunities. Look for Oklahoma State to pull off the victory in a high-speed, low-defense match that ends with the Cowboys winning, 37-36.

BCS Game of the Week
Oregon Ducks at Southern California Trojans.
GUGS Score: 64.2

Justin: As discussed in TFG's take on the remaining undefeated teams, this will be the last serious test for (7) Oregon. The Ducks visit (17) USC in a game that could determine whether or not Oregon makes it to the national championship game. TFG still isn't sold on Oregon, who are still about 2.0 PPH away from Alabama on either side of the ball. What makes the Ducks offense look good -- and their defense bad -- is their stunning pace. At 183 PPG, Oregon is one of the quickest teams in I-A. USC, however, plays a much more deliberate game but still lacks the offensive firepower or the defensive prowess of Oregon. The Trojans are playing at home, which will give them a slight boost. TFG has this as effectively a coin toss with the Ducks coming out ahead 35-33. It's only 52.9% confident, though, so USC has a reach chance to ride the home field momentum to victory.
Eddie: The (10) USC Trojans are the toughest remaining test for the (3) Oregon Ducks.  Oregon absolutely rocks offensively and should light up the scoreboard all night at 24.1 PPH.  However, the Trojans can play a little offense as well.  The defenses are fairly well matched with Oregon holding a slight 1.7 PPH advantage.  They're playing Los Angeles, so USC has a slightly better chance than otherwise.  RBA is bullish on the Ducks but has historically underestimated the Trojans.  It's going to be high scoring and close as Oregon edges Southern Cal, 32-31, on the road with 72.3% confidence.

BCS Upset Watch of the Week
Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
GUGS Score: 44.7

Eddie: We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for this one because RBA says it isn't going to be even remotely close.  (47) Notre Dame has a +3.3 PPH offensive advantage and ridiculous 11.2 PPH defensive advantage.  (73) Tulsa has to travel to South Bend, too.  Everything on paper says "blowout."  Notre Dame wins this one by a comfortable margin, 38-21, with 67.3% probability.
Justin: I see Eddie's not too hot on this one; neither am I, nor is GUGS. The (38) Fighting Irish may be on a bit of a slide, but the (60) Golden Hurricane will have a serious uphill battle here. They have a 0.5 PPH advantage on offense against Notre Dame, but are down a whole 4.2 PPH on defense. Add into the mix that Notre Dame is playing at home, and TFG says the Irish are 3-to-1 favorites to win, 36-29.

Kids Table Game of the Week
East Carolina Pirates at University of Central Florida Knights.
GUGS Score: 54.8

Justin: We're back to slightly more respectable matchups now. The (53) Pirates visit the (49) Knights in Florida, and while ECU has a 1.1 PPH advantage on offense, they're down 1.5 PPH on defense and pack in an extra 20 PPG during an average game. Home field advantage will give the Knights an extra boost, which they'll need if they want any breathing room here. TFG says UCF pull it off, 32-29, but only with 63.5% confidence.
Eddie: (56) East Carolina has gotten a lot of visibility here at TFG this season.  The Pirates' offense matches favorably against the Knights' with a +6.0 PPH advantage.  The Knights have a slight +0.7 PPH defensive advantage, but the game is being played in Orlando, giving UCF the opportunity to pull of the upset.  RBA believes that there is a 54.9% chance of that happening. Final score:  UCF 28- ECU 27.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Missouri Tigers at Nebraska Cornhuskers.
GUGS Score: 55.5

This isn't expected to be close, but we said that last week about the Missouri/Oklahoma game.

Auburn Tigers at Mississippi Rebels.
GUGS Score: 52.7

Another undefeated team, another seemingly-easy victory. I'm sure Eddie has something to say about this one, though.  [Eddie:  I hope Gus Malzahn lets Cam Newton score 70 on Ole Miss.  Running Malzahn out of Fayetteville was originally and still remains the leading factor in my Houston Nutt rage.]