Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 10: Saturday Matchups

You'll have to forgive Eddie for being brief in his descriptions because he is on vacation in Seattle.

This week sees two of the 20 best games all year, according to GUGS, and expect the quality to improve from here on out. Each of the next two weeks sports three of the top 20 games. But first, we examine

Game of the Week
Arizona Wildcats at Stanford Cardinal
GUGS Score: 77.9

Justin: The (14) Wildcats play a defense just as efficient as the Oregon D that shut down Stanford in the second half in Palo Alto. The (16) Stanford offense, however, has moved on since the Oregon loss to establish themselves as the third-most-efficient offense in I-A, behind only (2) Boise State and (7) Virginia Tech. Stopping Stanford at home will be difficult, and TFG suspects the Wildcats won't be able to pull it off. On a neutral field this one would go to Arizona, but home field advantage is just barely enough to give this one to the Cardinal, 35-31, but only with 53% confidence.
Eddie: They aren't particularly flashy, but (5) Stanford is beastly on offense, averaging 22.4 PPH even against (14) Arizona.  The Wildcats aren't bad on either side of the ball, with an expected 15.5 PPH and 14.6 PPH for offense and defense, respectively.  With the game in Palo Alto, RBA thinks that Arizona simply can't keep up offensively to take down the Cardinal.  RBA predicts a well-contested game where Stanford pulls away late, 34-24, with 51.9% confidence.

BCS Game of the Week
Arkansas Razorbacks at South Carolina Gamecocks
GUGS Score: 70.6

Eddie: (18) South Carolina had issues on defense last week against Tennessee but has generally played pretty well defensively.  First quarter against Vanderbilt aside, (17) Arkansas has been unstoppable offensively since the Alabama game.  Although Arkansas has a +3.6 PPH offensive advantage, South Carolina compensates with a +3.1 PPH defensive advantage.  In a game this close, home field advantage makes the difference.  RBA says South Carolina over Arkansas, 31-27, with 59.9% confidence.  Stupid computer.
Justin: I arranged this one so Eddie would get first say about his beloved (19) Razorbacks. Having said that, my computer pretty much agrees with his. The (21) Gamecocks would lose on a neutral field, but once again home field advantage comes into play. Arkansas continues to have issues on defense, whereas South Carolina struggles on offense. For a low-possession game -- expect about 162 plays -- this will be a relatively high-scoring affair. Expect to see South Carolina eek out some points at the end in a 34-32 victory, but only with 53.6% confidence.

BCS Upset Watch of the Week:
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns at Mississippi Rebels.
GUGS Score: 21.0

Justin: It was either this or (63) Tennessee at (115) Memphis, so (107) Louisiana-Lafayette at (51) Mississippi it is. GUGS calls this the 578th-most interesting (or 101st least interesting) game in I-A ball this year. Ole Miss sports a +6.0 PPH advantage on defense and a 9.3 PPH advantage on defense. Expect the Rebels to cruise by at least two touchdowns, 42-28.
Eddie:  While Houston Nutt losing to both Jacksonville State and (113) Louisiana-Lafayette in the same season would be hilarious (and my cousins would never live it down), it's simply not going to happen.  (51) Ole Miss sports a +15.5 PPH offensive advantage and a +14.2 PPH defensive advantage.  This one screams blowout, 42-17, with 87.8% confidence.

Kids' Table Game of the Week
Navy Midshipmen at East Carolina Pirates.
GUGS Score: 60.9

Eddie: We see a lot of (65) East Carolina in this space.  This week, they match up against (45) Navy and their 16.4 PPH offense and 13.6 PPH defense.  The Pirates are in trouble defensively at 19.7 PPH but have a modest +1.2 PPH offensive advantage.  Navy plays slow, so we can expect the overall effect of efficiencies to be muted.  Home field makes this one a dandy with an East Carolina upset, 29-28, at 55.5%.
Justin: The reason we see a lot of the (57) Pirates here is that they play a lot of decent Big Six conference schools. In this case they play another team that fits that description, the (46) Midshipmen. This game will be a contrast in styles; ECU will speed things up, while Navy will play the deliberate pace often seen in teams from military academies. Both teams are good but not great; Navy has a 0.8 PPH advantage on offense and a 0.5 PPH advantage on defense. Both of those are on a neutral field, though, but this one is being played in Carolina. Home field advantage tips this coin toss to ECU, but by the slimmest of margins; look for this one to come down to the absolute last drive, with a field goal and the game on the line. TFG says the Pirates survive to take home the victory, 34-33, but only with 50.7% confidence.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers.

Despite their freak loss to South Carolina, Alabama remains one of the elite teams in college football. LSU is good, but not that good. The Crimson Tide are better than 2-to-1 favorites to win what will likely be a low-scoring affair.

TCU Horned Frogs at Utah Utes.

Both TFG and RBA have TCU as the top team in the land; Utah is a top-20 team (or top-10, depending on which ranking system you prefer), but that's not going to be enough here. Both systems agree TCU wins by about a touchdown with 78% confidence.