Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 5: Saturday Recap

RBA continues to chug along on pace, while my TFG system is really struggling. Let's recap.

Week 5
System Expected Actual
W - LWin % W - LWin %
RBA  37.1 -  14.9 71.4  37 -  15 71.2
TFG  38.8 -  13.2 74.5  35 -  17 67.3

Game of the Week
Arkansas Razorbacks 42, Texas A&M Aggies 38

(12) Texas A&M 35, (13) Arkansas 33 (51.1%)

This is one of those games where you're upset to get it wrong, but you can't really blame your computer too much. TFG said it was effectively going to be a coin toss, and in the end it came down to a penalty, a big play, and a stalled A&M drive. This is kind of a pyrrhic victory for Arkansas, though, since giving up this many points to a weak A&M offense is going to ding them in the polls; the Razorbacks surrendered 38 points in 208 plays on a neutral field, slightly above their adjusted season average of 16.7 PPH. Their only hope is that their offensive production of 20.2 PPH against an excellent Aggie defense will be enough to help them tread water.

(19) Arkansas 31, (15) Texas A&M 27 (51.6%)

Can I get a "Woo pig sooie?"  As predicted, this game was the best of the weekend, featuring over 1200 yards of offense.  Injuries on the defensive line (three out of four starters) certainly contributed to the Aggies' 381 yards rushing, but there's no explanation for a pair of "NFL grade cornerbacks" (as described Chris Spielman and Dave Pasch) to surrender 509 yards through the air with a whopping 281 receiving yards by Jarius Wright.  He was open over the middle 20 yards downfield throughout the entire game.  Ex-NFL coach Mike Sherman opted to punt twice on 4th and short instead of playing for the win, leading to two Arkansas touchdowns.  There's debate as to whether Arkansas won this game or Texas A&M lost it.  From RBA's perspective, it doesn't matter. Both teams will likely drop in the RBA top 25 next week, as their defensive ratings will likely collapse.

Unstoppable Force/Immovable Object Game
Alabama Crimson Tide 38, Florida Gators 10

(2) Alabama 28, (9) Florida 21 (70.5%)

My preview stated "the only things keeping this game under control are the Crimson Tide's slow and methodical pace and Florida's home field advantage." This turned out to be fairly accurate, even if the difference in score was much larger. Florida opened the game with a huge touchdown pass and gained more yards through the air in the first quarter than Alabama's per-game average. Then, John Brantley threw a pass right into Courtney Upshaw's belly for an Alabama touchdown. From that moment onward, Florida just couldn't get things going. Brantley got hurt. His backup was ineffective. Richardson and Lacy ground down the Florida defense. Alabama ran away late to win 38-10. The only question left about Alabama is if they pass Stanford in the RBA top 25.

(1) Alabama 32, (3) Florida 30 (58.5%)

I don't know if you noticed this, but Alabama is good. Scary good. The Gators had the second-best defense in FBS coming into this game, and the Crimson Tide hung 38 points on them in a mere 146 plays (that's 26.0 PPH for those playing at home). Only 14 teams in FBS could do that against an average opponent on a neutral field, but to do that against the second-best defense on their home field is absolutely unreal. After this game I'd stop worrying about LSU and start focusing on Alabama as potential SEC champions and even national champions.

Shootout of the Week
Boise State Broncos 30, Nevada Wolf Pack 10

(2) Boise St. 43, (45) Nevada 28 (91.2%)

For whatever reason the Wolfpack seems to know how to really get at Boise, even during a down year. Between a bad game for Kellen Moore and the Broncos taking their foot off the accelerator in the fourth, this ended up being less of a shootout than we expected. At only 159 plays this game was slower than expected, but even given that the Broncos only managed about 18.9 PPH. If the Bronco D hadn't really stepped up, this might have hurt Boise's rankings a bit. As it is, I fully expect them to stay a shade above the BCS titans nipping at their heels, but well behind the Crimson Tide.

(5) Boise St. 49, (61) Nevada 20 (91.0%)

This game was all Boise State, but it wasn't quite the shooting gallery we expected. Kellen Moore threw back-to-back interceptions in the second quarter to kill a couple of drives. Meanwhile, the Broncos focused on the running game. Naturally, running plays chew more clock, limiting Boise's scoring opportunities. Petersen pulled Moore in the fourth after the worst statistical game of his career. Meanwhile, their defense pitched a shutout until the starters were pulled. All in all, this added up to a 30-10 Bronco victory, which probably isn't enough to keep them in the RBA top 5.

Coin Toss Game of the Week
Washington State Cougars 31, Colorado Buffaloes 27

(55) Washington St. 35, (73) Colorado 28 (67.3%)

Well, will you look at that? Washington State threw for 376 yards and scored two touchdowns in the final 2:35 to survive a close game against the Buffaloes. Admittedly, this game was closer than RBA predicted, but it looks like the Cougars may actually be respectable in 2011 after wandering in the wastes for the last half-decade. This makes TFG and RBA even on 2011 toss-ups.

(71) Colorado 34, (86) Washington St. 29 (68.2%)

Dammit, Colorado. Pass defense. Hold the football. I guess that's why we call these "coin toss" games, though. It'd just have been nice to get this one right, especially since my computer seems to be collapsing under the weight of so many sudden changes to top teams (TCU, Virginia Tech, Auburn, South Carolina, etc.). This was pretty much the definition of a middle-of-the-road game, as both teams averaged about 16-19 PPH. As Eddie said, we're all tied up going into this week. Hopefully I can get one back.

Coin Toss Record: RBA 2, TFG 2.

2011 - 2012 Season
System Expected Actual
W - LWin % W - LWin %
RBA 172.0 -  60.0 74.2 173 -  59 74.6
TFG 175.8 -  56.2 75.8 168 -  64 72.4

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