Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 10: Saturday Recap

Week 10
System Expected Actual
W - LWin % W - LWin %
TFG  38.1 -  13.9 73.3  34 -  18 65.4
RBA  38.0 -  14.0 73.1  34 -  18 65.4

Game of the Week
LSU Tigers 9, Alabama Crimson Tide 6; 143 plays

(1) Alabama 36, (2) LSU 32 (72.6%); 154 plays

Given the relative performances on offense these teams had shown in previous games it seemed likely that we'd see, say, a touchdown. Instead we saw an inept special teams display by Alabama that went 1-5 for field goals from distances of 40 yards or more (FBS season average going into this game: 55.7%). This is the second year in a row that screwing up the little things cost Alabama a shot at the national title game. SEC fans will clamor for a rematch in the BCS title game no matter what happens, but after the Michigan-Ohio State debacle of 2006, I doubt the BCS voters would let that happen. Alabama may well retain the top spot in our rankings thanks to an impressive defense -- let's see your team hold LSU to single digits -- but we've got a chicken-and-the-egg issue right now where the SEC is awesome because Bama-LSU got fought to a standstill because both defenses are awesome because they play in the SEC, which is awesome because Bama-LSU got fought to a standstill ....

(1) Alabama 28, (3) LSU 24 (73.0%); 158 plays

The "Game of the Century" was (a) very close, (b) very intense, and (c) very sloppy. Alabama hit only two of its six field goal attempts. Jarrett Lee tossed two first-half interceptions. Then again, the game had its high points, most notably Eric Reid's late interception. (Justin doesn't believe it was an interception, but I think it was being bobbled until Reid came down with it.) In the end, LSU did what it took to win, giving them the inside track on the BCS National Championship game. As for the Game of the Century label, personally, I'm not convinced it was even the game of the time slot -- I mean, did you see Oklahoma State-Kansas State?

Unstoppable Force/Immovable Object Game
Oklahoma Sooners 41, Texas A&M Aggies 25; 213 plays

(5) Oklahoma 38, (20) Texas A&M 24 (70.3%); 171 plays

As expected, the Sooners blew the doors off the Aggies. RBA only missed the margin of victory by two, so I feel pretty comfortable with how this pick played out. The ugly part of this game was the Ryan Broyles ACL tear. (It looked just like my own. Don't put so much weight on that plant foot for the spin move, people.) The Sooners are very, very good, but RBA won't understand the injury and its effect on Oklahoma's offensive efficiency.

(5) Oklahoma 38, (20) Texas A&M 30 (76.7%); 179 plays

From the outset it was going to be an uphill battle for the immovable object (A&M's defense), but they managed to hold the line for one half. Unfortunately all that good work got thrown away in the third quarter as the Sooner offense finally got rolling and rang up 28 points in less than seven minutes. It was pretty much over after that, as the Aggie offense didn't have too much of a chance to get them back into it. They actually ran up more yards and (shockingly) ran more plays than the Sooners, but when you have seven possessions in the third quarter (yes, seven) and rings up four punts, two interceptions, and a FG miss, it's pretty much game over. As a footnote ... 219 plays? In regulation?!? That's the 13th most number of plays in an FBS game going back to the 2000-2001 season, and I'm pretty sure most (if not all) of the top 12 games went into at least one OT.

Unstoppable Force 6, Immovable Object 3

Shootout of the Week
Oregon Ducks 34, Washington Huskies 17; 162 plays

(6) Oregon 40, (45) Washington 32 (80.5%); 174 plays

I zonked out last night before this game ended when it was 34-17 and there were two minutes left in the third quarter. Given how well Oregon was moving the ball I was pretty sure we were going to have another high-scoring game on our hands. It boggles my mind that the Ducks had a six minute drive in the fourth quarter that only had 10 plays (eight from the line, one penalty, and one punt). That's a glacial 100 plays per game, nearly half the speed at which Oregon usually plays. I know they were just hanging on to a 17 point lead in the fourth, but usually Oregon's answer to "Hey, we've got six minutes, what do you want to do?" is "score about 10 points," not "run about 10 plays."

(4) Oregon 42, (33) Washington 27 (86.5%); 172 plays

This game was lower scoring than expected, but the general trend held true. Oregon hammered Washington QB Keith Price and forced two interceptions. Washington started going for it on 4th down late in the third quarter, realizing that they couldn't stop the Ducks' offense. The margin of victory should have been even bigger, if only Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado had more leg.

Coin Toss Game of the Week
Iowa Hawkeyes 24, Michigan Wolverines 16; 153 plays

(24) Iowa 28, (27) Michigan 24 (60.3%); 166 plays

This one is about as much of a coin toss as we could have selected. Michigan failed to convert on four downs from the Iowa two yard line as time expired. I don't know why Michigan didn't give Denard Robinson run-pass options on every play, but that's why I'm not paid the big bucks to coach college football.

(18) Michigan 35, (38) Iowa 31 (62.9%); 161 plays

When it comes down to 1st and goal with 0:16 left in the game and down 8, that's about as close to a coin toss as you can get. Obviously I wish that Michigan had come away with it -- not because I like Michigan, but if your computer picks a team to win, you find yourself cheering for them -- but I can live with the fact that the Wolverines couldn't pull it off.

Coin Toss Record: TFG 4, RBA 4.

2011 - 2012 Season
System Expected Actual
W - LWin % W - LWin %
TFG 365.6 - 124.4 74.6 356 - 134 72.7
RBA 361.7 - 128.3 73.8 352 - 138 71.8

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