Saturday, December 3, 2011

Week 14: Saturday Matchups

Game of the Week / Coin Toss Game of the Week
Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma State Cowboys
GUGS Score: 81.0


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
12 Oklahoma St. 0.800 0.536 55 27.7 9 15.9 27 181.2 4
5 Oklahoma 0.875 0.571 41 26.6 13 12.2 4 179.5 6

The raw numbers suggest this is the #2 offense (OSU) against the #8 offense (OU) and the #29 defense (OU) against the #64 defense (OSU). And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why tempo-free stats are important. Neither offense is quite as good as it would seem, but neither defense is anywhere as bad as the raw, unadjusted numbers suggest. What TFG can tell you, though, is that this will be one of the fastest, highest-scoring games this year. Both teams like to get out and run, but the Sooners have a 1.1 PPH advantage on offense and a 3.7 PPH advantage on defense. In a high-paced game like this those slight differences can really become significant. TFG says the Sooners take this by a field goal after a furious track meet. Oklahoma 38, Oklahoma St. 35 (63.7%); 180 plays.


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
6 Oklahoma St. 0.966 0.548 16 26.8 3 14.0 46 173.3 7
5 Oklahoma 0.974 0.542 26 23.5 10 10.0 7 171.6 14

If nothing else, this will certainly be an exciting game. (6) Oklahoma State has an incredible offense at 36.1 +/- 18.5 PPH and a defense that is better and more consistent than you'd think at 13.2 +/- 1.6 PPH. They give up a ton of points mainly because they play so fast. Lord knows what will happen when they get together with fellow speedsters, (5) Oklahoma. The Sooners are slightly less efficient but slightly more consistent offensively at 29.2 +/- 11.4 PPH. Contrary to popular belief, they also play pretty good defense (4.7 +/- 10.8 PPH). Again, they're penalized by many people for how fast they play. RBA says Oklahoma State finishes their (nearly) dream season with a 31-28 Bedlam victory with 54.7% confidence. I make no such prediction about whether they'll jump Alabama in the BCS.

Unstoppable Force/Immovable Object Game
Wisconsin Badgers vs Michigan State Spartans
GUGS Score: 66.9


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
18 Michigan St. 0.874 0.541 29 20.0 25 10.8 15 167.1 52
4 Wisconsin 0.975 0.533 42 28.4 1 10.8 16 161.6 107

Tell me if you've heard this one before: Michigan State has a tendency to lose its offense in big games. Well, it's still true. (18) Michigan State still struggles against top flight competition with their 31.2 +/- 22.4 PPH offense. The difference this time is that RBA has decided that (4) Wisconsin has the same problem (39.1 +/- 21.4). Unfortunately for the Spartans, that's over a touchdown per hundred plays better. Furthermore, the Badgers have an equivalent defense this time around at 4.3 +/- 13.0 PPH versus the Spartans' 3.0 +/- 15.6 PPH. Sure, Michigan State won this game in October, but even the most diehard Spartan fan has to admit that the hail mary reception was lucky. Despite that victory, RBA still picks Wisconsin, 31-24, with 65.6% confidence.


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
15 Michigan St. 0.793 0.564 47 22.9 27 13.4 6 163.4 81
3 Wisconsin 0.890 0.514 64 34.6 1 15.0 23 157.5 111

The strange thing is that this matchup has gotten even more lopsided on paper than the last time we ran it. In that case the prediction was Wisconsin 34, Michigan State 30. Remove the freak Hail Mary, and you've got something pretty close to the final score. Who here thinks the Spartans can pull that off twice? Me neither. Another piece of bad news for Michigan State is that this isn't going to be in East Lansing. Home field advantage is always a big boost, especially early in the season. Pair a neutral field with a reinvigorated Badger offense, and you've got Wisconsin by 8 this time. Wisconsin 38, Michigan St. 30 (68.0%); 160 plays.

Shootout of the Week
Southern Miss Golden Eagles vs Houston Cougars
GUGS Score: 62.1


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
23 Houston 0.721 0.335 111 26.7 12 18.2 53 180.0 5
43 Southern Miss. 0.601 0.336 110 21.4 37 18.2 51 175.6 13

The current line on this game is Houston by two touchdowns. That may be optimistic, or Houston may just be this year's version of 2010 Auburn, who were barely favored in their title game last year. The Cougars are definitely picking up steam and doing better against quality opponents. Will it be enough to get past Southern Miss? TFG isn't as positive on the Golden Eagles as RBA is, mainly because it thinks their defense is a bit dodgy. Honestly, right now that's probably the worst thing to be going wrong for Southern Miss right now, as Houston really starts firing on all cylinders on offense. Their sheer pace gives them a boost in the eyes of the human pollsters -- Houston shouldn't be anywhere within spitting distance of the top 10 right now -- but they're starting to find more efficient offense now. TFG says it'll be enough in a shootout of a game. Houston 39, Southern Miss. 35 (63.2%); 177 plays.


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
24 Houston 0.826 0.471 85 22.9 12 13.7 39 175.2 4
19 Southern Miss. 0.870 0.482 76 20.9 22 15.3 57 168.6 36

Stewart Mandel thinks that Houston will beat Southern Miss by four touchdowns. RBA doesn't think so. Sure, we've mocked (24) Houston this season, but they're finally hitting their stride. Although you'd think that they consistently ring up points, you'd be wrong. Adjusted for competition, the Cougars' 38.6 +/- 31.3 PPH is the most inconsistent offense in the country. In contrast, the (19) Golden Eagles' offense is the most consistent at 20.3 +/- 1.3 PPH. In another statistical WTF, Houston actually has the most consistent defense in the country: 13.2 +/- 0.9 PPH. (No, Southern Miss isn't the least consistent defense. That'd be UTEP at +/- 34.0 PPH, followed by UCLA at 26.0 PPH.) For the first time all season, RBA picks Houston to beat Southern Miss, 31-28, but at only 52.0% confidence. If the Cougar offense brings it, then this game could get out of hand quickly, but if they take a quarter off, Southern Miss is going to beat them.

W - L
% Correct
TFG 13.93 -  5.07 73.32%
RBA 13.78 -  5.22 72.54%