Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 3: Saturday Matchups

Game of the Week
USC Trojans at Stanford Cardinal
GUGS Score: 68.7


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
6 Stanford 0.854 0.505 66 33.8 3 16.7 22 157.2 104
14 USC 0.794 0.531 54 29.1 12 16.9 26 163.3 60

I know this seems backwards from conventional wisdom, the Vegas line, and everything else, but that's what you get when you have an algorithm that relies pretty heavily on data from previous years and doesn't account for turnover in rosters. To be fair, though, Stanford did just destroy a not-as-atrocious-as-usual Duke squad, and USC has had problems getting going in their two games. This is one of those early-season games where no one -- not the computers, not the people, and not even the players -- really have a good sense where they stand going into it. If USC wants to catch up to Alabama -- currently boasting the highest WinPct in TFG history -- they'll need to put in an impressive showing here today. For now the computer dreams longingly of Andrew Luck, and gives the edge to the Cardinal. Stanford 42, USC 34 (72.4%); 160 plays


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
4 Stanford 0.975 0.541 32 24.3 7 12.2 25 167.0 58
10 USC 0.958 0.533 45 23.6 9 11.9 24 166.9 60

Stanford boasts the most consistent offense in the country at 24.5 +/- 0.004 PPH, but their 2.1 +/- 20.2 PPH defense struggles against top competition.  Interestingly, so do the Trojans.  For all their offensive firepower (28.5 +/- 9.8 PPH), their defense clocks in at a similar 1.7 +/- 20.5 PPH.  The computers say we should expect a lot of points between two highly ranked teams, making this the Game of the Week.  RBA calls this one for Stanford, 38-34, with 65.5% confidence.  There's still a lot of Luck, DeCastro, and Fleener in this algorithm, whereas there's still a lot of Barkley, Lee, and Woods on the field.  I must confess that I'm skeptical about this pick.

Coin Toss Game of the Week
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Memphis Tigers
GUGS Score: 24.1


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
116 Memphis 0.099 0.361 105 12.9 117 31.3 111 163.8 57
108 Middle Tenn. 0.181 0.255 119 14.7 113 26.8 99 173.4 16

With a combined WinPct that is still less than the Duke squad Stanford destroyed last week, there's a reason that GUGS doesn't think too highly of this game. But this is what you get when both of us agree on most of the games: down-scoreboard-games with relative unknown teams playing for our Coin Toss. Unfortunately for me, my computer is much more skeptical of my favorite than RBA is of the Tigers. The only reason TFG thinks this is going to be close at all is because of early-season home field advantage. Without that, the Blue Raiders' atrocious defense and even worse offense wouldn't even have a shot. But root, root root for the home team, because I need them to win so Eddie can't talk trash on Monday morning. Middle Tenn. 36, Memphis 35 (53.9%); 168 plays.


Team WinPct SoS Off. Def. Pace
114 Memphis 0.066 0.460 98 9.3 114 23.4 117 169.1 31
109 Middle Tenn. 0.109 0.416 122 8.9 117 21.2 105 168.5 40

In the words of Homer Simpson, "Quit boring everyone!"  This game features two teams near the bottom of the barrel, but in the absence of many disagreements thanks to lackluster matchups, this is what you get.  Both teams are terrible offensively.  The Blue Raider offense scores only 19.9 +/- 22.0 PPH, which is mildly better than the Tigers' 16.5 +/- 14.4 PPH, but only because their team strengths are so low.  Defensively, the Blue Raiders have a slight edge, as well.  However, RBA picks Memphis 29-28 because they're playing at home.  The confidence level is a bit high at 73.1% because the strengths are so low that modest differences make a big impact on confidence.

W - L
% Correct
RBA 34.40 - 10.60 76.44%
TFG 35.07 -  9.93 77.94%