A Reason for Optimism

I've been pretty vocal about my pessimistic outlook on tomorrow's game. You see, the words "Greg" and "Davis," placed together in order, are my kryptonite. Usually cocksure and brash, the mere mention of those two cursed words causes my knees to buckle. I break out in cold sweats. My breath becomes short and strained. If I have an erection, it wilts. Since 2004, no one has ever dared utter "Greg Davis" together with either of the phrases "14-3" or "12-0" in my presence. Thank God for that, because I would surely die of extreme anxiety if that ever occurred. And I'd die with a limp ding-dong, which is no way to go.

That said, I've gone back and dug a little deeper into the set-up for last year's classic battle against the fightin' paperclips, and I feel a little more comfortable that the Horns will take care of business. You see, OU is currently ranked #9 in total defense. They finished the 2008 season ranked #68. I've used that statistic repeatedly to justify my vitriolic tirades against one Greg Davis, claiming that the Horns' offensive outburst against OU last year was more a product of poor competition than ingenious scheming. But I may have spoken too soon. Just compare OU's defensive numbers pre-RRS over the past two seasons:

2008: 13.8 PPG; 256.2 YPG; 3.78 YPP

2009: 8.4 PPG; 256 YPG; 3.98 YPP

Admittedly, OU's defense yielded more points per game last season. However, the PPG stat apparently doesn't factor out at least special teams scores (and likely includes defensive scores as well). I'm too lazy to track down the true PPG allowed by OU's defense, so I'm simply going to discount that stat. I prefer to look at YPG and YPP as a first-cut analysis, anyway.

What's the takeaway? As bad as OU's defense turned out to be in 2008, they had performed at least as well pre-Texas as they have this season. In fact, in terms of YPP, they were a decent amount better.

That said, OU's competition has been much better in 2009. So, perhaps this defense is actually much better than the 2008 version. And the 2008 team's statistics are skewed by one extremely dominant performance against Chattanooga in which OU yielded on 36 yards. Three of its other five games resulted in 314+ yard performances, including a Washington team that ended the year ranked #116 in total offense. This year's OU team has been more consistent, yielding over 300 yards only twice (to BYU and Miami).

On the other hand, in both 2008 and 2009, OU's opponent in the game immediately preceding Texas was Baylor. The two yardage totals for BU in those games were 269 and 268. But, the YPP stats were 4.0 YPP and 4.47 YPP. That's right. OU gave up nearly 1/2 yard more per play to Baylor this season. And that was without Robert Griffin to worry about.

In summary, the Horns roll tomorrow, 38-10.

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