I don't have the time to adorn this nerd porn with flowery prose. So, I'll just jump right in...
I've compared the Texas offense/defense versus the Alabama offense/defense in terms of differential yards per play gained/allowed compared to that of their opponents. In summary, what I've found is the following:
On average, Texas and Alabama are defensive equals. Texas holds its opponents to -31.75% below their average YPP; Alabama holds its opponents to -27.9% under their average YPP. Out of its 13 games, Texas held its opponent below its average YPP in 12 (the lone exception was the A&M debacle). Bama held its opponent below their average YPP in all 12 games (I discarded Bama's game against Chattanooga). Texas' opponents ranked, on average, #54.7 in the country in total offense; Bama's opponents ranked #57.25.
Bama's defense was more consistent. However, except for the A&M game, Texas was better than Bama on the differential YPPA measure. Take out that one game, and Texas was better than Bama defensively by about the same amount that Bama is better than Texas offensively (more on that in a minute).
The following distribution shows each defense's differential YPPA performance (in terms of percentage) over the season.
Overall, Bama's offense is better at outperforming their opponents' average than is Texas'. Over the season, Texas outgained its opponents' average YPPA by 12.3%; Bama outgained its opponents average YPPA by 19.2% Both Texas and Bama failed to outgain their opponents' average YPPA in four games. However, Texas had three games where it fell short by more than 10%; Bama only two. Texas had four performances in the -10% to +10% range (which I consider roughly average); Bama had only two in this range. Texas had only 6 games where it gained 10% or more above its opponents' average YPPA; Bama had 8. See the chart below.
In summary, Alabama's offense was simply better than Texas' at outperforming against its competition's average. And Alabama faced more highly ranked defenses than did the Longhorns - the average of Texas' opponents' defensive ranking was #59.6; Alabama faced defenses ranked #48.8 on average.
Once again, it looks like Texas' offense will be the trouble spot. These two defenses are equally matched, although there might be a slight edge to the Horns. But Texas' mediocre offensive performance, coupled with a particular ineffectiveness against quality defenses (which the Tide certainly have), has me pessimistic about our chances. I sure hope I'm wrong.
Hook 'Em Horns.