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Big 12 Games Preview - 10/1/11

I'm going to try to post a look at the following weekend's Big 12 games based on ratings and adjusted stats to date each week. So with that in mind it should be understood from the outset that personnel matchups, coaching decisions, injuries, etc. will not play into the numerical predictions and are all important information that will still need to be considered.

Some of you may be familiar with my matchup analyzer, which predicts a final score based on the power ratings of each team as well as specific stats for the game. What it doesn't yet have, but may be added soon, is a second final score prediction based on the adjusted stats it shows. As discussed in the Adjusted Stats Year in Review, regression analysis can be used to estimate points scored against rushing, passing, and turnovers. I have chosen to use 2011 stats to update that regression weekly based on the season so far. For 2011 that number is currently 2.84*TPPA + 2.48*TRPC - 94.55*TVPP, which is used for the below analyses.

Also note that my power rating predicted scores below will differ form the analyzer because I'm using a standard 3 point homefield advantage while the analyzer uses the season results to date.

Texas Tech (-7) @ Kansas
Power Rating Predicted Score - Texas Tech 54, Kansas 50
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Kansas 48, Texas Tech 47
Matchup Analyzer Link

You could say Kansas' defense has struggled so far this year, but the early numbers don't look much better for Tuberville's squad. I'm pretty curious to see what the total opens at for this game because if Tech is a seven point favorite then the oddsmakers must be counting on some points for the Jayhawks. Someone who has seen these teams play may have a good feel for this one, but I wouldn't touch this game. This early in the season with the line so close to both the predicted scores, the computer wouldn't recommend it either.

Texas A&M (-3) vs. Arkansas (@ Jerryworld)
Power Rating Predicted Score - Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 17
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 24
Matchup Analyzer Link

Last week the Aggies lost the first Top 5 matchup at Kyle Field since Generalíssimo Francisco Franco first died. In doing so they blew a 17-point halftime lead thanks in large part to some extremely questionable playcalling from Sherman and company. Meanwhile the Razorbacks got throttled by a powerful Alabama team. The computer definitely likes the Aggies to cover here, but the less than 9-point difference between the line and closest prediction doesn't rate a play this early in the year.

Baylor (-4.5) @ Kansas St.
Power Rating Predicted Score - Kansas St. 50, Baylor 40
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Baylor 42, Kansas St. 39
Matchup Analyzer Link

The Bears are led by the best player in the Big 12, but this game may come down to the Baylor defense against the Kansas State running game. Snyder will try to control the game on the ground but Griffin will still have his chances against the Wildcat defense. Last week's win over Miami was huge and made everyone in flyover country rise to their feet and chant "Big 12! Big 12! Big 12!" in unison. In fact, it felt like a personal victory for their conference mates because our Big 12 partners' success is how we derive our self esteem. No recommended play here either.

Texas (-10) @ Iowa St.
Power Rating Predicted Score - Iowa St. 34, Texas 26
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Texas 28, Iowa St. 16
Matchup Analyzer Link

Obviously a huge discrepancy between the power rating and stat regression predicted scores. This early in the season I would expect to see this fairly often before the numbers even out. Texas rates very highly in forcing turnovers so far this year which in and of itself is impressive from an adjusted stats standpoint because one of our opponents turned the ball over 7 times in another game (BYU against Utah). The real discrepancy here is that Iowa State has scored more points than their contributing stats would suggest, which is probably due in large part to the triple overtime game. However their defense has not suffered from the same impact, so I'd have to look into it a bit more to get a good feel for what's causing it. To show the discrepancy, Texas' predicted scores against an average opponent would be 28-21 power and 29-18 stats. The Cyclones' would be 42-23 power and 26-25 stats. Either way, with this large a discrepancy between predictions this is another no play although I look for Texas to win but not cover. The Longhorns' special teams remains a concern.

Ball St. (+38) @ Oklahoma
Power Rating Predicted Score - Oklahoma 43, Ball St. 13
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Oklahoma 41, Ball St. 21
Matchup Analyzer Link

The Sooners' OL suffered a loss this week as starting center Habern will be out with a broken arm. They will be forced to slide a guard over to cover and will have to train up another lineman on proper holding technique in order to remain effective. It's a somewhat significant loss but as long as edge contain defenders are miraculously unable to shed Oklahoma blocks despite properly taking them on with the outside shoulder and then trying to get away, they should be fine. I kid, I kid. Not really. Obviously no upset here and also no recommended play with the 8-point difference between the line and closest prediction.


Georgia Tech (-12) @ North Carolina St.
Power Rating Predicted Score - Georgia Tech 54, North Carolina St. 8
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Georgia Tech 64, North Carolina St. 16
Matchup Analyzer Link

Uh, not sure what to say here. I'm very comfortable saying other people should put their money on Georgia Tech. But I'm not comfortable enough to say I'm going to put my own on them. I don't trust that schizophrenic team despite the fact my computer is actively trying to hack into my bank and online accounts in order to place a bet. Mostly because I obviously don't think the discrepancy between these two teams is nearly that big. The line moved quickly from its open at -10.5, but still.

New Mexico St. (-1.5) @ New Mexico
Power Rating Predicted Score - New Mexico St. 37, New Mexico 7
Stat Regression Predicted Score - New Mexico St. 39, New Mexico 20
Matchup Analyzer Link

The Lobos have just been awful but they just fired their head coach so this could be a rally the troops type game for them. Combine that with the fact that betting on New Mexico State in a football game just never sounds like a good idea and I'll just put this one out there for discussion.

Air Force (+3) @ Navy
Power Rating Predicted Score - Navy 33, Air Force 14
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Navy 51, Air Force 33
Matchup Analyzer Link

That huge difference between total points can be attributed to the style of play of these two teams. With both teams keeping the ball on the ground and grinding the clock, we would expect the score to be closer to the power number. Recall that pace is not a part of the stat regression prediction. Either way both models look for a final margin more than two touchdowns greater than the current line.

Michigan St. (+3) @ Ohio St.
Power Rating Predicted Score - Michigan St. 25, Ohio St. 12
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Michigan St. 19, Ohio St. 8
Matchup Analyzer Link

The computer is not a big fan of the Buckeyes to date. And to be honest, there's no reason it should be as they lost to the Hurricanes badly who in turn got beat by Kansas State. And Ohio State struggled with Toledo at home before beating up on an unimpressive Colorado squad. On the other side of the coin, Michigan St. got beat soundly by Notre Dame despite winning the turnover battle and outgaining the Irish 358-275. 12 penalties and poor special teams play plus the fact it seems my computer is Catholic leads to the predictions above.

That's it for this week.