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Big 12 Games Preview - 11/5/11

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Time for the weekly look at the upcoming Big 12 games based on ratings and adjusted stats to date. Keep in mind 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 through the games of 10/29/11 that regression is currently 3.33*TPPA + 2.58*TRPC - 223.99*TVPP, which is used for the below analyses.

Also note that my power rating predicted scores below will differ from the analyzer because I'm using a standard 3 point homefield advantage while the analyzer uses the season results to date. Additionally, the official picks published later in the week may differ from the Other Games of Interest section because standard deviations aren't considered here.

Texas Tech (+10.5) @ Texas - 11:00 FX
Power Rating Predicted Score - Texas 38, Texas Tech 23
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Texas 34, Texas Tech 19
Matchup Analyzer Link

In a result that shocked absolutely nobody, including Tech fans, the Red Raiders followed up their huge victory in Norman by laying an egg against Iowa State. They're still obviously a dangerous opponent if only because of their inconsistency, and Texas' defense will face quite a different animal this week than they did in the Jayhawks. On the other side of the ball, the Texas offense is still a work in progress and is still prone to struggling at times. Still, the Red Raiders have given up 34, 45, 41, 38, and 41 points in their Big 12 games, showing an ability to allow around 40 points no matter who they're playing. Texas will likely try to control clock as they did against Kansas, so I look for a 34-28 Texas win. And, to be honest, I will be happy about any win we can get in this game (or any other for the rest of the year for that matter).

Kansas (+14.5) @ Iowa St. 11:30 FCS
Power Rating Predicted Score - Iowa St. 46, Kansas 27
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Iowa St. 37, Kansas 25
Matchup Analyzer Link

Kansas' offensive performance was shocking last week in Austin. A group that had been an average one to date put out a performance that had only been matched in its futility 4 other times since the turn of the century. It was the fifth time since then that a team had gained less than 50 total yards and been shut out. The Cyclones, meanwhile, were busy blowing out Tech in Lubbock. It's hard to not view this game as one where a team whose will has been broken is now going on the road to face an opponent that has a new lease on life. Iowa State 48-17.

Texas A&M (+14.5) @ Oklahoma 2:30 ABC
Power Rating Predicted Score - Oklahoma 43, Texas A&M 26
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Oklahoma 37, Texas A&M 25
Matchup Analyzer Link

This is not a good spot for the Aggies. Their pass defense, while not nearly as bad as conventional wisdom based on raw yards per game allowed will tell you, has struggled to cover receivers when they have to. They have made up for that with a high sack rate (#8 in adjusted sacks per pass attempt), but this week they face the #2 team in fewest adjusted sacks allowed per attempt. Their only hope is controlling the game as much as possible on the ground against an average Sooner run defense. Knowing what we know about Sherman and the Aggies' play-calling to date, though, does anyone think they can stick to that plan for an entire game? Despite the media feel good story, Whaley hasn't been critical to OU success and so Oklahoma should win and cover, call it 45-27.

Missouri (+1) @ Baylor 6:00 FSN
Power Rating Predicted Score - Missouri 41, Baylor 35
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Missouri 41, Baylor 36
Matchup Analyzer Link

First thing I noticed is obviously the strong agreement between the two models that the Tigers should be favored here. The second thing I noticed this weekend that relates to this game is that Sagarin has the Tigers #11. And it's with fairly good reason, even if I think he has the Big 12 rated too highly overall (Texas #9?!?). The Tigers have the #14 standard power rating despite being only 3-4 against FBS teams thanks to one of the toughest schedules in the country. The numbers say this should break down as a matchup between Missouri's run game and Baylor's passing attack. In a purely model homer pick, I'm going with Missouri 41-35.

Kansas St. (+21) @ Oklahoma St. 7:00 ABC
Power Rating Predicted Score - Oklahoma St. 46, Kansas St. 26
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Oklahoma St. 35, Kansas St. 17
Matchup Analyzer Link

This matchup isn't actually that bad for the Wildcats as the Cowboys' defense is extremely strong against the pass while only decent against the run. The problem is that Oklahoma State protects Weeden well and Snyder's crew got absolutely zero pressure on Landry Jones last week. I have to think the Wildcats will show better this week, though, and try to eat clock so I'll take the KSU cover and the under. Okie State 38-20.


(Missouri @ Baylor is the #1 model/spread disagreement)

Michigan (-4.5) @ Iowa
Power Rating Predicted Score - Michigan 35, Iowa 20
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Michigan 40, Iowa 30
Matchup Analyzer Link

Yeah, so last week's pick where a Michigan team traveled to corn country didn't work out so well for the models. I haven't watched nearly enough of either of these teams to have an informed opinion of this game. I do know that Kirk Ferentz was once an extremely hot coaching commodity and he has now lost to Minnesota two years in a row. The same Minnesota that is 1-9 with an average score of 18-39 against other Big Ten teams in that time.

Virginia (-2.5) @ Maryland
Power Rating Predicted Score - Maryland 29, Virginia 26
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Maryland 28, Virginia 18
Matchup Analyzer Link

The models still like Maryland. Models are crazy. Insightful analysis. Free of charge.

Northern Illinois (+7.5) @ Toledo
Power Rating Predicted Score - Toledo 48, Northern Illinois 31
Stat Regression Predicted Score - Toledo 38, Northern Illinois 25
Matchup Analyzer Link

Northern Illinois escaped with a win at Buffalo last week despite allowing 6.2 yards per play to a normally anemic Bulls offense. Then there are fairly meaningless figures like Toledo being 7-3-1 against the spread in their last 11 games while winning this matchup against Northern Illinois 9-3-1 in the last 13 against the spread. Bet the house on the Rockets! It's the best way to enjoy Tuesday night football.

That's it for this week.