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Friday, September 28, 2012

Previewing Tulane Watch 2012, track meets in the Big 12, and the chaos that is college football

Matt Forte no longer plays for Tulane.
I have the stats to prove it.
Tulane Watch 2012: I’ve decided to track Tulane all season as the Green Wave try to become the worst offense in the history of college football. Right now they are last in points, yards, rushing yards (10!!) per game, and rushing yards per attempt. The big outlier is their stellar 60% completion percentage. This week they get ULM, who has not allowed fewer than 31 points all season. The model projects Tulane to 30 rushing yards, 1.1 yards per attempt, and 18 points. In other words, this is a real opportunity for Tulane to boost their stats.

What a difference a year makes. In 2011, Wisconsin beat Nebraska by 31. Heading into this weekend, Nebraska is favored by 14 (-13 in Vegas). Houston ran up 73 against Rice last year, but now the model likes the Owls by 1 (+4.5 in Vegas). Finally, Akron got a 32 point whooping from Miami (OH) in 2011 but now the model is giving them a 2 point advantage (+5.5 in Vegas). And if you haven’t heard, Arkansas lost to ULM and Rutgers.

Baylor is averaging 362 passing yards per game (5th nationally) and allowing 315 (116th nationally). West Virginia is averaging 370 passing yards (3rd) and allowing 307 (106th). No surprise, then, that the model is projecting almost 900 passing yards in this game. It has also been announced that the players will forego using pads for this game; instead players will be downed by removing a strap of plastic velcroed to the hip.

Staying in the Big 12, Oklahoma State games this season have averaged 90 total points (2nd zonly to Louisiana Tech) and Texas games have averaged 65.3 points (19th nationally). Together, that is more than even Baylor and West Virginia. In other words, there will be a lot of points scored in the Big 12 this weekend and this season.

Are you kidding me? How could this
kid not succeed at Minnesota?
Iowa is favored by 6 in Vegas and 3 by the model against Minnesota. This is weird because Iowa has lost games to Central Michigan and Iowa St while beating No. Illinois by 1, and Minnesota is 4-0. Fill in Gopher QB Max Shortell is the second most efficient at the position in the country by EPA/PP, and Iowa QB James Vandenberg is near the bottom by that same metric. Iowa is averaging fewer than 21 points per game against No. Illinois, Iowa St, UNI, and Central Michigan. And yet Vegas and the model agree Iowa should win this game? Weird.

No team has seen more points scored this season than Marshall (almost exactly half by Marshall). In two of its games, Purdue - Marshall’s next opponent - scored 48 and 54 points. In their other game, they scored 17 against Notre Dame, which is one point shy of doubling the combined totals of Michigan and Michigan St against Notre Dame. In Vegas, Purdue is favored by 15.5 and the total is 64.5. If Purdue is only a bit more than 2 touchdowns better than Marshall, these two teams are scoring at least 75.

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