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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 3 Preview - The Weekday Slate

Week 2 was such an uninspiring slate of games, I couldn't muster a preview.  Week 3, on the other hand, looks like it could be a good one.  Let's delve right in.  And even better, we have Expected Points Added numbers to use!  I'm going to be breaking up the preview into sections, and we start with the pre-Saturday games.


  • Troy (2-0) @ Arkansas State (1-1), 7:30:
    Troy Rush O (.18) / ASU Rush D (-.050)
    Troy Pass O (.52) / ASU Pass D (-.109)
    ASU Rush O (.15) / Troy Rush D (-.240)
    ASU Pass O (.20) / Troy Pass D (-.181)

    In the preseason, I didn't think this would be a key SBC game, but the old Troy seems back.  This should be a good game.  ASU has considerably worse looking defensive stats, but they've played Auburn, while Troy's toughest opponent has been UAB.  It's still early to put too much stock into EPA (I'll feel better about it after 4 games or so), but it suggests the mismatch of this game will be Troy's Rush D overpowering the Red Wolves' running game.  One player to watch: Troy QB Corey Robinson, who is currently 14th in individual EPA with 33.4 points added over the first two weeks.
  • Tulane (1-1) @ Louisiana Tech (1-1), 7:30:
    Tulane Rush O (.05) vs. LT Rush D (.026)
    Tulane Pass O (.11) vs. LT Pass D (.052)
    LT Rush O (-.03) vs. Tulane Rush D (-.190)
    LT Pass O (-.02) vs. Tulane Pass D (.130)

    Tulane was outplayed by Jackson State on most plays but still won by 27 thanks to a whopping 6 turnovers going in their favor.  Last week they lost to South Alabama.  Tech had the toughest opponent so far for either, losing to NC State in the opening week.  While EPA suggests Tulane matches up well, I am skeptical.  Tech should be much better in this CUSA conference game.  Player to watch:  Tulane WR Ryan Grant (15.6 EPA).
  • #24 TCU (1-1) @ Texas Tech (2-0), 7:30:
    TCU rush O (.22) vs. TTU rush D (-.179)
    TCU pass O (.01) vs. TTU pass D (-.020)
    TTU rush O (.11) vs. TCU rush D (.056)
    TTU pass O (.33) vs. TCU pass D (.001)

    Both schools have wins over an FCS opponent.  Tech's other game was against SMU, while TCU opened the season with LSU.  Understandably, TCU's numbers might be slightly misleading.  This should be a good game, and a key early Big XII game.  The conference looks pretty wide-open.  With the Longhorns firing coordinators, the Sooners limping to 16 points against West Virginia (yes, THAT West Virginia), and the Cowboys under all kinds of fire off the field, almost every conference game could play a huge role.  This one's no different.  Tune in to see a good offensive mind, Kliff Kingsbury, match wits with two great defensive minds, Gary Patterson and Dick Bumpas.  Player to watch: Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield.  Mayfield is currently 2nd in the nation in EPA with 48.3 points added over the first two games.  Oh, and he's a true freshman.  Oh, and he's a walk-on.  You read that right.


  • Air Force (1-1) @ Boise State (1-1), 8:00
    AF rush O (.15) vs. BSU rush D (.001)
    AF pass O (.00) vs. BSU pass D (.187)
    BSU rush O (-.02) vs. AF rush D (.035)
    BSU pass O (.16) vs. AF pass D (.423)

    BSU's early whipping at the hands of Washington has given other MWC teams some hope, and this game could be a key game in deciding the Mountain Division.  Startling is Air Force's .423 EPA per play allowed on passing plays, and they have Chuckie Keeton to thank for that.  Colgate's Gavin McCarney wasn't bad - 27 plays for 143 and 1 TD - but Keeton went ballistic on the Falcons D, racking up 360 and 5 TD on 40 plays.  McCarney is his conference's reigning player of the year, and we know how good Keeton can be, so Boise might have the worst opposing QB Air Force has faced so far.  That number can't really go anywhere but down.  Player to watch: Boise State QB Joe Southwick (15.7 EPA).

Brent Blackwell compiles the NEPA rankings for  Follow Brent on Twitter by mashing the pretty button below.

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