SEC Championship Game: comparing the numbers of the Tennessee Volunteers and the LSU Tigers

The BlogPoll train is running late. The caboose will be along shortly. Probably tomorrow. I was planning on just a few more meteors because inspiration was a late arrival as well. But it did come (nothing special, so don't get your hopes up), so I'm probably a day away.

Until then, bad news!

Tennessee rush
v.
LSU defense
Tennessee pass
v.
LSU defense
LSU rush
v.
Tennessee defense
LSU pass
v.
Tennessee defense
64 (9) 39 (4) 64 (8) 67 (11)
14 (2) 3 (1) 12 (2) 55 (5)
LSU logo
LSU logo
LSU logo
LSU logo

 

Field Goals
Tennessee punting
v.
LSU punt return
LSU punting
v.
Tennessee punt return
Intangibles
T-12 (3) 40 (4) 48 (5)  
T-4 (1) 104 (12) 63 (5)
LSU logo
Tennessee logo
Tennessee logo
Tennessee logo

The numbers in parentheses are SEC conference rankings.

Hmm, this is not looking good.

Schedules:

TENNESSEE
DATE OPPONENT RESULT/TIME
09/01 at #12 California 45-31
09/08 So Miss 39-19
09/15 at #5 Florida 59-20
09/22 Arkansas St 48-27
10/06 #12 Georgia 35-14
10/13 at Miss St 33-21
10/20 at Alabama 41-17
10/27 #16 S Carolina 27-24
11/03 La Lafayette 59-7
11/10 Arkansas 34-13
11/17 Vanderbilt 25-24
11/24 at Kentucky 52-50
LSU
DATE OPPONENT RESULT/TIME
08/30 at Miss St 45-0
09/08 #9 Va Tech 48-7
09/15 M Tenn St 44-0
09/22 #12 S Carolina 28-16
09/29 at Tulane 34-9
10/06 #9 Florida 28-24
10/13 at #17 Kentucky 43-37
10/20 #17 Auburn 30-24
11/03 at #17 Alabama 41-34
11/10 La Tech 58-10
11/17 at Ole Miss 41-24
11/23 Arkansas 50-48

Sagarin has LSU's strength of schedule ranked 26th and Tennessee's ranked 25th. According to his model, LSU is roughly a six-point favorite. But there's something quite interesting hiding in Sagarin's numbers: LSU has two wins and no losses versus current top 10 teams, but they are 3-2 against current top 30 teams. Tennessee is 1-1 against current top 10 teams but 3-1 against top 30 teams. So we have a better record against top 30 teams, huh? Of course, LSU is more of a top 10-er than a top 30-er, but hey, it's something.

Statistically, LSU should win every phase of this game not involing Britton Colquitt or Dennis Rogan as a punt returner. But there's those not-so-small matters of the coaching distraction and the pain of having just lost your opportunity to play for the national championship. If they're not mentally tough, they may not be able to manage their advantages. But . . . in 1998, when we had a coaching distraction (Cutcliffe interviewing with Ole Miss), we won the SEC Championship 24-14 against Mississippi State and went on to win the National Championship. In 2001, when our dreams of the NC were dashed at the last moment (by LSU, of all teams), we went on to wax Michigan 45-17 in the bowl game. It had to be said.

So. What do y'all see in the numbers? I see only a small ray of hope.

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