Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
What do we do with a defense that defies the numbers? Ignore them, pretty much.
A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons. Caveats. Also, it's a long post, so we're putting the conclusions up top and the basis for those conclusions, including the head-to-head chart, below.
- Unless I'm forgetting something, Missouri is the only team Tennessee has played this year that has had a tougher schedule than the Vols.
- The Tigers offense is really not very good at all. But you know.
- Missouri's defense is fairly strong, however.
- The numbers on which last week's predictions for UT's defense were based were off by 40% for rush defense and 100% for pass defense and scoring, so Missouri's offense is getting a premium in this week's predictions regardless of the fact that their numbers are not very good.
- Tennessee 42, Missouri 43
Schedule and Animated Drive Charts
|SE Louisiana Lions||9/1/12||win 62 - 10||coverage|
|Georgia Bulldogs||9/8/12||loss 20 - 41||coverage|
|Arizona St. Sun Devils||9/15/12||win 24 - 20||coverage|
|@ South Carolina Gamecocks||9/22/12||loss 10 - 31||coverage|
|@ Central Florida Knights||9/29/12||win 21 - 16||coverage|
|Vanderbilt Commodores||10/6/12||loss 15 - 19||coverage|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||10/13/12||loss 10 - 42||coverage|
|Kentucky Wildcats||10/27/12||win 33 - 10||coverage|
|@ Florida Gators||11/3/12||loss 7 - 14||coverage|
|@ N.C. State Wolfpack||8/31/12||win 35 - 21||coverage|
|Georgia State Panthers||9/8/12||win 51 - 13||coverage|
|Florida Gators||9/15/12||loss 20 - 37||coverage|
|Akron Zips||9/22/12||win 47 - 26||coverage|
|@ Georgia Bulldogs||9/29/12||loss 44 - 51||coverage|
|@ Mississippi St. Bulldogs||10/13/12||loss 31 - 41||coverage|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||10/20/12||loss 13 - 44||coverage|
|@ South Carolina Gamecocks||10/27/12||loss 35 - 38||coverage|
|Troy Trojans||11/3/12||win 55 - 48||coverage|
According to the NCAA's "Toughest Schedule" PDF, Tennessee's schedule is now 7th, and Missouri's is 4th.
Here are the drive charts for the two teams' games against Florida and Alabama:
Animated Drive Charts brought to you by Gameday Depot.
National Unit Rankings
|Rushing Offense||98||125.00||Army||375.44||12||Texas A&M||251.33|
|Total Offense||109||319.33||Baylor||581.50||12||Texas A&M||559.56|
|Scoring Offense||94||22.44||Oregon||54.33||12||Texas A&M||44.67|
|Sacks Allowed||90||2.56||Air Force||.00||10||Tennessee||.44|
Offensive observations. Missouri's offense is really not good. Will it matter?
|Pass Efficiency Defense||54||127.08||Florida||87.43||9||Florida||87.43|
|Total Defense||22||327.56||Florida St.||227.11||6||Alabama||228.89|
|Tackles For Loss||5||7.78||Stanford||9.22||1||Missouri||7.78|
Defensive observations. The Tigers' defense is pretty good, though. They're exceptional at tackling behind the line of scrimmage, and their pass/rush defense is balanced and good enough for a total defense of 22nd in the nation.
|SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS|
|Net Punting||106||34.19||Louisiana Tech||44.32||14||Florida||43.50|
|Punt Returns||6||16.35||Boston College||25.00||1||Missouri||16.35|
|Turnover Margin||40||.33||Kansas St.||2.22||6||Alabama||1.67|
Special teams and turnovers observations. This is a fairly frightening return game, and our guys will need to be ready.
Players to Watch
|Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game)||James Franklin||107.81|
|Total Offense||James Franklin||99||165.86|
|Receptions Per Game||Marcus Lucas||3.78|
|Receiving Yards Per Game||Marcus Lucas||39.44|
Offensive Observations. Senior RB Kendial Lawrence looks like a decent back, and James Franklin's stats would likely be better/higher if he hadn't missed the Arizon State and Alabama games. Nothing really sticks out here, to be honest, but again, that doesn't mean they won't do something special this weekend against a struggling Tennessee defense.
|Tackles For Loss||Will Ebner||28||1.38|
|Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game)||Trey Barrow||T-45||41.88|
|Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)||Marcus Murphy||9||14.95|
|Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)|
|Field Goals||Andrew Baggett||T-55||1.11|
|All-Purpose Runners||Marcus Murphy||87.00|
Special teams. Sophomore RB Marcus Murphy is the danger guy returning punts for the Tigers. He had 5 returns for 180 and 2 TDs in the season opener against Southeastern Louisiana. He slowed down after that, of course, but he still got nearly ten yards per return against Alabama and Florida, which probably means he's a threat to get behind everybody every time he catches the ball.
Head to Head Comparisons
Result Against Comps
|UT rush v. Missouri rush defense||162
|UT pass v. Missouri pass defense||323.11
|Missouri rush v. UT rush defense||186.33
|Missouri pass v. UT pass defense||296.78
|UT scoring offense v. Missouri scoring defense||36.78
|Missouri scoring offense v. UT scoring defense||35.44
|Again with the caveats: These are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations. But here's the general analytical framework: We are averaging X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. And one more time for emphasis: The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game.|
If you're new to this chart, here's how it normally works. Looking at Missouri's run game against UT's run defense, UT is holding opponents to 186.33 yards per game. Missouri is getting 125, which is very close to what Akron's doing. Against the Zips, we held them to 115 yards, so the prediction is 115 yards. However, . . .
. . . last week, I hadn't fully realized the magnitude of Tennessee's struggles on defense. For Troy's offense last week, I predicted 160 yards rushing, 250 yards passing, and 24 points. Instead, they got 225 yards rushing, 496 yards passing, and 48 points. That's off by 40% on rushing yards and 100% on passing and points. So, I'm going to give Missouri's offensive predictions a 50% premium this week. That sounds like A LOT, and it is, but would it really surprise any of us at this point? So the first number is what I would normally predict, and the second is the altered number.