In this space at this time each week, we take a look at Tennessee and its opponent for the week and the stats that each of them have compiled so far in the season to see how they stack up against each other. College football is a game of such scarcity, though, that the data is really too sparse to draw any hard and fast conclusions, so we simply use it to inform our guesses. The first few games of the season, the process is borderline ludicrous, and before the first game it's actually impossible.
What we can do, however, is ask the question of what the post would have looked like had these two teams played at the end of last season. What do you see when you put the Vols' 2014 resume up against that of Bowling Green's? So that's what we've done in this post.
One caveat, though, and I'll just copy this from the Iowa statsy preview last year:
Assuming bowl matchups are designed to pit teams of equal strength against each other, it would appear that the 2014 Taxslayer bowl has accomplished its purpose. . . . The relative strength of schedules, though, is where we'll point if and when things go screwy. According to the NCAA's official compilation, the Vols have played the nation's 6th-toughest schedule, and Iowa the 106th. . . . We don't have much to show for playing [a] tougher schedule, but we should be able to conclude that the stats we compiled this season are more battle-tested than the stats Iowa's compiled against its schedule.
The same is true for Bowling Green, who had the 80th-toughest schedule.
So what do we see when we compare the 2014 Vols and the 2014 Falcons? Basically, Kentucky against the run, Oklahoma against the pass, Iowa/Missouri/Arkansas State on offense, and Vandy/Kentucky/Florida on the scoreboard. Adjust for whether and how much you think each team has improved with a new recruiting class and another spring/summer/fall of conditioning and practice.
The complete chart is below, but my best guesses for this game are 190 rushing yards and 260 passing yards for the Vols, 170 rushing yards and 180 passing yards for the Falcons, and a score of 45-13, Vols.
|Comps||Result against Comps||Guess|
|Closest Lower||Closest Higher||Closest Lower||Closest Higher|
|Tennessee rushing offense vs. BG rushing defense||89||146.4||99||202.1||Ark. St.||Kentucky||Ark. St.||Kentucky||190|
|Tennessee passing offense vs. BG passing defense||70||224.2||122||291.4||NONE||Oklahoma||NONE||Oklahoma||260|
|Tennessee rushing defense vs. BG rushing offense||65||168.4||54||173||Iowa||Missouri||Iowa||Missouri||170|
|Tennessee passing defense vs. BG passing offense||22||196.2||40||259.9||Iowa||Ark. St.||Iowa||Ark. St.||180|
|Tennessee scoring offense vs. BG scoring defense||62||28.9||106||33.5||NONE||Vanderbilt/KY||NONE||Vanderbilt/KY||45|
|Tennessee scoring defense vs. BG scoring offense||35||24.2||56||30||Kentucky||Florida||Kentucky||Florida||13|