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The stat-free statsy preview, Tennessee Vols vs. Appalachian State edition

The preseason edition of the weekly Statsy Preview is 100% stats, trans fats, and gluten free. Oh, and it likes the Vols but is a little skittish about those Mountaineer numbers from last season.

It takes at least seven seconds to make sense of this picture.
It takes at least seven seconds to make sense of this picture.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Each Thursday this season, as in seasons past, we'll 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. When you run that program before any games have been played, though, the computer freaks out, locks up, and spits profanities in binary at you.

What we can do, though, is look at last year's stats and then sort of adjust for what the teams have coming back. The first part of that is below, but SPOILER ALERT, it's all hogwash:

Tennessee Logo Appalachian State Logo Comps Result against Comps Guess
Closest Lower Closest Higher Closest Lower Closest Higher
Team Team Team Team
Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value
Tennessee rushing offense vs. Appy State rushing defense 20 223.7 27 131.5 Missouri Florida Missouri Florida 220
28 132.8 25 128.1 248 254
Tennessee passing offense vs. Appy State passing defense 92 198.6 14 182.9 Northwestern Florida Northwestern Florida 250
23 192.8 13 182.1 129 165
Tennessee rushing defense vs. Appy State rushing offense 45 151.6 6 271.5 Oklahoma None Oklahoma None 140
23 222.1 161
Tennessee passing defense vs. Appy State passing offense 47 210.4 93 195.8 Georgia Florida Georgia Florida 180
104 185.1 87 207.1 279 283
Tennessee scoring offense vs. Appy State scoring defense 29 35.2 14 19.1 Vanderbilt Northwestern Vanderbilt Northwestern 45
22 21 12 18.6 53 45
Tennessee scoring defense vs. Appy State scoring offense 16 20 23 36.7 Arkansas Bowling Green Arkansas Bowling Green 20
27 35.9 6 42.2 24 30

If you removed that giant yellow "A" and all of the "Appy States" from that table, you'd think we were playing someone on the Vols' SEC schedule. I mean, they look really good and almost made me have to re-write this entire post. After all, the Mountaineers finished last season in the top 10 in rushing offense, top 15 in passing defense and scoring defense, and around the top 25 in rushing defense and scoring offense. The only thing they didn't do well is pass the ball. Sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on why.

But, but, but . . . look at their schedule:

Date Opponent Result
09/05/2015 Howard W 49 - 0
09/12/2015 @ Clemson L 10 - 41
09/26/2015 @ Old Dominion W 49 - 0
10/03/2015 Wyoming W 31 - 13
10/10/2015 @ Georgia St. W 37 - 3
10/17/2015 @ La.-Monroe W 59 - 14
10/22/2015 Ga. Southern W 31 - 13
10/31/2015 Troy W 44 - 41 (3OT)
11/05/2015 Arkansas St. L 27 - 40
11/14/2015 @ Idaho W 47 - 20
11/28/2015 UL Lafayette W 28 - 7
12/05/2015 @ South Ala. W 34 - 27
12/19/2015 Ohio 
@ Montgomery, Ala.
W 31 - 29

I don't know who Howard is, but he's apparently terrible at football.

That schedule, by the way, was ranked 91st, which for those keeping score is Not Very Strong.

On the other hand, the Mountaineers were a respectable 43rd in S&P+, and they do have a bunch of their guys coming back. They return 17 of 22 starters, including linebacker John Law, who's the Sun Belt's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year (Real award? Guess so.), and quarterback Taylor Lamb, who's a three-year starter with 23 consecutive starts to his name. Oh, and look -- it's Dale Jones on the sideline.

And yet, look at that Clemson score, and allow us to repeat that they've not fared well against Power 5 conferences since that fabled day at the Big House.

So. What to do with all of that iffy and meaningless information? Add a little spit and mud, mix, throw it against the wall, and . . .

. . . I'm going to go ahead and guess that Tennessee's going to run the ball as well as they did last year, pass the ball better, stop the run as well, and stop the pass better. And I think they're going to score like they do in bowl games and hold the Mountaineers to two meaningful scores and a handful of garbage points.

Tennessee 45, Appalachian State 20.

Go Vols.