If you like numbers, you’re going to like this post. SBNation’s own Bill Connelly has updated all of his advanced stats for each team in college football. The results are fascinating — if you like taking deeper dives into numbers.
After starting the year inside of the top 30, Tennessee has plummeted to 56th in the S&P+ model. This is due to scoring an average of just 24.2 points per game, which ranks 98th in the nation. The defense is giving up 25.9 points per game, which is good for 59th overall.
The interesting thing here is the individual team numbers. Tennessee’s passing success rate is just 37.9 percent, which ranks 93rd in the nation. On the flip side of that, Tennessee pass defense is one of the better units in the country, checking in at 27th overall. Just 40.4 percent of passes have been successful against the Vols’ pass defense to this point.
Tennessee has a successful rush attempt 45.5 percent of the time, ranking 40th in the country. I thought this number would be higher with John Kelly producing like he has been, but the Georgia game likely brought it down to earth.
Bob Shoop’s rushing defense ranks 124th in the country, allowing a 50.5 percent success rate. Most of this stems back to Georgia Tech, but Tennessee got worn down by Georgia too. This problem from last year is still very much a problem today.
John Kelly leads the team in targets, which tells me a lot about Tennessee’s passing game. I’m all for getting the ball in the hands of your best player, but this tells me that there’s not a lot of trust throwing down the field. Kelly is seeing 18 percent of the balls thrown. Brandon Johnson is second at 17.3 percent and Marquez Callaway is third at 10.7 percent. After Callway’s breakout game against Georgia Tech, that number needs to be much higher.
The model also takes all of these numbers into account and spits out a win projection. According to that, Tennessee’s highest probability of wins came out to 6 (30 percent chance). The model gave Tennessee a 28 percent shot at 7 wins and a 17% chance at just five.
Interestingly enough, the model likes Tennessee this weekend against South Carolina. The Gamecocks rank ten spots lower than the Vols do in the S&P+, giving Tennessee a 60 percent shot to win. It also gives the Vols a better than 60 percent shot to beat Missouri and Vanderbilt, but thinks games against Southern Miss and Kentucky will be toss ups.
Again, if you love looking at numbers, you should read through Tennessee’s page. There’s explanations for all the numbers and how they are calculated. It’s really interesting to dive into.