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Armed, Not That Dangerous

Nov. 05, 2012
Nov. 05, 2012

Table of Contents
Nov. 5, 2012

THE MAIL
LEADING OFF
NFL MIDSEASON REPORT
WORLD SERIES
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
MMA
RORY MCILROY
  • NOW THAT HE HAS ASCENDED TO THE TOP OF THE GOLF WORLD—IN THE RANKINGS AND OUTSIDE THE ROPES—GLOBE-TROTTING RORY MCILROY IS QUICKLY LEARNING WHAT LIFE'S LIKE AS THE GAME'S MOST MARKETABLE PLAYER

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Armed, Not That Dangerous

Why will Alabama beat LSU? Because, once again, the Tide will keep the Tigers from throwing the football

This weekend's must-weld-oneself-to-the-Barcalounger game, Saturday night's showdown between top-ranked Alabama and No. 5 LSU, is the third matchup of the SEC powerhouses in the past 12 months. In the first two, LSU threw for an average of 72 yards and scored just three field goals. Don't be surprised if that trend of aerial ineptitude continues.

This is an article from the Nov. 5, 2012 issue

Ed Feng, who has a Ph.D. in engineering from Stanford and runs ThePowerRank.com, adjusted each team's yards-per-play data for strength of schedule and then graphed their positions relative to the rest of the Bowl Subdivision (charts, right). The results are clear: While LSU's D is marginally better than Alabama's offense, the Tide's defense should stifle the Bayou Bengals' attack, especially their passing game. Against an average FBS team, the Crimson Tide will allow a mere 4.52 yards per opponent's attempt, the second-best number in the country, while LSU will gain just 6.17 yards, slightly worse than average. (Traditional stats are equally ominous: The last time 'Bama gave up a passing touchdown when the outcome of the game was still in doubt was last Nov. 19.)

What's it all mean? According to Feng's model, 'Bama will come away a 14-point winner, with LSU having just a 22% chance of pulling the upset.

WHEN ALABAMA HAS THE BALL

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

PASSING

Tide offense

AVG.: 6.23 YDS/PLAY

7.72

Tigers defense

4.05

RUSHING

Tide offense

AVG.: 4.74 YDS/PLAY

6.19

Tigers defense

3.24

WHEN LSU HAS THE BALL

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

PASSING

Tigers offense

AVG.: 6.23 YDS/PLAY

6.17

Tide defense

4.52

RUSHING

Tigers offense

AVG.: 4.74 YDS/PLAY

5.59

Tide defense

2.63

Heisman Tracker

A steady performance in a win over Texas Tech keeps Collin Klein in front, but Braxton Miller made a statement by eclipsing 130 yards on the ground and in the air. And a hearty welcome to the Tracker to Manti Te'o, Notre Dame's big-play linebacker.

View this article in the original magazine

SEPT. 1SEPT. 8SEPT. 15SEPT. 22SEPT. 29OCT. 6OCT. 13OCT. 20OCT. 27NOV. 3
MATT BARKLEY, QB, USC316 TOTAL YDS, 4 TDS
GENO SMITH, QB, WVU493 YDS IN LOSS
COLLIN KLEIN, QB, K-STATE277 TOTAL YDS, 3 TDS
DE'ANTHONY THOMAS, RB, OREBYE WEEK
AARON MURRAY, QB, GA97 YDS, 19.4 AVG
BRAXTON MILLER, QB, OHIO STATE11 TACKLES, 1 INT
MANTI TE'O, LB, NOTRE DAME150 YDS, 3 INT
PHOTOMARVIN GENTRY/US PRESSWIRE (ALABAMA)PASS FAIL Mississippi State's Tyler Russell was the latest QB to feel the wrath of 'Bama's air defense in last Saturday's 38--7 loss to the Crimson Tide.PHOTOJAMIE SABAU (MILLER)TWO CHARTS