Welcome to back to the Sneaky Stats series! Week 6 gave us David defeating Goliath, an entire Texas football season condensed into one game, and so many fun matchups. Let’s take a brief look back, and then a look ahead at Week 7 and beyond!
– So, obviously the entire world (outside of Crimson Tide fans) rejoiced with Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M this past weekend. And yes, as it’s been said already, virtually every Saban winning streak in existence was snapped, but those aren’t the craziest stats. Alabama outgained Texas A&M in total yards (by 143), the passing game (by 84), the rushing game (by 59), yards per rush (by over an entire yard), and first downs, but still found a way to lose. That should be impossible for an Alabama team.
– Lincoln Riley has a tough decision on his hands after benching Spencer Rattler in the Red River Showdown this past weekend in the 55-48 stunner of a victory over Texas. But if he does make the official switch at quarterback, he certainly does have the ammunition for it. Five-star true freshman Caleb Williams averaged over 10.3 yards per play and scored three total touchdowns. Spencer Rattler average 5.1 yards per play with zero passing touchdowns and an interception. Big yikes for Rattler.
– Coming into the Penn State versus Iowa game, the Hawkeyes had only trailed their opponents for an average of three minutes per game. Against Penn State, they trailed for over 47 minutes. It also took them nearly 54 minutes to score their second touchdown in a game where Penn State was without their starter for over 30 minutes. Iowa does great with a lead, but their lack of explosive offense (121st in yards per play) could get them in trouble here soon.
– C.J. Stroud should be the clear favorite for the Heisman right now, but you can still get his odds to win at +800 or better at virtually any sportsbook. After Ohio State’s 66-17 immolation of Maryland this weekend he’s tied for first among all Power Five passers in adjusted yards per pass attempt, second in pass yards per game, and second in touchdowns per game. He’s coming off of back-to-back five-touchdown performances, and this is just his first year starting.
– Arizona State’s dominant 28-10 win over Stanford was a lot more decisive than the score implies. The Sun Devils are now ranked 7th in yards per play differential on the season. Their only loss came from a four-turnover mess at BYU. Arizona State is one of only 12 FBS teams that averages at least 225 passing yards and 200 rushing yards per game. The Sun Devils have a legit shot to push for playoff consideration.
– Notre Dame has been playing quarterback roulette this year and it’s somehow still working. The Irish started with Jack Coan at the helm for the first three drives against Virginia Tech. The team racked up a whopping 17 total yards on those three drives and Coan was appropriately and finally benched. Tyler Buchner came in and immediately led the team to two touchdowns on three drives for a total of 161 yards. After that, Buchner threw a couple picks in a tough road environment and Brian Kelly panicked, putting Jack Coan back in. Coan somehow managed to lead a comeback win and now Brian Kelly has a tough decision to make.
– Wake Forest and Michigan State are 6-0. Just like we all expected! But are either of them for real? Wake Forest did beat Syracuse in the Carrier Dome this past week. Michigan State thrashed a not-super-terrible Rutgers team. They both had a random WR2 go off for three touchdowns in A.T. Perry (Deacons) and Jalen Nailor (Spartans) in their respective matchups. But! Michigan State is the real 6-0 squad. Wake Forest is the fraud. Why? The Spartans are 6th in yards per play differential. The Deacons are 67th.
It’s Week 7 and your favorite team might not be who you thought they were to start the year. There have been plenty of gargantuan upsets and we’re still staring at some flat out strange division and conference leaders right now. What could Week 7 possibly bring us to make this year even crazier? Let’s dive into some sneaky stats to find out!
The average number of offensive yards gained by Ole Miss and Tennessee in games where the Rebels don’t play Alabama and the Volunteers start Hendon Hooker. For reference, Ohio State is the No. 1 offense in the country, and they’re averaging 563 yards per game. When you combine the offensive efficiency of the Rebels and Vols with their their defensive deficiency, we get a matchup that projects to score no less than 75 combined points based on expected yards and points per play.
Yards per carry allowed by the Oklahoma State defense this year. Texas, on the other hand, is 9th in rushing yards per game with a lead running back in Bijan Robinson who could be starting for about 25 NFL teams today if he were eligible. No one can truly “stop” Robinson, but Oklahoma State’s star linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez may be good enough to slow him down. Rodriguez is averaging over 10 tackles per game and has already forced two fumbles as well.
The difference between Georgia and LSU in total defensive yards allowed per game. Kentucky may have looked great against the 72nd ranked defense of the LSU Tigers last week, but they’re going to have to step it up a notch against the greatest college defense of all time in Georgia. Georgia ranks first among all Power Five teams in defensive yards per play, total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and sacks per play. We’ll find out just how good the 6-0 Wildcats are this week.
The increase in offensive efficiency for Utah with Cameron Rising at quarterback instead of Charlie Brewer (who left the program). Rising has a perfect 7:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and he’s coming off a game where he completed nearly 80% of his passes for over 300 yards and three scores. Utah faces an Arizona State team who (as mentioned above) is playing like a top ten team this year. The Utes could be the only viable obstacle standing between Arizona State and an 11-1 regular season finish.
Yards per touch that TCU’s Zach Evans and Kendre Miller have somehow averaged on over 100 combined carries this season. That’s higher than any other running back tandem in the nation. Both backs rank inside the top seven in yards per touch among all players with at least 30 carries. Something’s got to give this weekend when they play Oklahoma’s 11th ranked run defense.
The combined projected win total for Miami and North Carolina according most major sports books heading into this season. The Tar Heels and Hurricanes are now 3-3 and 2-3, respectively, rendering those projections entirely impossible before the halfway point of this season. How did this happen? North Carolina simply failed to replace the 5,000 yards from scrimmage and nearly 50 touchdowns that they sent to the NFL from last year’s roster. In Miami’s case, D’Eriq King has just been an absolute failure, ranking outside the top 100 among quarterbacks in yards per play. This weekend’s matchup between these two was supposed to be exciting, but now it’s nearly meaningless.
Cincinnati’s average margin of victory this season. The Bearcats are scoring more than 40 points per game and allowing only 12 per contest in a year where they absolutely, positively, 100%, without-any-debate-whatsoever should make the College Football Playoff if they go undefeated. They are forcing the second most turnovers per game in the nation, behind only Iowa. They’re sixth in yards per play allowed as a defense. And they’re fourth in yards per play differential, behind only Coastal Carolina, Ohio State, and Georgia. The last two matchups against UCF were only decided by three points apiece. This year, it should be a massacre.
Enjoy Week 7 of the College Football season! If you have questions or want more content like this follow me on Twitter @FF_TravisM or check out the College to Canton podcast!