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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A look at the Carolina game, relatively speaking

This is the third week I've done one of these pre-game looks at an opponent...we won the first two games, so I'm damn sure not stopping now.

For more info on what these numbers mean, take a look at the Duke entry.

State Offense Versus UNC Defense:

Rushing Offense
102Rushing Defense
Passing Offense
78Pass Defense
Total Offense
104Total Defense
Passing Efficiency
91Pass Efficiency Defense
Scoring Offense
95Scoring Defense

Average Delta in favor of UNC when we have the ball: 50.2. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 42.2% (50.2/119) better defensively than State offensively.

State Defense Versus UNC Offense:

Rushing Defense77Rushing Offense858
Pass Defense101Passing Offense74-27
Total Defense97Total Offense93-4
Pass Efficiency Defense86Passing Efficiency32-54
Scoring Defense77Scoring Offense41-36

Average Delta in favor of UNC when they have the ball: 11.8. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 9.9% (11.8/119) better offensively than State is defensively.


Whole lotta blue in those tables there. No doubt about it, Carolina will be one of the toughest teams State faces all year. They're strong on defense where it counts: scoring defense and pass efficiency defense.

A note on the discrepancy between the pass efficiency numbers: One, Russell Wilson's pass efficiency rating is 127.00, good for 52nd nationally and 14 points higher than the team average, no doubt sagging from the games when Wilson was injured. Two, Carolina gives up an above-average number of yards (61st nationally) and is ranked 18th in pass efficiency defense. My guess would be that's bolstered by their amazing 18 interceptions on the year. Fortunately for State, Wilson is one of the nation's best in taking care of the football. So I'm not as scared by that monster 73-slot discrepancy as you might think (even though it is certainly cause for concern).

The one area where State holds an advantage is rush defense, and Carolina's rushing offense can struggle at times. Part of the reason why Carolina's rushing totals are so low is its propensity to toss the ball all over the yard, and when you have Hakeem Nicks, how can you blame them? But with Nate Irving back in the lineup the Pack's rush defense will be plenty stout. If the Pack can make the Heels a one-dimensional ballclub, that should bode well for their chances of escaping for a win.

One thing I'm noticing about these stats is that after the midpoint of the season, it's almost impossible to make a dent in them based on the performance of one game. It's like your GPA in college, in a way: once you hit your junior year, if you had a 2.5 you could pretty much run the table with either As or Ds and not move the needle that much one way or the other. State's played some of its best ball offensively and defensively of late and yet they still haven't cracked the mid-70s in any of these 10 catergories.

Perhaps a more accurate view of teams as the season goes on would be to rank the country's teams over their last three games. A three-game snapshot of all the teams wouldn't be perfect, but it would account for the ebb and flow of teams as they mature, fall apart, face overwhelming injuries, etc.

But for now this is an aggregate look as the season proceeds, and honestly State hasn't changed so much since the return of Wilson and Irving as to totally invalidate these numbers, just as the loss of Yates or Tate hasn't swung the numbers overwhelming in one direction or another for the Heels.

1 comment:

  1. i'd like to see these numbers over the last couple/three games (or since wilson and irving have both been back ... of course, i don't think they have those stats.. but i bet the difference isn't as big ...