Welcome back to another week of fun times with Advanced Stats. Of course, we’re looking at this week’s
Homecoming matchup between the Bears and Cyclones . They’ve canceled basically all of Homecoming for this weekend, but hey! Pigskin is indoors, so that’s still happening, I’m sure. Anyway, it’s entirely possible that 17" of rainfall will turn everything on its ear with this game, but since we can’t say for certain, we’re just going to keep rolling with our advanced stats previews and see what they have to say. Let’s get to it, shall we?
This week marks the first week that FEI has detailed individual stats, but due to time constraints I haven’t had the chance to spend much time with them. As such, I’m going to hold off on including them this week. Brian Fremeau wrote about the changes he’s made to his methodology, and it’s worth taking a look at if you’re interested. Look for another Primer next week on what all of these stats mean, but as always, you can find them on Football Outsiders as well as the Advanced Stats Profiles I’ll link right now.
Baylor Bears Advanced Stats Profile
Iowa State Cyclones Advanced Stats Profile
|F/+||3 (50.7%)/td>||77 (–6.3%)||BAYLOR|
|S&P+||4 (23.1)||63 (1.6)||BAYLOR|
|FEI||5 (0.233)||83 (–0.068)||BAYLOR|
The 50,000-foot view looks much like you would expect, given the two teams’ performance to date. Interesting to me that F/+ is a combination of FEI and S&P+, but combine the two and Baylor’s ranking is higher than the two individual numbers. Huh. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take it, but… Huh. Let’s look closer.
When Baylor Has The Ball…
|S&P+||1 (50.3)||73 (29.4)||BAYLOR|
|EXPLOSIVENESS||IsoPPP||1 (1.63)||58 (1.23)||BAYLOR|
|EFFICIENCY||Success Rate||1 (58.2%)||114 (47.4%)||BAYLOR|
|FIELD POSITION||Avg. FP||74 (29.6)||40 (27.8)||Iowa State|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||1 (6.18)||78 (4.8)||BAYLOR|
None of this should especially surprise you. Baylor has the best offense in the nation, and the numbers back that up. This is in spite of our Field Position Rating, which is still below average. This offense doesn’t care, though. They’ve proven that they can score from any yard line. This is going to likely be a mismatch all the way down the line.
|Rushing Stats||Baylor||Iowa State||EDGE|
|Rushing S&P+||14 (127.8)||44 (109.2)||Baylor|
|Rushing Success Rate||1 (60.8%)||77 (43.1%)||BAYLOR|
|Rushing IsoPPP||17 (1.22)||80 (1.12)||BAYLOR|
|Adj. Line Yards||41 (109.7)||45 (107.5)||EVEN|
|Opportunity Rate||1 (53.8%)||69 (38.1%)||BAYLOR|
|Power Success Rate||19 (77.3%)||23 (52.4%)||EVEN|
|Stuff Rate||5 (0.125)||84 (0.185)||BAYLOR|
Anyone surprised here? Anyone? Hmmmm.
Looking at the Line stats, the matchup is kind of, sort of a little more even. If you look at the Power Success Rate and the Adjusted Line Yards and forget about Stuff Rate and Opportunity Rate. Of course, if you’ve read any of these, you know that I adore opportunity rate, which is the percentage of plays that a rushing attack gains at least five yards, when 5 yards are available. Baylor is excellent at that. Power Success Rate is another stat that’s fascinated me on both sides of the ball. It, of course, is the percentage of 3rd-and short and 4th-and-short situations that result in either first downs or touchdowns. Baylor is excellent in this situation, but so is Iowa State’s defensive line. That will be a fun scenario to watch play out on the field on Saturday.
|Passing Stats||Baylor||Iowa State||EDGE|
|Passing S&P+||7 (133.1)||80 (95.8)||BAYLOR|
|Passing Success Rate||2 (55.2%)||125 (52%)||BAYLOR|
|Passing IsoPPP||3 (2.16)||32 (1.32)||Baylor|
|Adj. Sack Rate||3 (453.4)||2 (216.5)||EVEN|
Yeah… Baylor’s really good through the air, too. But, Iowa State isn’t terrible about giving up really massive plays through the air, so maybe that’ll be interesting this weekend. Iowa State’s gets the sacks, apparently. But Baylor’s offensive line is incredibly good at not giving them up.
Look, I’m going to stop here on the offensive side of the ball. If you want more, I can post it, but none of it will surprise you. I’ll put the table in here for your perusal, but there are only so many ways that I can say "Baylor is really, really good, and Iowa State just isn’t that wonderful." I’m tired of flogging the equine carcass.
|Standard Downs||Baylor||Iowa State||EDGE|
|Standard Downs S&P+||5 (134.5)||47 (104)||BAYLOR|
|Standard Downs Success Rate||1 (64%)||116 (52.7%)||BAYLOR|
|Standard Downs IsoPPP||1 (1.55)||29 (0.99)||Baylor|
|SD Line Yards per Carry||1 (4.42)||69 (2.85)||BAYLOR|
|SD Sack Rate||21 (1.9%)||93 (3.7%)||Baylor|
|Passing Downs||Baylor||Iowa State||EDGE|
|Passing Downs S&P+||48 (112.1)||80 (95.6)||Baylor|
|Passing Downs Success Rate||21 (35.6%)||103 (34.3%)||BAYLOR|
|Passing Downs IsoPPP||10 (2.23)||115 (2.11)||BAYLOR|
|PD Line Yards per Carry||14 (4.09)||62 (3.14)||BAYLOR|
|PD Sack Rate||1 (0%)||20 (10.6%)||Baylor|
When Iowa State Has The Ball…
|S&P+||42 (32.8)||92 (32.1)||IOWA STATE|
|EXPLOSIVENESS||IsoPPP||52 (1.29)||109 (1.4)||IOWA STATE|
|EFFICIENCY||Success Rate||52 (43.5%)||26 (35.3%)||Baylor|
|FIELD POSITION||Avg. FP||64 (30.2)||84 (30.1)||Iowa State|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||116 (3.93)||67 (4.66)||BAYLOR|
Okay, now we’re cooking. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. S&P+ hasn’t exactly loved our defense all season long. That being said, we did jump significantly in the rankings after beating West Virginia last week. So, there’s that. I really like this high level view of the defense. They’re really good at Success Rate, but not so good at IsoPPP. So what does that mean?
Watch closely and you’ll see it. The Bears are tremendous at keeping offenses in check… most of the time. 1st and 10 becomes 2nd and 8 or 12, becomes 3rd and 6 or 10 or 14. Then… the opposing offense completes a 15-yard pass to convert. That’s success rate and explosive plays in a nutshell. The offense is unsuccessful on 2 of 3 plays, but when they hit on 3rd down, it’s for a big chunk of yardage, which counts as an explosive play.
But, one place the Bears are improving is Red Zone Efficiency. You saw it in the second quarter against WVU. They’d give up a big play that would put the Mountaineers within striking distance, only to have a goal-line stand or force a field goal. That sort of thing. They’re still not spectacular in that regard, but they’re improving, which is something indeed. Let’s continue.
|Rushing Stats||Iowa State||Baylor||EDGE|
|Rushing S&P+||35 (116.4)||14 (128.2)||Baylor|
|Rushing Success Rate||24 (48%)||30 (36.3%)||EVEN|
|Rushing IsoPPP||91 (1.01)||38 (0.97)||BAYLOR|
|Adj. Line Yards||37 (111.5)||22 (115.7)||Baylor|
|Opportunity Rate||71 (38.9%)||11 (29.7%)||BAYLOR|
|Power Success Rate||61 (66.7%)||54 (63.2%)||EVEN|
|Stuff Rate||9 (0.143)||19 (0.257)||EVEN|
Well, I wasn’t expecting that. I knew that Baylor had been pretty solid against the run this season after a roughish start, but for whatever reason I didn’t realize they’d improved that much. Silly me. The spot where they struggle, though, is in Power Success situations: 3rd or 4th and short. Their numbers there actually went down after last week (were ranked 40th, now ranked 54th). I don’t fully understand this, since our defensive line can be such monsters, and by and large our linebackers are doing well, with a few exceptions. It just seems that when they get into those short yardage situations, they give up the line to gain. But hey, maybe this week they’ll start to turn it around? Maybe?
One interesting matchup is on Stuff Rate (remember, getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage). Baylor is great at doing it. Iowa State doesn’t let it happen very much.
|Passing Stats||Iowa State||Baylor||EDGE|
|Passing S&P+||58 (105.8)||61 (100.6)||EVEN|
|Passing Success Rate||80 (39.1%)||26 (33.9%)||BAYLOR|
|Passing IsoPPP||34 (1.61)||127 (2)||IOWA STATE|
|Adj. Sack Rate||114 (63.5)||58 (105.8)||BAYLOR|
Ahhh, Explosiveness. You rear your ugly head once again. This is the same thing as before. They don’t give up much, but when they do, it’s explosive. The Iowa State D-Line is pretty bad at giving up sacks, though, so perhaps if the D-Line can wreak some havoc in the backfield, they can prevent those explosive plays from developing. Until I see it happening though, I remain skeptical.
|Standard Downs||Iowa State||
|Standard Downs S&P+||36 (111.9)||16 (124.5)||Baylor|
|Standard Downs Success Rate||43 (49.8%)||13 (37.7%)||Baylor|
|Standard Downs IsoPPP||90 (1.05)||78 (1.1)||Baylor|
|SD Line Yards per Carry||32 (3.17)||13 (2.23)||Baylor|
|SD Sack Rate||115 (8.2%)||82 (4.3%)||Baylor|
|Passing Downs||Iowa State||Baylor||EDGE|
|Passing Downs S&P+||56 (109.4)||78 (96)||Iowa State|
|Passing Downs Success Rate||83 (28.6%)||80 (31.3%)||EVEN|
|Passing Downs IsoPPP||8 (2.27)||98 (1.98)||IOWA STATE|
|PD Line Yards per Carry||78 (3.08)||116 (4.11)||Iowa State|
|PD Sack Rate||100 (9.9%)||34 (9.2%)||BAYLOR|
The story here is a reflection of what we’re seeing above with rushing & passing S&P+. The Bears are favored when you’re in standard down situations, but once it’s time to take to the air… The Bears’ struggle more. All of that being said, I still maintain that the secondary is much improved over where they were a year ago, and that they’re not as bad as these stats suggest. Sure, they can be better, and they’re getting better. We’re seeing them turn their head to the ball more often, and they’re making smarter plays. Reasonable minds may disagree on whether the PI call against Ryan Reid on the WR pass last week was legit, but either way, he did the right thing. If he doesn’t do what he did, that’s a touchdown. That’s just one play, but we’re seeing more life from them than we have in the past year. I for one am hopeful we will continue to make strides in that area. Until then, this is Iowa State’s hope for victory: get the ball to Allen Lazard early, and often. Make the defensive backs for Baylor beat him.
I think that the biggest factor in this game may be something that cannot be factored into the advanced stats: the weather. The forecast calls for near-100% chance of rain the entire day, plus the threat of lightning persists. It will be very interesting to see how any lightning delays may impact the Bears' rhythm as well. But, if they overcome those potential obstacles, the stats sure do look favorably on the Bears' chances on Saturday.