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Baylor vs. Kansas Stats Preview/Prediction Thread

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It's Homecoming in Waco tomorrow, and the Bears look to get back to their winning ways against Kansas.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
vs.
12/12 BAYLOR (6-1, 3-1) vs. NR/NR KANSAS (2-5, 0-4)
Nov. 1, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | McLane Stadium (45,140)

TV: FOX Sports 1
Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Notes | Tickets Gameday Central

OPPONENT: Kansas Jayhawks
ODB GAME HUB:
Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks 2014
ADVANCED STATS PREVIEW:
SEE BELOW
OURDAILYPODCAST PREVIEW:
Burn. It. All. Down.
ODB PREDICTS:
NONE THIS WEEK
MEET THE PRESS: Baylor vs. Kansas
FIRST LOOK: Baylor vs. Kansas
SB NATION BLOG: Rock Chalk Talk, at right
SPREAD: Baylor -35.5 (Open: Baylor -33.5)
TV COVERAGE:
FOX Sports 1
WEATHER FORECAST:
Sunny skies with winds out of the East-SE at 5-10 mph. High of 64º F (Wunderground puts the temp at 60º at game time).
BAYLOR UNIFORMS: WE WILL FIND OUT SOON ENOUGH

SB Nation KU Preview
BaylorBears.com Preview
Bears vs Jayhawks coverage

Stripe the Stadium

You know the drill at this point, but we're not there yet, so there's still time to educate and inform someone who may not be aware what the plan is for Saturday. Send them to the link on the right. There will be plenty of opportunities to get the correct shirt at bargain prices, both outside the stadium and within. Get excited about this, people. It's going to look fantastic on TV.

Injuries/Suspensions

Everyone knows at this point that Baylor is missing three starters for the rest of the year in LE Jamal Palmer, RG Desmine Hilliard, and RT Troy Baker.  The replacements for each of them are pretty predictable: K.J. Smith, Jarell Broxton, and Pat Colbert, respectively.  Also questionable for the Bears in this game is OLB Aiavion Edwards; Briles mentioned earlier this week that Edwards might play, but that Taylor Young would definitely get the start.

On the good side, Kansas should be the first game this season wherein Baylor has its full cadre of running backs available and 100%.  Johnny Jefferson returns to the fold alongside Devin Chafin and Shock Linwood to bolster a running game that did not perform well two weeks ago in Morgantown.

I am unaware of major injuries for Kansas that change anything from previous weeks and will look for further information before tomorrow.

Advanced Stats:

Work obligations kept me from doing my regular separate, fully-fledged Advanced Stats post, so we can get into that a bit now.  Obviously, a lot has changed over the past two weeks since we suffered our first loss at the hands of the Mountaineers of Morgantown.  You can peruse the last Advanced Stats post to see the change.

My short primer on the EDGE column for the uninitiated:

EVEN = 10 or fewer ranking spots difference
Lowercase = 11-39 ranking spots difference
UPPERCASE = 40 or more ranking spots difference.

Category

Baylor (6-1)

KU (2-4)

EDGE

Overall F/+ Rk 20 (21.3%)
104 (-16.4%)
BAYLOR
Overall FEI Rk 21 (.186)
96 (-.110)
BAYLOR
Overall S&P+ Rk 18 (236.1)
98 (186.4)
BAYLOR
Field Position Advantage 11 (.551) 70 (.494) BAYLOR

It's important to remember that these stats don't care about wins and losses; they care about how well you play.  The truth of Baylor's game in Morgantown?  We didn't play well at all.  These stats reflect why we lost, not that we lost, if that makes sense.

According to F/+, the units in this game stack up as follows:

1. Baylor Defense (#19)
2. Baylor Offense (#29)
3. Kansas Defense (#51)
4. Baylor Special Teams (#52)
5. Kansas Offense (#119)
6. Kansas Special Teams (#125)

Wow, the #125 special teams are playing tomorrow and not wearing green and gold.  I'm shocked!  Shocked, I say!

For the next two sections, I'm going to dispense with most of the commentary and just identify the parts that might play a big role.

When Baylor Has the Ball:

Category

Baylor Off

KU Def

EDGE

Offensive/Defensive FEI Rk
28 (.321)
45 (-.194)
Baylor
Raw OE/DE
28 (.336)
47 (-.177)
Baylor
First Down Rate 13 (.768)
80 (.703)
BAYLOR
Available Yards Rate 16 (.561)
60 (.438)
BAYLOR
Explosive Drives 14 (.207)
55 (.122)
BAYLOR
Methodical Drives 29 (.171)
24 (.095)
EVEN
Value Drives 9 (.536)
41 (.323)
Baylor
Offensive/Defensive S&P+
27 (113.6) 59 (102.6)
Baylor
Play Rating
38 (115.6)
45 (110.0) Baylor
Std. Downs S&P Rk 34 (115.0)
21 (119.4) Kansas
Pass. Downs S&P Rk 44 (114.7) 92 (90.4) BAYLOR
Rushing S&P+ Rk 63 (104.0) 48 (108.2) Kansas
Passing S&P+ Rk 20 (126.5)
46 (110.7) Baylor
Drive Rating
21 (116.9)
101 (91.7) BAYLOR

SO I JUST NOTICED THAT THE S&P PAGES FOR OFFENSE AND DEFENSE HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE INFORMATION THAN THEY USED TO, INCLUDING RUN% ON STANDARD AND PASSING DOWNS, PLUS HAVOC RATE FOR DL AND DBS.  THIS IS GREAT STUFF THAT I'M GOING TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE.  I WILL ADMIT I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS.  Also, it shows that Baylor has the #1 offense in the country by pace, something we knew already.

Two things we need to talk about here.  The first is that our offense has both suffered the most from (statistically) and caused our recent troubles.  We're not running the ball well, as we know, and our efficiency on passing downs has cratered mostly due to incomplete passes.  We are still extremely explosive by IsoPPP (#5), but balancing explosiveness with offensive efficiency is a delicate act, and we've gone way too far the other way in relying on big plays.

The second thing to mention is that Kansas's defense IS NOT BAD (Ben Heeney).  I'll repeat that: Kansas's defense IS NOT BAD (Ben Heeney).  In fact, it's actually pretty good in a couple of key respects, notably on standard downs and against the run (Ben-- wait for it-- Heeney).  That's not great news for us given everything I just said.  The fact that they're pretty bad on passing downs limits their overall effectiveness, but passing downs are pretty risky, generally, so their chances go up the more they stop the run early.

Basically, what I'm saying is that Baylor may well score a lot of points tomorrow because we're at home and will be well-rested and ready to go crazy, but the statistical profile of this game doesn't really show that as likely.  KANSAS'S DEFENSE IS NOT BAD, YOU GUYS.

When Kansas Has the Ball:

Category

Baylor Def

KU Off

EDGE

Offensive/Defensive FEI Rk
24 (-.389)
119 (-.509)
BAYLOR
Raw OE/DE
15 (-.409)
96 (-.655)
BAYLOR
First Down Rate 5 (.519)
116 (.563)
BAYLOR
Available Yards Rate 9 (.329)
122 (.301)
BAYLOR
Explosive Drives 62 (.127)
111 (.075)
BAYLOR
Methodical Drives 16 (.076)
119 (.075)
BAYLOR
Value Drives 14(.263)
124 (.188)
BAYLOR
Offensive/Defensive S&P+
13 (122.6) 116 (83.8)
BAYLOR
Play Rating 19 (121.1) 109 (84.9) BAYLOR
Std. Downs S&P Rk 38 (111.8)
106 (88.5) BAYLOR
Pass. Downs S&P Rk 11 (143.2) 117 (77.4) BAYLOR
Rushing S&P+ Rk 34 (115.6) 115 (81.5) BAYLOR
Passing S&P+ Rk 19 (125.8)
94 (90.7) BAYLOR
Drive Rating
11 (128.1)
122 (83.7) BAYLOR

But their offense is.  It really, really is.  This is basically a Greek tragedy of an offensive profile in that the Jayhawks don't do anything particularly well and are actually within 10 or so of the very bottom in several categories.

On the other side, Baylor will field a defense that has had some trouble with explosive plays in recent weeks, as we all well know, but still boasts a very strong profile, overall.  We're particularly good on passing downs and against the pass, two things you probably didn't expect to see.

I'm not going to sugarcoat things here for our Jayhawk friends: there's not a lot of reason for optimism on this side for KU.  Even if Clint Bowen's boys put up the game of their life defensively, there's no real reason to believe Kansas will score very many points at all, and that's probably why Bill C's projections had Baylor winning 56 to -14 earlier this week.

Special Teams:

Category

Baylor

KU

EDGE

F/+ Special Teams
52
125 BAYLOR
Special Teams Efficiency
52 (.453)
125 (-4.529)
BAYLOR
Field Goal Efficiency
79 (-.116)
111 (-.542)
----
Punt Return Efficiency
68 (-.096)
67 (-.093)
----
Kickoff Return Efficiency
18 (-.001)
84 (-.189)
----
Punt Efficiency
22 (-.242)
21 (-.250)
----
Kickoff Efficiency
114 (.008)
128 (.723)
----
Opponent Field Goal Efficiency
40 (-.184)

100 (.364)

----

Not much to say here other than that KU's special teams are apparently pretty bad.  Part of that is their horrendous kickoff numbers, but it should be noted that with their offense, they don't kickoff much.  Baylor has charged hard up the kicking ranks lately with Chris Callahan nailing kick after kick, but we've also tumbled in punt returns for whatever reason.

My Prediction:

With Baylor's patchwork offensive line needing time to gel, Kansas's relative strength on defense, and a team that may think it needs to score a lot of points to impress, we have all the ingredients for what might be a lower scoring game than people expect.  Look, I'd love nothing more than for Baylor to go scorched Earth (for charity, of course) and put up video game numbers.  I just don't know that it will happen.

Thankfully, KU's offense is pretty terrible and it should still be a pretty easy win. I'm not going to predict negative numbers like Bill's formulas (nothing but love, Bill), but I will say Baylor covers the 35-point spread in front of the first Homecoming crowd in McLane Stadium history.

Final Score: Baylor 55, Kansas 10

Give me your predictions in the comments below and vote in the poll!  And sorry for this going up so late!