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Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Advanced Stats Preview

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What F/+, FEI, & S&P+ have to say about this Saturday's game between Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the the first full-blown advanced statistical preview that we've done in quite some time. We're getting ready to face off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and our goal, as always, remains the same: to see what the advanced stats from FootballOutsiders.com think about the game. If you're brand new here and need a primer on why we focus on the advanced stats over traditional "absolute" stats, I'll refer you to the preview for Iowa State from several weeks ago. Check out the Must Read link for the primer on what these stats actually mean:

Before we get started, I have a confession to make. I haven't had much time to review any film on Oklahoma State this week, and most of my experience with their video is from before their nosedive. As such, I'm looking at this from a numbers standpoint only, which I realize can be a fairly limited view. I hope you'll bear with me.

A Few Notes:

Our process here remains the same. We're comparing stats against one another and giving one team the edge in a totally arbitrary manner. With that out of the way, here's what the values in the EDGE column mean:

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

There are a few situations where I've deviated based on the actual values for each category that I will try to explain in more detail below.  Also, some context may be necessary with specific stats, and as always you can mouse over the stat label for additional information.

2014 FootballOutsiders Metrics for the Baylor Bears vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Hit this link to the last stats preview/predictions post to see where we were before the last game vs. now.

Overall:

Category

Baylor (8-1)

OkSt (5-5)

EDGE

Overall F/+ Rk 9 (28.60%)
76 (-5.90%)
BAYLOR
Overall FEI Rk 6 (..244)
87 (-.100)
BAYLOR
Overall S&P+ Rk 6 (247.7)
73 (195.6)
BAYLOR
Field Position Advantage 7 (.561) 64 (.497) BAYLOR

At first glance, the Bears have a strong edge in every category, and that's going to be a running theme throughout this post. Through the 28 statistical categories on both sides of the ball (excepting special teams, which we'll get to), Baylor holds a large edge based on our completely arbitrary ranking. Only one is close. We'll look at those matchups momentarily, but first let's look at the units:

Looking at the individual units (in this game):

1. Baylor Defense (#12—12.6%)
2. Oklahoma State Special Teams (#13—2.6%)
3. Baylor Offense (#14—12.6%)
4. Baylor Special Teams (#31—1.4%)
5. Oklahoma State Defense (#77—2.6%)
6. Oklahoma State Offense (#83— -4.8%)

When Baylor Has the Ball:

Category

Baylor Off

OkSt Def

EDGE

Offensive/Defensive FEI Rk
18 (.429) 82 (.189) BAYLOR
Raw OE/DE*
19 (.439) 72 (.120) BAYLOR
First Down Rate 7 (.775) 46 (.636) Baylor
Available Yards Rate 5 (.592) 61 (.446) BAYLOR
Explosive Drives 15 (.196) 92 (.164) BAYLOR
Methodical Drives 8 (.206) 45 (.107) Baylor
Value Drives 6 (.541) 69 (.39) BAYLOR
Offensive/Defensive S&P+
14 (120.2) 57 (100.2) BAYLOR
Play Rating*
16 (123.3) 47 (106.7) Baylor
Std. Downs S&P Rk 18 (123.1) 48 (105.4) Baylor
Pass. Downs S&P Rk 33 (119.7) 53 (106.7) Baylor
Rushing S&P+ Rk 34 (115.1) 30 (114.0) EVEN
Passing S&P+ Rk 15 (131.4) 59 (102.3) BAYLOR
Drive Rating*
11 (127.0) 78 (96.7) BAYLOR

*It would appear that I left out a few components in my statistical primer post that I linked above. Oops. I'll have to rectify that situation.

As is the case with many of Baylor's games, FEI and S&P+ disagree about the size of the mismatch between Baylor's offense and Oklahoma State's defense. While both stats disagree about the size of the mismatch, they both agree that this is mismatch. The only component stat that Oklahoma State has an edge over Baylor on either side of the ball (excepting Special Teams, which we'll get to momentarily) is in Rushing S&P+, where the Cowboys defense ranks 30th and Baylor's ranked 34th. It will be interesting to see what kind of factor the weather plays in this game, if any.

Oklahoma State's defense, while nowhere near the worst in the Big 12, is a fair sight worse than the last team we faced at home: Kansas. Oklahoma State ranks 77th in overall F/+, while the Jayhawks are 53rd overall. Based on the S&P+ components, it would seem like Oklahoma State has a solid defensive line. It would appear that the Football Outsiders Defensive Line metrics agree. As Mark has said with many of our previous opponents, the best bet the Cowboys have to stop our offense is control the line of scrimmage with their front seven, limit the rushing attack of Shock Linwood and Devin Chafin and get in the backfield to create pressure on Bryce Petty to throw him out of rhythm. How consistently they will be able to do that remains to be seen.

When Oklahoma State Has the Ball:

Category

Baylor Def

OkSt Off

EDGE

Offensive/Defensive FEI Rk
17 (-.447) 86 (-.192) BAYLOR
Raw OE/DE
13 (-.446) 85 (-.195) BAYLOR
First Down Rate 6 (.515) 97 (.616) BAYLOR
Available Yards Rate 6 (.326) 104 (.38) BAYLOR
Explosive Drives 58 (.124) 71 (.116) Baylor
Methodical Drives 11 (.072) 101 (.107) BAYLOR
Value Drives 10 (.258) 106 (.298) BAYLOR
Offensive/Defensive S&P+
5 (127.5) 82 (95.4) BAYLOR
Play Rating 15 (124.5) 76 (97.6) BAYLOR
Std. Downs S&P Rk 13 (120.9) 79 (96.8) BAYLOR
Pass. Downs S&P Rk 24 (125.8) 57 (102.7) Baylor
Rushing S&P+ Rk 18 (126.2) 100 (89.8) BAYLOR
Passing S&P+ Rk 21 (123.0) 44 (108.3) Baylor
Drive Rating
3 (147.8) 75 (98.3) BAYLOR

Look at that. Everything's coming up Baylor, and most of it BAYLOR. The closest metric here is Explosive Drives. But Oklahoma State's offense isn't very explosive, and Baylor's defense is improving in that regard. I've seen it bandied about that Oklahoma State's offense may be the worst in the conference; while FEI and S&P+ don't place them in that position, the Cowboys certainly are not an offensive juggernaut.

The wrinkle in all of this is the news that QB Daxx Garman may be out for the game with concussion symptoms suffered against Texas. It's looking more and more likely that the Cowboys will pull true freshman Mason Rudolph's redshirt and he will make his first start in McLane Stadium. While this introduces an unknown element to the equation, I'm not sure that starting your first game in the hostile environs of McLane Stadium in a deluge is a recipe for success. And, oh yeah, it's a Blackout game. Look for Andrew Billings, Shawn Oakman, Beau Blackshear and the rest of the defensive front to wreak havoc on Oklahoma State's beleaguered offensive line all night.

Special Teams:

Category

Baylor

OkSt

EDGE

F/+ Special Teams
31 (1.4%)
13 (2.6%) Oklahoma St
Special Teams Efficiency
31 (.962)
13 (1.787) Oklahoma St
Field Goal Efficiency
43 (.113)
36 (.220)
----
Punt Return Efficiency
76 (-.118) 81 (-.130) ----
Kickoff Return Efficiency
20 (-.040)
9 (.049)
----
Punt Efficiency
19 (-.225)
46 (-.147)
----
Kickoff Efficiency
92 (-.085)
21 (-.234)
----
Opponent Field Goal Efficiency
16 (-500)

107 (.359)

----

There we go, an advantage for Oklahoma State: Special teams, and Kickoffs in particular. Our kickoff efficiency is still pretty bad, while the Cowboys are one of the best teams at returning kickoffs. That's due to one man: Tyreek Hill. I'm probably 3/4 joking when I say that Oklahoma State's best bet to win this game is to return every one of Baylor's kickoffs for touchdowns. Hill is an absolute burner, and the Bears shouldn't kick the ball anywhere within 20 yards of him. I suspect that if you don't like it when Baylor kicks it short, you're going to be pissed in this game. In fact, the Bears might actually be more successful if they just went ahead and did onside kicks after every single score.

As always, we leave out putting anything in the EDGE category for all but one of these categories because it wouldn't really make sense. Our kickoff team doesn't kick off to their kickoff team, for example.

The Bottom Line:

Right now, Baylor is a 28.5 point favorite. After my indecision over the previous game, I'm feeling incredibly confident about this one. The Bears return home after a week off and the best performance of the season, and I'm comfortable with Baylor winning very large here. Bill C.'s Week 13 F/+ Projections agree, predicting that Baylor will win by 61.4 points (!!) on Saturday.  I don't know if I'd go that far... Or maybe I would. As long as the weather doesn't wreak havoc on the flow of this game and the abilities of the players, I'm comfortable taking Baylor very large. I'll put my official prediction in the Preview/Predictions post later on.

One More Thing

Like I mentioned above, Football Outsiders now tracks statistics for offensive and defensive lines. We're still looking at what the best method is to include those stats into these posts. It may be something that we try to do for Texas Tech and Kansas State (plus the bowl game), or we may have to wait until the offseason. We will see.