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Baylor vs. Texas Tech Stats Preview

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This week, the Baylor Bears travel to Arlington, Texas to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders in AT&T Stadium in what is nominally a home game for the Bears, huge favorites by both Vegas and the numbers.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

So remember last week when I told you guys that I can't help that I'm a tinkerer? Yeah... We're going to conduct a little experiment today with the stats preview to decide what I'm going to do going forward. At the end of the post there is a poll about the format I've chosen. If you would, let me know if you like this format for the charts or if things looked better all together. Neither way requires any more work, really, so it's up to you.

Don't look at me like that.

A Few Notes:

If you're a Texas Tech fan unfamiliar with my format, I already know the labels in the EDGE column are totally arbitrary. I've tried to tailor them a bit in recent weeks, but I still haven't found a good way to do this.
EVEN = 10 or fewer ranking spots difference
Lowercase = 40 or fewer ranking spots difference
UPPERCASE = 40 or more ranking spots difference.

2013 FootballOutsiders Metrics for the Baylor Bears vs. the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Overall:

Category

Baylor (8-0)

Texas Tech (7-3)

EDGE

Overall F/+ Rk 4 (42.9%)
54 (4.1%)
BAYLOR
Overall FEI Rk 5 (.267)
57 (.025)
BAYLOR
Overall S&P+ Rk 2 (305.7)
42 (217.2)
BAYLOR
Field Position Advantage 28 67 Baylor

Before anyone says it, yes, we're taking numbers talking about what has been and applying them to what might be. Everybody sees that going in. I still feel pretty good about it, though, because these numbers tell us something about where the teams are. And where you are at least informs where you might be going.

Looking at the numbers, now you see why Baylor is such a huge favorite. It isn't the offense. It isn't the defense. It's both. Baylor has the best two units in the game by a fairly large margin and both special teams units are just about equally terrible.

Looking at the individual units:
1. Baylor O (26.8%)
2. Baylor D (17.8%)
3. Texas Tech O (11.1%)
4/5. Baylor ST (-1.7%) Texas Tech ST (-1.7%)
6. Texas Tech D (-5.3%)

I'm not 100% on that last part, but Texas Tech's defense is pretty bad.

When Baylor Has the Ball:

Category

Baylor Off

Tech Def

EDGE

Offensive/Defensive FEI Rk
3 (.661)
86 (.162)
BAYLOR
Raw OE/DE
1 (1.206)
43 (-.192)
BAYLOR
First Down Rate
1 (.866)
12 (.571)
Baylor
Available Yards Rate
1 (.718)
29 (.394)
Baylor
Explosive Drives
1 (.378)
17 (.076)
Baylor
Methodical Drives 80 (.134)
46 (.134)
Tech (even?)
Value Drives
2 (.643)
31 (.321)
Baylor
Offensive/Defensive S&P+
1 (157.7) 86 (97.7)
BAYLOR
Play Efficiency
1 (157.0)
88 (93.7) BAYLOR
Std. Downs S&P+ Rk.
2 (140.7)
75 (98.2) BAYLOR
Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 1 (208.1) 111 (82.2) BAYLOR!!!!
Rushing S&P+ Rk 14 (125.0) 96 (91.1) BAYLOR
Passing S&P+ Rk 1 (203.9)
84 (93.4) BAYLOR!!!!
Drive Efficiency 2 (158.4)
87 (101.7) BAYLOR
Difference in Net Points
1 (2.40)
32 (-1.01) BAYLOR

So... this looks pretty good. I'm happy with it. Looking at the numbers, we have about as much of an edge over Texas Tech as we did Iowa State and West Virginia (but not Kansas, not then). Their defense has fallen that far, mostly because of injuries. The biggest number that should excite you and/or keep Tech fans awake at night is their astoundingly bad rank on passing downs. Against far and away the best offense in the country on passing downs, that's a complete mismatch, and with starting RBs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin unlikely to play this weekend, we could see a huge day for Bryce Petty. I mean a HUGE day.

Of course, it may not even get to that because Tech's running defense is also pretty bad. As I noted in the comments of the First Look, the Red Raiders have given up a grand total of 841 rushing yards in their last three games. So with the aforementioned injuries to Baylor's RB corp, if you can snag Rashodrick Linwood for your CFB fantasy league, do it. You should have done it already. Tech runs what is basically a hybrid 3-3/3-4 defense with the "Raider" linebacker as the wildcard player and three down linemen. We should be able to run between the tackles just as teams before us did. That's another place for Petty to get yardage, should he keep it as often as he did against OU.

There's not much here I don't like. The numbers in the pass matchup are just so good for us. Texas Tech has been remarkably good this season at preventing first downs, but I wonder if that isn't a function of facing relatively poor offensive teams, since their overall numbers do not match up with that stat. They're obviously not going to play themselves (neither are we), and the best non-Baylor offense they've played by F/+ (Kansas State) took the air completely out of the ball in the second half and only ran 56 offensive plays. Baylor will run many more than that.

When Texas Tech Has the Ball:

Category

Baylor Def

Tech Off

EDGE

Offensive/Defensive FEI Rk
17 (-.430)
22 (.330)
EVEN
Raw OE/DE
5 (-.564)
57 (.094)
BAYLOR
First Down Rate
2 (.512)
16 (.765)
Baylor
Available Yards Rate
10 (.342)
39 (.516)
Baylor
Explosive Drives
14 (.073)
78 (.109)
BAYLOR
Methodical Drives 45 (.134)
6 (.252)
Tech
Value Drives
11 (.273)
33 (.476)
Baylor
Offensive/Defensive S&P+
7 (148.0) 19 (119.5)
Baylor
Play Efficiency
9 (127.7)
21 (117.2) Baylor
Std. Downs S&P+ Rk.
10 (127.5)
48 (106.6) Baylor
Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 19 (126.5) 8 (148.6) Tech
Rushing S&P+ Rk 14 (125.0) 52 (107.1) Baylor
Passing S&P+ Rk 11 (128.6)
22 (121.0) Baylor
Drive Efficiency 4 (164.9)
16 (121.7) Baylor
Difference in Net Points
1 (-2.89)
40 (.22) BAYLOR

Not as amazingly awesome, but still a good matchup for Baylor's defense. Offense is clearly Tech's strength, but they don't run the ball particularly well and have trouble on standard downs as a result. They do, however, pass the ball well and should challenge our linebackers/secondary for the first real time this season. The real hope for Tech has to be that they can sustain methodical drives through short passes, basically grinding out possession in exactly the opposite way as Kansas State. The depth chart lists three starters disjunctively and Kingsbury has yet to announce a starter as far as I know. Davis Webb got the start once again last week, and I'd expect that he does again until we're told he won't.

On Baylor's side, our defensive transformation this season has been nothing short of amazing. After another dominant performance against OU, the Baylor defense has risen all the way to #7 in S&P+ (#17 in FEI). Strong against both run and pass, Phil Bennett's unit has a tremendous ability to force three and outs, preventing teams from sustaining long drives and putting up points. Against a Tech team that doesn't put together explosive drives, preferring instead to work their way down the field through short passes, it will be interesting to see how Baylor reacts. The most likely result in my mind is that Bennett challenges whichever freshman QB that starts to beat them over the top by pulling Terrell Burt and Ahmad Dixon within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, as we've seen him do repeatedly this season. Keeping them in the box gives him the option of spreading our linebackers wider to cover slot receivers and/or the tight end, Jace Amaro, wherever he is. That could be a particular boon to Sam Holl, who will need help against the bigger Amaro. You're then relying on Bryce Hager and the four down linemen to stop the run, but I'll take the best defensive line Baylor has fielded in a generation against a relatively lackluster Tech running game.

On obvious passing downs, it wouldn't shock me at all for Baylor to attempt to keep Tech's QB off-balance with a number of blitzes rather than let him sit back and find the open receiver. The key will be to limit the time the QB has in the pocket as a means of limiting the distance he can throw, keeping everything in front of the sticks. Lackey and Holl have proven themselves particularly effective in this role, and I have been very impressed with the play lately of K.J. Morton and Demetri Goodson such that their matchups with Bradley Marquez, Eric Ward, and Jakeem Grant (all legitimately good receivers) don't scare me like they once did. Tech likes to spread teams out wide with 4-WR sets, something our defense should be relatively well-equipped to handle with Holl not having to come off the field.

One thing that does present an interesting twist to this game is Tech's ability to go up-tempo. Against other teams like OU and Kansas State, Baylor has faced offenses much more purposeful in how they run their plays. That's not what Tech does. Basically their only chance in this game is to win a shootout, so they will want to move quickly and tire our defense out. That could backfire on them eventually if our offense plays as it should, but they don't really have any other options. There will be points.

Special Teams:

Category

Baylor

Texas Tech

EDGE

F/+ Special Teams
98 97 EVEN
Special Teams Efficiency
98 (-1.376)
97 (-1.316)
EVEN
Field Goal Efficiency
72 (.044)
49 (.251)

Punt Return Efficiency
114 (-.276)
64 (-.076)

Kickoff Return Efficiency
35 (-.067)
100 (-.256)

Punt Efficiency
108 (.099)
112 (.133)

Kickoff Efficiency
75 (-.126)
91 (-.103)

Opponent Field Goal Efficiency
14 (-.398)
89 (.334)

I don't really have much to say here. Both teams treat special teams as basically optional, so I'm glad we don't have a tremendous disadvantage.

The Bottom Line:

As I say just about every week, Baylor is a huge favorite in this game for a reason. Our offense clearly outclasses the Texas Tech defense. Our defense, led by our fast linebackers and hard-hitting safety Ahmad Dixon, matches up well with what Tech will likely attempt to do offensively. It's the first game in a while where we probably won't see much of the "Kansas State blueprint" if only because that's not who Tech is at all. They are about as diametrically opposed to that philosophy as possible, reliant as it is on a strong defense and running game to effectively deny Baylor's offense the opportunity to score.

For Texas Tech to win will likely require an extremely slow start by the Baylor offense coupled with a quick start by Texas Tech. Forcing a few Baylor turnovers would also help, as would a sudden ability to stop the Baylor running game that has not been demonstrated in their results thus far this season. If Baylor can get Shock Linwood (assuming Glasco and Lache are indeed out) going on the ground, things will open up through the air and that will be the end of it. It's not arrogance so much as truth, demonstrated through what we've seen and the numbers show.

For the poll question, here's a link to last week's post for Oklahoma.