Monday, December 19, 2011

Statistically Speaking: Ticket City Edition

Here are the national rankings for Houston vs. Penn State from the NCAA:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.HoustonDelta
Passing Offense961-95
Total Offense941-93
Scoring Offense1101-109
Rushing Defense487729
Turnovers Gained2816-12
Passes Had Intercepted359-26
Pass Defense54843
Net Punting7860-18
Punt Returns779-68
Kickoff Returns325523
Turnover Margin328-24
Fumbles Recovered295223
Passes Intercepted245-19
Fumbles Lost9242-50
Turnovers Lost6511-54
Passing Efficiency1123-109
Pass Efficiency Defense52419
Total Defense106454
Scoring Defense54136
Fewest Penalties Per Game296435
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game305828
Punt Return Yardage Defense66748
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense6360-3
Offense Third-down Efficiency956-89
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency273912
Defense Third-down Efficiency5247-5
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency324715
Tackles for Loss304-26
Offense Tackles for Loss253
Pass Sacks26359
Pass Sacks Allowed163317
Time of Possession5511560
First Downs892-87
First Downs Allowed196445
Red Zone Efficiency9139-52
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense1192-117
Average NCAA Rank:50.5934.68-15.92
Weighted Avg. Rank:54.0832.5-21.58

Here is Houston's schedule for 2011:

2011HoustonCougars Schedule
DateOpponentResultRecordOpp. Record
Sept. 3UCLAW 38-341-0 (0-0)6-7 *
Sept. 10at North TexasW 48-232-0 (0-0)5-7
Sept. 17at La TechW 35-343-0 (0-0)8-4 *
Sept. 24GEORGIA STATEW 56-04-0 (0-0)3-8
Sept. 29at UTEPW 49-425-0 (1-0)5-7
Oct. 8EAST CAROLINAW 56-36-0 (2-0)5-7
Oct. 22MARSHALLW 63-287-0 (3-0)6-6 *
Oct. 27RICEW 73-348-0 (4-0)4-8
Nov. 5at UABW 56-139-0 (5-0)3-9
Nov. 10at TulaneW 73-1710-0 (6-0)2-11
Nov. 19SMUW 37-711-0 (7-0)7-5 *
Nov. 25at TulsaW 48-1612-0 (8-0)8-4 *
Dec. 3SOUTHERN MISSL 49-2812-1 (8-1)11-2 *

While Houston's national NCAA rankings are impressive (34.68 ranks 6th in the country--PSU's 50.59 ranks 37th), I am kind of underwhelmed by their schedule.  Southern Miss (21st in the BCS) is the only ranked team they have played.  By contrast, Penn State played nine bowl bound opponents and the Owls have already won their bowl impressively, beating Wyoming 37-15.  Five oppoennts play in January. 

Houston's offensive numbers are impressive--their defense is meh.  But how good is that offense?  If you look at the defenses (Georgia Southern not included) they have faced, the best defense was Southern Miss at 31, with an average NCAA ranking of 80 among all the Division 1A teams they faced.

To be fair, I compared the offenses that Penn State's defense has faced to date.  The best was Wisconsin at 15th in the country, with an overall average ranking of 66, not including Indiana State.

Penn State may be without starting QB Matt McGloin.  It is not clear whether Drake and McGloin will face punishment for their altercation, but McGloin will need to be medically cleared to play.  Paul Jones might be eligible if his GPA cooperates.  Bolden apparently will not suffer any team punishment for a prank gone awry, where he stole a $2.00 bottle of Gatorade and then returned it to the store.  What?  No tattoo???  Don't these kids today even know how to get into trouble?

The unknown quantity of coaching may play a factor.  Does Bradley have the job or not?  Honestly, rumors aside, he will not be the coach next season.  Rumors are flying that Larry Johnson, Sr. could be headed to Columbus to head up a defense for Urban Renewal.  Regardless of the outcome of the changes, the situation has to be a dsitraction both for the players and the coaches.

Penn State is currently a 5-6 point underdog.  Take McGloin out of the equation and add a coaching staff that is working on finding jobs elsewhere, and it doesn't add up to a Penn State victory.  Unless of course, the Cougar offense is really over-rated.

Even though this isn't a Joe Paterno-coached team anymore, it would be really nice to send his last team out on a positive note.

But that won't happen unless Houston has a problem.

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