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State Vs Boston College, A Numerical Comparison

October 8, 2010

We’re at week six on the football calendar, the midway point. Hard to believe half of the season is already gone. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of football left to be played starting with Boston College this week. Let’s take a look at how both teams are faring in the statistical rankings and how they match up. (Boston College’s numbersState’s numbers.)

The numbers in parentheses next to the rankings indicates the change in State’s ranking from the prior week. The number in parenthesis in the Advantage section indicates how much of a gap is between the two teams in terms of percentage of the total ranking from 1-120. In other words, if there’s an advantage gap of +12, the gap percentage would be 10% of the 120 FBS teams in the rankings.

When State has the ball:
State Rushing Offense: 70 (+1) Passing Efficiency: 41 (-31)
Boston College Rushing Defense: 9 Pass Efficiency Defense: 34
Advantage: Boston College, +61 (50.83%) Boston College, +7 (5.83%)

Conversely,

When Boston College has the ball:
Boston College Rushing Offense: 108 Passing Efficiency: 94
State Rushing Defense: 82 (-36) Pass Efficiency Defense: 76 (-1)
Advantage: State, +26 (21.67%) State, +18 (15.00%)

Finally,

The scoring numbers:
State Scoring Offense: 24 (-5) Scoring Defense: 59 (-20)
Boston College Scoring Defense: 43 Scoring Offense: 98
Advantage: State, +19 (15.83%) State, +39 (32.50%)

Thoughts:

Boston College’s defensive rankings were a little surprising to me. They held Virginia Tech to 19 points when they hosted them three weeks ago, versus the 41 we surrendered to the Hokies at home last week. Their rushing number is especially strong at ninth, so it may be another week of struggling to run the ball when State needs to, i.e. ahead and trying to preserve a lead or trying to generate positive yardage on first down. If State finds itself in 2nd and 3rd-and-long all day long like it did last wee, it could be a frustrating day on offense again.

Offensively, BC has really struggled this year. They’re near the bottom in both the rushing and passing rankings, and were unable to score a single point at home against VT. If you’re a BC fan, though, you have to be encouraged by the fact State has drifted further south in the rushing defense rankings and is still below average in the passing efficiency defense rankings. Since Boston College will be going back to Dave Shinskie at quarterback because of a nagging ankle injury to Chase Rettig, there may be more hiccups on the horizon for the BC offense. Shinskie started the season as BC’s quarterback but was benched in favor of Rettig. Will Shinskie capitalize on his newfound opportunity or remain the same QB that got benched? We’ll see. Also playing into BC’s favor is the noon start, which always seems to favor the road team (See also, State Vs GT).

I don’t think BC is 61 spots better than State’s rushing defense, but I would certainly keep an eye on that aspect of the game. If State plays better than the numbers suggest and generates a consistent, productive ground game, I think State wins easily. If not, and State is forced to throw nearly every 2nd and 3rd down, hold on to your hats.

Finally, this is a must-win game if State is to have any hopes of reaching the ACC Title Game. The Atlantic Division is as wide open as it ever has been and the opportunity is there for State to capitalize. Beating the teams within the division that it should—BC, Wake and Maryland—are critical.

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