There is Absolutely, Positively, Mathematically No Chance Georgia Loses to Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl


To hear most punditry, the Rose Bowl matchup between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners will come down to a stout Georgia defense and an explosive Oklahoma offense. Though it’s hard to argue that that half of the matchup is strength vs. strength, expecting that side of play to determine the outcome of the game is completely misguided. There is, after all, another matchup that will happen during the same game—Georgia’s offense against Oklahoma’s defense.

Therefore, saying this game will come down solely to Baker (Faker) Mayfield and the Sooner offense vs. Roquan Smith and the Georgia defense implies that Georgia’s offense and Oklahoma’s defense must be even. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The greatest mismatch in this game actually occurs when Georgia’s offense (12th in the nation in yards per play) lines up against Oklahoma’s defense (65th in the nation in yards allowed per game). Frankly, if Oklahoma’s porous defense can’t figure out a way to stop Georgia’s offense, what Mayfield & Co. do won’t really matter.

Want a deeper dive? Let’s do this.


Numbers Used and the Process

For this study on offensive and defensive efficiency, I used Yards Per Play as a proxy. Lest I be accused of unfairness, it should be noted that Oklahoma’s offense is staggering by this measure at a nation-leading 8.3 yards per play. For what it’s worth, Central Florida is second in the country at 7.5 yards per play and only three other schools (Memphis, Louisville and Oklahoma State crack the 7.0 mark). The last time a team averaged 8.3 yards per play was was Hawaii in 2006. So, I’m not screwing Oklahoma over by using this metric and it’s defensive equivalent (Yards Allowed Per Play).

I only used data for both Oklahoma and Georgia’s FBS opponents. If an opponent was played twice, its underlying efficiency was also counted twice. Oklahoma played TCU twice; Georgia played Auburn twice.

Ultimately, I care about four co-related (though not correlated) things:

  1. How did Oklahoma’s Offense (as measured by Yards Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents’ Defenses (as measured by average Yards Allowed Per Play) this year.
  2. How did Georgia’s Defense (as measured by Yards Allowed Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents Offenses (as measured by average Yards Per Play) this year.
  3. How did Georgia’s Offense (as measured by Yards Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents’ Defenses (as measured by average Yards Allowed Per Play) this year.
  4. How did Oklahoma’s Defense (as measured by Yards Allowed Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents Offenses (as measured by average Yards Per Play) this year.

Averaging points one and two above should give us some kind of read on the offensive efficiency we can expect from Oklahoma against Georgia’s stout defense. If that’s all that matters, then points three and four should be ignored. Obviously, that’s not all that matters. So, points three and four should show how Georgia’s offense might perform against Oklahoma’s lackluster defense.


Oklahoma’s Offense vs. Georgia’s Defense

Here’s the data on Oklahoma’s offense, opposition and performance.

Oklahoma Yards Per Play 8.3 1st in the Nation
Opponent Average Yards Per Play Allowed Rank
UTEP 6.2 105
Ohio State 4.2 5
Tulane 6.7 125
Baylor 6.4 114
Iowa State 5.2 39
Texas 5 32
Kansas State 5.8 83
Texas Tech 5.8 81
Oklahoma State 5.3 55
TCU 5.1 35
Kansas 6.6 120
West Virginia 6.1 97
TCU 5.1 35
Average 5.653846154 71.23076923
Relative to Average 146.80%

 

Meaning: Oklahoma’s 14 opponents allowed an average of 5.65 yards per play this year. Oklahoma racked up 8.3 yards per play, or 146.8% more than expected.

 

And here’s how Georgia’s defense performed.

Georgia Yards Per Play 4.3 7th in the Nation
Opponent Average Yards Per Play Gained Rank
App State 6.2 24
Notre Dame 6.2 19
Mississippi State 5.4 73
Tennessee 4.4 122
Vanderbilt 5.4 71
Missouri 6.7 8
Florida 4.9 104
South Carolina 5.3 82
Auburn 6.1 28
Kentucky 5.2 85
Georgia Tech 5.6 51
Auburn 6.1 28
Average 5.625 57.91666667
Relative to Average 76.44%

 

Meaning: On average, Georgia’s opponents averaged 5.63 yards per play. Georgia held these foes to 76.4% of their season average—4.3 yards per play.

 

Conclusions: If Oklahoma racks up 146.80% of Georgia’s season-long average for yards allowed per play, the Sooners will average 6.31 yards per play. Similarly, if Georgia holds Oklahoma to 76.44% of its season average for yards per play, the Sooners will average 6.34 yards per play.

The average of these two co-related outcomes is a yard-per-play output of 6.33 for the Oklahoma Sooners.


Georgia’s Offense vs. Oklahoma’s Defense

Again, this whole game won’t be Georgia’s Defense vs. Oklahoma’s Offense. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why that narrative is being pushed. So, how will Georgia’s offense do against Oklahoma?

Here’s the data on Georgia’s offense, opposition and performance.

Georgia Yards Per Play 6.6 12th in the Nation
Opponent Average Yards Per Play Allowed Rank
App State 5.3 49
Notre Dame 4.9 26
Mississippi State 5.3 52
Tennessee 5.9 88
Vanderbilt 6 91
Missouri 5.3 51
Florida 5.5 68
South Carolina 5.2 44
Auburn 4.5 10
Kentucky 6.1 103
Georgia Tech 5.6 69
Auburn 4.5 10
Average 5.341666667 55.08333333
Relative to Average 123.56%

 

Meaning: Georgia’s 6.6 yards per play represent a 23.56% premium above its opponents’ average for yards allowed (which was 5.34).

 

And here’s a look at the Oklahoma defense.

Oklahoma Yards Allowed Per Play 6.5 65th in the Nation
Opponent Average Yards Per Play Gained Rank
UTEP 4 130
Ohio State 6.9 6
Tulane 5.5 62
Baylor 5.2 93
Iowa State 5.6 54
Texas 5 102
Kansas State 5.7 49
Texas Tech 5.8 39
Oklahoma State 7.3 5
TCU 5.8 40
Kansas 4.3 125
West Virginia 6.1 26
TCU 5.8 40
Average 5.615384615 59.30769231
Relative to Average 115.75%

 

Meaning: Oklahoma gives up 6.5 yards per play, which is 15.75% more than its opponents’ average for yards gained per play—5.615%.

Conclusions: If Georgia racks up 123.56% of Oklahoma’s season-long average for yards allowed per play, the Bulldogs will average 8.03 yards per play. Similarly, if Oklahoma allows 115.75% of Georgia’s season average for yards per play, Georgia will pick up 7.64 yards per play.

The average of these two co-related outcomes is a yard-per-play output of 7.84 for the Georgia Bulldogs.


Final Word

I’m showing a mighty Oklahoma defense meeting its match with a Georgia defense to the tune of just 6.33 yards per play for the Sooners. And from my perspective, Georgia may beat that by more than a yard and a half.

Yeah, the Strength vs. Strength matchup matters. But what really matters here is that there is only one weak unit in this game, and that’s Oklahoma’s defense. For that reason, the Oklahoma Sooners don’t stand a chance against the Georgia Bulldogs.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on December 30, 2017, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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