Missouri over Purdue and Into the Top 25?
I’m a big fan of “relative” statistical valuations. I like to see how teams perform against opponents relative to their season-long average. Obviously, the more games we see the more important and relevant those season-long averages become. But two games into the year, it’s worth taking a look at one matchup in particular: Missouri and Purdue.
PURDUE’S OFFENSE vs. MISSOURI’S DEFENSE
Purdue’s Offense Relative to Opposition
Purdue has racked up 948 yards of offense against two opponents, Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. Northwestern and Eastern Michigan have each played an additional game this season and in those two contests surrendered a total of 687 yards of offense. Quite obviously, Purdue’s total in two games (948) is a lot more than was racked up by outside competition against Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. In fact, the total is 38% above the outside season-long averages. The translation: Purdue’s offense is good. Purdue has racked up 138% of expected offensive yardage. But is Mizzou’s defense good too?
Missouri’s Defense Relative to Opposition
Missouri has allowed a total of 525 yards of offense to Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. Wyoming has averaged 327.5 yards of offense in two non-Mizzou games and Tennessee-Martin racked up 461 yards in its only other game (ironically, against MTSU). Thus, the two teams combine for 788.5 yards of expected output. This total is, notably, well above the total gained against Missouri, which implies that Missouri’s defense is, in fact, good. At least so far. Missouri is allowing 66.6% of expected yardage to opponents.
Again, this data is rough because there’s not a lot to go off of as we enter Week 3. Nonetheless, let’s look at the data two ways:
- If Purdue is averaging 474 yards of offense per game (which is true) and Missouri is allowing an average of 66.6% of teams’ offensive averages (also true) and both truths hold constant, Purdue would rack up 315.6 yards.
- If Missouri is allowing 262.5 yards per game (which is true) and Purdue is amassing 138% of teams’ average yards allowed (also true) and both truths hold constant, Purdue would rack up 362.2 yards.
If I average those out, we’re reaching a projected yardage total of 338.9 yards for Purdue.
What about the other side of the ball? Let’s do the exact same thing.
MISSOURI’S OFFENSE vs. PURDUE’S DEFENSE
Missouri’s Offense Relative to Opposition
Missouri has racked up 1,154 yards of offense against two opponents, Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. UT-M and Wyoming would allow a combined average of 765.5 yards of offense across two games. Quite obviously, Missouri’s total in two games (1,154) is a lot more than was racked up in outside competition against UT-M and Wyoming. This total is 50.8% above the outside season-long averages. The translation: Missouri’s offense is really good. Mizzou has racked up 150.8% of expected offensive yardage. But will Purdue put stop the Tigers in their tracks?
Purdue’s Defense Relative to Opposition
Purdue has allowed a total of 817 yards of offense to Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. These two teams have combine for 854 yards of output in their two other games. This total is slightly higher than the total allowed by Purdue, which implies that Purdue’s defense is slightly better than expectation. Purdue is allowing 95.7% of expected yardage to opponents.
As I said, this data is light in depth and therefore quality. Nonetheless, let’s look at the data the same two ways:
- If Missouri is averaging 577 yards of offense per game (which is true) and Purdue is allowing an average of 95.7% of teams’ offensive averages (also true) and both truths hold constant, Mizzou would rack up 552.0 yards.
- If Purdue is allowing 408.5 yards per game (which is true) and Mizzou is amassing 150.8% of teams’ average yards allowed (also true) and both truths hold constant, Mizzou would rack up 615.8 yards.
If I average those out, we’re reaching a projected yardage total of 583.9.
Frankly, the most likely outcome of this experiment is that all the data gets thrown out the window. The existing sample size is too small to be anywhere close to predictive.
But, if you do believe the data, then you’d be expecting a relatively high-scoring game with a lot of offense (nearly 925 yards in total). But one team, Missouri, should run away with the thing thanks to a yardage advantage of roughly 150.
Also, I don’t know that this will hold true, but it is worth noting that Purdue has had a terrible time scoring the ball this season.
- The Boilermakers have scored just 46 points (not good) on 948 yards of offense (pretty good) for an average of one point scored for every 20.6 yards of offense.
- Meanwhile, Missouri has scored 91 points (good) on 1,154 yards (very good) for an average of one point scored for every 12.7 yards gained.
You can’t read too far into the data, but if those numbers hold the final score based on projected yardages above would be something like Missouri 46, Purdue 16.
I don’t think this will get that one-sided. But I do think Missouri will win and comfortably cover the seven-point spread on the road. Why does that matter? Well, if you’re reading this you’re probably a Georgia fan and you’re probably sick of hearing lies about a weak Georgia schedule. There’s an outside chance that Missouri could move into the Top 25 in time for Georgia’s trip to Faurot Field.
Right now, only five SEC teams are ranked (#1 Alabama, #3 Georgia, #7 Auburn, #12 LSU, #16 Mississippi State), and that’s a relatively small number compared to recent history. Hell, one week ago, Florida and South Carolina were also ranked. Had Carolina upset Georgia (which some idiots expected) and Florida taken care of business (which everyone expected) and had Texas A&M squeezed out a few more points, there might be eight ranked SEC teams. Point being, I would expect another SEC team to get ranked sooner than later. 3-0 SEC teams often get noticed. Other point being: I’d expect someone from the East to move in. It’s probably a jump to think Mizzou would get there (Kentucky seems more likely at the moment thanks to the Florida win, a likely victory over Murray State this week and I think a good shot at beating Miss State on 9/22), but it’s at least worth hoping for.
Even more broadly, I think it behooves Georgia to 1. Win out and 2. Have someone from the East rise up to a ranked spot. I think the Tigers may be the best mid-term bet for that and I do think they’re a better team than Kentucky and Vanderbilt (the only other undefeateds in the East).
That’s all I got/