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Friday, December 20, 2013

Countdown To Roses - The Rose Bowl by the Numbers

This is an analyses of the Rose Bowl contenders, Stanford versus Michigan State.

Analyses of predictions for the 4 last games won by the Spartans had the following results:

MSU rushing yards: 2 of 4
MSU passing yards: 2 of 4
MSU scoring: 1 of 4
Opponent rushing yards: 1 of 4
Opponent passing yards: 1 of 4
Opponent scoring: 1 of 4

The prediction accuracy is 9 of 24. There were also 8 predictions that came very close to the game results.

The analysis assumes that the statistical performance applies to any future opponent. Although the data available is not "statistically significant," which means there are fewer than 100 data, it has proven in the prior games that this analysis may be relevant having successfully predicted 37.5% of performance metrics with another 33.3% coming very close.

The Winners were correctly predicted in 4 of 4 games. Margin of victory fell within prediction ranges in 3 of 4 games. The analyses and results are posted at:
Now we look at the upcoming Rose Bowl -- the Pac-12 Champion Stanford (11-2) versus the B1G Ten Champion, Michigan St. (12-1).

MSU has faced 13 opponents with a composite record of 77-80 (0.4904). Stanford has faced 13 opponents with a composite record of 91-67 (0.5759). This will be the toughest game of the season for both teams.

There are those who will argue that Stanford's more competitive schedule proves something. It might, but that argument is countered by MSU defeating arguably the toughest team in both schedules, (then No. 2 and undefeated) OSU. Still, MSU's season numbers were versus a weaker slate of opponents. However, the analysis includes that by comparing performance metrics rather than just season data aggregate averages (aka NCAA season statistics).

NCAA Statistics

StanfordMichigan State
Total yd/gm65 413.1 Total yd/gm1 248.2
Rush yd/gm23210.9 Rush yd/gm180.8
Pass yd/gm90202.2 Pass yd/gm6167.4
Pass Eff.17154.3 Pass Eff.291.5
Scoring pt/gm3933.2 Scoring pt/gm412.7
3rd Down Conv. %3345.0 3rd Down Conv. %1232.4
4th Down Conv. %1964.3 4th Down Conv. %6251.6
1st Downs45272 1st Downs77259
Red Zone %7880.4 Red Zone %1974.4
Total yd/gm14339.0 Total yd/gm82384.6
Rush yd/gm391.2 Rush yd/gm51182.2
Pass yd/gm90247.8 Pass yd/gm89202.5
Pass Eff.48122.5 Pass Eff.68128.0
Scoring pt/gm1018.6 Scoring pt/gm6129.8
3rd Down Conv. %1232.4 3rd Down Conv. %3345.0
4th Down Conv. %6251.6 4th Down Conv. %1964.3
1st Downs77259 1st Downs45272
Red Zone %1974.4 Red Zone %7880.4
Punt yd/rtnT-518.9 Punt yd/p2938.3
Punt yd/p4237.8 Punt yd/rtn4110.1
Kickoff yd/rtn127.8 Kickoff yd/rtn9919.2
TO/gm67-0.1 TO/gmT-71.1
Penalties/gm415.1 Penalties/gm665.5
Penalty yd/gm5043.5 Penalty yd/gm8251.6
TOP2331:59 TOP533:28

The simplistic look at the NCAA published statistics leads to the conclusions that teams are on par in all aspects except the Spartan pass defense has the advantage over the Cardinal passing attack. What we can expect is drama both ways in the rushing game, the Spartan passing game moving the ball normally and the Cardinal passing game being somewhat contained.

Key Matchups
Stanford rush O210.9 yd/gmMSU rush D80.8 yd/gm
ave opponent D168.6 yd/gmave opponent O168.5 yd/gm
O performance125.1%D performance48.0%
Stanford pass O202.2 yd/gmMSU pass D167.4 yd/gm
ave opponent D237.5 yd/gmave opponent O220.3 yd/gm
O performance85.1%D performance76.0%
Stanford scoring O33.2 pt/gmMSU scoring D12.7 pt/gm
ave opponent D28.4 pt/gmave opponent O28.3 pt/gm
O performance116.9%D performance44.9%
MSU rush O182.2 yd/gmStanford rush D91.2 yd/gm
ave opponent D175.8 yd/gmave opponent O176.7 yd/gm
O performance103.6%D performance51.6%
MSU pass O202.5 yd/gmStanford pass D247.8 yd/gm
ave opponent D225.8 yd/gmave opponent O276.1 yd/gm
O performance89.7%D performance89.8%
MSU scoring O29.8 pt/gmStanford scoring D18.6 pt/gm
ave opponent D28.2 pt/gmave opponent O33.4 pt/gm
O performance105.7%D performance55.7%

One can see from the data that there are some interesting matchups. In the table, "performance" is the ratio of how well the team's O/D unit as a season average did versus the aggregate average of all opponents' season averages. Stanford rushing offense, on average gained 25% more yards than their combined opponents allowed over the season on average. Facing the Cardinal rush is the Spartan defense that held its opponents, on average, to under 50% of their season performances.

The statistical performance analysis used in the prior 4 games goes beyond simple data averages listed above and is used again for the upcoming contest.

Rush O128.5%29.6%93.1%112.0%169.0%
Pass O83.2%29.0%37.4%83.6%124.9%
Score O118.4%35.1%62.3%117.9%175.7%
Rush D51.4%30.2%13.2%42.9%112.9%
Pass D90.1%25.3%60.7%84.8%132.6%
Score D57.5%19.3%27.4%57.0%92.5%
Michigan St.MVSDminmedianmax
Rush O107.3%26.0%67.9%104.2%170.0%
Pass O89.2%29.5%44.5%85.6%151.9%
Score O109%47.3%36.8%109.4%219.9%
Rush D46.1%38.3%-36.7%46.4%99.3%
Pass D76.7%25.6%35.8%84.4%120.3%
Score D42.8%26.8%0.0%50.3%85.9%

"MV" = Mean Value, which is the statistical midpoint of a distribution curve. "SD" = Standard Deviation, which both reflects the spread or width of the distribution as well as the boundary that encloses 68.4% of the data in the distribution (between the MV -1 SD and MV +1 SD). On offense, the "max." is best. On defense, the "min." is best. The "median" is the over/under or 50-50 point. Half of the results are greater than the median and half of the results are less.

Applying the statistical intersection of the distributions as bounded by the first sigma (+/-) gives the following predictions:

Stanford Predictions
101 yards rushing (+27/-21 yards)
147 yards passing (+41/-44 yards)
15 points (+4/-4 points)

Michigan St. Predictions
96 yards rushing (+26/-22 yards)
202 yards passing (+32/-54 yards)
19 points (+4/-7 points)

Scored High/Low Ranges
Standford19Michigan St.12
Standford11Michigan St.23

Of the many other NCAA statistics available for both teams, a few grab one's attention:
MSU 3rd down defense (No. 1) 27.7% verus Stanford 3rd down offense (No. 9) 51.1%.
MSU 1st downs defense (No. 4) 189 allowed versus Stanford 1st downs offense (No. 69) 252 gained.
MSU TO margin (No. 7) +1.1/gm versus Stanford TO margin (No. 67) -0.1/gm.

Statistical Bottom-Line Prediction
Stanford 15 vs Michigan St. 19
Based on the results of the 4 prior analyses, we can expect the following results:
rush: max prediction + 25 yards
pass: as predicted
score: 21-24 points
Michigan St.
rush: max prediction + 25 yards
pass: max prediction + 25 yards
score: 31-35 points
MSUSpartan76's Bold Prediction
Stanford 24 vs Michigan St. 35

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  1. 25, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Not sure, but I think it was 76 who posted the CCG score on MLIVE as MSU 31 OSU 24. I'm do believe that the top three teams in the BIG are as good as any top three teams in any other conference except for the SEC. Even the SEC has fallen a notch as far as defense goes. Is the competition better in the PAC 12 than in the BIG? Probably. But how many teams has Stanford played that are better than MSU, Ohio State or Wisconsin. The answer is none. Oregon, UCLA, ASU, and USC are all good but not better than the top three in the BIG. Minnesota, Ne and IA are all very competitive with UM sitting on the fence. Our opponents win loss record is lower because of the very bad records of the cellar dwellars in the conference. It reminds me of how in the NBA, for years, the Western Conference has had way more teams over .500 in the regular season, but the Eastern Conference produced champions such as Detroit, Miami, Boston and Chicago in the 90's. SOS or opponents win-loss record does not really tell you how strong the a conference representative will be against its opponent. I don't see anything Stanford can do that will overwhelm the Spartans. That is why we will win this thing. Doesn't matter who played the best win-loss record during the season. Good work as usual Spartan 76.

  2. Thanks MadMeg - '76 might be out of the loop as he makes his way through the holidays and to Pasadena. Your comments on both posts are excellent. We hope to hear more from you.

    1. R2G,

      Actually, I changed plans. Instead of outlaying $5k for the trip I am buying my wife a pair of 1 carat diamond stud earings. I'm saving the big trip to a bowl for next year when I will get to see the Spartans in the National Championship Game.

      Go State!

  3. Thanks for posting. The statistical analysis came up with OSU 20 vs MSU 21. I may well have gone with 31-24, but honestly do not remember.

    Your other comments are spot on.

    Thanks again. Hope your Christmas was bright and happy.

    Go State!

  4. R2G suggested looking at some kind of weighted system to give more importance to the more recent games. To that end, I have re-run the analysis using just the last 4 opponents. With just that data, the predictions become:

    Rushing 131 yds (109 yd, min; 140 yd, max)
    Passing 169 yds (132 yd, min; 208 yd, max)
    Scoring 15 pts (12 min; 20 max)

    Michigan St.
    Rushing 96 yds (94 yd, min; 116 yd, max)
    Passing 214 yds (191 yd, min; 238 yd, max)
    Scoring 20 pts (15 min; 22 max)

    The predictions using just the conference championship game data are:

    Rushing 181 yds
    Passing 209 yds
    Scoring 22 pts

    Michigan St.
    Rushing 137 yds
    Passing 290 yds
    Scoring 30 pts


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