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Texas A&M - Looking at Numbers

Before I get accused of anything, let me just say that I completely stole this format from Peter at BON. I liked the layout of what he did looking at Wisconsin, so I decided to do the same thing with Texas A&M. Thought maybe I'd learn something about them. If nothing else, it was an exercise in looking at an opponent.

Here's Texas A&M's 2006 schedule:

The Citadel W, 35-3
Louisiana-Lafayette W, 51-7
Army W, 28-24
Louisiana Tech W, 45-14
Texas Tech L, 27-31
Kansas W, 21-18
Missouri W, 25-19
Oklahoma State W, 34-33
Baylor W, 31-21
Oklahoma L, 16-17

Average margin of victory in wins - 15 points.
Average margin of victory in conference wins - 4 points.
Average margin of victory in losses..... (no non-conference losses) - 2.5

Not a bad margin of victory when it came to non-conference games, but what is more striking is their play in the Big 12. They're living on the edge - they could just as easily be 10-0 as 6-4. Given a last second play by Texas Tech, and lousy play calling against Oklahoma, they would be 10-0. Sagarin ranks them at 32nd, with their schedule at 91st (compare to Nebraska's Sagarin ranking at 27, schedule at 62).

What about Texas A&M's performing statistically? Below are tables of Texas A&M's season totals, with national rank in parentheses.

Texas A&M By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Touchdowns Pass YPG Pass YPA Touchdowns QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
212.70 (8) 5.02 (12) 27 (4) 194.5 (56) 7.6 (18) 12 (60) 138.67 (32) 407.20 (17) 31.30 (20)

The Aggies are a rush first team. They average 42 rushing attempts per game and 25.6 pass attempts per game, meaning a run/pass ratio just over 60/40, so more balanced play-calling that it looks at first glance.

Texas A&M By The Numbers: Defense
Rush YPG Rush YPA Pass YPG Pass YPA Total Defense Scoring Defense
128.30 (51) 4.22 (79) 181.50 (38) 6.51 (39) 309.80 (45) 18.7 (37)

The next step is to put the offensive and defensive numbers into context. The following chart shows the national rank in total offense and total defense for each of the Aggies' 2006 opponents. The Citadel is a Div 1AA team and is therefore excluded.

Texas A&M's Opponents' Positional Ranks
Total Offense Rank Opponent Total Defense Rank
86 La Lafayette 75
110 Army 78
68 Louisiana Tech 119
6 Texas Tech 40
31 Kansas 87
16 Missouri 37
18 Oklahoma State 89
73 Baylor 102
40 Oklahoma 14

So what do we see when looking at the stats versus the opponents?

- They've only played one defense in the Top 20. In fact, they've played some pretty lousy defenses. It would account for the lofty numbers they have on offense.

- They have faced some decent offensive teams in Texas Tech, Missouri, and Oklahoma State. This would account for their defensive numbers being low, since that's roughly one-third of their schedule.

- Wouldn't these things together lead you to conclude that their offense isn't as good as you think it is, but their defense isn't as bad?

- What strikes me about their defensive numbers is the high number on the yards per catch average. If we want to control this game, wouldn't we constantly want no worse than 3rd and 4 to be consistent in making third down conversions?

- Looking at the teams Texas A&M played, do you think that Nebraska would be 8-2 at this point in the season? We certainly wouldn't have lost to Texas and USC, but Oklahoma State is common between us and the Aggies.

- Perhaps we should do something similar to Nebraska, and see where we stand compared to the Aggies? What do you think?

- Anything else that stands out?