That Statcruncher predicts: a comfortable Mizzou victory but not a blowout. See below for more.
About the stats
The problem with statistical averages and unit rankings is that it doesn't account for strength of opponents, particularly this early in the season. Texas Tech might rock the stats this early in the season, but playing the Saint Mary's School for the Blind might have something to do with that.
Similarly, KSU's schedule looks impressive, but is it? The Statcruncher compensates by looking at how much better or worse you were versus your opponents' averages. So for instance, if KSU beat Baylor by 1, but Baylor normally wins by 20, then you've added 21 points of advantage in the Statcruncher. If Baylor throws for 450 yards on you, but they normally throw for 500, you've actually done better than average and you gain 50 yards in the Statcruncher.
Granted, this kind of analysis could go on and on, with the averages of the opponents' opponents, and so on. Maybe someday I'll buy a supercomputer and challenge Sagarin to a nerdathon contest, but for now, this is what I got.
The Raw Statistics
Positive numbers are always an advantage for the main team (not the opponent).
Kansas State Offense vs Opponents Defense
|KSU Offense||Opponents Defense||Difference|
As you can see, KSU is so-so in scoring, with a good but not great rushing offense and a bad pass offense. They tend to post about the same amount of points and yards as their opponents give up.
Opponents Offense vs Kansas State Defense
|Opponets Offense||KSU Defense||Difference|
KSU's Defense, on the other hand, has an excellent scoring defense, led by rushing defense.
Total Gained by Kansas State
The numbers here show a good team, particularly on defense and in the rushing game. No news so far.
Mizzou Offense vs Opponents Defense
|MU Offense||Opponents Avg Defense||Difference|
Mizzou's offense is scoring well over their opponents average, and are balanced, but led by the rushing attack. The Western Illinois game is a factor here, but not so much that you should discount it. Both teams have played bad FCS teams, and Mizzou also laid an egg with Miami. A number that big means something, and I think it's reflected on the field. The holes are not bigger, but they are more consistent, and Josey is hitting them aggressively.
Mizzou Offense vs Opponents Defense
|Opponents Offense||MU Defense||Difference|
Mizzou also has a nice advantage on this side of the ball. Suprisingly, the pass yardage doesn't stand out. Again, one naturally questions Wetern Illinois. But as before, that's an indication that we're not horrible. We're not likely to get picked apart by a bad passing team.
Total Gained by Mizzou
Mizzou is considerably dominant in every area except passing yardage, which is still good. A balanced team on offense and defense, which is to be expected of a veteran squad. It's sad, when looking at this, to think how good we could have been.
As you can see, Mizzou holds a considerable advantage in every area except rushing. I think this is the key to the game.
When KSU has the ball
KSU Offense averages just 1.7 points more than their opponents give up.
MU D: 20.3 per game + 1.7 = 23 points
MU Defense averages 10 points less than their opponents' average.
KSU O: 27.8 - 10.0 = 18 points
Likely KSU scoring range: 18 to 23 points
When Mizzou has the ball
MU Offense averages 14.9 points more than their opponents give up.
KSU D: 16.5 + 14.9 = 31 points
KSU Defense averages 13.2 points less than their opponents average:
MU O: 36.0 - 13.2 = 23 points
Likely MU scoring range: 23 to 31 points
The matchups skew the stats here a little bit. KSU's ball control offense tends to dampen the advantage of the other team, but the defense of Mizzou is better prepared than most to counter that. Barring a significant turnover advantage, or KSU passing unexpectedly well, this should be a close but comfortable victory for Mizzou.
Keys to the game
1. Running game, running game, running game. Win this, win the game. If we run and they don't, game over. KSU's passing game isn't good enough to beat us by itself. If they go 47 yards over our rush defense average, we win this one without breaking a sweat.
2. KSU relies on fundamental football to win. Clock control, turnovers and field position, plus a big play if you overcommit to the run. These are true every game, but KSU can't win without these things. Most notably, KSU throws off all averages when it holds onto the ball with long, clock eating drives. The statcruncher is meaningless if Mizzou's offense can't get on the field.
That's it. Nothing fancy. Just good old fashioned win in the trenches, disciplined football. We should win this comfortably.