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Anthrascience: Beating the Bulldogs

Time to put your big boy pants on, Tiger fans.

"James, I would suggest you tread lightly."
"James, I would suggest you tread lightly."
Jack Peglow

We were just kidding about last week being the real start of our season, apparently. According to the hivemind, this week is the really real first game of Mizzou's season. So I'll restate myself: As of this very moment, Missouri is 0-0. Sure we had some fun times the last few weeks, but none of that matters now. We'll take one more look back at the fond memories of last week's Anthrascience and then buckle down on the Dawgs.

f(d+Ω) > f(Y+dB)

Distance (d) - Tiger ball carriers amassed 245 yards on the ground, good for a cruising speed of 5.7 ypc. That's actually more rushing yards than they were able to put up against Arkansas State.

Field Position (f) - Missouri's average starting field position at the 40 ended up being a huge advantage. Bill put it beautifully in his Study Hall piece:

The box score tells us that Mizzou only outgained Vandy by 55 yards for the game as a whole (523-468), but over the course of 12 possessions each, field position was worth almost an extra 250 yards for the Tigers.

Opacity (Ω) - Another solid performance for the fatbodies. James Franklin had plenty of time to make his reads and the big rushing numbers speak for the holes the line was able to make. I'll knock them a bit for allowing eight tackles for loss and two sacks, though. Put 'em down for a sweet 75% opacity rating.

Jordan Matthews (Y) - Missouri's defense did an excellent job of containing Mattews during the fist half, holding him to a measly eight yards receiving. He obviously had a much more successful second half, the star wideout ended up with 123 of the least impactful yards I've ever seen.

Field Position (f) - Vanderbilt had a much tougher time with this statistic. Their average starting field position was their own 20.

Decibels (dB) - Mizzou controlled the momentum throughout the entire game. Starting on a 20-0 run will do that for you. Additionally, every single time the Commodores put a scoring drive together, the Tigers answered. I'll set this at 70dB, which is about the same as normal city traffic.

After running these values through our math machine, our formula looks like this:

40(245+75) > 20(123+70)

-- beep boop math --

12,800 > 3,860

Hot damn field position was important! Shout out to Marcus Murphy and Kentrell Brothers for ensuring the Tigers had solid numbers in that regard.



Phew, now that all that mess is over we can move on to Missouri first real test part two. The Bulldogs are banged up for sure, but they are still Georgia, and this is still going to be an incredibly difficult game for the Tigers to win. Because of this, we will get our fist look at underdog science. For Points Scored, we will focus on Efficiency, Diameter, and Tanklins.

Efficiency (e)

Last week against Vandy, James Franklin posted the fourth highest quarterback rating in the history of Missouri football at 198.4. For the Tigers to have a chance against Georgia, Franklin is going to have to put up similar numbers. Not only will he need to expertly command the offense, but it is imperative that he keep his mistakes to a minimum. Mizzou won't be able to keep up with Georgia's high-powered offense if Franklin can't complete his passes. Furthermore, every turnover we cough up makes it that much harder to pull off the upset. Basically, as James Franklin goes, so does Mizzou.

Diameter (D)

So far this year our offense has been incredibly balanced, with only 131 total yards separating our running and passing totals. Since the Efficiency value encompasses Missouri's passing attack, this variable will shift the focus to the running game. Specifically, the offensive line's ability to open up holes for our trio of running backs. If our big men can successfully create running room for our runners, then we can reasonably assume that our backs will make the most of it. I said earlier that we would need a big game from James Franklin if we wanted to win, and that is definitely still true. I'm only going to expand on that by saying we will need a big game from pretty much everyone in order to steal a win on the road.

Tanklins (t)

Tanklins make their triumphant return after not being a factor for two weeks. When playing as an underdog, the one thing that can drastically shift the momentum of the game in your favor is a big play. If the Tigers can drum up a few of these, their chances of winning increase dramatically. Because of the importance of this variable, we will represent it as a multiplier.

With the PS values defined, let's take a look at our formula:

t(e+D) > PA

This is where things get hairy for Mizzou. Georgia boasts one of the most high-powered offenses in the nation, and at its helm is arguably the best QB in the SEC, Aaron Murray. Realistically, our defense won't be able to put the clams on the Bulldogs. It just isn't feasible. What they can do however is continue to force turnovers and get pressure on the quarterback. Taking all of this into account, our Points Against variables come out to be Hit Points, Steals, and Area.

Hit Points (hp)

By now, you've surely heard all about how badly the injury bug has bitten the Dawgs. While it is true that several of Georgia's playmakers won't be on the field Saturday, it has yet to be determined how much of an effect this will have on their offense. Against Tennessee, freshman running back J.J. Green piled up 129 rushing yards and looked like a more than competent replacement for injured backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. In most games, hit points top out at 100, so if the slew of injured players does end up having a major effect on this game, we will subtract numbers from there.

Steals (S)

This one is pretty straight-forward. Missouri comes into this game riding a 35 game turnover streak, and if they want to have a shot at the upset they're going to need to extend that number to 36. With their depleted stable of running backs, it wouldn't be crazy to assume that Georgia will be airing the ball out quite a bit. This should give our linebackers and defensive backs plenty of opportunities for interceptions, especially if our defensive line can keep performing at a high level. Since this value hinders the amount of points Georgia can put up, we will represent it as a divisor.

Area (A)

Another Anthrascience veteran joins the fray. As I mentioned above, our defensive linemen need to bring the pressure if we want to have any shot at forcing turnovers. Murray isn't going to make mistakes if we don't force him into quick throws. If our notfatbodies can frazzle the stud QB up a bit, we can reasonably expect him to make one or two silly mistakes that lead to big plays for the defense. Instead of representing this as square footage like last time, we will make this a value out of 100. In other words, if Murray has all day to throw the area level would be 100. As our defense collapses more and more of the pocket, the value drops.

With everything defined, our finalized formula looks like this:

t(e+D) > (hp+A)÷S

This is going to be a tough one, Tiger fans. I'm not sure we have the firepower to keep pace with Murray's high-flying attack. But that's just like, my opinion, man. Numbers don't have opinions. Hopefully the numbers like Mizzou.