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Anthrascience: Flogging Florida

The Tigers are undefeated through mid-October and it's all because of our scientific method. (Arguably)

This picture makes me sad now.
This picture makes me sad now.
Jack Peglow

Thank COTG that the season has finally started. We had to wait until October 12th, but Mizzou has finally played a football game and guess what? We're undefeated. Sure it's only 1-0, but boy is that a big 1 to have. Ladies and gentlemen, we beat the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. That's huge, so let's take a look at how it happened using last week's formula.

t(e+D) > (hp+A)÷S

Efficiency (e) - This stat sends me to frown-town, so I'm not going to talk about it a lot. James Franklin completed 66.7% of his passes, which was good for a 131.8 QB rating.

Diameter (D) - Once again, our offensive line put up a solid performance against an SEC defense. The Dawgs did record four sacks, but they weren't in the backfield nearly enough to cause significant problems for our offense. I will knock them down a peg or two for holding us to under 200 yards rushing, though. I'll say that the average diameter was 1.5 yards.

Tanklins (t) - I said last week that the Tigers would need a few of these if they wanted to pull off the upset, and did they ever deliver. Not only did they come up with four big plays, but two of them (Sasser's pass and Sam's defensive TD) were so big that I debated making them worth two Tanklins. In the interest of keeping this fair, I'll leave it at four.

Hit Points (hp) - Georgia's injuries definitely took their toll, but not as much as the haters would claim. Aaron Murray still took the field and the Tigers still won. Because of this, I'll set their hit points at 80.

Steals (S) - Missouri's defense forced two gigantic turnovers and one garbage turnover, so I'll go ahead and set this at 2.5.

Area (A) - Mizzou only recorded two sacks, but as Bill said in his Beyond the Box Score piece, pressure is cumulative. Our defensive linemen were wreaking havoc all day long, and it was one of the biggest reasons we left Athens victorious. Out of 100, I'll say that Murray's pocket scored a 65.

With all of that cleared up, our formula looks like this:

4(131.8+1.5) > (80+65)÷2.5

-- bada-bing, bada-math --

533.2 > 58

Let me start off by saying that these formulas highlight the specific things Mizzou needs to do in order to win. When the Tigers do all of these things well, the outcome should end up pretty lopsided. Last week they excelled in everything that they needed to, and it shows in the results. Does this mean the team reads this column and uses it to prepare for their opponent? You're damn right it does.



As much as I like reminiscing about that Georgia game, it's time to move on. Up next, we have a Florida team that boasts arguably the best defense in college football. If our offense wants to move the ball against these ferocious Floridians, it will need to capitalize on Distance, Completions, and Remainders.

Distance (d)

To put it lightly, Missouri needs to run the ball well if they want to have any chance of winning on Saturday. This is not a condemnation of Maty Mauk, who I think will acquit himself just fine, but a statement of fact. If Florida makes our offense one-dimensional, they can almost guarantee a win for themselves. Fortunately, the Bayou Tigers showed us last week that it's possible to have success against the Gators' ground defense. With our three-headed running back dragon pounding the rock, I don't see why the Tigers shouldn't match LSU's numbers.

Completions (c)

While running the dang bawl is probably the most important thing our offense has to do, we can't put all of our eggs in one basket. Darth Mauk is going to need to complete some passes at some point, and believe it or not these passes will likely determine whether the Tigers walk away with a win or a loss. It is also extremely important that none of these completions are of the defensive variety. Points look like they'll be a premium Saturday, so any time we give away a possession we decrease our chances of winning by quite a bit. Because of this, any interceptions that Mauk throws will subtract five completions from his total.

Remainders (r)

We're throwing it all the way back to the first Anthrascience with this variable. As I stated above, points will be hard to come by this week, so any help we can get from our defense would be greatly appreciated. Florida may have an outstanding defense, but their offense leaves much to be desired. Theoretically, there should be plenty of opportunities for our defenders to create turnovers, and if they can take any of these back for a touchdown it will put our offense in a wonderful position. Since these have the potential to swing the game drastically in Mizzou's favor, we will represent them as a multiplier. (And set the base value at 1. Learned my lesson last week, you guys!)

With our offensive variables defined, the PS side of the equation looks like this:

r(d+c) > PA

If past behavior is truly the best predictor of future behavior, then we can reasonably assume that the PA side of the equation should be easier for Missouri to keep in their favor than the PS side. Florida's offense is less than stellar, which means that our defense should put up a better performance than they did last week. Considering all this, the most important factors for the PA side of the equation will be Tyler Murphy, Decibels, and Remainders.

Tyler Murphy (q)

When Jeff Driskel went down against Tennessee, most people thought Florida's offense was done for. Through 3.5 games, Tyler Murphy has done quite a bit to prove everyone wrong. The junior QB is averaging 161.25 passing yards per game and boasts a QB rating of 151.5. If the Tigers want to put the clamps on the Gators, this is where they need to start. Keep Murphy from piling up the yards, and we should have a good shot at winning this game. For our numbers, we'll use the total yards gained by the QB (passing + rushing).

Decibels (dB)

Looking for a way to really help your Tigers? Show up, wear gold, and be loud. (And if you're planning on attending the game, definitely consider hitting up the RMN tailgate! You can find info and RSVP here.) Alligators hate loud noises, it's science. If Faurot turns up the heat on them, Florida will be forced into mistakes and miscommunications that will turn the tide in Missouri's favor. Since a loud stadium will take away from Murhpy's impact, we will represent it as a subtractor.

Remainders (r)

These make a second appearance for basically the same reason as their first go around: Florida's vaunted defense. If the Gators can turn a fumble recovery or an interception into six points, it takes a considerable amount of pressure off of their less vaunted offense. Against a good defense, you can't afford to give away points. It's probably safe to assume that if Mizzou gives up any of these, they will likely lose the game.

Now that everything has been defined, here's what our completed formula looks like:

r(c+d) > r(q-dB)

I'm more skeptical about this game than I was about the Georgia game, and I thought we were going to lose that one too. Frankly, Florida's defense scares the pants off me. Mauk intrigues me, though. He brings a different dynamic to the offense that Florida won't be able to prepare for because, well, none of us know what that dynamic really is yet. What better way to kick off the #Mauk4Heisman campaign than by torching what could end up being the best defense in the country?