Thank goodness SEC teams schedule their cupcakes later in the season.
While Oklahoma welcomes Florida A&M to Norman and Florida State takes on Savannah State in Tallahassee, Georgia travels to Missouri for a game that might decide the SEC East. Georgia has received plenty of press as a dark horse national title contender. Missouri doesn’t get the same attention, but our rankings had the 8-5 Tigers at 19th last season, ahead of Georgia at 22nd. With South Carolina’s uninspiring performance at Vanderbilt last week, these two teams are solid contenders in the SEC East.
We’ve been working this summer on advanced analytics to look at football match ups. Our algorithm takes rush and pass yards per attempt and adjusts them for strength of schedule. To learn more about these methods, check out this article on why yards per game is silly, yards per attempt is better, and adjusting the latter for schedule strength is best.
Two match ups stand out in the Georgia versus Missouri game.
Georgia’s Rush Offense Versus Missouri’s Rush Defense
Georgia’s rushing offense ended last season at 65th, a poor ranking for a potentially elite SEC offense. If they can’t improve this season, the Bulldogs will have a tough time against Missouri’s 24th ranked rush defense. In fact, only Alabama, LSU and Florida from the SEC had better rush defenses than Missouri last year. However, Missouri did lose 3 starters from their defensive line, so they could slip this year.
Missouri’s Rush Offense Versus Georgia’s Rush Defense
Missouri had the 4th best rush offense last year. Only Oregon, Wisconsin and Utah State had better rushing attacks after adjusting for strength of schedule. Missouri even did well without starting running back Henry Josey. The Tigers ranked 18th when we only used the final 3 games of the season in which Josey was hurt. Josey still isn’t back yet, and Missouri had to replace 3 starters on the offensive line. Across the line of scrimmage, they face a Georgia defense that was 39th best in the nation last year. Even if Missouri regresses and Georgia improves, this looks like an even match up.
See All Match Ups For Yourself
Of course, there are other important match ups in this game. We use data visualization on our team pages to show you these match ups. A better defensive unit appears further to the right of the average line, just like in our rush defense rankings. With this convention, the offense or defense with the blue dot further to the right on our team pages has the advantage in the match up. Click here to see the team page for Georgia, and click on Missouri to see all the match ups.
Or check out Missouri’s team page. The numbers on these pages are based on last year’s statistics. We will soon update them with data from the current season.
In the end, our analytics point to a Missouri advantage at home over Georgia. The Vegas line seems headed that way as well. It initially favored Georgia by 3.5, but it’s now down to 2.