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Previewing Tennessee-Georgia and Arkansas-Texas A&M

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Using adjusted stats to preview two of the big games in the SEC this Saturday. What does F/+ think of the match-ups?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday brings a few games that will continue to clarify matters for SEC fans. In the West, every team seems strong, making it difficult to parse the true one or two contenders. Discernment is equally tough in the East, but for matters perhaps relating more to parity than overall quality. The Arkansas-Texas A&M game will answer questions like whether A&M's ability to stop the run, or Arkansas' holding Texas Tech's offense to 28 points, are facts or mirages. In the East, the outcome of the Tennessee-Georgia match-up could go a long way to establishing rankings, or the outcome could just make things more chaotic.

Let's breakdown the F/+ numbers to see how these teams match-up. Keep in mind these ratings are still taking into account decreasing levels of preseason data until Week Seven. F/+ rankings are comprised of the S&P+ ratings and the FEI ratings. This is how those ratings are described:

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) considers each of the nearly 20,000 possessions every season in major college football. All drives are filtered to eliminate first-half clock-kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores. A scoring rate analysis of the remaining possessions then determines the baseline possession expectations against which each team is measured. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams - win or lose; and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.

The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from both play-by-play and drive data from all 800+ of a season's FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays). There are four key components to the S&P+

If interested, here is a glossary for additional use.

Lastly, the F/+ percentage ratings measure every team against a perfectly average team. So, if the F/+ rating of a team is 0 percent, that team is considered perfectly average by this rating system.

The F/+ and S&P+ View of Arkansas-Texas A&M

OVERALL

When TAMU Has the ball...

When Ark has the ball...

Category

TAMU

Arkansas

TAMU Off.

Ark Def.

TAMU Def.

Ark Off.

F/+ Rk (Overall)

5 (24.3%)

34 (10.4%)

F/+ Change From Last Week

9 (+4)

44 (+10)

S&P+ Overall

5 (294.4)

31 (222.6)

FEI Overall

4 (0.259)

38 (0.110)

S&P+ Rk (Overall)

294.4

222.6

4 (128.9)

98(91.1)

21 (120.5)

3 (131.4)

Rushing S&P+ Rk

4 (0.634)

61 (0.441)

11 (0.341)

1 (0.647)

Passing S&P+ Rk

5 (0.691)

102 (0.551)

28 (0.455)

33 (0.592)

This is a match-up of two efficient offenses with completely different styles. Texas A&M is ranked 4th (128.9) in S&P+ Overall Offense, while Arkansas sits one spot above at 3rd (131.4) largely due to its number one overall Rushing S&P+ ranking.

What gives the Aggies a clear edge in the overall F/+ rankings is their defense, which is borderline Top 20 while Arkansas' is barely Top 100. A&M has a near Top 10 Defense Rushing S&P+ that may at least blunt Arkansas rushing attack, and it's 28th ranked Passing S&P+ should hold it's own against Arkansas' passing game.

A&M's offense, meanwhile, will square off against the 61st ranked Defense Rushing S&P+ and the 102nd Defense Passing S&P+. A&M is top five in both rushing and passing, and in all probability will hang a lot of points on Arkansas' defense. For comparison's sake, the Texas Tech team that Arkansas held to 28 points has an overall S&P+ Offense ranking of 25th. A&M is much better on that side of the ball than the Red Raiders.

It's hard to imagine Arkansas wins this game, according to these rankings. Arkansas's game plan may be to methodically run the ball and soak up a lot of clock. That would probably work if they were facing a less inferior run defense, but A&M's appears pretty good and will probably get a few 3-and-outs. All A&M has to do is get up 14-21 points at which point Arkansas probably doesn't have the scheme or personnel match score-for-score. Arkansas' defense has been so lackluster to this point that it will probably let down its own great offense at times this season.

The F/+ and S&P+ View of Tennessee-Georgia

OVERALL

When UT Has the ball...

When UGA has the ball...

Category

UT

UGA

UT Off.

UGA Def.

UT Def.

UGA Off.

F/+ Rk (Overall)

62 (0.4%)

14 (18.2%)

F/+ Change From Last Week

64 (+2)

13 (-1)

S&P+ Overall

46 (210.0)

16 (235.8)

FEI Overall

74 (-0.038)

13 (0.206)

S&P+ Rk (Overall)

210.0

235.8

85 (92.9)

40 (108.6)

29 (117.1)

7 (127.2)

Rushing S&P+ Rk

101 (0.418)

46 (0.417)

30 (0.402)

2 (0.636)

Passing S&P+ Rk

99 (0.467)

83 (0.523)

31 (0.458)

14 (0.638)

This game looks like a sure Georgia win, according to these rankings. Georgia has the edge in every single category despite having a middling defense to this point. The offense is just too good despite UT's defense likely being the best in the SEC East.

Georgia's defense is vulnerable to points, but UT doesn't appear to be the offense that can exploit their weaknesses. Georgia's Passing S&P+ ranking of 83rd would jeopardize them against most offenses, but Tennessee's attack with its Passing S&P+ ranking of 99th is not one of those offenses. UT will probably struggle to move the ball, and maintain good field position.

Tennessee's defense is pretty good; the only problem is it's facing a very good offense. I suppose UT could attempt to load the box and bet its 31st ranked Passing S&P+ can hold serve against UGA's Passing S&P+ ranking of 14th. Of course, forcing turnovers are never a bad thing either. For comparison's sake, Oklahoma's overall Offense S&P+ is 18th and hung 34 points on this UT defense. Georgia playing at home should at least match that tally.