We're continuing our bowl coverage with a series of previews, but we're doing things a little bit differently. SB Nation slash Football Study Hall slash Rock M Nation statistics guru Bill Connelly has created full advanced statistics previews for all of the ball games, which certainly have their place. Go check them out if you like.
However, we decided that those are a bit clumsy, in that they essentially just take both teams' full advanced stats profiles and place them side by side, which essentially just creates one giant pile of number-filled tables. Bill has since started taking it a step further with some condensed previews of his own, but we are following suit with a scaled-down version of those statistics with what we consider to be the most crucial statistics for each team.
For each team, we've created a table for when Team A has the ball and another for when Team B has the ball. In each case, you'll see a team's offensive and defensive S&P+ rating, and their Five Factors ranking on each side of the ball - except for turnover margin, because that compares less cleanly.
We've also included each team's Success Rate in the passing game, Opportunity Rate in the rushing game, and IsoPPP in both categories (again on both offense and defense). Here's the glossary of terms if you need a refresher before you start diving in.
Not all numbers are created equal. For instance, Virginia Tech's offense appears to have a massive advantage over Tulsa's defense based on rankings alone, but Tulsa's beleaguered defense faced numerous offenses that were much, much better than the Hokies. At the same time, South Florida's pure statistical profile belies a good defense that got even better as the season went on.
So while the raw numbers say one thing, we'll use those numbers to say something a little different - and the on-field result will be even a little more different as these teams will have had several weeks of practice to prep for each other.
Hold on to your butts, everyone.