The recent ups and mostly downs of the Hokies' offensive production.
The battle in the trenches and tackles for loss could determine who leaves Lane Stadium with the Commonwealth Cup.
Virginia Tech holds a statistical advantage in the trenches over Wake Forest, so turnover margin could determine Saturday's game.
If Virginia Tech can keep Duke in check on 3rd- and 4th-and-short, the Hokies could pull the upset.
Boston College's average third down distance is the stat that might make or break the Hokies this week.
Average third down distance for Pitt could mean the difference between a win and loss for the Hokies.
How do the Hokies stack up nationally, midseason and how do the trends project they'll finish.
Virginia Tech's points-per-red-zone-trip is the statistic to focus on this week.
Tackles for loss could predict this week's outcome.
Georgia Tech's yards per carry will determine a Bees win or loss in Blacksburg.
How East Carolina's completion percentage will correlate to a Virginia Tech victory.
Who needs advanced statistics to know whether Tech is favored or not against Ohio State?
Advanced stats preview of William & Mary.
How have the Hokies performed in #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING and other uniform combinations.
There are many reasons to hate UVa, but let me give you one more. As my father finished his undergraduate work in college he was preparing to go to law school at UVa, where he had been accepted and was enrolled. At that time we were at war in Vietnam, and many young men were being drafted to serve and honorably did so whether they wanted to or not. My father was among them the summer before he was to start at UVa, and instead of starting his law degree he went overseas as a non-voluntary member of the US Army.
We almost, almost, worked ourselves into having an offensive advantage over a team. Sadly, it didn't happen. Maryland enjoys a slight advantage when they're on defense, and UVa's defense is the only thing stopping Mike London from handing out speeding tickets in the 757 again.
Raise your hand if you thought BC would score 34 on us...anyone? Anyone?
The difference between last week and this week is that last week we wanted the numbers to be right, while this week we're hoping they're wrong.
Here's how we compare both in terms of computer rankings and predictions:
I was going to begin by explaining how it's really not that uncommon for a 13.5-point underdog to win. How statistically we were the better team, and how almost any number but the score showed a clear Hokie victory. But no one's going to feel better after reading a bunch of stats that make it look like we won when we didn't.
A positive thing about having an offense that barely cracks the top 100 is that it takes a really bad performance against a bad defense to bring it down much further, and even a 10-point showing against Duke doesn't do much damage. We remain somewhere around 95th-100th in offense by most statistical rankings, which is pretty terrible. Rather than hammer on the negative, I'll just say that we're actually not bad at methodical drives (percentage of drives with 10 or more plays), mostly as a result of a Logandozer that can pick up a few yards running on almost any play.
Beyond that I think it's best that we move on to defense.
Having a sufficient sample size, I'm now able to dive a little deeper into the personalities of each team as I preview them from a statistical perspective...but first a tribute to our defense. Statistically of course.
Football Outsiders uses two rating systems—S&P+ (which I use for overall team ratings in previews) and FEI (an efficiency-based method). This week, these are the FEI top 5 defenses:
- Virginia Tech (-0.926)
- Stanford (-0.779)
- Alabama (-0.739)
- Michigan State (-0.672)
- Missouri (-0.661)
Here's something I don't do too often around here: basketball statistics. After the Clemson game I followed up on a hunch that I've had since the middle of the season, teams shot much better than their season average against us from downtown.
3FGVT% - 3FGS% is the money column. It's the difference between a team's three-point percentage against Virginia Tech and its season average. A positive number indicates a team shot better from behind the arc against Tech than they did over the course of the season (through 1/27).