By the Advanced Numbers: Virginia Tech Returns to Syracuse, ACC Edition

What do the numbers predict for the Hokies' upcoming trip to the Carrier Dome.

Until Virginia Tech loses, I will no longer try to talk reality into those who think no one can stop an 11-1 Hokies' regular season run. In fact, this week I may just fuel the fire.

Where the Season Stands

Virginia Tech is currently 4-1. The actual and predicted score difference and odds of winning each game are:

The odds of each possible regular season win total are now:

As one fellow Hokie put it, "I better call the doctor if this thing doesn't go away in four hours". To give a little reality check, however, it should be noted that other methods aren't quite as optimistic still. One is Football Study Hall, which calculates the following odds of each win total:

Additionally, ESPN's FPI gives Tech just a 0.7% chance of winning out. Still, it's safe to say that the odds of an 11-1 regular season are substantially higher now than almost any neutral party would have given before the season.

Rankings and Computer Predictions

The computer rankings and predictions for Virginia Tech and Syracuse:

When was the last time computer ratings all clustered Virginia Tech around such a high ranking? Or when the lowest computer rank for the Hokies was higher than the highest for their opponent? Time will tell whether it lasts, but for now enjoy the ride. The odds of a 19-point favorite winning are 90.8%.

Next is a look at any overall offensive or defensive advantages:

S&P is still not very bullish on the Hokie offense, and in all fairness the numbers for the UNC game are pretty abysmal outside of the score: 264 total yards of offense at 3.2 yards per play. Creator Bill Connelly confirmed the ratings make no adjustment for weather, so for now just accept that while the rain hurt the offense rating it also helped the defense.

When Virginia Tech Has the Ball

Here is an explanation of S&P+ ratings, and FEI ratings. All statistics are now opponent-adjusted.

Who has the advantage in the passing and rushing game when the Tech offense has the ball?

It's safe to say that Syracuse isn't particularly good at stopping any form of offense on any type of down, but Virginia Tech looks to be substantially more prepared to take advantage via passing and rushing..

When Syracuse Has the Ball

Again, examine pass-run comparisons first:

Much has been made of the Syracuse offense, but it is in fact a high volume but not great offense. On top of that, Bud Foster has put together an elite defense thus far, especially against the pass. It will be interesting to see which side exposes the other.

Who To Watch Out For

I'm not even looking into defensive player for two reasons: the Syracuse defense isn't good enough to warrant it, and Justin Fuente is great at simply scheming around a single good defender. But otherwise:

  1. Sophomore QB Eric Dungey is 6th in the nation with 1,886 yards passing at a 64.6% completion rate.
  2. WR Amba Etta-Tawo leads the country with 146 yards per game.
  3. Brisly Estime leads the country with a 21.86 yard punt return average.
  4. Sean Riley has returned more kickoffs than anyone else in the country (26) but whatever, because Joey Slye remains No. 1 in the nation with a 65.39 yard kickoff average β€” the only kicker in the country averaging MORE than a touchback's yardage.

Statistical Key to the Game

Simply stopping Syracuse from accumulating yards, especially through the air, can be difficult. However, stalling drives is critical given that the Orange rely on such a steady attack. So my statistical key to the game is not total yards, but points per drive β€” keeping the yardage gained from turning into many points is key.

The Stats that Define Virginia Tech's Season

Revisiting my column from this summer on the stats that will define the season, here is how the Hokies performed thus far (each listed as VT - Opponent):

Opponent PPP Pace (sec/play) ToP
Liberty .40 - .21 22.7 - 25.5 33:42 - 26:18
Tennessee .33 - .71 26.1 - 26.1 31:44 - 28:16
Boston College .64 - 0 27.5 - 26.1 35:15 - 24:45
UNC .41- .05 28.9 - 19.4 39:59 - 20:01

I will not value time of possession. Even if it seemed important against UNC.

Statistical Prediction

I'm buying into Fuente successfully selling his 1-0 each week mentality and don't think Virginia Tech will take their eye of the ball. I think Syracuse's defense keeps Tech's offense looking good, and the defense is again very effective and shuts down another offense. Hokies cruise over the Orange.

Virginia Tech 41, Syracuse 20.

As always a thanks to Football Outsiders, cfbstats.com, and Minitab Statistical Software.

Comments

Oh boy, this is fun.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

I will not value time of possession. Even if it seemed important against UNC.

It's hard to keep the clock running when you're stopping it 20 out of 33 pass attempts because your receiver didn't catch it.

I love that even with our increased offensive tempo, we're dominating a dubious stat which pundits and broadcasters love to HARP on.

Also, since I love to see predictions vs. results (especially when it involves CHARTS!!!!!) here are the pre-BC chart vs the most recent:

Click here to destroy wall.

say it with GIFs

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Click here to destroy wall.

It's great seeing the improvement continuing upward.

That's what I like to see!

Image result for uptrend graph

He's no good to me dead.

Your "moving picture show" is amazing. Next step, Talkies!

That's awesome, can you do it again and keep the y and x axis scales the same? Makes it a bit confusing.

Yes and no.

Yes, I could re-graph all of these instead of just copying what Joel posted and, in doing so, keep the axes the same.

No, I'm not going to do that.

EDIT: I lied, sort of.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

BRAVO Sir... well done! I salute you with a GIF of my own...

"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."

It's about time those projections corrected.

Stick it in! Stick it in!

I love the fact that our odds of beating LOLUVa have increased, and our predicted margin of victory against them has shot up by nearly 50%, but their position on our chart has fallen

Yeah, we're so good we're literally breaking statistics

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

yep, axis scale, it'll get after ya. Surprisingly no one predicted us to win by 50 points in any game at the start of the season. Silly prognosticators.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I know, right?

idiots

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Chalk me up in that category. Hell, I was even more worried when we only put up 36 against Liberty.

He's no good to me dead.

Well the stats just confirm it. 14-1, National Champs!!!
Thanks for the great article, Joel! Stats are so much more fun when they indicate good things.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

You forgot the ECU game in the "stats that matter" section.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

The expectations for this season:

There has perhaps never been a better use for this gif.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Man, I've been waiting for the odds of win totals to make a big shift, and did it ever! The hype train continues to thunder down the rails

I've got a chubby.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Does Joel need to put a Surgeon General's Warning on his posts?

Click here to destroy wall.

It's right there under the chart that guarantees a 10-win season:

As one fellow Hokie put it, "I better call the doctor if this thing doesn't go away in four hours".

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

GIGGITY....

"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."

I really don't like ESPN's FPI, it is seemingly wrong all the time about a lot of teams. It's almost like they use it to create a talking point for their football shows throughout the week and that's about it.

It's almost like they use it to create a talking point for their football shows throughout the week and that's about it.

That right there is the sole purpose of the ESPN stats department.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Stats predict we win out

Slightly less than 75% chance of finishing the regular season with 10 or more wins

Predicted blowout victory in the Carrier Dome

Too.... much..... hype....

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

The theme this season has been making things right, winning the games we're supposed to win, convincingly. That same theme is alive and well this week, it's just been so long since the Carrier Dome Horrors that a lot of people have forgotten about them.

If we trounce Syracuse and break the curse of the Dome, in a weird way it'll make me feel even better than the last three games.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Nothing will put me in a weird happy place until we shove a size 17 boot so far up Pitt's ass they're tasting the Kenan Stadium turf for a week

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

If we win in the dome... and then whip Pitt later... Fed-Hex must fall as well.

Ugh, wrong reply

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

WVU in Fed-Hex?

Hype Trane enters the Carrier Dome...

Gratuitous Emma gif

"They got us field position and then the offense stuck it in." - Frank Beamer

Reading all these stats make my brain hurt, but I am a firm believer that if we continue to score more points than the other team, we will continue winning games.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."

Stat of the Week: When Marshawn Williams has oranges in front of him, he juices them 100% of the time.

So you're saying we're a lock for the Orange Bowl this year?

Honestly I'm just hoping for the Peach or Fiesta bowl this year

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

I just realized this is predicting us to win by 20 at Notre Dame

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Sean Riley has returned more kickoffs than anyone else in the country (26) but whatever, because Joey Slye remains No. 1 in the nation with a 65.39 yard kickoff average β€” the only kicker in the country averaging MORE than a touchback's yardage.

Serious question: is Joey Slye an NFL kicker?

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

Tampa will probably trade up for him in the 2nd round

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

IDK, Jacksonville could take him in the first as the like to draft "weapons".

Click here to destroy wall.

Not Yet

No but he's kind of working from behind the 8 ball. Kicker is just not a position where a lot of people get new jobs. Good kickers tend to emerge early and stick around for a long time so there's really low turnover. Sure, some additional spots open up during training camps but once rosters get trimmed to 53 those go away. Additionally, while he has shown the potential to nail 50 yarders, he's never actually done it (49, but not 50). Accuracy at that range is important in the NFL and since our shiny new offense won't give him another opportunity to kick it from that far he's going to have a hard time demonstrating improvement in that area.

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

Nope - don't think he has shown sufficient accuracy at 40+ yards. I do wish that changes. Joey seems like a great kid with a hell of lot of motivation. I don't know of any other D1 kickers that try to plant the kickoff receiver like a spring tomato start, back when every kick didnt sail through the endzone.

He has the leg to kick steady touchbacks, which the NFL wants desperately for player safety, but he has to be money from 40-50 to supplant one of 32 NFL kickers.

Not proven in long range FG's, excellent kick-off with a desire to crush returners...sounds like Arena Football is the place for him.

Click here to destroy wall.

Which looks to be in danger of collapsing. Orlando just closed up shop and Jacksonville is looking for a new league.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

This may be a bit off topic but Bleacher Report does not like Virginia Tech very much. They weren't a believer in the preseason, reasonably so, but they picked UNC to win and they are picking us to beat Syracuse 38-20. I feel like that is a very low ball score for us considering we dropped 34 in a monsoon and 49 on a much better defense than Syracuse. This offense will be inside a dome where they can utilize all their weapons and have no weather ailments to worry about. I don't think there is any question that this offense can put up 50 against a very inexperienced Syracuse defense. But I digress.

"That's Houdini!"

- Jon Laaser 9/24/2016

I don't have any time for Bleacher Report with all of this great TKP content!

They appear to have discontinued "This Week in Schadenfreude," which was the best thing about Bleacher Report

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

You sure this didnt end up as a slideshow?

At least there's still "It's Meltdown Time!" on Roll Bama Roll... I do miss TWiS, though.

Achievement unlocked: All of the Fullers

"Sam Rogers is a college football icon" SB Nation

Thanks Frank!

That was on SB Nation. Really miss TWIS, but they have a ton of other good stuff there and EDSBS.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Our offense is ranked 96th. Over/Under is 68. Line is -19.

So vegas thinks 43-24. So that's about 4 points less per side in BRs prediction.

It would be nice to be on the other side of a game where the losers scored 24 points. Sorry, Purdue and #11 Miami.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

BR is probably thinking that if SU is successful in putting together scoring drives, then we will have fewer opportunities, thus keeping the score lower.

How many points our offense ultimately puts up will really depend on the defense. If they can slow down SU and get them off the field, then the offense can score more points (scoring by our defense is also welcome!).

I think we win by a lot because the defense will shut down SU and their defense cannot stop our offense.

And Virginia Tech does not like Bleacher Report much. So we're square.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

IIRC, VT recruited Estime. Cousin of Dadi? Same HS? Or am I just making things up?

I saw he was an Estime too. I was wondering the same thing.

"I'll put a quote here to distract you from my inane comment."-Me

Additionally, ESPN's FPI gives Tech just a 0.7% chance of winning out. Still, it's safe to say that the odds of an 11-1 regular season are substantially higher now than almost any neutral party would have given before the season.

The ESPN FPI is also criminally underrating us, last time I checked. Either they still have a significant preseason bias, or they follow the BCS adage of "it's who you beat, not how bad you beat them". And I'm pretty sure their "chance to win out" includes a conference championship game appearance, which I'd expect us to be at about 20% to win at this point against either Clemson or Louisville.

Sean Riley has returned more kickoffs than anyone else in the country (26) but whatever, because Joey Slye remains No. 1 in the nation with a 65.39 yard kickoff average β€” the only kicker in the country averaging MORE than a touchback's yardage.

How is that average determined? I can't imagine it's that low, unless they count anything in or beyond the endzone as ending at the goal line, in which case that means we've had more long kickoffs due to penalty than kickoffs where he hasn't made it into the endzone, which is interesting.

We have had a couple penalties that carry into the kickoff starting position. Therefore he has kicked it longer than 65 yards.

The ESPN FPI is also criminally underrating us,

I don't work right now and have been watching espnu daily CFB shows. With all that airtime you think that they would delve into the whole thing/ Right? Bullshit. Every show is sec/big. Throw in nd and ask what is wrong. How about this, they SUCK and don't deserve attention. They are nothing but numbers and viewership. Fuck them.

Now if Joey was kicking in the SEC there would be a 10 minute segment on him.

BTW, I tried watching this afternoon and the show started with how great Saban was for the 30th time. I turned it off and cut the grass. Useless shit. All though Ponder aint bad looking!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

All though Ponder aint bad looking

I swear that woman is beautiful. Damn you Christian Ponder!!

Joey ain't anything special. He isn't getting a segment no matter what conference he is in.

"I'll put a quote here to distract you from my inane comment."-Me

Because he already had his segments about playing in memory of his brother.

True, he did have that one, that was a good segment. Its more about how this website has a huge inferiority complex and needs to compare the ACC to the SEC. Joey is a great Hokie and a good kicker, but he isn't elite at anything besides kickoffs.

Shep7777

Did anyone else notice that our lone 46 ranking from MvG Sports is because they think were 3-2?

No, but I noticed it took you 4+ years to make an account. Welcome aboard chipmate.

I hope you will supervise his self-hazing.

Click here to destroy wall.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

Usually followed by: "Could I have 10,000 marbles please?"

I am stupid and I need milestones.

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

The diagrams on this site are reaching epic level.

How great will it be when Tech beats aOSU in the National Championship game for round three of VT vs aOSU!