By the Advanced Numbers: East Carolina

A statistical preview of the matchup as the Hokies travel to Greenville to clash with the Pirates.

In 2016, the Hokies absolutely dominated East Carolina 54-17, a result among many other outcomes which signaled things in the Justin Fuente era were different. And yet, after so many years of disappointing results against the Pirates, one blowout doesn't feel like enough to shake the nerves leading up to the matchup. Although, the Pirates have played absolutely terrible football thus far in 2017, enough so that defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson was replaced by DL coach Robert Prunty. However, teams rarely progress or regress by such huge margins in one offseason, so the Pirates are almost certainly not as bad as they've played thus far.

While personality stats are not available until after week 7, overall performance as well as offensive and defensive performance, adjusted for opponents, provide some insight into what to expect on Saturday.

Where the Season Stands

Virginia Tech is currently 2-0, including a nationally televised, primetime win against a ranked West Virginia team at FedExField. Really! The actual and predicted score difference and odds of winning each game are:

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

12-0 is still in play!

Rankings and Computer Predictions

The computer rankings and predictions for each team:

None of this means anything, because ECU. The odds of a 22-point favorite winning are 93.4%.

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

The Hokies' offense has performed slightly better than the usually strong Pirates' offense, while the defense has enjoyed a more significant advantage. As in Tech's defense has been great, while the ECU defense has been trash emoji.

Who To Watch Out For

Based on this year's stats, there are no players to watch out for on the Pirates' roster. However, it would be naive to think that talent disappeared in the offseason and base too many conclusions on only two games. This week features a player from each team:

  1. WR Jimmy Williams is a dangerous threat after averaging 18.18 yards per catch last season. With the departure of Zay Jones, look for Williams to be the target when the Pirates need a chunk of yards.
  2. Punter Oscar Bradburn, 15th in the country with a 46.15 yards per punt average and the No. 2 rated freshman. More importantly, what can ECU expect if a returner breaks through and faces Bradburn one-on-one? "I'll deck him straight away. I'll put him on his ass."

Statistical Key to the Game

Thus far this season, the Pirates have regressed on both offense and defense. I'm buying ECU's high efficiency offense of the past few years is gone because the coaches who put it in place have since departed. I'm not as confident ECU's defense is as bad as shown thus far, and I still don't trust the Hokies' offense to consistently produce. While Tech's game plan for Delaware may not have involved much creativity, I'm concerned it didn't involve more run game and that inaccurate throws took away potentially explosive plays.

Virginia Tech's run game will struggle until defenses are forced to respect the threat of explosive pass plays. Therefore, I'm focused on completions of 20-plus yards as the key to a convincing Tech win.

Statistical Prediction

I believe past struggles against ECU are a combination of scheme and matchup issues as well as bad luck. While there may still be some matchup concerns, bad luck is temporary. I think we see an East Carolina that is not as bad as the first two games have shown, but it still outclassed and doesn't ever threaten to win this one.

Virginia Tech 37, East Carolina 17

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

Comments

BTAN is back!

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

ECU scares me every year no matter how bad they are.

74-54

Ummm...how is the Miami game only 25% chance to win? Did I miss something?? Are they Bak this year???

It IS September, the time of year kids go back to school, the air is a little more crisp, and for a fleeting moment, the U is back.

If you want the technical details, Miami is currently rated 5.8 points better than Virginia Tech. This is still weighted 80% by S&P+ preseason projections, which I will take the opportunity to point out are NOT subjective but rather an adjustment to how you finished last season based on things like how many players you lost, how well you've recruited, and how good you've been in recent seasons.

Add to that about three points for home field advantage and then round, and you have a 9-point favorite, which is expected to lose only 25.3% of the time.

Of course that game is not until November, the time of year when the U typically focuses on how they'll be "back" the next year.

Sagarin already has us almost dead even with Miami (looking at a +3 line on the road, but calling that stadium their home is charitable).

Once these methodologies start to even out I'll know how to feel about that game. It will be interesting to see how they fare against FSU.

But...they aint played nobody!l

"home field advantage."

good one.

Somebody please post a "Miami is back" thread the week after the get their asses handed to them by FSU. We could go on for days...

In Bud we trust

Miami may be in real trouble....they haven't even practiced. They're supposed to start practicing in Orlando.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

If this game was Week 2, it would be a classic trap game. It still feels like it but I'm glad of the underwhelming offensive performance against Delaware last week. Brings us down to earth after a solid win over WVWho? Can be used as a wake up call and avoid any sloppy play against a team that has a history of just randomly showing up to play and catching us off guard. If we can hold here, 4-0 looks pretty solid leading into Clemson. College Gameday possibly????

Does Gameday being at Louisville for the Clemson game this week make it less likely that they will do another Clemson game two weeks later? I honestly don't know how often they repeat the same team (even if neither is a home game).

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

National Championship team at a different location against probably a top 15 team. I would say it doesn't help our chances but I don't think its going to hurt them. Gotta win the next two weeks, first though.

Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that's bad!

Ohio State got some form of Gameday in both Week 1 and Week 2.

Let's take a look at the matchups for Week 5:

Tennessee vs. Georgia
This is probably the biggest competitor. IF we lose to ECU or ODU, AND Clemson loses to Louisville, AND Tennessee/Georgia are undefeated, Gameday will go there. Why so many hoops? That's the SEC on CBS game and why would ESPN want to promote a different network?

Alabama vs. Ole Miss
I guess? Ole Miss has seemed to have Alabamas number in the past years, so maybe they go there.

Washington State vs. USC
If this game was on a Saturday, they would go there. But it's on a Friday, so there isn't any worry.

Honestly, if we're both 4-0, which I expect us to be, there is no way Gameday doesn't come. They've already booked 100 rooms in the area in preparation.

Edit: They just announced they're going to be broadcasting from Times Square on the 23rd. Seems like they're trying to take a break between having Clemson on the show again.

They'll probably piss in our cereal and go to an FCS game like Northern Iowa @ Southern Illinois

They just announced next week they will be in Times Square. Soooo...

Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that's bad!

Luckily the ACC owns that TV market.......all those valuable college football fans in Manhattan.

No... look at Ohio State.... Gameday was there in Indiana when Ohio State was there (given it was the first thursday game but Corso still did the head gear and picked OSU) and then they were at Ohio State the very next week for the Oklahoma game. Gameday usually will go to best matchup game ranking wise. That's why we probably won't know what time our game is because ESPN is waiting to see if we don't have a let down against ECU or (gulp) ODU and where we are ranked.

If we go 4-0 into that game, we are at least a top 15 ranking with a small chance of being top 10, which I think wouldn't be deserved (as I don't see us as a top 10 team yet) but it is what it is.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I hope we beat ODU worse than we beat ECU. I have some personal beef with ODU

When in doubt. Nap it out

WVWho

it's DubV not WVWho.... idiot

edit: I know who DCHokie09 is, good friend of mine/VT buddy.... just a joke between us

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

What did I learn? One computer absolutely loves us, and I love that computer.

Secondly, I saw on ESPN the spread is now +23.5 for VT. So the line has already moved up from the opening of I want to say 21.5. Yikes

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Can we get to 25??

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

Concerning Miami, Joel's most prescient point was this:

Of course that game is not until November, the time of year when the U typically focuses on how they'll be "back" the next year.

Absolutely true!

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

a little OT but if there is a 100% chance of us going 12-0, what are the percentages of us going 13-0?, 14-0?, 15-0?
and what are those percentages where we are right now?

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

Oh this is fun.

For a rough guess at this, I'll use the current ratings and try to project what the playoff field looks like in that scenario. The exact team names don't matter, because if they got replaced it's likely by a team with a similar rating at that point in the season. Right now the likely ACCCG opponent ratings-wise is Florida State, but with the QB injury that could obviously be Clemson although in this scenario Clemson has to overcome their loss to Virginia Tech. So let's stick with FSU's rating for now and assume that's the ACCCG. Then we need to project VT's rating after a 12-0 season, which I'll just put at Clemson's current rating (5th in the country). That would make us a 1-point underdog in the game with a 47% chance of winning.

Now in the playoffs, 2-seed (don't ask me how, just roll with it) Virginia Tech is a 2-point favorite over 3-seed Oklahoma, with a 56% chance of winning. At that point all that's left is to knock off 1-seed Alabama as an 8-point (!) underdog, which there IS a 27.6% chance of. So here goes:

13-0: 47%
14-0: 26%
15-0: 7%

Dust that trophy case off, Whit!

I am still going to worry until the game is over with us having more points. ECU's offense is still averaging over 400 yards per game and decent points. We need Bud's defense to show up and stuff them.

We also need the offense to find their innate pulse, move the ball and SCORE. I would love to see us come of the gate firing and not have to tell myself we have been a second quarter and half team.

Last week, West Virginia was up 49-3 at Halftime.

East Carolina was outgained 181-494 in that first half. Of that 181, 70 were gained on the first series which resulted in their only first half points. After that, they had 4 three and outs. In comparison, West Virginia averaged 61.75 yards per series with their shortest only lasting 31 yards. However, this stat is misleading as EACH first half drive resulted in a WVU TD, except for their 6th, which resulted in a missed 44 yard FG.

The second half is when ECU put up 294 yards, but that is misleading as WVU pulled everyone of importance to give experience to their deep bench. Despite this, ECU still only managed to outscore the WVU reserves 17-7 in the second half.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

That makes me feel a little better, but I am still going to worry. Justin Summers still runs through football nightmares occasionally.

Justin Summers

I wonder how much worse your nightmares are when James Summers shows up!

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

Just looked up how they fared against JMU, and its not much better.

ECU was outgained 106-198 in the first half of that game as JMU went up 14-0 at halftime. ECU's first 3 offensive series of the season were all 3 and out, gaining a total of 7 yards on offense. In the same span, JMU put up 140 yards a TD, and a missed FG. The second half saw both teams explode on offense, with JMU outgaining ECU 376-332. James Madison only punted once that second half, with 4 of the 7 drives ending in a TD (1 fumble, 1 INT). In that same span ECU scored 2 TDs, threw 2 INTs, lost 1 fumble, and turned the ball over on downs. Against a FCS team, that's just ugly.

To put it in perspective, from halftime of the JMU game to halftime of the WVU game, ECU gave up 870 total yards of offense and was outscored 66-14. In that span their defense was on the field for 15 drives. 10 drives resulted in a TD with only 1 drive resulting in a punt. Over that span, the average drive against the ECU defense went for 58.133 yards.

No other way to cut it, their defense this year is playing at an unbelievably poor level. Offensively, the only pulse they've had is in the second half against a program that can't match FBS depth, and a program that had already pulled all their important pieces for rest. This game should be a big mismatch in our favor.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Yeah but ECU won TOP for both games sooooo....all of this is irrelevant

DAMMIT, you're absolutely right!

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

JMU put up 400 yards of rushing offense on 42 carries against ECU, they avg'd 9.8 ypc. If we can't run the ball effectively in this game we are serious trouble in that department. We don't have to put up that yardage but if we can't get close to 200 yards with a steady ground game then I don't know what we have to do to fix it except get a new OL.

that being said, VT has been notorious for underperforming against atrocious run defenses. I think we get the win but I don't think we get to the spread until early to mid 4th QTR and don't get back ups in again. I hope I'm wrong.

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

I have a feeling you're probably right on the score being closer than we want, but at the same time, I'm wondering if Fuente will plan to send a message early in the game to get up enough to get backups in. Last week visibly annoyed him on the sideline. I can't see him wanting to allow a game to get like that on the road against a team that has shown an ability to beat us in the past.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Ooooooh man, now doesn't this just sound so familiar lol.

81.8% chance to beat ODU is a lot lower than I'd like. Is the discrepancy between the probabilities of beating ECU and ODU a result of them being 0-2 and 2-0, respectively?

I'm nervous about both of these games. I trust Fuente to have our guys ready for both, and we should win both pretty easily. But I think it's going to take a couple years before I can stop feeling nervous about playing inferior G5 opponents, especially in weeks leading up to or following a big game like Clemson.

Don't sleep on ODU...not saying VT won't be a heavy favorite, but they're currently 88th in S&P+, right on par with Western Michigan and a little behind Boston College if those give any perspective. They finished 73rd in 2016.

ECU by comparison is currently 114th and would be a 7-point underdog to ODU on a neutral field.

Talking with the DB on ODUs squad that I was telling you guys about earlier, they're psyched to play both UNC and VT. To them, they're both winnable games. And they're psyched to come play in Lane. They're gonna get up for the game against us.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Only a 73.6% chance to beat loluva. That's nonsense.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

The match calls it an "away" game, but that's pretty generous. Call it neutral, it goes to 80%. Call it what it is - a VT home game - and the odds go to 85.1%.

Odds to go 14 in a row? 100% confirmed

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Humor me and say that you are doing all of these calculations in your head, just to complete my theory that you are a badass.

The 2 place on that watch is .002 ?

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

I imagine they're commas, just blurry

as cool as this is, I'm gonna have to dock you points for the European standard of using a decimal instead of a comma on that #2 position...

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)..

How else would I do them?

Does it come with a forklift to carry your arm? Lol

Not to dispute your math but only a 73.6% chance to beat loluva? I think you forgot to carry a decimal somewhere...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

7.36% chance?

What is wrong with you!?!

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

But what about our T.O.P. vs. their T.O.P.?

We all know that's the most important stat!

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

...must resist...stay strong....they're just trolling....

Hey, we all just want to come out on TOP every week.

Give the people what they want!

Thank goodness RebJanus is asking the important questions