College Football Playoff Predictions

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As of Monday morning, the Oregon Ducks are favored by 6 or 7 points (depending on source) over the Ohio State Buckeyes. My eyes tell me that Oregon’s offense will light up the scoreboard like the game against FSU. My mind tells me that Urban Meyer can coach any team to victory. Heck, he got his team this far with a third string quarterback! What do statistics and analytics say?

Ohio State Offense vs Oregon Defense
Rushing percentage 61.3% (49th) 53.9% (109th)
S&P+ (overall quality)140.4 (1st)113.5 (27th) Buckeyes
Success Rate (efficiency) 53.5% (11th) 45.7% (57th) Buckeyes
IsoPPP (explosiveness) 0.87 (21st) 0.68 (26th) push
Rushing Success Rate 56.1% (6th) 42.9% (32nd) Buckeyes
Rushing IsoPPP 0.71 (43rd) 0.57 (21st) Ducks
Passing Success Rate 49.4% (38th) 48.9% (94th) Buckeyes
bigPassing IsoPPP1.14 (13th)0.78 (23rd) Buckeyes

The Pac-12 lack of defense shows in these statistics. Ohio State will not crumble before the Oregon defense like Florida State. What do the statistics say when we flip to Oregon offense versus that mighty Ohio State defense?

Oregon Offense vs Ohio State Defense
Rushing percentage 56.1% (80th) 58.8% (73rd)
S&P+ (overall quality)131.8 (5th)117.4 (20th) Ducks
Success Rate (efficiency) 54.2% (9th) 45.5% (53rd) Ducks
IsoPPP (explosiveness) 0.98 (3rd) 0.70 (32nd) Ducks
Rushing Success Rate 54.3% (13th)49.0% (88th) Ducks big
Rushing IsoPPP 0.85 (7th) 0.65 (58th) Ducks big
Passing Success Rate 54.0% (13th) 40.5% (17th) push
Passing IsoPPP 1.15 (12th)0.78 (21st)push

The Oregon rushing attack will peck at defensive weaknesses with the triple option plus a few bubble screens until the defense loads the box. At that point, Oregon goes crazy with medium to deep passes over the top.

This Oregon offense is much better than the one that faced Auburn in 2011, but this Ohio State defense is much better than that Auburn defense. Today’s game flow may look similar, but I do not see any defense playing a factor other than in turnovers.

I will pick Ohio State to beat Oregon, 36-32. Cardale Jones will enter next year’s Heisman discussion with an MVP performance.

Postscript: Ohio State won 42-20 with Ezekiel Elliot as MVP. I was within a touchdown on the Ohio State score, but I expected Oregon to score at least twice more.

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