Last week I took a look at Mississippi State, using the advanced stats to take a look at what kind of threat was posed to LSU on both sides of the ball. And for the most part they rang true. MSU’s offensive stats were pretty indicative of last year’s stats and projections coming into play, but still high enough that you could argue they’d pose a threat. And that’s what happened. LSU was great on defense and mostly dominated, but MSU had it’s moments. And I said that last week’s game was an opportunity for Danny Etling to step forward because of the weakness with the MSU defense. I’d say he did.
Now we shift our focus to Auburn. We’ll still be taking a look at last season’s advanced stats from Bill C and Brian Fremeau, since it’s still only Week 4. As always, If you need a refresher on S&P+ ratings and the like and how they work, here you are.
A note on these stats: The offensive and defensive S&P+ marks are calculated as adjusted scoring averages and for the situational ratings, above 100 is good and below 100 is bad.
- S&P+ (Percentile): 75.6% (35th in FBS)
- Offensive S&P+: 33.2 (40th in FBS)
- Offensive Rushing S&P+: 108.6 (40th in FBS)
- Offensive Passing S&P+: 108.4 (41st in FBS)
- Defensive S&P+: 23.4 (34th in FBS)
- Defensive Rushing S&P+: 104.2 (53rd in FBS)
- Defensive Passing S&P+: 106.1 (49th in FBS)
Last year was the first time you could say at Auburn that Gus Malzahn did not have a good offense. It wasn’t fall off a cliff bad relative to the rest of the country, but they weren’t in the top third of rushing or passing and just sneaked into the top third in overall Offensive S&P+. It also lost some of it’s better receiving targets from last year and the QB situation was muddled. On the defensive side, it was better than 2014, but the rushing defense was a real problem (as testified by Leonard Fournette running all over them) and the passing defense sort of suffered because of that. However it looked like they were laying some foundation and bringing talent in with Will Muschamp at DC, but he bolted for South Carolina and then they hired Kevin Steele. Which most of us know usually doesn’t end well.
Another note: So far, the S&P+ ratings are based quite a bit on what the projections were coming into the season. I’ll also be using F/+, which combines Bill C’s S&P+ and Brian Fremeau’s FEI. Read more about that here: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fei
- S&P+ (Percentile): 84.6% (22nd in FBS)
- Offensive S&P+: 34.5 (37th in FBS)
- Defensive S&P+: 22.3 (28th in FBS)
- FEI: .073 (38th in FBS)
- F/+: 22.8% (32nd in FBS)
- Offensive Success Rate: 39.7% (89th in FBS)
- Defensive Success Rate: 39% (56th in FBS)
The projection systems didn’t hate Auburn coming into the season and they haven’t been bad, so they don’t look glaringly poor overall but they also don’t look good. So far it looks very similar to last season, though the defense looks a tad better (though whether that shows up through a whole season with Steele as DC) is yet to be seen. Success Rates are a big problem, especially on offense where there’s just so little successful or big plays and a lot of negative ones. Auburn doesn’t seem to be a bad team per se, so there’s a threat there, especially at Jordan Hare. While this may be a weird game, it should be one LSU wins.