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Let me shed a little light on USU's 2012 campaign, and a look forward to 2013

Posted By: TheRealU
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 09:22 am

Yes, the Aggies had their best team in decades, but part of the reason for their success might be found in their schedule.

When adjusting for strength of schedule (and I did not include SUU in the calculations), USU's opponents scored 23.20 points per game on 317 yards, while giving up 31 points and 350 yards. It isn't hard to look good against bad teams.

USU's strength of schedule (SOS) was rated 97th last year, and there is a reason we keep hearing about how the Aggies started to "click" later in the season; this is when NMSU, UTSA, Idaho, and the Texas State started to show up on the schedule. This isn't to say that the Aggies couldn't/didn't improve as the season went by, but part of this success is surely due to playing bad teams.

For some perspective on SOS: in addition to USU, the top rated non-BCS teams last year were:

SJSU (86th SOS, 11-2 record), Northern Illinois (121 SOS, 12-2 record), Boise State (115 SOS, 11-2), UCF (91 SOS, 10-4), Tulsa (84 SOS, 11-3), and Arkansas State (98 SOS, 10-3).

Now, the point here is not that these were not good football teams, but simply that their records alone may not be a great indicator of how good these teams were. For comparison's sake, the average SOS for PAC-12 teams was 29.83.

Yes, teams can only play who is on their schedule, but you cannot simply dismiss their quality of opponents when determining how good a college football team really is. Playing a weak SOS can make an average team look great.

As for this year, the Aggies return 43% of their rushing yards (mostly from Keeton, as only 10% came from their projected starter in 2012, Joe Hill), and only 26% of their receiving yards (top 5 pass catchers from 2012 are gone). Utah returns 62% of their tackles made from last year (yes, as much as we keep hearing about how much will be missing from our D, almost 2/3rds of the production is back).

Conversely, while Utah only returns 29% of their rushing yards (York accounted for 17% of Utah's yards on the ground in 2012), they return 62% of their receiving yards, including their top 3 pass cathers from 2012. USU does return 69% of their tackles from last year, but this is not much higher that what Utah reutrns on D.

What does this all mean? Well, the bottom line is that USU beat Utah last year. However, USU was not the world beaters that their fans believe.

Could Utah State win this game? Absolutely. USU is a good team, and my post is not intended to disparage them, but to simply point out a few over inflating factors. Anything can happen in one game.

When you factor in a healthier O-Line for Utah, improved QB play, more experience in the OC department, home field advantage, the revenge factor (as we discussed yesterday, teams in Utah's situaiton against USU win this game 84% of the time), and coupled with USU's losses at the skill positions, and the expected learning curve for USU's head coach - I like the Utes to win this game.

9 days.

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Messages In This Thread

TheRealU icon NEW: Let me shed a little light on USU's 2012 campaign, and a look forward to 2013
TheRealU - -- Tuesday 20 August 2013, at 09:22 am [ID# 1530282] [reply]
TheRealU icon NEW: One additional note:
TheRealU - -- Tuesday 20 August 2013, at 09:51 am [ID# 1530286] [reply]
o NEW: RE: One additional note:
SemolinaPilchard - -- Tuesday 20 August 2013, at 12:51 pm [ID# 1530368] [reply]
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