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Opponent Stat Preview: Virginia Cavaliers

We're taking an in-depth statistical look at this week's matchup.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

During the Fall football season I do not watch many college football games. I read a lot of articles on college football teams, I look at a lot of stats on college football teams, and I watch a lot of highlights. But with home games for Georgia Tech, road trips, student life, and an allegiance to Florida State (be nice, both my parents went there) I really don't have time to catch many other team's games. So in order to "get to know the opponent" I look at the stats that describe a team, and that is what I will be writing about here.

When GT has the Ball

S&P+ is a statistical measure of a team's performance on a per play basis. The "S" stands for success rate, "P" for point value, and + is opponent adjusted. It is essentially OPS+ for football. It takes the slugging percentage, your explosiveness, and adds it to your on base percentage, your success rate, and adjusts for opponent. 100 is average and everything greater than 100 is good, so for each category the higher the bar the better. You can read more here.

  • Wow, I was not expecting UVA's defense to be this good. However, this may be due to the fact that they perform better on a per-play basis than their overall performance would indicate. FEI, a measure of your drive based efficiency, has them as the 50th best defense, while S&P+ has them as the 20th best defense. In addition fbsdrivestats uses drive efficiency to determine team strength and has them as the 30th best defense. Either way they aren't as bad as their raw number suggest, they have played a pretty tough slate of offenses (Oregon, BYU).
  • We are really going to have to take advantage of running the ball when UVA's defense is allowing it. I think this breakdown bodes well for GT. UVA is doing a great job on standard downs (2 and 7 or shorter, 3rd and 4 or shorter) and a great job when teams pass the ball. Well, hell, I have no idea what this all means in terms of overall strategy. Let's hope we can get our passing game together.

When UVA has the Ball

  • This chart is on the same scale as the last one, so needless to say the strengths and weaknesses of the teams match up. UVA's offense is ranked as 100th in the country, while our defense is top 40. We need to do a good job of forcing UVA into passing downs, the strength of our defense, so we can attack and force some sacks or turnovers.

Special Teams

GT ranks 31st overall in Special Teams Efficiency, the total amount of points gained through all facets of special teams as determined by FEI, while UVA ranks 41st, so pretty much a wash. Here are the category breakdowns.

National Ranks

FG Efficiency

Punt Efficiency

Punt Return Efficiency

Kickoff Efficiency

Return Efficiency

Georgia Tech 66 28 16 94 31
Virginia 44 22 55 32 39

The Picks

This table shows the line for different picking services, and a win percentage associated with the pick, or derived from the line. (F/+ picks haven't been released so I will add them when they go out).

Line GT Win %
Vegas GT -10 78.7
FEI GT - 10 71.7
FBS Drive Stats* ~GT - 13 83.5

* The FBS drive stats is for a neutral field, and the line is derived from the win%.

** Half of F/+ is FEI, so take it as you will.