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Opponent Stat Preview: Pittsburgh Panthers

Taking an in-depth statistical look at this week's matchup.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

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 Pitt 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.


Edit: Pitt is on the left (more purple) and GT is on the right (more blue).....teams need to get some original color schemes

  • So Pitt is good apparently? Dangit, was hoping for another Syracuse game.
  • Pitt's offense is extremely well balanced, with only their rushing game being below average on a per play basis. Their overall S&P+ is 41st in the country and they rank better on a per-play basis than our defense. The reason our defense is even close to being above average is that we are very good at preventing teams from actually scoring points. We have had a lot of redzone turnovers forced and are doing a great job of "bending but not breaking", but on a per play basis our defense does not stack up well.
  • Why are we so bad when teams pass the ball?

When GT has the Ball


  • Pitt's defense actually matches up pretty well against our offense. For the second straight week the strength's of each team will match up. Our passing S&P+ needs to improve for sure, but we have the 7th best rushing offense in the country. Hard to complain about this offense.
  • Pitt is just balanced. They do a lot of things well.

Special Teams

GT improved from 31st last week to 20th this week in Special Teams Efficiency, the total amount of points gained through all facets of special teams as determined by FEI. Pitt ranks 109th in STE, so look for Tech to have some big plays and hidden yard advantages through special teams.

National Ranks

FG Efficiency

Punt Efficiency

Punt Return Efficiency

Kickoff Efficiency

Return Efficiency

Georgia Tech 68 26 16 78 26
Pitt 76 76 121 80 82

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 78.3
FEI GT - 12 84.2
FBS Drive Stats* ~GT - 6 67.7
F/+** GT - 14 83.3

* The FBS drive stats is for a neutral field, and the line is derived from the win%. Home field advantage is generally to assumed to be anywhere between 2-3 points for the home team.

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