Last week we broke down the first half of the 2013 schedule according to normalized offensive and defensive yards per play (YPP) data and found that things are looking pretty good for the Buckeyes. Will that change through the meat of the conference games?
In case you don't remember from last week, yards per play numbers are highly correlated with overall successful units, and most of the top teams in terms of YPP are the usual suspects: Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Texas A&M, and Florida State, for instance.
Once I normalized this data to better compare how much better or worse the Buckeyes are than their opponents, I found that the Ohio State offense and defenses were both good, but not excellent squads. The defense gave up about half a yard less than average per play, while the offense gained a little over a third of a yard more per play.
Because this is normalized data, positive numbers on offensive YPP indicate offenses that are above average, while negative defensive YPP scores indicate better than average defenses (in number of standard deviations from the mean).
Remember those bell curves from college statistics and you'll get the idea. The absolute value furthest from zero is our winner in these projected matchups between units.
|OSU Offense vs. Iowa Defense||OSU Defense vs. Iowa Offense|
|.61 vs .0001 (OSU)||-.72 vs. -1.47 (OSU)|
A few years removed from the 2009 nail-biter finish that saw Devin Barclay become an OSU legend, the 2013 matchup is decidedly lopsided in favor of the Buckeyes.
The 4-8 Hawkeyes were average on defense and terrible on offense under first-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis. The 2012 Iowa offense was much, much worse than average and does not match up well with the Buckeye defense. Even Shazier remains the only viable linebacker (which I think is unlikely), the Hawkeyes will be breaking in a new starting quarterback.
Putting it mildly, the Buckeyes should be heavily favored in this matchup.