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An Unconventional Look at College Football Week 5

Darius Slayton runs after a catch in the first half.
Auburn at Miss State football on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Starkville, Ms
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Darius Slayton runs after a catch in the first half. Auburn at Miss State football on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Starkville, Ms Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

As we now enter week 5 of the college football season, the games are starting to show glimpses of what the future will hold for this season. “Fromm” playoff hope in Athens, Georgia to dark-horse in Auburn, Alabama and even “let’s just focus on our classes” in both Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. Vegas might have a system for deciding who wins so they can make money off gamblers willing to risk their cash on games this weekend, but let’s dip into a system of unconventional stats that will potentially give Vegas a run for their money.

Last week, the unconventional stats predicted Auburn to ride into College Station and win, Florida to win big against the Vols, LSU to run through Nashville and demolish Vandy, Mississippi State to find success against Kentucky, and, last but not least, for Georgia to defend Athens against The Fighting Irish. Fun fact, all five predictions were correct. Can these stats backup another perfect week? Let’s dive into the games!

Mississippi State at Auburn(7): Before we get into the nitty gritty stats of this match-up, this has to be a reminder that this rivalry saw the greatest college football game to ever be played. Just over 11 years ago, Auburn defeated Mississippi State 3-2 in what is now considered an instant classic. Now that we have a perspective on how intense the games in this series can become, we can better understand the stats. Mississippi State will be traveling to Auburn for the 36th time to play the Tigers, but that’s not a good thing for the Bulldogs because they have a rough 7-29 record against Auburn on the road. Not to pile on, but they also have an 8 game losing streak to ranked teams while playing on the road. Since Gus Malzahn was hired, Auburn currently holds a 19-3 record while playing night games in Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 9 game winning streak. And finally, Auburn is 9-0 when playing a game with a 4-0 record since 1993. This is a simple evaluation, Auburn clearly holds all the chips and has a full advantage for this match-up on Saturday.

Texas A&M(23) vs Arkansas(Game in Arlington, Texas): Arkansas comes into this game with a 50-31-3 record against teams with the nickname “Aggies” but have lost 7 straight to Texas A&M specifically. Texas A&M is coming off a lose to the 8th(at the time of the game) ranked Auburn Tigers and the Aggies hold an average record of 8-7 in the game following a loss to a ranked opponent; however, A&M is a solid 5-2 in their games following a game against Auburn since joining the SEC. The game is being played on ESPN at the noon eastern time slot and that makes it harmful for the Razorbacks. Arkansas has a 7-10 record playing at noon since 2013 and are currently on an 8 game losing streak when playing on ESPN. The Aggies have a 9-4 record at noon during the same time frame. Texas A&M will get the nod in this match-up as the stats point to Arkansas extending their ESPN losing streak. 

Northern Illinois at Vanderbilt: Vandy has had a rough start to their season to say the least, with an 0-3 start to their season and none of the games have been particularly close either, but maybe this game can help them somewhat right their ship. For starters, Vandy is 9-2 against the MAC with a 3-0 record against NIU, while NIU is a rough 1-10 against the SEC. What team was that only win against you may ask? The only SEC team Northern Illinois has ever beaten is the University of Alabama. That stat,yes, is irrelevant to this game, but always something that is good to know. Now back to the game at hand. Vanderbilt has won 6 straight non-conference games featured on the SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate. NIU has traveled to the state of Tennessee a handful of times and continues to remain winless in the state lines of the Volunteer(no they aren't playing Tennessee) State. Digesting all these facts, I think it’s safe to say Vandy has the advantage and should win their first game of the season.

We’ve had three very compelling games that feature SEC teams but now let’s move to the weekly nationally focused game. That game, of course, is Ohio State at Nebraska as we follow College Gameday’s featured game every week.

The Ohio State(5) at Nebraska: For the people residing in SEC country, this isn’t a very common match-up to hear about, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it. This will be just the 7th time Nebraska has hosted college gameday; however, they hold a staunch 5-1 record in their previous 6 times hosting the show. Ohio State has appeared on College Gameday, an impressive, 45 times, second only to Alabama. Of those 45 gameday appearances, only 14 were true road games on a Saturday. Ohio State maintains a strong 10-4 record when traveling for gameday and holds one of the highest winning percentages on the show in all games overall(.705 win percentage). So both teams seem well prepared in this department with a defensive home front for Nebraska and a forceful traveling team in Ohio State. The Buckeyes have beaten Nebraska the past 4 times these teams have met; however, Ohio State has lost a road game against an unranked Big10 West team the past two seasons and Nebraska is one of two remaining road Big10 West games left for the Buckeyes. With upset in mind, Nebraska seems to have taken the advantage here, but there’s one thing holding them back. The Nebraska Cornhuskers have lost a whopping 11 straight games to ranked opponents with their last win being over an Oregon team that eventually finished 4-8. Ohio State might have an upset scare in Lincoln, but they should take care of business and bury the Cornhuskers. 

As we close another unconventional preview, let’s watch on Saturday to see if these stats prove undefeated once again.

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