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A Comparison - First Three Games From 2007 and 2008

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I thought this might be a good opportunity to take a snapshot of the first 3 non-conference games for Texas Tech from last year and this year.  We've talked quite a bit about how this team is performing on the field and I thought that it might be interesting to see how this year's squad compares to last year's team. 

I should go ahead and throw out the disclaimer that I think it's pointless to try and argue the relative worth of any 6 of these teams, but we should more or less just agree that these are all teams that Texas Tech should have handled relatively easily.

2007

 

Team Passing Yards Rushing Yards Total Yards Turnovers Points
SMU 155 115 270 3 9
UTEP 216 215 431 1 31
Rice 212 99 311 3 24
Averages 194.33 143.00 337.33 2.33 21.33

 

Of course we should all remember that after the Rice game, this defense gave up all kinds of yards and points against Oklahoma State, giving credence to the idea that most of the time, non-conference games don't mean a thing, or at least the statistics don't.  Anyway, here are the numbers from this year.

2008

 

Team Passing Yards Rushing Yards Total Yards Turnovers Points
Eastern Washington 341 23 364 3 24
Nevada 264 224 488 2 19
SMU 213 61 274 5 7
Averages 272.67 102.67 375.33 4.11 16.67

 

So the real difference is that the 2008 version is giving up 78.33 yards a game more than their 2007 counter-part, while, giving allowing 40.33 yards less per game on the ground. Thus, the 2008 version is giving up 38.00 yards more per game, but is allowing 4.67 points less than in 2007.

If it's me, I'd rather have the more stingy team defensively in terms of points, but as mentioned above, in 2007 these numbers didn't mean much when facing Oklahoma State or any other formidable Big 12 opponent and as much hand-ringing that goes on almost every college team blog, message board or water-cooler, non-conference statistics are not necessarily a predictor to what you should expect from a team.  

I should say that if a team is dominant on one side of the ball (i.e., Texas Tech's offense or Auburn's defense), then that will probably play out over the course of a season, but to say that marginal success against non-conference opponents will play out over the course of a year probably isn't true.

I do take some solace in the turnover numbers and put more faith in those than yards given up and as a team, the Red Raiders average almost 2 (actually it's 1.78) more turnovers per game.

Thoughts and comments appreciated.