No, man, it absolutely feels unreal and it’s definitely a good litmus test for how you should reign in your emotions when you’re making picks and handicapping games because I can definitely feel the emotional turmoil and the excitement inside of me as I’m approaching these games. But man, really exciting, really fun season for TCU and just pretty incredible that we are where we are. Given that I was saying 8 and 4 would be a good season to start the year, so we just thrilled, been really fun.
No, it is definitely a good time. I am excited about it. We’ll go ahead and tell everybody. First off, the show is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. However, we are going to be here with a props preview I guess you could say. A little more discussion about the game next Monday at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. So make sure and set your calendars so that you can come back and join us there. Make sure that you are subscribed to the channel so that you don’t miss any content from us over the next however many months, whatever we end up doing there. As you guys know, we talk about games.
After this one, there’s not really a lot going on as far as games are concerned, but you never know when we’re going to pop on that dial, so make sure that you are subscribed to the channel. Hit the notification bell, it’ll let you know when we go live, and of course, make sure that you like this video. The likes always help us out algorithmically. I like to say that to sound smart of course, but it does some crazy stuff in the background and it certainly helps us out on the channel.
There is also the podcast version of the show. That is the BetUS Football show. It is both the NFL feed and the college football feed, all right there in one neat tidy little package and you can leave a nice five-star review on that as well. Gentlemen, let’s go ahead and show what our records have been thus far on the season. We like to be as transparent as possible and so far through this season I am sitting at 57, 39 and 3. That is 18 games above 500 and that ain’t too bad. Kyle 34, 31 and 1. Parker 46, 48 and 1. Overall, the show is hitting at 53.73%. It is 137, 118 and 5. That is profitable.
Bowl season has been generous to us, gentlemen. I have felt pretty good about bowl season thus far. All of us have had a winning record so far in bowl season. All right, we’ve only got one bowl game left and that is of course the national championship game. Let’s go ahead and dive into this one. Monday, January 9th, 7:30 PM Eastern time on ESPN Georgia, a 12.5 point favorite over the TCU Horned Frogs. The total sits at 63. This one being held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California right outside of LA, I guess you could say.
And let’s of course go through some of the latest trends, I guess. Georgia 2 and 3 against the spread as a double digit favorite in their last five. They are 1 and 3 against the spread in their last 4 games overall. TCU, 3 and 1 straight up as an underdog in 2021 at the closing line of course. Excuse me, in 2022, not 2021. But they are 2 and 2 against the spread in their last 4. Of course, they covered and won outright as a dog against Michigan just last week.
Injuries to pay attention to and Kyle, I’m going to start with you here. The running back Kendre Miller tweaked a knee. He plans to play but he was now listed as questionable just yesterday. Now Emari Demaercado, the running back last week, 17 runs for 150 yards. He did have one touchdown against Michigan. He performed beyond admirably in that spot for Georgia. Injuries to pay attention to. The tight end, Darnell Washington stepped on while he was making a block. It’s a left ankle injury. He was in a boot, he was on crutches. Who knows whether or not he’s going to play.
Kirby Smart said he’s going to try to play. We’ll see what that actually means. And then along with that, the offensive lineman, McClendon, which Amarius Mims came in and backed him up, did a pretty good job there. The outside linebacker, Chambliss, he also dealt with an injury, but it looks like both of those guys are going to be back this week. Chambliss was helping replace Nolan Smith who went out earlier this year.
Gentlemen, Kyle, let’s start with you, this is a difficult one to try and handicap right now. Georgia, all of their numbers of course look really good so far on the season, but you saw some vulnerabilities in that defense with what Ohio State was able to do against them. TCU, on the other hand, I don’t know that there’s another team that is as opportunistic as this bunch. The numbers may not say that TCU can win this game, but my goodness, they have found ways to win games where they’ve been down multiple times. They never trailed against Michigan, so never had to worry about coming back. Kyle, what do you see happening between the Horned Frogs and the Bulldogs?
Yeah, I think we ought to look back a little bit as we talk about this one as well too, and obviously I don’t want to look back on it too much as a Buckeyes fan based on how that game ended. Certainly, Ohio State played really well. I think that was a great performance by the Buckeyes. I just didn’t finish the deal. CJ Stroud played amazing in that game. I don’t think he’s played a better game in his Ohio State career than he did in that one. Stetson Bennett took care of business at the end of the game. He has proven to be a gamer, for sure. 4th quarter seems to be his best quarter.
As far as TCU over Michigan, I’ve heard a lot of people say, well, there were two pick 6’s for TCU. That’s how they got their win. Actually, Michigan beat them on the field, out-gamed them badly. They were both teams, 7.0 yards per play. Both teams turned it over three times. I think it’s a little disrespectful to TCU to make it sound like Michigan really outplayed them badly and TCU was just fortunate to get two pick 6’s. TCU had a 56% success rate in that game, so excellent against that Michigan defense. It’s very good. No doubt, they’re a very good defense.
Michigan’s late down failures really bit them quite a bit. 3 for 13 on third down, 0 for 2 on 4th down. TCU was 8 for 16 on third down. So that made a big difference. I would say as it goes, Georgia’s defense has proven to be vulnerable against the deep ball. Stroud took advantage of that when he had Harrison in the game. It certainly hurt them a lot when Harrison was out. He’s their deep ball guy. You already have no Smith-Njigba, no TreVeyon Henderson. At the end it was kind of Stroud scrambling for a bunch of yards, which as a Buckeyes fan I thought I’d never see, and yet he was doing a good job doing that there at the end of the game.
I think Ohio State settled for a field goal far too easily at the end of the game and that was the one frustrating part for me as a fan. But as far as this game, when it gets broken down, can TCU go after Georgia and the way that Ohio State did and the way that LSU did the game before. Remember Nussmeier was just chucking it downfield. Average up to target of almost 18 yards. I wonder if TCU will take quite a few shots downfield. They certainly have a star wide receiver in Johnston to try to get the ball too deep.
They don’t have the depth that wide receiver that Ohio State does, but they have one superstar for sure, Max Duggan, a 92.9 PFF grade on passes, 20 yards or more. So he can definitely throw the deep ball. I would expect to have plenty of those shots there. TCU did give up that first big run to Edwards to start the game and I thought, oh man, they just gashed them right up the middle on the first play and really they did very well stopping the Michigan running game after that play. I was very impressed-
Let me interrupt you right quick. One of the most telling stats for me from that game was the fact that Michigan, one of every 4 runs was stuffed, so it was either stopped at the line of scrimmage or behind the line of scrimmage. That was incredible to me. Parker, I’m going to bring you in real quick. What’s the Joe Gillespie defense called? Is it the Spill and Kill?
The Spill and Kill, yeah. And so especially on that first run, if you go look at back, there’s much made about Michigan’s physicality. You look on that first run, what really happened on that very first run is that TCUs linebackers came in, maybe taken a couple scoops of pre-workout and were a little wild and over pursued and hit the linebacker pretty hard or hit the full backer pretty hard coming out. And the big issue there was Edwards got in the A gap instead of the B gap, the safety can’t take an angle, he’s gone.
But TCU did make a tackle there, which is the big thing against Michigan and I think will be the big thing against Georgia is you’re going to make a mistake. That’s just going to happen, you’re playing against us an extremely talented offense. Can you make that mistake not end at 7? Can you make them have to line up and run 3 or 4 more plays to get the touchdown and not give them an easy 7 with those big mistakes and TCU secondary has shown that they can run and absolutely run those down. But yeah, the defenses definitely gave Michigan some problems in terms of its complexity and positioning after that first play.
Right. Kyle, back to you. My apologies for interrupting, but man, you made me think of that statistic was just insane. 25% stuff rate for TCU’s defense in that game was just insane.
I think it’s good, we can have some back and forth here, right? We’ve got one game to talk about. We don’t have this long list of games to try to get through, so I’m good with some back and forth here today. If you look at team talent rankings, it would be hard to say TCU’s going to win this game, but TCU has found ways to win games so far this year and I don’t think Georgia has looked unbeatable. Georgia is a very good team. They don’t have the type of defense they had last year. They’re relying more on the offense. I did want to say 86% of the bets are on TCU so far.
You do see this in a lot of the title games that the public does want to take the underdog in games like this and obviously Joe Public hasn’t really bet this game as much as they will right before the kickoff certainly, but the public likes the underdog. They want to root for the underdog here. What will that do with this line? I’m not really sure because I don’t think this line comes down a lot. It’s edged down a little bit so far. In this one, I really think that they need Bennett to have some pressure. He’s 90 PFF grade, kept clean and 60 PFF grade under pressure.
TCU hasn’t had a great pass rush throughout the course of the season. I’m curious to see how much they send blitzes in this game versus setting back. That’ll be interesting to me. The two teams are 79th and a 109th in tempo. It’s hard to bet an over at this high of a number, but you guys know, who really wants to bet an under? We’ve been watching these games. I’m an under better, first, you guys know this, but I don’t want to bet an under in this game. I wouldn’t feel very comfortable betting an under here thinking there could be some big plays from both sides and in a game like this, if TCU is staying close at all then Georgia’s going to keep scoring here I think, and TCU has big playability.
As far as TCUs side, I’m afraid Georgia’s depth and overall talent advantage might be too much in the end game. So I think I would lean to the first half, TCU if I was taking TCU here. I think this is a really hard bet to make and I know people are going to be saying you guys should be making a bet or two bets or something like that. But do keep in mind that we’re trying to make money, make this profitable long term and we got one game to pick from here. I’m excited that we’re doing the player prop show on Monday too so that we can have some more bets out there.
Oh, most certainly, yes. A reminder again, of course Monday, 1:00 PM Eastern time, we will be back basically breaking this thing down just a few hours before it happens. But we’re going to be going over player props. There will be more bets put on the board between now and then. So yeah, we’re going to try and take advantage of some of those because these numbers are incredibly tight right now. Any model that you find is going to have this thing somewhere between about 10 and 14 or so. It’s just a really tight number.
My numbers have it… I’ve got two different models that I want to use on this one, 11.7 and 12.6 in favor of Georgia. So the fact that this thing is sitting in 12.5, there’s just no real way that I can play this thing. But hey, we can break this thing down and we can try and figure out exactly where the win might come from. If it were to happen, how is it going to happen for TCU.
Parker, we’ll move over to you, the stat that could absolutely keep TCU in this game, turnover margin. TCU is number 17 on the season. Georgia is number 75. Now if you want to go even further in depth into that, TCU is number 14 in giveaways per game. Georgia is number 102. So not only does TCU not turn the ball over all that much, I know they turned it over three times against Michigan, but Georgia is number 102 in taking the ball away from opponents. So that’s something that you might want to look into.
Georgia on the other hand, on offense, number 44 in giveaways, TCU is number 50 in takeaways. So if there were to be a way for TCU to stay in this game, that would certainly be one of the things. The other thing that I think TCU could take advantage of, and this is a slight weakness with that Georgia defense, TCU their offense on the season, number two in passing explosiveness, Georgia’s defense is number 46, so they do allow some big plays.
You can also look at the havoc rate. So we did have, who was it in the chat here? Savage Dog jumped in. He said, “Will TCU have time to take long shots down the field? I think the dog’s D-line against TCU O line is a bad mismatch.” If you look at havoc rate, TCUs offense number 22 in havoc allow on the season. George’s defense is number 76. They don’t really do a great job of rushing the passer and you kind of saw that against CJ Stroud. Now every now and then they will bring some blitzes where they just bring the house like they did on that last third down against Ohio State that ended up leading to the field goal, but for the most part, they’ve had a little trouble getting home this year. Parker, walk me through some of this, what should we expect in a game of this magnitude?
Well, I think the offensive line is a great place to start, especially when you’re asking about will TCU have time to hit those deep shots in this game and get that explosive offense downfield? Well, the reality is that TCU only had 255 passing yards against Michigan and 76 of those came on one Quentin Johnston play where he caught the ball. 76 where he caught the ball two yards behind the line of scrimmage. And so the other one was Michigan running a corner blitz leaving Quentin Johnston open, which is a bold decision. I don’t know if bold’s the right word there, but it’s certainly a decision. And so it was wide open.
A lot of what TCUs done this year, especially with Garrett Riley and his scheme has been so much confusion and so much variety that has said, we’re just going to find a way to get a guy open. So TCU really didn’t have that much of a downfield passing attack against Michigan. They really had to scheme up ways to get the guys the ball. And one of the reasons, TCUs two passing plays that were touchdowns came on the same exact play, this little shallow screen. He comes back behind the line, lineman can block down the field.
It’s the Lincoln Riley special, right?
It is the Lincoln Riley special. Absolutely. And if you look on both of those, Max Duggan just caught the ball and turn around ran and just immediately said, Nope, we’re getting their pressure on your lot. Michigan brought a lot more pressure the second half, was much more disruptive there as well. So I certainly expect Georgia to do that. Banking on Max Duggan’s strength not being throwing on the run. Whereas CJ Stroud does have another gear, he can be a little bit elusive, he can make those throws on the run. That’s not been something that Max Duggan has excelled at this season.
When you look, the difference between pressure and non-pressure for him is pretty stark this season. He’s been kept clean on 68% of drop backs and pressure on about 32. He’s completing 73.9% of his passes when he’s kept clean, only 44.0% when he is under pressure and he has 6 of his 10 turnover worthy plays on those pressure drop backs as well. So if they can disrupt him, I think that’s really great-
Let me interrupt you real quick on those disruptions. Scrambles, Max Duggan can run the ball and what I saw from CJ Stroud last week, which as Kyle mentioned, we have not seen that really out of CJ Stroud, but it appears to maybe be a bit of a vulnerability with that Kirby Smart defense to where a quarterback might be able to find some extra yardage, that hidden yardage, I guess whatever you want to call it, where do they steal it basically. Is that something that Max Duggan can take advantage of or was that just a completely different setup.
I guess like those jail break scenarios where Georgia just brings everybody, is that a situation where you can run maybe a quarterback, draw something along those NCAAF lines. What could you look for Duggan to do maybe with his feet in a situation like that?
Well, the good news for TCU about their offense is that they haven’t had to use Max Duggan’s leg, whereas the legs very often last three years, he was kind of running for his life. He has 63 attempts this year rushing, but some of those are designed, they’ve been able to feature his legs instead of relying on them to bail him out. If you look at his scrambles, only 19 scrambles this year compared to 34 last year, 22 in 2020 and 40 in 2019. So definitely a reflection of the health of the offense.
One thing that Max Duggan has done differently this season running an offense where he has to make multiple reads is that his time to throw is up substantially. 2.72 seconds and as a result, his pressure to sack rate is 19.7%. So that’s almost one out of every five pressures is converted to a sack against Max Duggan. That’s not saying as much about his rushing ability this season as it is that he is being encouraged and being coached and trying to make his reads, get the ball downfield, maybe holding onto the ball a little bit too long. Because for the last three years he’s had to run for his life. Maybe he doesn’t have a great internal clock as a result.
So when we’re thinking about pressure, we also have to think about the multiplicity of the reads and the fact that again, Max Duggan, not that he cannot process at a level that CJ Stroud did, but that he has not been asked to and not been trained to do that. And so that could definitely be disruptive as well. He might have great rushing ability, he might have great ability to make those reads. Can he do both of those at the same time with, I don’t know, Jalen Carter running at him? That’s going to be a different question certainly about that offense.
You’ll wonder how TCU will scheme up passes behind at the line, maybe outside screens, try and spread Georgia out and then punish them on the seams inside. TCU has two big tight ends who are both reliable pass catchers and Geor’quarius Spivey and Jared Wiley, they have not been used very well this season or haven’t been super involved. I think that’s kind of something lurking where TCU says, Hey, maybe this is a way we can get a little bit more involvement over the seams, add another dimension to our offense. 21 targets for Wiley and 13 for Spivey on the whole season.
So can TCU find a way to scheme those big guys open when Georgia inevitably says we’re just going to deny Quentin Johnston? One stat, and I’ll end my monologue here, looking at Ohio State and how they attacked Georgia and TCU and how they attacked Michigan, Quentin Johnston was responsible for 93% of targets and 95% of yards for Ohio… for Georgia. Wrong team on both sides, for TCU against Michigan. 6 players had at least two targets for TCU. They really spread the ball around, but they only got production out of Johnston.
On the other hand, in Ohio State’s game, 4 receivers combined for 93% of targets and 95% of yards, only 6 players recorded a target total. So Georgia said, here are our guys, we’re going to consistently move through them, get them the ball. TCU says we have our one guy and then it’s a little bit nebulous about what happens. We’re going to need a lot more involvement. So if TCUs going to pull this off and even keep this close, we’re talking about this from betting sense, they’re going to have to find guys who haven’t necessarily been super involved. You’re going to hear names you haven’t heard before because they’re going to have to find ways to get the ball to different people as Quentin Johnston is locked up.
There’s so many different things that you can dive into in a game like this. If Georgia does decide to just double team Quentin Johnston and whoever else beats us, well that’ll be fine, but we’re not letting this guy do it. There’s plenty of guys on TCUs team that can do that. They’ve shown it week in and week out. The ability to do that. We didn’t even see Quentin Johnston really do anything for the first three weeks of the season. So let’s talk about just overall numbers here.
Kyle, I want to get you back in on this. When you look at just the overall full season PPA margin, Georgia’s number one, TCU is number 25. When you look at net points per drive, Georgia is number one, TCU is number 16. When you look at points per play margin, then it gets a little tighter. Georgia is number 3, TCU is number 8. Let me go on and tell you Kyle, my lean is still to TCU even though my numbers are very tight on this number and it’s because they’ve been so opportunistic, right? That’s my biggest thing.
I don’t know what the loss of Darnell Washington is going to mean to that Georgia offense. I wouldn’t imagine it changes a whole lot of what they try and do. But Kyle, have you got a lean in this game that maybe you’re feeling like a certain way even if you don’t want to give it out as an official play?
Yeah, my lean is TCU +7 in the first half. Just thinking that TCU is very well coached. I think the coordinators for TCU are probably about the most underrated in the country. Gillespie’s done a great job scheming up things. The offensive coordinator has always done a good job as well. I think Sonny Dykes is an underrated coach. I think Kirby Smart’s an excellent coach. So this is not me saying Kirby Smart’s not a great coach, but TCU usually should be able to hang around in a game like this. I guess the question is too, for Johnston, does that mean that Ringo will be the one on Johnston here? Was that what we would assume?
I would think he would be-
That was my assumption. Yeah.
Because I’m assuming that, and I know some Georgia fans will say, Ringo’s going to lock down Johnston. Honestly, Ringo’s coverage grades are not great this year and he had some mistakes in that Ohio State game as well. I think Johnston might be able to get open. I think they’re probably going to need to give Ringo some help in a game like this because Ringo’s coverage grade for the year is 68.5. It was 59.8 PFF grade against Ohio State.
I do think Johnston can get open here unless they give him a lot of help. So I think my two leans would be TCU +7 in the first half and I think I would go against what I would usually want to bet here and lean to the over, thinking that there will be some scoring in this game because I see big plays happening each way. I’m already looking at the props list on BetUS, and we’ll talk about this a lot more on Monday, but longest touchdown in the game over 47.5 yards.
I’m thinking that that could definitely happen in a game like this. Both of these teams have potential to get some big touchdowns. Yean, my lean is TCU in the first half and I think that TCU will be able to score some points here. The question is can TCUs defense get stops? Stetson Bennett and the Georgia offense are better than they were last year and Bowers is a matchup nightmare. I don’t know that TCU has played anybody that will be anything similar to what Brock Bowers is going to bring to the table and I think that could be an issue for the TCU defense.
So my thought is both teams have matchup advantages on offense. The pace that they play makes me not really want to bet an over, but I can’t bet an under here so my lean would be the over. I think TCU can hang around in a game like this but I do think that Georgia’s team talent overall is tough to overcome.
What do you think about the team total over for TCU? It’s 24.5. So it’s juice at -125. But regardless, what about that one?
Yeah, I think that’s probably a pretty good bet. If you’re thinking Georgia’s going to play from the lead, it’s probably a solid play too because TCU will speed up, they’ll take more shots down field. Georgia’s favored by 12.5 points. So I think TCU will probably end up playing with tempo at some point in this game. Yeah, I would lean to TCU team total over.
You brought up Bowers, Schoonmaker, the tight end for Michigan went out kind of early in that game. Well Parker, you may have to correct me on that. It looks like he only had one reception but it was for 32 yards. Are tight ends an issue that TCUs had an issue with all year or was it just a one game? Well, I take that back, Loveland had 4 receptions for 36 yards. Is that something that’s been a bit of an issue against that 30, 35?
Not entirely. I think you could look at some of the great tight ends that TCUs played this year and certainly Oklahoma, they weren’t manipulated by those tight ends because there were some injury issues at quarterback. You look at Mason Fairchild from Kansas, he’s a little stouter than your typical tight end and he just kind of finds himself open in certain places. A lot of that is scheme and just big man catches the ball rumbling and stumbling, which is great to see.
So TCU got burned on a couple of those, but that’s not really the style of play that Georgia runs. Georgia’s not looking to leak Brock Bowers out and have him rumble in space. They want to get him the ball and moving fast and he can play a lot like a receiver. So a lot more versatility. Ja’Tavion Sanders is probably the more typical tight end that TCU played against Texas and they had some success there. Of course some of that’s due to quarterback play with limiting the options there.
I think actually replacing a wide receiver with a tight end in the past game is actually a benefit for TCU. A lot of the time they’re linebackers who’ve gotten understandably criticized for some of their past defense. I think the linebackers have not been excellent. They’ve certainly gotten better over the season. A lot of it has to do with horizontal movement of wide receivers and switching assignments. When you have a guy in the bunch formation, you have a tight end, he’s motioning whatever, that’s going to give them a lot more clarity about I’m this, I’m here on this guy, here’s how we’re going to move the ball.
And Bowers, while he is an excellent athlete, may not be able to make the cuts or get to the top speed as quickly as some of these guys that have beat them over the middle have been. So again, TCU’s been great at bringing guys down on big plays and making sure those big plays aren’t touchdowns. So that certainly favors TCU slightly even if Bowers has a big game to say hey this could be worse if it was a slot guy kind of spreading them out there as well.
So I don’t think tight ends… especially if Washington is out and you think about how that changes the blocking for Georgia and what they’re able to do. I think they’ll be very simple on offense and try and just do as little as necessary against this defense, which can be as confusing as possible on purpose. I really think that the tight ends are a unique weakness and might actually speak a little bit to TCUs strength there.
Yeah, I think I agree with that. I think I agree with that.
That’s not saying Brock Bowers can absolutely have a big game but saying especially if Washington’s out, TCU has not been particularly beaten up by tight ends this season.
Right. So a big thing that has been brought up at other outlets of course is the fact that AD Mitchell is back, the wide receiver for Georgia and he had a decent day against Ohio State. It was an added element that they have not had with that deep threat at least that pulls some of their safeties back a little bit. You look at what teams have done against Georgia on the season and against that defense, they have thrown the ball over 60% of the time. Now part of that is because Georgia has gotten up to such huge leads so they’ve had to throw to try and get back into the game, but they’ve thrown over 60% of the time against Georgia’s defense and Georgia’s still finished number 8 PPA per pass, number 14 in passing success rate allowed.
On the season TCU, however, number 18 PPA per pass and number 59 passing success rate. Big split there of course because of the explosive play rate which I brought up earlier. You look at that Georgia offense. Now this is the other part of this. They have been really, really good. What Todd Monken has done with that offense has been nothing sort of incredible and Stetson Bennett, just fantastic. We talked about guys that are ballers. This is two quarterbacks that absolutely get the job done in crunch time.
You look at what Stetson was able to do over the last three drives against Ohio State, 10 out of 12 for 200 plus yards, had two touchdowns and three scores. Now one of those was a field goal but obviously it mattered in a one point game there. But that was the last three drives against Ohio State. With Max Duggan, he was only 14 out of 29 for the game against Michigan, but he was 5 out of 6 passing in the 4th quarter.
Those things certainly matter. You got to make plays in crunch time and both of these guys can do it. But yeah, this Georgia offense, number 14 in rushing success rate, the TCU defense is number 77. Georgia’s offense is number 23 PPA per rush. TCUs defense is number 82. Parker, I’m going to move back over to you. For whatever reason, every time I watch TCU, I feel like they do a good job of stopping the run. The numbers don’t exactly bear that out. What is it that I’m seeing that that makes them look so much more successful than the numbers really are showing us?
Well, I have them as slightly better against the rush than the pass on the season on defense. 42nd on the EPA rush allowed and 60th in EPA pass allowed. I think a lot of that has to do with big plays and kind of minimizing the damage there. But also you look at TCU all season, the game state matters in terms of how teams are attacking them in rush and pass. Their rushing success rate is pretty bad on defense, 63rd. So kind of an interesting inversion here.
63rd in defensive success rate against the rush 47th in defensive success rate in the pass, but in EPA, 60th and EPA per pass, 42nd in EPA per rush. So what we’re seeing there is that TCU is stopping passing success but prone to giving up the big play. That’s a bad sign against Georgia. But they are not as efficient stopping rushing success, but they’re limiting those big plays. So that is really interesting to me because Georgia’s second in EPA per pass. 66 in EPA per rush, even as they are 17th in rushing success rate.
So what TCU has, it matches almost perfectly. Georgia wants to have multiple successful runs, they’re not very explosive in the run game. TCU gives up multiple successful runs but stops explosiveness in the run game. So you wonder if Georgia won’t be able to really raise their rushing floor, especially if they get up into a positive game state and they won’t be able to just run this thing out with successful rushing against the TC defense that’s been better in the back end against the rush than on the front end. That kind of split and mismatch I think is really interesting and really telling into the styles here as for how that offense works.
Georgia really balanced on early downs and on late downs, 12th and early downs EPA, 6th in 3rd and 4th down success rate. TCU was actually slightly worse on early downs, 50th in defense on first and second down EPA, but they’re 35th, slightly better in 3rd and 4th down success. So there’s not an obvious split of, hey Georgia in early downs passing or late downs rushing is really boosting them. They’re balanced and solid all over even if they’re not very explosive in the run game.
So again, kind of a knock on TCU is what their defense has done well is stop explosive runs. What Georgia’s offense has done well is forsaken explosiveness for success and consistency. So I do think Georgia has a very high rushing floor here which, one, matters for bodies and for scheme because again, Georgia likes to get… we will absolutely take that big play, that deep band that’s open, but also just in terms of a time on the clock situation, Georgia can really lean on TCU with a successful run game if they get up knowing that the second that TCU safeties creep up to overcompensate, we’re going over the top and we’re going to find one of our big men downfield.
It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see exactly how these two coaching staffs decide to try and attack each other. Let’s look at some of these other numbers right, quick. Kyle, I want to bring you back into this. What would you say if I told you one of these teams is number one in red zone conversion percentage on offense and on defense and the other one is number 68 on offense and number 61 on defense. How would you feel about that, Kyle?
I think that was pretty interesting. I assume TCU is the one that’s been better in the red zone.
No, TCU has been number 68 on offense, number 61 on defense. Georgia, number one in the country on both sides. If you’re looking at big plays, which I expect in this, I don’t know how much that necessarily matters because it was kind of the same situation against Ohio State last week. But I think red zone conversion percentage does kind of come up in a game like this, right Kyle?
Yeah, I thought TCU had been better in the red zone on offense than that. That kind of surprises me. So yeah, I know Georgia’s done really well with making the most out of their possessions, especially in these big games. Stetson Bennett, for all the talk, he’s definitely gotten much better. He’s progressed a lot, improved as a passer. Bennett can run, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bennett makes some plays with his legs in a game like this. I think that Ohio state’s defense made it a little bit easier than they should have against Georgia. I think maybe TCU could have a better scheme than Ohio State had in that game.
Now does that mean that they can keep Georgia out of the end zone here? I don’t know. They’re going to have to. I think that’s going to be key. Because if you let Georgia’s score touchdowns every time they get in the red zone here, then it’s lights out. From the other side, TCUs defense, they’re going to have to get some stops and TCU on offense is going to have to get in the end zone quite a bit. As far as the other thing I wanted to say real quick, I wanted to say that the special teams, I think we should give Georgia some props. They’ve been really good on special teams this year. That could matter. It mattered against Ohio State. It could matter in a game like this.
Georgia, good kicker. I know he missed the one field goal there, but a good kicker. I think TCU, not terrible on special teams, but according to PFF, no better than middle of the pack, Georgia’s top 15 in special teams. So there’s enough edges there for Georgia that it’s kind of justified to have a pretty big spread. As far as how they’ll do in the red zone in one game, I think that’s a little bit tough to predict.
We look at red zone numbers over 13 games or something and then you say, well then let’s extrapolate that to this one game and then things can just go haywire in one game. So it’s hard to say what that will mean in this one. I do think that the numbers point to what we see right here and that’s what Gary was saying earlier. I had this at 12 points. It’s hard. You sit there and you say, well what kind of edge do I have? I really don’t see a big edge here. That’s why we want to be careful.
It would be easy for us to just go out here and all of us make multiple plays on this game and it would sound tremendous. But in the end, we’re trying to help people make money and we’re trying to make money ourselves. So definitely stay tuned and we’ll be back on Monday with those plays as well because they don’t want to make it sound like we won’t have any plays here. But I think it is kind of a good point for sports betters in general that you don’t have to force something that isn’t there.
I agree 100%. 100% on that. Let’s go ahead and wrap this up. Let’s give out those leans again. I’ll go on and tell you mine. I do like the TCU over 24.5 team total points. It’s juiced at -125 but I still feel like there’s enough value there. I do like TCU plus the 12.5. Not enough to put a full unit on it, but this feels like a pizza money kind of game to where yeah, I’m going to want to have a little juice on it. I’m going to want to have some action on the game on Monday night. It’s only one there. So yeah, that’s the way that I’m going to roll with it. Kyle, tell us your leans again.
My lean would be TCU in the first half +7. You might even be able to get a 7.5 at some point. We’ll see. If I get a 7.5, I’ll put some money on TCU in the first half. And as far as the total, I’m going to lean to the over thinking that there’ll just be explosive plays on each side.
That does seem to make sense. Parker, what about you? I would assume that you’re going to ride with the Horned Frogs as well, right?
I don’t know. My numbers… I’ll talk about my model for a second… actually has an under. Georgia about 27 to 15 and some of that is coupled by Georgia’s really good at finishing drives and holds teams down and they’re really good at finishing drives as well. So I think if we get into a positive game state for Georgia, few possessions, we’re looking at that low total high margin situation where you’d be inclined to bet on TCU here. Who knows how much Georgia can lean on TCU, how much they can dictate the pace of play Michigan certainly couldn’t. But Georgia does have a little bit more firepower than Michigan in terms of winning a shootout and keeping up.
So I don’t have a lean on the over, under or the total. I’m as nervous for this football game as I think I’ve ever been since maybe high school or something. But I think that the slight lean would be towards TCU just because it is a big game. Although we’ve seen in the national championship games like Clemson and Alabama where one team gets up early, the other one says, yep, we’re done here and it gets out of control. So we’ll be watching this one as a fan. No pizza money for me, nothing, just going to sit and watch football. Glad with the work we’ve done this season and do want to shout out Kyle, because he’s taught me a lot about betting in many ways.
But also having action for the sake of action is bad betting and it’s a disservice to the people that are listening. So I’m glad we’re all here and talking about this game and I’m glad our listeners are certainly on the same page with us as knowing that we can break down the angles without offering advice for the sake of offering advice.
I think that is incredibly well put. Well put. Quadropheniac in the chat said, “Tailgating is allowed in the pink parking lot but not in any other lot.” He said, “This is SoFi Stadium’s stupidity. It doesn’t occur at all other stadiums in California.” Yes, I know this, I know that you can tailgate at the Rose Bowl, you can do some other things at other stadiums. It was all in jest. I’m just messing with you guys. Good gracious. Let’s jump into the Q&A. Let’s get a few questions here before we dive into next Monday’s show. Robert Holt wants to know, “Who are the refs working the game?” I don’t have that answer. Parker or Kyle, do either of who the referees are going to be for the national championship game?
I don’t. I don’t know, have they announced that yet? It might be a little bit early for that.
Jeff Heaser, ACC, is the crew.
ACC. According to Wikipedia, so do your diligence. But I do believe it’s an ACC ref.
Interesting reffing crew.
That’s interesting. All right, so Mark Holmes jumps in. “Parker, do you have any stats on how often TCU looks for number one on pass plays? It seems like they target him often.”
Yes, so this number certainly excludes drop backs where he was the number one call which would inflate this. But Quentin Johnston has a 22.8% target share here this season. If you take out the Charlton State game where he played like two series and just against FBS competition, he is 75 targets and 24.3% target share. So last season he was over 30. This season because the offense has been functioning a little bit better, they’ve been able to select his targets better but still get him a high volume.
In that Georgia game, he had… Georgia, I keep saying the wrong thing. In that Michigan game he led the team with 9 targets, no one else had more than 4, I believe. So as QJ goes, so goes the TCU offense. For sure, they’ll do everything they can to get the big man the ball. My favorite thing is to watch, he’ll get the ball three ways, one, running across the field horizontally, two, downfield because he’s beating a man or, three, credit to our friend, Richard Johnston of Sports Illustrated who called this to everyone’s attention, he’ll get the ball with his back to the defender, kind of like a forward in soccer and play a move where he flips around his hips.
Kyle talked about Kelee Ringo earlier and Ringo’s big, which should help with the matchup of Quentin Johnston except for the fact that Quentin Johnston plays like he’s 5’11 180 instead of 6 foot 200-plus guys. So we’ll be interesting to see how that matchup happens, but certainly I’d expect if not more than 1 in 4, at least 1 in 4 of TCS targets to be towards Quentin Johnston.
I could totally expect that. Kevin Connor jumped in, he said, “Georgia looks unstoppable.” Well, he must not have watched the Ohio State game. Matthew Farmer wants to know, “How often do you guys tweak your models during the season?” I tweak it once after we get to about week 4, but it’s an additional model for me. So I do it two times. Once we get through the season and then at the very end of the season, I take the last half of the games or I guess the last 6 weeks of the games and I look at that as a completely separate model. So that’s how I do it. But as far as actual tweaking of the numbers, I don’t really do that until the off season. But I’ve had a model that I’ve used for a long time. Kyle, do you tweak your model during the season?
So I guess I would say I do it a little bit differently in that I don’t have a “model” per se. It’s more of a function kind of projecting what the score will be and obviously power ratings. So I would say I tweak it every single week. What I do is I go back and look and see what the closing line was from the previous week and if my number was a long ways off that then I try to see what I was doing wrong. Because there’s a lot of people that will say, look, my number was 10 points off the closing line, this is amazing, I have this much value. But in the long term, if you’re off the closing number that much, then you’re messing up.
So you want to see what you’re missing. So I would say I tweak my process every single week. That takes a good while. That’s a Sunday night, Monday morning type of thing where you’re going back and you’re saying, okay, I had this, the market finished at this, why might I have been right, why might I have been wrong? Obviously, it’s one game sample size so you have to be careful with over-correcting or making too big an adjustment. But yeah, I adjust things every single week.
Early in the season, I don’t adjust near as much as I do later in the season because when you only have one or two game sample, you got to be really careful. But once you start seeing what the team is and then if you’re pretty far off the number, then you have to be concerned. If you think you have a big edge then it’s okay, you can go ahead and keep pushing that edge. But if you’re pretty far off from the number consistently, then you’re probably just making a mistake.
Yeah, there are two different ways to I guess go at modeling, right? There’s one that’s based specifically on stats. You can toss in the talent edge, et cetera. But from definitely an older school kind of handicapping way is the power ratings, right, and that’s the way that I used to specifically do it. And now I’ve kind of built that in with statistical values. Parker, I know yours are very numbers based. How often do you tweak yours during the season?
So I’m constantly playing with it, absolutely because I’m interested and I’ve got some ideas for this off season. But I have some recency weighting and start with my priors, kind of phase them out. More recent games are more valuable. But I won’t change that because again, in season, I’m one button, I press one button and I have my numbers and that’s my goal for the off-season is to get there. So I’ll play around with it and if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll be like, hey, here’s like an Elo way or here’s a different way to opponent adjust points. All of that is like, hey, I’m working on something and I’m excited about it, but I’m not going to change my numbers. Especially because from a data science standpoint, obviously I want to win money if I’m betting and I want my numbers to be close, but I’m also interested in iterating and improving and so I want to back test against chunks of seasons before I make any changes. And in season that kind of throws everything off.
And then you get in the position where I’m like, well if I had kept my first model, I’d be 75% against the spread, but with my second model is 40, so the other one was better. Trust me, I never want to come across like that. So I try to spend all off season saying what do I think works best? And then you guys hear me, I’ll disagree with my numbers where I’m like, no, that’s stupid, I don’t agree with that. I’ll lose most of those. But generally I try to use those as a baseline so I’m not changing my process in season. Because I think that in fantasy football, tinkering often leads you to make mistakes.
Yes, exactly. Exactly. If you have a process that you know has worked, then continue on with it, right? And then you can tweak a lot more stuff once you get to the off season using the data that you’ve already got, how did we get to that point, et cetera? I do that quite a bit once we get past the bowl games, et cetera. So I see a lot of people watching and we’ve only got a few likes here, what are we doing? Hit the thumbs up button for us. Do us that favor, make sure that you are subscribed to the channel. And I believe that this is going to wrap up things for today’s show.
Good Bowl season, good college football season overall. It has been a lot of fun. Do not forget that we will be back on Monday, 1:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday, January 9th. We are going over player props and all the other different props that will be offered by BetUS for Monday’s National title game. This is going to be a lot of fun, guys. This is going to be a whole lot of fun. I cannot wait for that. Again, share out the show, tell your friends about it, make sure that they all join us right here. We hit over 12,000 subscribers this year. I don’t feel like we’ve brought that up enough.
You guys are awesome. All the guys in the chat, Savage Dog, Mike M, Coda, et cetera, Julius who didn’t come back and brag about his Purdue win. I don’t know why. But yes, you guys are wonderful and we appreciate all of you for being here. Gentlemen, I’m looking through the notes, reminder for the show on Monday. I think we’re good to go. We are going to dive out of this thing. We spent almost an hour on one game and we could probably have talked a lot longer about it.
So let’s go on and do this thing. We’ll be back on Monday. Again, share the show out, tell your friends, subscribe, like the video, et cetera, and let’s go on and do this. For BetUS, where the game begins, God bless college football, and we’ll see you all again next week.
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