In the case of this year's Outback Bowl, the Badgers come in with a strength of schedule that is mediocre, ranking 54th (Sagarin) in the nation. Tennessee on the other hand, faced a schedule that ranked 14th in the nation. So, how does those numbers affect what we should expect?
Before we get to the numbers, let me point out that the comparative numbers did NOT include games against the respective teams. It really isn't fair if Wisconsin runs for 400 yards against an opponent, thus hurting their average numbers.
Secondly, the Badgers' game against the Citadel was also not included due to their non D1 classification.
Finally, my analyses do not take into account what personnel will or won't be on the field for the game. It is just looking back at what the teams as a whole accomplished over the course of their seasons.
In today's analysis, I take a look at scoring offense. What should we expect to see from each team in terms of offensive production?
First, let's look at the Badgers:
Wisconsin averaged 28.9 points per game. The defenses they faced typically allowed 24.1 points per game. That gives the Badgers offense a net gain of 4.8 points per game. That means they scored nearly 5 points more per game than a typical opponent given the teams they played.
Their best offensive games were against Michigan (+18), Michigan State (+11), and Northern Illinois (+11). They scored above expected point totals in 8 games and under expected totals in 3 games. Their worst game of the year was Penn State (-12). Of note is that 2 of their first 3 games were their worst offensive games of the year (Iowa and UNLV).
Now, how about the Volunteers:
Tennessee averaged 31.8 points per game. The defenses they faced typically allowed 24.5 points per game. That gives the Hogs offense a net gain of just over 7 points per game.
Their best offensive games were against Southern Miss (+17), Arkansas State (+22), and Louisiana Lafayette (+25). When they went against those mediocre teams, they really piled it on. Now, before you think their numbers were padded to a degree, realize they also had really good games against teams like Arkansas (+9) and Georgia (+15). They scored above expected point totals in 10 games and under expected totals in 3 games. Their worst game of the year was against LSU (-6) in their final game. It is note worthy that their three "bad" games weren't really that bad at all.
Despite Tennessee playing a tougher schedule, the defenses both teams faced were very similar in terms of points allowed, making a direct comparison between the squads very easy. Like last year when Arkansas had the scoring edge over Wisconsin, the Volunteers get the solid edge over the Badgers this year, to the tune of about 2 points per game.
Edge: Solid to Tennessee
Next: Scoring Defense