The game between Texas A&M football and the Miami Hurricanes is one of the biggest and most discussed contests on tap this weekend. Fans of both schools are anxious for the game to get here—it seems like both programs feel that they will get some questions answered by this matchup. For the Aggies, this is a chance to show that the offensive explosion they had in game 1 was not a fluke. For the Hurricanes, this is an opportunity for revenge after they fell at Kyle Field last year in a game many fans feel they should have won; further, it is a shot at further legitimizing a program that has been, for the most part, dead in the water since the mid-2000s.
There is no shortage of reasons why both teams would see a win this weekend as massive. I personally, aside from the obvious desire to see the Aggies notch another win, have been fascinated specifically with the Aggie offense’s matchup against Lance Guidry’s defense in this one. I think this game will be highly instructive on the quality of the offensive attack for this Texas A&M football team.
I have faith that the Aggies will have success when they’ve got the ball—I do tend to be a glass-half-full sort—but I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled to see what the advanced analytics make of this weekend’s game. SP+ and FEI have now both made their calls for this one, and—spoiler alert—they both see the Aggies triumphing, though in different fashions.
FEI Prediction for Texas A&M Football vs. Miami
FEI is a system developed by Brian Fremeau that uses drive efficiency to give each team a rating. Points per possession scored and allowed is the name of the game here.
Here is how FEI sees this weekend shaking out for the Hurricanes and Aggies. According to Fremeau’s calculations, the Aggies have a 67.1% win probability. He’s got the score at 23.7-17.2, so around a 24-17 victory for the Ags.
This is reasonably realistic to me. I’m choosing to believe in Petrino and Weigman, so I have predicted a much higher score for the Aggies, but I understand the relative skepticism with which the numbers regard the offensive ability of this Texas A&M football team.
SP+ Prediction for Texas A&M Football vs. Miami
SP+, developed by Bill Connelly and originally known as S&P+, is centered around success rate and explosiveness metrics. Success rate measures your ability to stay ahead of the chains on offense and knock your opponent off schedule on defense, while explosiveness measures your ability to create big plays on offense and prevent them on defense.
Here’s how SP+ sees this weekend’s contest:
This system sees the game being much closer—within one field goal. Though I generally trust SP+, for the sake of my own heart here I’d rather Bill be mistaken. I will comment that the Aggies’ performance against New Mexico gave them a jolt in the offensive rankings in SP+ from the preseason, moving from the 44th-ranked offense to the 36th-ranked. If this offense can hit the level that I think it can, though, the Aggies are nowhere near done rising; that’s why I still think this is too close of a score.
Though these two disagree on the margin of victory, it’s encouraging that both systems see an Aggie win on Saturday. Let’s hope the Maroon and White go out and prove them right in that regard.