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What The Advanced Analytics Predict For The 2021 Aztecs Football Season

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Just for fun and because I’m a football junky, I really got into advanced stats for football about a decade ago.  I put together a formula using FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), recruiting rankings, returning starters and the concept of “regression to the mean” that the stat brains at the UMGoBlog swear by.  I come up with a projection for the offense and defense and use these numbers to choose a winner for the upcoming season’s games. 

This is by no means an exact science but it is fairly reliable.  There are always outliers of course.

Here are the actual projections for this year from the guy who actually invented FEI…

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/fei-ratings/2021/fei-2021-projections-alabamas-no-1-again

My model doesn’t allow me to account for FCS teams and due to NMSU not playing last year they fit into that mold right now as well.  I will cautiously mark the NMSU and Towson games down as W’s.

My projection indicate SDSU to have the #64 offense and #33 defense.

Week 1 vs New Mexico State – W (1-0, 0-0)

Week 2 @ Arizona – W (2-0, 0-0)

Arizona projects to be the #83 offense and #82 defense.  Arizona is breaking in a first year coach who’s only experience as a head coach at the collegiate level was when he was named interim coach after the firing of Jim Mora at UCLA.  His offensive coordinator has never been an offensive coordinator at the college or pro level.  He hired an excellent DC in Down Brown but their defense was a mess last year.  Surprisingly SDSU projects to be significantly better on both sides of the ball.

Week 3 vs Utah – L (2-1, 0-0)

This should be a battle that comes down to the wire.  Were it being played in San Diego an argument could be made that SDSU should win.  Utah is projected to be  #53 on offense and #25 on defense.  11 slots on offense and 8 on defense are what separate these two teams in my projection.  I can’t wait for this game as it should be a defensive slug fest.

Week 4 vs Towson – W (3-1, 0-0)

Week 5 BYE

Week 6 vs New Mexico – W (4-1, 1-0)

There’ll be a ton of weird feelings with this one and I’m sure Rocky Long will come up with something crazy to throw at the SDSU offense, but UNM projects to be #54 on offense and #74 on Defense.  UNM projects to be slightly better on offense but significantly worse than SDSU on defense.  I’ll be happy to get by this game with a W and move on as it screams trap game to me.

Week 7 @ San Jose State – L (4-2, 1-1)

This is a huge game early with BIG Western division title stakes at hand.  The defending West division champion SJSU projects to be #33 on offense and #32 on defense.  That puts them significantly better on offense and a hair better on defense.  You combine that with it being a home game for SJSU and that spells trouble for SDSU.

Week 8 @ AFA – W (5-2, 2-1)

Another tough road game against an always disciplined Air Force team. The Falcons are always trouble due to the nature of their program.  The projection shows AFA as the #55 offense and #51 defense so they would be slightly better on offense but worse on defense by a wider margin.  This one worries me a bit as it will be Mattix’s first go around vs AFA.

Week 9 vs Fresno State – W (6-2, 3-1)

Another interesting game due to a competent Fresno staff, the fact the game last year was canceled and it being a rivalry game for the Old Oil Can that SDSU currently possesses.  Fresno projects to be #49 on offense and #59 on defense.  This puts Fresno at being better than SDSU on offense, but significantly worse on defense.  Another game that should be a great battle to watch live in Carson.

Week 10 @ Hawaii – L (6-3, 3-2)

This game is a virtual draw.  Hawaii projects to be better on offense and SDSU projects to be better on defense by the exact same amount.  With the game being on the island where crazy things happen, I’ll mark it down as an L. Although Hawaii’s week 0 flop against a quality UCLA team is something to keep in the back pocket.

Week 11 vs Nevada – L (6-4, 3-3)

Another matchup of great interest in the West division is against Nevada. This is a classic great offense vs great defense matchup. The Wolfpack brings everyone back on both sides of the ball. The offense projects to be significantly better, however they actually project to be worse on defense. Nevada has now beaten SDSU three times in a row but it is yet to be seen whether the coaching staff in Reno will ever have what it takes to get over the hump and actually win the Western division crown.

Week 12 @ UNLV – W (7-4, 4-3)

UNLV is projected to be worse than SDSU on offense and significantly worse on defense. This should be a romp that I can’t wait to make the trip and watch live! Time to enjoy the new Allegiant Stadium on the Strip and turn it into Aztec Stadium in the desert, Aztecs fans!

Week 13 vs Boise – L (7-5 (4-4)

Boise projects to be #33 on offense and #59 on defense.  They project to be better by a wider margin on offense than SDSU is on defense. For this stat indication, I will give them the win begrudgingly. But being the final game of the season and at such an odd kickoff time of 9am on Black Friday, perhaps we may witness some statistical oddities in our favor.

Overall Final Season Prediction: AZTECS 7-5 (MW 4-4)

These are in no way my personal feelings on how these games will go and just for giggles Brian Fremeau (the creator of FEI) has SDSU going 9-3 Overall, and 6-2 within the Mountain West play in his rankings.

Let us know below how you see the season playing out!

k5james

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