College Football Analytics: Week 5 Recap

Looking at the numbers from the past week

More chaos. More uncertainty. A Sickos Bowl champion crowned. These just some of the feelings of the week 5 2021 College Football season. It is that time of week again: diving into the digits to see what we learned, or maybe didn’t learn, about the college football landscape.

*Note* During the season if I miss a certain game in my recaps, simply email ( DM on Twitter (@CFBNumbers) and I will happily provide you any number related thing you desire.

Also, I use Expected Points Added rather frequently in these recaps. If you need help digesting the decimals, I wrote about how to make it easier to read EPA/Play numbers.

Virgina 30 - Miami 28

Despite winning the post game winning expectancy battle, Miami falls at home to Virginia. Instead of trying for a go ahead TD, Miami decided to kneel the ball and kick a game winning FG, only for the ball to doink off the iron. Offensively neither team was knocking the cover off the ball, but Virginia was more consistent and just a tad bit more explosive. Miami was missing star QB D’eriq King, and one would think with his presence in the game the outcome might have been different.

Iowa 51 - Maryland 14

A vintage Iowa box score. Offensively, nothing spectacular. Defensively? They caused Maryland to throw 6 interceptions, leading to 20 expected points off the board. Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa came into this game with 0 turnover worthy plays, per PFF. He certainly left with more than his fair share. Iowa was able to put points up due in part to the turnovers, but the question still remains: If the turnovers aren’t there, how is Iowa scoring points? One bright point: A highly efficient passing game, including a 0.433 EPA/Play performance from Spencer Pertas.

Georgia 37 - Arkansas 0

Plain ole fashioned Georgia domination. Defensively they held an upstart Razorback offense to a 27.3% success rate, -0.343 EPA/Play, and almost half a point lost per dropback. Offensively… nothing really to write home about. To be fair, when a game is in garbage time really early, you can’t really expect much of the offense. Low EPA/Play combined with a high success rate is an offense that really isn’t trying to blow down the doors. Georgia is in the same boat as Iowa, where we still need to see if this team can go blow for blow offensively in a shootout type atmosphere.

Michigan 38 - Wisconsin 17

Sticking to a theme of bad offenses, Wisconsin falters again. Michigan continues to cruise this season, and it feels like we still aren’t paying enough attention to the Wolverines. Their offense didn’t light up a box score, but it got the job done. Cade McNamara had a good day, and thats all you can really ask for. Graham Mertz on the other hand… just more disappointment.

Cincinnati 24 - Notre Dame 13

Cincinnati makes their playoff statement by taking down an undefeated Notre Dame team. Both teams finished in the negative offensively, but the Bearcats were more successful and averaged 1.8 more yards per play. This was a defensive slugfest and Cincinnati proved it can hang with the power 5. It still remains to be seen whether the playoff committee will consider the Bearcats for a playoff spot, should they finish undefeated.

Wake Forest 37 - Louisville 34

Wake Forest survives a bout with Louisville to stay undefeated on the season. Based on this box score, they were pretty lucky to walk away with the win. Louisville had a rather impressive day offensively, but in the end it still wasn’t enough to over take the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest nevertheless remains undefeated, and atop the ACC standings. It will interesting to see how long Wake Forest can keep this going, and a looming matchup with Clemson at the end of the season still awaits the Demon Deacons.

Alabama 42 - Ole Miss 21

The Lane Train has derailed in Tuscaloosa. Everyones eyes were on this matchup, but the Crimson Tide proved too strong for an upstart Ole Miss team. Alabama was lights out on offense, and stopped Ole Miss 4th down attempts on defense. Ultimately the Crimson Tide are still the top of the college football world, and Ole Miss is still looking to build their culture under Lane Kiffin.

Stanford 31 - Oregon 24

We have an upset in the Pac-12! Stanford knocks off No.3 Oregon in overtime. Oregon was the better team this game, but as we all know, sometimes the best team doesn’t win the game. Stanford has now knocked off USC and Oregon in the Pac 12, leaving the door open in the conference. One of the keys to their victory: 0 expected points lost off turnovers.

Kentucky 20 - Florida 13

Sticking with the upset theme, Kentucky upsets No. 10 Florida at home to remain undefeated and gain a leg up in the SEC East. It was not a pretty game offensively for either teams, but Kentucky made enough plays to get the job done. This was the type of trap game Florida had expected to win, but ultimately they fall again to Kentucky under Dan Mullen. A week out from almost upsetting Alabama, Florida is sent back to the drawing board with more questions with answers.

QB Shoutouts

Our first shoutout goes to Kenny Pickett, who lit up the Georgia Tech defense in route to an easy victory against the Yellow Jackets. He was consistent, explosive, and limited his EP lost. This was an 90th percentile game for Pickett, who is continuing to improve his draft stock and potentially lead Pitt to an ACC title. Also, despite losing 17.7 points to sacks and turnovers, Jeff Sims still finishes in the green with an efficient 0.107 EPA/Play. Sims has highlight play potential, but unfortunately the consistency is few and far between.

Our second shoutout goes to Will Rodgers, who had himself an upset minded performance against Texas A&M. The Mike Leach Air Raid ends up getting the best of Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies. Have a game, Will Rodgers!

Finally, hello Jayden Daniels! 0.858 EPA/Play (99th percentile), 62.5% success rate, 41.7% explosive play rate. Yeah that will do Mr. Daniels. He also kept a clean sheet in terms of EP lost to turnovers and sacks. These are the type of games we expected from Daniels coming out of high school, and he appears to be progressing nicely this season. Arizona State downs UCLA to get to 4-1, and place themselves squarely in the Pac 12 conversation.

The Sickos Bowl

To end our recap, we go to the Sickos Bowl. Vanderbilt notches their second win of the season against UConn, thanks to a last second field goal. Vanderbilt was a touch more explosive and consistent, and had an impressive day through the air. This was the best defensive performance for UConn in quite awhile, but ultimately it did not result in a win. Next up for UConn: UMass. Buckle up folks.


QB Performances: Power 5

Group of 5

If you’re wondering where your QB is, they either did not reach the minimum play requirement, or there was no ESPN QBR data available at the time of this graph creation.

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Photo Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports