See this thing below? It's a TSC MUG.

"The Sports Cruncher M.atch U.p G.rid" to be precise. It's where you can quickly look up and compare the most important match up statistics for the two FBS teams playing each other in any given week. TSC MUG is the result of over 10 years of spreadsheet based football line making. TSC line making has proven itself to be sharper than the opening lines by hundreds of total points of line moves each and every season. But hey, this is time to talk about TSC MUG. TSC MUG above is from the championship game played earlier this year in 2015.

 

Most of it is fairly self explainatory when you delve into it. The outermost columns in grey list the teams' conference, current record, TSC Power Rating, TSC Team Rank, the TSC Strength of Schedule, turnover margin, and the average number of clock seconds used by each team on offense. Below that are the TSC Offensive and Defensive Power Ratings/Rankings and a recruiting score based on an average of the top recruiting rankers and last year's recruiting class.

 

The middle blue columns list the projected yards per rush and pass for both teams. These are derived from numerous formulas working in tandem on the "big" matchup page for each week in the spreadsheet. The trending arrows indicate how a given offensive or defensive unit is performing in its most recent games compared to its overall season stats. A positive trending number for the offense is good, indicating more yards per play, while a negative trending number for the defenses is good, indicating lower yards per play surrendered.

 

Let's talk about the "Best and Worst" rankings in the middle of the grid. To quallify as a "best" or "worst" performance, the stat category has to pass a certain threshold that takes it beyond the realm of average. If, in any given "best" category, a team has more than one qualifying game, the opponent that ranks best in that category is the one listed, as well as the week of the season in which it happened. The same is true of the "worst" category, except that the lowest ranked opponent is used if one or more qualify.

 

Looking at Oregon's offense best and worst categories, you can see that not once did Oregon have a bad game either running or passing the football, when compared to what their opponent usually allows defensively. They came close to having a qualifying bad game running the ball in the home loss to Arizona, but it wasn't quite bad enough. Passing the ball they never came close to having a bad game. Michigan State had the highest rated run defense that Oregon was able to have an above opponent's averages "best" running game. Stanford had the best pass defense that Oregon was able to have a successful game against. Those are really impressive offensive best and worst numbers for Oregon.

 

Ohio State was also able to have a "best" qualifying game running the ball against Michigan State. In their lone loss of the season in week #1 against Virginia Tech they had a "worst" qualifying game running the ball. They again victimized Michigan State as the highest rated pass defense they had a successful game against, while Penn State was able to give them a "worst" qualifying performance. Having your worst passing day against the Nittany Lions top 20 pass defense ain't too shabby.

 

Looking at rush defense, you see that Oregon had a worryingly bad game against Washington State, a team that had by and large abandoned the run last year. Having a bad day of run defense against one of the worst run offenses in the country is a red flag that did indeed cause the Ducks demise in the championship game. Oregon's worst game of pass defense came against Utah -- I remember the Utes having a lot of success throwing out of the backfield to RB Booker until the Duck defense finally adjusted. Ohio State's "best" run defense performance came against Cincinnati, while their worst was against Indiana and the amazing Tevin Coleman. Ohio State had two games that qualified as "worst" performances, against Cincinnati and Michigan. If you follow college football, you know that Cincinnati had a much better pass offense than Michigan last year, so the "worst" game for OSU's pass defense was against Michigan.

 

The "Best&Worst Spread" in the middle bottom of the grid is a spread formulated from the best and worst scores of the two teams playing each other. Think of it as a kind of floor or ceiling spread when compared to the actual line -- an indicator of the potential in which direction the game could go.

 

The "Recruiting Spread" next to it formulated from the recruiting ranks for each team.  It's a handy reference especially for games played between the power 5 and the non power 5 conferences, where using stats alone it can be hard to set an accurate line.

 

In the middle lower section of the grid the TSC total and spread is listed, and below that the current (at the time of the screen capture) total and spread. The greater the disparity between the TSC numbers and the current market numbers means, more often than not, that the market lines will move closer to the TSC numbers the closer it gets to game time (and have already usually moved closer from the opening lines). Not every time, of course, but I've tracked and posted the success rate of this numerous years online and to those in the know it's a given that TSC lines are indeed sharp.