Thursday, May 28, 2009

2008, By The Numbers Part 2

The numbers are in, and we have finally had a chance to review some fairly interesting things from the 2008 season. A few weeks back, I took you through the top 25 most statistically balanced teams. What we found was quite expected in some cases, but in others the results were a little more surprising - maybe a bit disturbing.

Today what I thought we could discuss - ok, I'll discuss, and you can comment - is the "Shame on You" factor. While these teams may have done well in terms of rankings in 17 statistical categories, they were horribly mismatched when we looked at their entire 2008 schedule - FCS, non-conference, and conference games alike. Kind of like LeBron James one-on-one against Webster. Just... shame on you LeBron.

So what we did was again analyze each team and averaged their rankings in 17 categories. We then averaged all the rankings of their respective opponents (yes, the deviation was a bit more constrained, but we're not the BCS here) and compared them. These teams just absolutely had no business playing against the some of the teams that they did because they were "on paper" universally better than those opponents.

The top ten in descending order are:

10) Florida State (28.76 ranking differential) What really hurt them was playing two FCS teams right at the start of the season. One is enough fellas.

9) Mississippi (30.15 ranking differential) Heard of Samford? Yeah, they have a team apparently. And Mississippi State didn't do Ole Miss any favors here.

8) Utah (33.13 ranking differential) Pretty sad when you think they wanted to be #1 because of their 13-0 record. That Mountain West conference must be a bitch, huh Utah?

7) Florida (35.34 ranking differential) Can't really dog Florida too much because of their superior rankings, but those Hawaii, Arkansas, and Citadel games weren't really fair at all, were they?

6) USC (35.40 ranking differential) Good stats, but Washington and Washington St. are kinda close to FCS anyway.

5) Ball State (41.78 ranking differential) Wouldn't be an OTP post without a little Cards action. Statistically the best in the MAC, but maybe we should only schedule one cupcake instead of two from now on.

4) TCU (42.66 ranking differential) You played Stephen F. Austin. I hope to God that wasn't just one guy.

3) Troy (42.89 ranking differential) Alcorn State, and the two Louisiana stepchildren. That Sun Belt, I tell ya...

2) Penn State (43.48 ranking differential) Quite a bit above the rest in the Big Ten really, so they are a bit like Florida. Too bad they had to murder half of Coastal Carolina's team.

1) Boise State (46.07 ranking differential) Man, if only the WAC was a tougher conference. Then we could see just how good this team really is. But until then, Boise State is just the 13 year old in the home run derby against 8 year-olds. 8 year-olds, dude. For shame.

Ok readers, how do you feel about this list? Coming up soon: the top 10 teams that played out of their league on the other side of the coin.


Anonymous said...

You knock Utah for wanting to be #1 with their schedule, and then say that you can't knock Florida because they are #1? When Florida had a larger disparity?

Edge said...

What I said was Florida's "superior rankings" - I don't think I mentioned their poll standing. If you look at my previous post (linked in today's article), you will see that Florida's stat rankings was 20.71. Utah's was 32.65. Now, that's a disparity - we're not talking two-tenths of a difference here.

Second thing to consider: the average stat ranking for Florida's opponents was 56.05. For Utah it was 65.78. Again, a much more prominent disparity.

What it means is that Florida dominated in a much tougher schedule than Utah. It would appear Florida deserves that #1 based on these factors (and that National Championship). Utah... not so much.

RV said...

Anonymous, aka UTAHFANLOVR69,

I know you don't have our stat sheet in front of you, but you're a little off. The disparity in this post between Utah and Florida is 0.21 while their Florida's team stats were 11.9 better than Utah. AKA, Florida played better statistical teams than Utah by almost 12 spots.

This is simply saying that these teams were statistically superior to their opponents by wide margins, it does not take into account a multitude of factors, such as being Wyoming, New Mexico, San Diego St, Utah St., Colorado St., UNLV, Weber St..

Florida doesn't have to prove anything to Utah when they try and match up schedules, Utah has to scramble to make themselves look respectable when matching up with Florida's schedule.

Something like that.

Artemus said...

Florida and .... Citadel, okay, but Arkansas? IT's A CONFERENCE GAME! And it was closer than most other conference games...

Edge said...


Thanks for the comment! I mentioned Arkansas because statistically (conference or non-conference) they were the 3rd worst team on Florida's schedule (average stat ranking of 71.00). Hawaii was second-worst with 72.53.

And the Fla-Ark game wasn't all that close at 38-7. Borderline blowout. But then again, the closest conference games were Fla-Bama (31-20), Fla-LSU (51-21) and Fla-Vandy (42-14). And of course the loss against Ole Miss. But let's face it... Florida was the best in '08.

Thanks again for reading!