Readers of MrSEC.com know by now that we’re big fans of the “blind resume” test each spring. As SEC basketball teams jockey for position on the NCAA Tournament bubble, we lay out our own comparison of those squad by the numbers. About 90% of the teams who earn at-large bids to the tourney can easily be determined by a simple scan of their numerical accomplishments. RPI, SOS, wins versus top 50 RPI teams, road and neutral court wins, etc, etc. Survey the data and you’ll be able to predict the NCAA field just like the Jerry Palms and Joe Lunardis.
In football, for now, it’s still more about the eye test than anything quantifiable. About the only number that comes into play is the big one in each team’s loss column. Zero losses against a so-so schedule is still better than one loss against a good schedule. At least that’s how it’s played out in most BCS seasons.
Hopefully that will change with college football going to a new playoff system in which teams will be selected by a panel of experts, not unlike the NCAA Tournament selection committee. For kicks, we look below at some of the numbers that might be used by future panels to fill out a four-team playoff field. Only we’ll use those digits, facts, and figures to try and determine the two best football teams this season. Obviously, there are still some conference championship games to be played and any four of the top five teams in the current BCS standings could lose on Saturday. But the numbers below still provide some food for thought.
We’ve taken the top five BCS teams — #1 Florida State, #2 Ohio State, #3 Auburn, #4 Alabama and #5 Missouri — and tallied up eight different statistical categories for each. We’ve removed the names of the schools just to make things more interesting for you. If you don’t want to cheat, be sure not to click the “read more” button until you’ve studied the chart in full.
First things first, we’ve used the current BCS standings (1-125) for several of our scheduling factors. Even for those teams not currently ranked in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll or the Harris Poll, there are still rankings produced by the six computer formulas.
Also, keep in mind that we have not included any of the data from these teams’ dates with FCS foes. Those games haven’t been counted in any way, shape or form in the table below.
Now, for the data we did include:
* Opponents’ winning percentage
* Overall margin of victory for the season (with deficits in losses deducted)
* The average margin of victory per game (with deficits in losses deducted)
* The number of opponents currently ranked in the top 25 of the BCS standings
* The number of opponents ranked in the top 25 of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at the time of the game
* The number of top 50 foes played (according to the current 1-125 BCS rankings)
* The number of sub-75 foes played (according to the current 1-125 BCS rankings)
* The average current BCS ranking of each team’s foes
One other note, we do include the conference championship games still on the docket for Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn and Missouri when dealing with their schedule-strength numbers. Obviously those final figures will be impacted by this weekend’s results.
Now, without further ado, the numbers for the top five teams in the current BCS standings are in the chart below. The teams are listed in random order just to keep you guessing. After clicking the “read more” button, you’ll see which team is which, their current BCS rankings and their overall records. Here goes…
|| Team A
|| Team B
|| Team C
|| Team D
|| Team E
| Opp. Winning Percentage
| Total Margin of Victory (Season)
| Margin of Victory per Game
| Current BCS Top 25 Opp.
| Coaches’ Top 25 Opp. At Time
| Top 50 BCS Opp. Played
| Sub-75 BCS Opp. Played
| Avg. Current BCS Rank of Opp.
Once you take the names off the teams and you strip them of their current rankings (which have been impacted by their preseason rank), things boil down to a simple choice between two options. If you’re looking for dominant teams against less imposing foes, Teams D, B and A are for you. They’ve walloped their foes. But the collective strength of their opponents is spotty at best. Two of those teams have played FBS schedules consisting of teams that are below .500 combined. Team A’s foes were barely over .500.
The other option is to go with teams that have played closer games, but against more challenging competition. Team C, for example, has won its FBS games by an average of just 12 points per contest, but the average squad on that team’s schedule would be ranked right around #42 in the current BCS standings. Team C has played eight top 50 BCS foes. Its FBS opponents have a combined winning percentage of .604. Team E ranks just behind Team C in terms of the schedule measures. While Team E has played six top 50 BCS squads, it has only played one FBS opponent ranked 75th or below. Just one.
Think you’ve figured out who’s who in our chart? We’ll identify all the teams for you if you just click the pretty red words below…
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