Friday, October 23, 2009

Week 8: Top 25

As of October 19th, 2009, here are your Top 25 in the Tempo-Free Gridiron. The columns are
  • WinPct: the Pythagorean winning percentage against a slate of average opponents
  • SoS: Strength-of-schedule
  • Offense: points scored per 100 possessions
  • Defense: points allowed per 100 possessions
  • Pace: number of possessions per half

Rank Team WinPct SoS Offense Defense Pace
001Florida 0.98070.709133.59.076.9
002USC 0.96640.546424.37.983.1
003Alabama 0.96310.588227.59.380.0
004Oklahoma 0.95700.753425.49.089.1
005Boise St. 0.95610.439728.110.181.6
006Texas 0.95430.576929.110.686.6
007TCU 0.94840.527024.69.381.6
008Penn State 0.93580.461023.69.779.1
009Ohio St. 0.91180.560422.410.379.7
010Virginia Tech 0.90350.683426.112.480.4
011Nebraska 0.88900.552124.112.081.1
012Oregon 0.88520.616123.211.889.1
013Iowa 0.88030.590322.411.579.9
014Texas Tech 0.88030.570529.915.486.4
015Clemson 0.84880.599318.810.683.4
016Mississippi 0.81260.542621.012.982.1
017Utah 0.80880.384121.313.282.9
018Cincinnati 0.79800.472721.313.585.5
019Tennessee 0.79590.607122.314.281.2
020LSU 0.79350.608420.212.980.6
021West Virginia 0.78460.451823.115.081.7
022BYU 0.77240.347424.316.282.5
023Georgia Tech 0.75800.720927.618.978.1
024Virginia 0.74440.561817.612.383.5
025Notre Dame 0.74270.622222.515.883.9

I know the first words that are going to come to mind from most people who see these rankings: "How is Oklahoma -- a 3-3 team who's fourth in their half of the Big 12 -- ranked two spots ahead of Texas -- an undefeated team who lead the Big 12 outright -- after Texas beat Oklahoma on a neutral field??"  The short answer is: Oklahoma has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation and lost 3 games by 5 points, whereas Texas has played a mediocre schedule and done well but not excellent."  The long answer is after the jump.

It's important to remember that these statistics don't take into account winning, just the final score, number of possessions, and quality of the opponent.  A team that loses a close game to a good opponent gets more credit than another team that blows out a poor opponent.  Had Texas swapped out a Nevada for a Wyoming and applied a similar throttling, Texas might have separated themselves a bit from the pack and find themselves up there with Alabama and USC.

As it stands right now, both Texas and Oklahoma are favorites in each of their remaining games.  Texas has better than 5-in-6 odds in all of their games and has better than 50-50 odds of finishing the season undefeated.  Oklahoma, on the other hand, has tough games against Nebraska and Texas Tech on the horizon and less than a 1-in-3 shot of winning all their remaining games.   The glimmer of good news for Oklahoma in all of this is that they've (almost) won their games more because of defense (#3) than offense (#8). They held an explosive Texas offense to just 16 points, and a solid BYU offense to 14 points. If they manage to find just a little bit more offense over their last 6 games we could be looking at a 9-3 Oklahoma squad that no one would want to play.