Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ranking Scoring Offenses and Defenses Better (Pac-12 Edition)

These rankings were inspired by Paul Dalen‘s take on ranking total offenses and defenses. Instead of looking at total yards generated per game offensively or total yards given up defensively (statistics which do not account for the strength or weakness of opponents), he compared a team’s yards gained or given up to the team’s opponents’ average number of yards given up or gained. This number resulted in a percentage of expected yards gained or given up.

For example, if the blue team averages 400 yards per game and the red team holds them to 350 yards, the red team gave up 87.5% of expected yardage. Apply this concept to the season as a whole and you have a better way to rank total offense and defense by now accounting for the quality of the opponent.

I decided to take this same principle and apply it to points for and points against. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to compare all 125 teams, so I chose to just look at the Pac-12.

Here are the average points for and against for the Pac-12 as of week 9 games.

1 Oregon 55.6 1 Oregon 16.9
2 Arizona St 45.4 2 USC 19.3
3 Oregon St 40.1 3 Stanford 19.4
4 Arizona 36.3 4 Arizona 19.9
5 UCLA 36.1 5 UCLA 22.4
6 Washington 34.5 6 Washington 23.6
7 Stanford 32.6 7 Utah 25.8
8 Utah 31.1 8 Arizona St 26.7
9 Washington St 30.9 9 Oregon St 27.4
10 Colorado 26.9 10 Washington St 29.9
11 USC 24.6 11 Colorado 37.1
12 Cal 22.9 12 Cal 44

Based on the above data, if you were an Oregon State fan, let’s say, you might say that Oregon State has the third-best scoring offense in the conference. I would argue that you are wrong. The numbers above do not account for quality of opponent at all. Colorado, for example, has played two I-AA teams while Stanford hasn’t played any.

Following Paul Dalen’s example, we’ll take the points scored and given up and compare them to teams’ opponents’ average points given up and scored for an expected points percentage. For example, if the green team scores 35 points against the yellow team and the yellow team is giving up on average 28 points a game, the green team’s expected points percentage would be 125% (they scored 125% of the number of points they were expected to score based on their opponent’s average). Apply that concept to the whole season and these percentages will give a better representation of scoring offense and defense.


1 Arizona St 192%
2 Oregon 172%
3 Washington 130%
4 Arizona 128%
5 Oregon St 127%
6 Utah 127%
7 Stanford 121%
8 UCLA 119%
9 Washington St 116%
10 Colorado 113%
11 Cal 97%
12 USC 95%

The above table shows that, on average, Arizona State is scoring 192% of expected points (i.e. 192% of their opponents’ average points given up per game) while USC is scoring only 95% of expected points (making opposing defenses look better than they have all season). I would now say to the Oregon State fan that his team has the fifth-best scoring offense in the conference.

If you just look at points per game, Arizona is fourth in the conference while Washington is sixth. What that doesn’t factor in is the fact that Washington has played the top two teams in the conference, while Arizona has not. By looking at percentage of expected points, we get a better comparison with Washington now at third and Arizona behind them.


1 Stanford 57%
2 Oregon 59%
3 USC 61%
4 Washington 67%
5 UCLA 69%
6 Arizona 71%
7 Utah 82%
8 Arizona St 87%
9 Oregon St 94%
10 Washington St 96%
11 Colorado 96%
12 Cal 116%

On average, Stanford on defense is holding teams to 57% of their average points scored per game while Cal is giving up 116% of teams’ average PPG.

With these two expected points percentages (offense and defense), we can now add the differences from 100% (e.g. ASU offense: 192% – 100% = 92%, ASU defense: 100% – 87% = 13%, ASU overall: 92% + 13% = 105%) for an interesting way to get an overall ranking of the teams in the conference.


1 Oregon 113%
2 Arizona St 105%
3 Stanford 64%
4 Washington 64%
5 Arizona 57%
6 UCLA 50%
7 Utah 45%
8 USC 35%
9 Oregon St 33%
10 Washington St 20%
11 Colorado 17%
12 Cal -19%

Week 10 Picks

UPDATE: Just found out that Todd Gurley is coming back for UGA plus two defensive players and UF lost a starting OT. Georgia over Florida.

We’re already two-thirds through the regular season. Time is flying.

A lot of teams have byes this week (Bama, Oregon, Stanford, OU, etc.), but there are still several interesting games to be seen.

UPSET OF THE WEEK: Tech gets upset two weeks in a row by schools from Oklahoma. Oklahoma State over Texas Tech.

Last week: 25-4 (.862). Overall: 160-37 (.812).

Picks in BOLD.

No. 7 Miami (FL) at No. 3 FLORIDA STATE
No. 4 OHIO STATE at Purdue
No. 8 CLEMSON at Virginia
Tennessee at No. 9 MISSOURI
No. 11 AUBURN at Arkansas
UTEP at No. 12 TEXAS A&M
Mississippi State at No. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA
No. 18 OKLAHOMA STATE at No. 15 Texas Tech
Nevada at No. 16 FRESNO STATE
No. 17 NORTHERN ILLINOIS at Massachusetts
Colorado at No. 20 UCLA
No. 21 Michigan at No. 22 MICHIGAN STATE
No. 24 WISCONSIN at Iowa
Navy at No. 25 NOTRE DAME
ARIZONA STATE at Washington State
GEORGIA vs. Florida
Kansas at TEXAS
VIRGINIA TECH at Boston College
USC at Oregon State
MINNESOTA at Indiana
ARIZONA at California
South Florida at HOUSTON
Northwestern at NEBRASKA

Week 9 Picks

Not a good week of picks last week for me, but a great week of upsets for college football.

Last week: 19-9 (.679). Overall: 135-33 (.804)

Early game this week, so early picks.

UPSET OF THE WEEK: I only have one upset pick in the top 25 and that is Oklahoma over Texas Tech. It’s a pretty even match-up and I think OU’s home-field advantage gives them the edge.

Picks in BOLD.

Tennessee at No. 1 ALABAMA
North Carolina State at No. 2 FLORIDA STATE
No. 12 UCLA at No. 3 OREGON
Penn State at No. 4 OHIO STATE
No. 21 South Carolina at No. 5 MISSOURI
No. 6 STANFORD at No. 25 Oregon State
Wake Forest at No. 7 MIAMI (FL)
No. 8 BAYLOR at Kansas
No. 9 CLEMSON at Maryland
No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 15 OKLAHOMA
Florida Atlantic at No. 11 AUBURN
Duke at No. 14 VIRGINIA TECH
Vanderbilt at No. 16 TEXAS A&M
No. 17 FRESNO STATE at San Diego State
Eastern Michigan at No. 18 NORTHERN ILLINOIS
No. 19 OKLAHOMA STATE at Iowa State
No. 20 LOUISVILLE at South Florida
Connecticut at No. 23 UCF
No. 24 NEBRASKA at Minnesota
NOTRE DAME at Air Force
Idaho at OLE MISS
California at WASHINGTON
Boise State at BYU
HOUSTON at Rutgers
UL-LAFAYETTE at Arkansas State

Week 8 Picks

Week 7 Recap

Last week is why college football is the best football. No computers or experts can predict weeks like that.

  • Clemson has let two average teams (NC State and now BC) play with them. A 10-point victory over Boston College at home is not acceptable for a squad that is supposedly a national title contender. They are due for a fall.
  • Utah looked impressive against UCLA, but I don’t think ANYBODY saw them beating Stanford. That may be the biggest upset of the season thus far.
  • Louisville showed everyone that they do not deserve to play for the title, even if they finish undefeated. Thank you, Cardinals, for setting us straight.
  • I thought playing at home would give Georgia enough steam to beat the Tigers despite the onslaught of injuries that the Bulldogs have faced. Turns out it didn’t. There’s one less SEC team in the national title conversation.
  • Is Texas back from the dead? I doubt it. I predict a 3-3 finish for them which will put them at a not-respectable-in-Austin 7-5.
  • Thank you Penn State for doing to Michigan what already should have been done.
  • I’m glad ASU played Wisconsin week 3 at home instead of now. The Badgers are a force to be reckoned with.

Week 8 Picks

Last week: 16-4 (.800). Overall: 116-24 (.829).

  • I don’t think you can call it an upset, but I predict Florida State will roll Clemson. It won’t even be a game by the fourth quarter.
  • This will be a huge bounce-back game for Stanford against UCLA at home. They’ll need to make a statement here to have any chance at the title.
  • UPSET OF THE WEEK: Without their starting QB, Missouri will struggle against Florida. Nothing’s impossible (as we saw last week), but I don’t see the Tigers being able to pull this one out.

Picks in BOLD.

Arkansas at No. 1 ALABAMA
Washington State at No. 2 OREGON
No. 5 FLORIDA STATE at No. 3 Clemson
Iowa at No. 4 OHIO STATE
No. 6 LSU at Ole Miss
No. 24 Auburn at No. 7 TEXAS A&M
No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 STANFORD
No. 10 MIAMI (FL) at North Carolina
No. 11 SOUTH CAROLINA at Tennessee
Iowa State at No. 12 BAYLOR
No. 22 FLORIDA at No. 14 Missouri
No. 15 GEORGIA at Vanderbilt
No. 16 TEXAS TECH at West Virginia
No. 18 OKLAHOMA at Kansas
No. 20 Washington at ARIZONA STATE
No. 23 NORTHERN ILLINOIS at Central Michigan
No. 25 WISCONSIN at Illinois
Indiana at MICHIGAN
UTAH at Arizona
USC at Notre Dame
OREGON STATE at California
BYU at Houston

Week 7 Picks

Short post today. Not enough hours in the day.

Last week: 24-4 (.857). Overall 100-20 (.833)

UPSET OF THE WEEK: Wisconsin over Northwestern.

Picks in BOLD.

No. 1 ALABAMA at Kentucky
No. 2 OREGON at No. 16 Washington
Boston College at No. 3 CLEMSON
No. 5 STANFORD at Utah
No. 25 Missouri at No. 7 GEORGIA
Rutgers at No. 8 LOUISVILLE
No. 9 TEXAS A&M at Ole Miss
No. 17 Florida at No. 10 LSU
California at No. 11 UCLA
No. 12 OKLAHOMA vs. Texas
No. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA at Arkansas
No. 15 BAYLOR at Kansas State
No. 18 MICHIGAN at Penn State
No. 19 Northwestern at WISCONSIN
Iowa State at No. 20 TEXAS TECH
Pittsburgh at No. 24 VIRGINIA TECH
NEBRASKA at Purdue

Week 6 Picks

Week 5 Recap

  1. Kudos to Wisconsin for keeping it a lot closer than I thought it would be against Ohio State at the Horseshoe. It probably should have been a blowout, but the Badgers gave tOSU almost all they could handle.
  2. LSU/Georgia stole my heart. You gotta love a top-10 SEC game where 85 points get put on the board and the game is decided in the final minutes.
  3. UCF outplayed the #12 Gamecocks for three out of four quarters, but still came up short. South Carolina is not as good as advertised and I would have loved to see a mid-major take them down last weekend. UCF will do good things the rest of the season. Their only remaining test should be Louisville next week. Keep your eyes open for them.

Week 6 Picks

Last week: 18-3 (.857). Overall: 76-16 (.826)

Here’s my week 6 rundown:

  1. Northwestern, while undefeated, is a little overrated in my book. I don’t see it being much of a game against the Buckeyes by the middle of the 3rd quarter.
  2. Washington plays Stanford close, but it won’t be enough to beat the Cardinal at home.
  3. UPSET OF THE WEEK: Utah over UCLA. I’m going out on a limb here, and I don’t have a lot of evidence to back it up, but I like the Utes at home. Their offense is much improved with the help of good ol’ D.E. UCF almost came through for me last week with my crazy upset pick, so I’m hoping Utah can pull out the “W” tonight.
  4. ASU will not be embarrassed on national TV again. I’ve believed all season that Notre Dame is overrated and ASU will prove it again in Arlington on Saturday.
  5. I’m looking forward to Ole Miss/Auburn and Michigan State/Iowa. These are two division match-ups pitting one-loss teams against each other that should result in great battles.

Picks in BOLD.

Georgia State at No. 1 ALABAMA
No. 2 OREGON at Colorado
No. 3 CLEMSON at Syracuse
No. 4 OHIO STATE at No. 16 Northwestern
No. 15 Washington at No. 5 STANFORD
No. 6 GEORGIA at Tennessee
No. 7 LOUISVILLE at Temple
No. 25 Maryland at No. 8 FLORIDA STATE
No. 10 LSU at Mississippi State
No. 12 UCLA at UTAH
Kentucky at No. 13 SOUTH CAROLINA
Georgia Tech at No. 14 MIAMI (FL)
West Virginia at No. 17 BAYLOR
Arkansas at No. 18 FLORIDA
Minnesota at No. 19 MICHIGAN
No. 20 TEXAS TECH at Kansas
Kansas State at No. 21 OKLAHOMA STATE
No. 22 ARIZONA STATE vs. Notre Dame
No. 23 FRESNO STATE at Idaho
No. 24 OLE MISS at Auburn
North Carolina at VIRGINIA TECH
Illinois at NEBRASKA
MISSOURI at Vanderbilt
UCF at Memphis
Michigan State at IOWA
RUTGERS at Southern Methodist