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Just The Sports: The Idea of Quality Wins (Pt. II)

Just The Sports

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Idea of Quality Wins (Pt. II)

Perhaps, like myself, you have been caught up in the Ohio State mystique. You have watched them dispatch every team they played with relative ease, outscoring their opponents 436-125. Then you watched as Troy Smith, Ohio State's quarterback, walked away with the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award. Perhaps you have also watch the Florida Gators play football this season, observing how they struggled against many of their opponents, winning by margins that seemed surprisingly slim for a team that was supposed to be so good. After comparing the two team's seasons, you have come to the natural assumption that Ohio State is going to walk all over Florida come January 8. As it turns out, that might actually have been the case as Ohio State has had more dominant showings than Florida while facing comparable opponents.

Doing the same comparison for Ohio State's opponents and Florida's opponents that I did for Michigan and Florida reveals similar findings, although they are not exactly identical since Ohio State did play different non-conference opponents than did Michigan. However, again it is shown that the consensus thinking that SEC teams have more difficult schedules than anyone else is more illusion than anything else.

Offensively, Ohio State's and Florida's opponents have been, if not entirely identical, than not significantly different from each other except in yards per pass attempt thrown. There, Florida's opponents have a pretty wide advantage as they have had 7.5 yards per pass attempts to Ohio State's opponents' numbers of 6.7 yards per pass attempt.

Moving on to defense we find that like in the comparison between Florida and Michigan, Florida's opponents have allowed a lower completion percentage (55.2%) to Ohio State's opponents' allowance of 58.2% of the passes thrown against them to be caught. However, when it comes to yards per rush, Ohio State's opponents have fared better, allowing only 3.7 yards per rush to Florida's opponents' 3.9 yards per rush, not a big difference but still statistically significant. Other than those two statistics, there are no other rate statistic where there is a signifcant difference at the 95% confidence level.

The question heading up to the game will be how much of what happened during the season will translate to a game played after such a lengthy break, but since Ohio State outscored their opponents by 311 points while Florida only outscored theirs by 200, the heavy favorite is and should be the Ohio State Buckeyes.



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