best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: The Idea of Quality Wins

Just The Sports

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Idea of Quality Wins

One of the most oft-repeated arguments for why Florida is more deserving of a berth in the BCS Championship title game is to say that of course Florida is a better because since they had more quality wins during the season. A more apt reason is to ask yourself who wants to see Lloyd Carr get out-coached again in a big game, but I digress. While it is true that Florida has more wins over bowl-eligible teams, wins for all of their importance do not always give an indication of how good a team is as some teams get lucky in victories and unlucky in losses. Therefore, I propose a different look at the idea of quality wins.

My method is admittedly simplistic, but no more simplistic than the one already espoused by the national media. What I did was to look at Florida's and Michigan's opponents' (sans Ohio St. and Auburn) box scores for all the games they played, including the ones versus Florida and Michigan, and then to split them by offense and defense in the hopes by comparing their statistics I would see which team, Florida or Michigan, had defeated the tougher competition.

Imagine then how soundly my hopes were dashed when I looked at the results. It turns out that all the talk of Florida having more quality wins than Michigan has been nothing but hot air spewed to eat up the precious minutes between sponsored segments. Offensively, the teams Michigan and Florida played have been remarkably identical for the season with the only statistically significant difference being that Michigan's foes have averaged more pass attempts per game (31.7 to 28.4) and more pass completions per game (18.6 to 16.7). Since the two teams' opponents have both completed a nearly identical percentage of pass attempts (58.6% for Michigan's opponents to 58.8% to Florida's opponents) even that attempts per game difference was barely worth mentioning.

Comparing Michigan's and Florida's opponents defensively does not provide a clear winner in terms of who had more quality wins either. As with the offenses, Michigan's opponents saw more passes through the air in their games, having to defend against 29.7 per game whereas Florida's opponents only had to defend against 27.1 attempts per game. Florida's opponents did do a better job at keeping their opponents from completing those 27.1 attempts per game, allowing a 55.2% completion percentage, which was the only important statistically significant difference between the four sets of data. Michigan's opponents allowed their opponents to complete 58.3% of attempted throws. Basically, that is what Florida's quality wins boil down to; they faced teams who played pass defense a little better.



Post a Comment

<< Home