We've Moved!

We've Moved!
Click here to head to riddickandreynolds.wordpress.com!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nerd time: A look at the Duke game, relatively speaking

As a college football fan, I love the NCAA statistics web site. They rank every school in a variety of categories, offensively and defensively, giving you a good idea how strong a team is fairing on both sides of the ball relative to the rest of Div. 1A.

I decided to take a look at the Duke game using these numbers, to see how our offense matches up with their defense, ranking wise. I then averaged out the gap between the rankings (delta) of the five categories listed below and divided that number by the total number of Div. 1A programs (119) to arrive at a percentage of how much better--relative to everyone else in the division--that one team's unit was against another.


For example, if team A was the best team in the country in all five offensive categories and played team B, the worst team in all five defensive categories, team A would have an average delta of 118 (119-1), giving a relative percentage advantage of 99.2% when team A has the ball.

Conversely, if team A has the best offense in the country and plays team B with the best defense, the delta would be 0, with neither unit possessing an overall relative percent advantage over the other when team A has the ball.

Now, there's some big gigantic leaps of faith you have to take if you want to go solely by these numbers:
  1. Strength of schedule isn't taken into account. If team A plays a bunch of cupcakes, one would expect their rankings to be falsely inflated on both sides of the ball. Further, it doesn't take into account the strength of the individual units that a team has faced up to that point. If a team has played nothing but high-powered passing teams that refuse to run the football (hello Big 12), their pass defense ratings would be falsely deflated and their rush defense ratings falsely inflated.
  2. This type of comparison is virtually useless early in the season until both teams, and all of Div. 1A, have played a significant number of games to more accurately shape the rankings.
Nevertheless, it's another way to quantify the strength of the teams and to give an indication, if only a rough one, of how much better team A will (or will not) fare against team B when they have the ball, and vice versa.

So without further ago, here's the relative strength or weakness of State versus Duke.

State Offense Versus Duke Defense:

Rushing Offense
109Rushing Defense
Passing Offense
80Pass Defense
Total Offense
108Total Defense
Passing Efficiency
95Pass Efficiency Defense
Scoring Offense
101Scoring Defense

Average Delta in favor of Duke when we have the ball: 44.2. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 37.1% (44.2/119) better defensively than State offensively.

State Defense Versus Duke Offense:

Rushing Defense86Rushing Offense10014
Pass Defense94Passing Offense66-28
Total Defense101Total Offense93-8
Pass Efficiency Defense81Passing Efficiency68-13
Scoring Defense91Scoring Offense72-19

Average Delta in favor of Duke when they have the ball: 10.8. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 9.1% (10.8/119) better offensively than State is defensively.

The interesting conclusion here seems to be that Duke's defense, not their offense, should be what concerns State fans the most heading into this game. With all the talk about Thaddeus Lewis and Eron Riley as weapons to be feared, they're not exactly blowing folks away when they have the ball in their hands. I would've thought Lewis' pass efficiency rating would be ranked higher, to be honest, but at 68 he's mildly below average, relatively speaking. And as bad as State defense has been this year, they're not too far off in the rankings relative to where Duke stands offensively. State has a chance to contain Duke's offense.

Whether State can do anything on offense seems to be the greater concern when looking at these numbers. They've held some of their opponents in check this year, with Virginia only posting a field goal in Duke's 31-3 drubbing of the Cavs and with Vanderbilt only mustering one score in their road win two weeks ago. We hear so much about David Cutcliffe as a quarterback guru and the aforementioned Lewis and Riley, but you should pay attention to the Devils defense when we have the ball...nothing will come easy against them.

Again, these are just numbers based on relative rankings, so they may not mean a hill of beans at the end of the day Saturday. State may lose by 4 scores or win in a 45-43 shootout. Who knows.

Just something to think about.

No comments:

Post a Comment