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FPI, S&P+ and the Pac-12: Preseason

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Conference Championship-Utah vs Washington
Which teams will lead the conference in 2019?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hello Bear Fans! This is the first post of what should be a weekly discussion of statistical trends around the Pac-12. I’ll be tracking the statistical rankings of our conference foes across two major stats sets: S&P+ and ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). Both sets include each team’s overall “score” as well as scores for offense, defense, and special teams.

FPI defines its score as “The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.”

S&P+ uses this definition: “S&P+ rating: Using the five-factors concept above, the S&P+ ratings take into account efficiency (Success Rates), explosiveness (IsoPPP), and factors related to field position and finishing drives. It is now presented in two forms: the first is a percentile, and the second is an adjusted scoring margin specific for this specific season’s scoring curve.”

Each conference team also has a national ranking and ranking within the Pac-12. (More info about each is available here for S&P+, and here for FPI). Over the course of the season, I’ll track the following:

  • FPI and S&P+ Overall score
  • S&P+ Offense rating
  • S&P+ Defense rating
  • S&P+ Special Teams rating
  • FPI Offensive Efficiency
  • FPI Defensive Efficiency
  • FPI Special Teams Efficiency
  • Strength-of-schedule so far
  • National ranks for overall, offensive, defensive, and special teams
  • Pac-12 ranks for overall, offensive, defensive, and special teams
  • Projected wins, losses, and margins of victory

I’ll also include averages for national and conference rankings, by combining S&P+ and FPI.

Finally, this weekly blog will track the schedules of all teams with wins/losses (overall, conference, and division) and how many cross-division wins each division has. FPI and S&P+ have both published projected win percentages for every game of the season, which vary widely for some teams – both for individual games and for their seasons overall. The calculations and win percentages get adjusted each week, so I’ll post those up when they are available – but it’ll also be interesting to track the actual wins and losses compared to the preseason prognostications.

Preseason rankings

FPI and S&P+ each publish a team’s overall “score” (using their formula), as well as national and conference rankings, before the season starts. The “score” is basically a rough estimate of a team’s expected point differential versus the totally-average national team, on a neutral field – and both scores are used (with some more complex data and a bump for home-field advantage) to give the projected win margin and likelihood of victory. More detailed stats about the performance of the offense, defense, and special teams will come around later in the year. Luckily, Bill Connelly did publish the national ranks for offense and defense, so I’ll throw those in farther down the blog. But for now, the data is a bit more limited than it will be later in the season.

The preseason scores and rankings are available on the ESPN website, here (for FPI) and on another SBNation blog by Bill Connelly, a highly-regarded statistician, for the S&P+ projections. A list of team writeups with their stats can be found on this section of the blog, and multi-tab Google spreadsheet tracking S&P+ preseason data is available here.

S&P+: score, national rank, and conference rank

Pac-12 Preseason S&P+

Team S&P+ National Rank Conference rank
Team S&P+ National Rank Conference rank
Arizona 5.4 52 8
ASU 5.9 49 7
Cal 3.4 60 9
Colorado 1.7 68 11
Oregon 13.8 20 3
OSU -9.4 105 12
Stanfurd 10 32 5
UCLA 3.1 63 10
USC 10.7 29 4
Utah 15.4 17 2
Washington 17.7 15 1
WSU 8.9 36 6
AVERAGE 7.217 45.5 6.5
AVG - NORTH 7.4 44.667 6
AVG - SOUTH 7.034 46.333 7
A chart of Pac-12 S&P+ scores. Every team is positive except for OSU, which is near -10
S&P+ Score
A graph showing S&P+ national ranks. UW, Utah and Oregon are near the top, and OSU is far behind the other teams.
S&P+ Rankings: National
A graph of S&P+ ranks in the Pac-12. The order is: UW, Utah, Oregon, USC, Stanford, WSU, ASU, Arizona, Cal, UCLA, Colorado and OSU
S&P+ Ranking: Pac-12

S&P+ has a pretty well-defined top three of Washington (#15 nationally), Utah (#17) and Oregon (#20). They are followed by a second tier of USC (#29), Stanfurd (#32) and WSU (#36). Then, there’s “everyone but OSU” hovering between 49 and 63: ASU (#49), Arizona (#52), Cal (#60), UCLA (#63), and Colorado (#68). The Beavers are in a league of awfulness all their own, with computers putting them at 105th nationally. What should be interesting to Cal fans – and something I’ll talk about later – is that the Bears have the #5 defense in the country (#1 in the conference) and the #125 offense (last in the Pac)… So if we can get an even somewhat-functional offense, the Bears could approach the top third stats-wise. The Conference’s average for national rank is 45.5, with the North having an edge over the South (44.67 vs. 46.33). The North also holds the edge for rankings within the conference, as North teams average #6 and South teams average #7 in the Pac-12.

FPI scores, national rank and conference rank

Next, the scores, national rank and conference rank for FPI. Just like S&P+ gives scores, national ranks and conference ranks, this table breaks those down.

Pac-12 Preseason FPI

Team FPI National Rank Conference rank
Team FPI National Rank Conference rank
Arizona 3.7 51 9
ASU 7.4 36 8
Cal 2.2 55 10
Colorado 0.3 63 11
Oregon 16.7 10 1
OSU -4.7 84 12
Stanfurd 7.6 33 7
UCLA 11.9 20 3
USC 10 25 5
Utah 11.5 22 4
Washington 13.5 17 2
WSU 8.4 30 6
AVERAGE 7.375 37.167 6.5
AVG - NORTH 7.283 38.167 6.333
AVG - SOUTH 7.467 36.167 6.667
A graph showing FPI scores. Oregon is the only team above 15, and 7 teams are between 5 and 15. 3 teams are between 0 and 5, and OSU is near -5
FPI Scores
A graph of national FPI rankings for Pac-12 teams. Oregon leads the way at #10, followed by many teams between 17-40. Arizona and Cal are in the 50s, followed by Colorado in the 60s and OSU in the 80s.
FPI Rank: National
A graph of FPI ranks in the Pac-12. The order is: Oregon, UW, UCLA, Utah, USC, WSU, Stanford, ASU, Arizona, Cal, UCLA, Colorado and OSU
FPI Rank: Pac-12

FPI is incredibly high on Oregon compared to the rest of the conference: the Ducks are ranked #10 nationally, while the rest of the conference is #17 (Washington) or below. Things seem broken into a few tiers: Oregon and Washington at the top of the North; UCLA (20), Utah (22), and USC (25) as a close trio battling for the South; WSU (30), Furd (33), and ASU (36) as good-but-not-great teams trying to break into the top; Arizona (51), Cal (55), and Colorado (63) needing to prove their worth; and finally lowly OSU (84) pretty well forgotten (but not as badly as in S&P+). The conference has an average national team ranking of, with the South division having an edge over the North at the national scale (36.17 vs. 38.17). Within the conference, though, the North is slightly above the South – ranked 6.33 compared to 6.67.

Averaged-out rankings

This table looks at the averages of the computer rankings and the differences between them. The “average national rank” does the average between FPI and S&P+. The average Pac 12 rank looks at how the average ranks are ordered (so not finding the average between FPI Pac-12 standing and S&P+ Pac-12 standing). Next, the differences between the two systems for both national and in conference, S&P+ to FPI. Because a team with a better rank has a lower number, if somebody’s rank is better in S&P+, it’ll be a negative difference. If somebody’s rank is better in FPI, the difference will be positive.

Pac-12 Rankings: Averages and Difference (S&P+ to FPI)

Team Avg. Nat’l rank Avg. Pac-12 Rank Difference (S&P+ to FPI) – Nat’l Difference (S&P+ to FPI) – Pac-12
Team Avg. Nat’l rank Avg. Pac-12 Rank Difference (S&P+ to FPI) – Nat’l Difference (S&P+ to FPI) – Pac-12
Arizona 51.5 9 1 -1
ASU 42.5 8 13 -1
Cal 57.5 10 5 -1
Colorado 65.5 11 5 0
Oregon 15 1 10 2
OSU 94.5 12 21 0
Stanfurd 32.5 5 -1 -2
UCLA 41.5 7 43 7
USC 27 4 4 -1
Utah 19.5 3 -5 -2
Washington 16 2 -2 -1
WSU 33 6 6 0
AVERAGE 41.333 6.5 8.333 0
AVG - NORTH 41.417 6 6.5 -0.333
AVG - SOUTH 41.25 7 10.167 0.333
A graph with average national rankings. Oregon leads the way at 15, going down to Colorado in the 60s. OSU is far behind, in the 90s
Average Ranking - National
Average rankings in the pac-12. The order is: Oregon, UW, Utah, USC, Stanford, WSU, UCLA, ASU, Arizona, Cal, Colorado and OSU
Average Ranking - Pac-12

Long story short, S&P+ is much more pessimistic about the Pac-12 than FPI is. S&P+ only favors Utah, UW and Furd, and only by a few spots – otherwise the drops are anywhere between 1 and 43(!) spots nationally. The national conference ranking differs by 8.333 places on average, or a cumulative 101 spots. Some of the teams ranked higher by FPI see huge drops in S&P+: compared to FPI, S&P+ made Oregon halve its national standing from 10 to 20, OSU went from the 80s down to the 100s with a 21-spot drop, and UCLA lost more than two thirds of its standing from 20 to 63 (a 43-spot fall). ASU’s 13-place difference is also notable, as they go from #36 to #49. Those individual differences are intriguing, and it will be interesting to follow those teams over the course of the season to gauge the accuracy of the different formulas. Within the conference, 3 teams kept their spots when going from FPI to S&P+, 2 dropped places (Oregon by 2, and UCLA by 7), and 7 gained spots (5 teams gained 1 spot and 2 teams jumped 2 spots).

Compared to FPI, S&P+ is pessimistic about both divisions – but less pessimistic about the North than the South. While the northern half drops an average of 6.5 places, the South falls just over 10 on average. S&P+ gives the North a better average national ranking (44.67, compared to 46.33 in the South) and FPI has the South as the superior group (36.17 vs. 38.17); the differences are enough to ever-so-slightly favor the South in averages (41.25 vs. 41.417). Only one southern team gained ground in S&P+ (Utah, by 5), while both Stanfurd and Washington gained 1 and 2 spots, respectively. The bigger switchover between divisions is bolstered by UCLA’s huge discrepancy. Cal even jumps one spot in the conference after dropping down five nationally – because it hopped above UCLA in the Pac-12 pecking order. Again, something to watch…

Offense, Defense, & Special Teams.

Next, we have the rankings for each segment of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. As the season goes on, the national ranks will be tracked for all three positions and both formulas… But for now, the only numbers available are the national rankings for offense and defense for S&P+. So, here we go (both for national and conference rankings).

S&P+ Rankings: Offense & Defense

Team Offense – Nat’l Offense – Pac-12 Defense – Nat’l Defense – Pac-12
Team Offense – Nat’l Offense – Pac-12 Defense – Nat’l Defense – Pac-12
Arizona 49 8 55 7
ASU 43 7 60 8
Cal 125 12 5 1
Colorado 73 11 62 9
Oregon 18 1 40 5
OSU 68 10 116 12
Stanfurd 37 6 39 4
UCLA 50 9 72 11
USC 26 4 45 6
Utah 27 5 20 3
Washington 25 3 16 2
WSU 20 2 71 10
AVERAGE 46.75 6.5 50.083 6.5
AVG - NORTH 48.833 5.667 47.833 5.667
AVG - SOUTH 44.667 7.333 52.333 7.333
A graph of national S&P+ offense rankings. Oregon leads at 18, going down to UCLA near 50 and Colorado and OSU near 70. Cal is all the way down at 125.
S&P+ Offense Rank: National
A graph of S&P+ Ranks for the Pac-12. The order is: Oregon, WSU, UW, USC, Utah, Stanford, ASU, Arizona, UCLA, OSU, Colorado and Cal.
S&P+ Offense Rank: Pac-12
A graph showing S&P+ national ranks for defense. Cal has a clear lead at #5, followed by UW and Utah near 20. Other teams range between 40 and 70, and OSU is way behind at 117.
S&P+ Defense Rank: National
S&P+ defense ranks for the Pac-12. The order is: Cal, UW, Utah, Stanford, Oregon, USC, Arizona, ASU, Colorado, WSU, UCLA and OSU
S&P+ Defense Rank: Pac-12

Each team’s offense and defense rankings can say a lot about their strengths, “identity,” and so on. Using the average of national rankings, Pac 12 offenses are better than defenses (average national rank 46.75 and 50.083, respectively), and 2/3 of all conference teams have offenses that are better than defenses (both divisions are also 2/3 in favor of offense). The South has better offenses than the North using averages of national ranks (44.667 vs. 48.833), while the North has better defenses (47.833 vs. 52.333). Interestingly, just looking at in-conference rankings, the North is superior for both phases of the game, with averaged conference rankings of 5.667 vs. 7.333 on both sides of the ball. This is probably because the biggest outliers for offense (Cal, at 125) and defense (OSU, at 116) are in the North – so they drag down the national average rank, but not the in-conference order as much.

S&P+ National Ranks: Details, Gaps, and Ratios

Team National Offense Defense Best side Difference & Nat’l rank Ratio & Nat’l rank
Team National Offense Defense Best side Difference & Nat’l rank Ratio & Nat’l rank
Arizona 52 49 55 Offense 6 (t-11) 1.122 (t-16)
ASU 49 43 60 Offense 17 (t-38) 1.395 (47)
Cal 60 125 5 Defense 120 (130) 25 (128)
Colorado 68 73 62 Defense 11 (t-24) 1.177 (26)
Oregon 20 18 40 Offense 22 (t-54) 2.222 (81)
OSU 105 68 116 Offense 48 (t-95) 1.706 (67)
Stanfurd 32 37 39 Offense 2 (t-3) 1.054 (4)
UCLA 63 50 72 Offense 22 (t-54) 1.44 (51)
USC 29 26 45 Offense 19 (t-43) 1.731 (69)
Utah 17 27 20 Defense 7 (t-15) 1.35 (42)
Washington 15 25 16 Defense 9 (t-20) 1.563 (61)
WSU 36 20 71 Offense 51 (t-98) 3.55 (108)
AVERAGE 45.583 46.75 50.083 67% Def 27.833 3.609
AVG - NORTH 44.667 48.833 47.833 67% Def 42 5.849
AVG - SOUTH 46.5 44.667 52.333 67% Def 13.667 1.369

This data shows the projected balance of each team on the field. Within the Pac 12, only 4 teams have offenses and defenses that are within 10 places of each other (Stanfurd with a difference of 2 spots, Arizona with 6, Utah with 7, and Washington with 9). Colorado is close behind with a difference of 11 spots, while ASU (17 spots) and USC (19) barely avoid a 20-point gap. Oregon, one of the projected top teams in the conference, is #20 in S&P+ (#3 in the Pac 12), yet has a full 22-spot difference: its #18 offense is best in the conference, but things get dragged down by the #40 national defense (#5 in the Pac 12). UCLA also sits at a 22-spot difference (50 offense/72 defense), and OSU (48 spots) is actually more balanced than WSU (51 spots). Finally, there’s our Sturdy Golden Bears: the #5 national defense (best in conference) is canceled out by the #125 defense (last in the conference).

In fact, Cal’s unevenness is unrivaled. The Bears have the largest gap between offense and defense in the country (120), followed by just two more in the 100’s: Houston (#73 overall, #11 offense and #118 defense, for a 107-point gap) and NIU (#76 overall, #120 offense and #19 defense, for a 101-point gap). Interestingly, another top-five defense is right behind: Michigan State (#23 overall, #3 defense and #96 offense) has a gap of 93 – but still sits 37 places higher than Cal in the national S&P+ ranks. Other big gaps on good teams include Oklahoma State (#22 overall, #7 offense and #69 defense, for a 62-point gap) and Oklahoma (#5 overall, #1 offense and #56 defense, for a 55-point gap).

If we take a look at the ratio between phases of the game – so a team with a #10 offense and #15 defense would have a ratio of 1.5, and a #10 defense and #15 offense would also be 1.5 – Cal and its ratio of 25 is third in the country behind some interesting company: Oklahoma (ratio of 56) and Michigan State (ratio of 32). Just seven teams in the country have a ratio over 10 – and on the flipside, the majority of teams (78 total) are under 2.0 (the national median is 1.64). The next highest Pac 12 team is WSU, whose ratio of 3.55 is 108th nationally, while our SEC opponent Ole Miss is 107th (#39 overall, #21 offense and #73 defense – for a ratio of 3.47). Sitting quietly is Stanford: with its ratio of 1.054, the Cardinal is the fourth-most-boring team in the country, and earns outright most boring in the conference.

Strength of Schedule

It’s worth looking at projected strength-of-schedule, which has only been put up by FPI so far. Listed is the projected remaining strength-of-schedule per FPI, and who in the conference has the toughest road ahead.

FPI Remaining Strength-of-Schedule

Team National Conference
Team National Conference
Arizona 15 7
ASU 36 9
Cal 13 6
Colorado 5 3
Oregon 44 10
OSU 8 4
Stanfurd 3 2
UCLA 9 5
USC 2 1
Utah 46 11
Washington 29 8
WSU 50 12
AVERAGE 21.667 6.5
AVG - NORTH 24.4 7
AVG - SOUTH 18.833 6
A chart showing the remaining strength of schedule for each Pac 12 team, as a national rank. USC is near the top, as one of the most difficult schedules in the country. WSU is around 50, which is last place in the Pac-12
FPI Remaining Strength-of-Schedule: National Rank

Our conference boasts some of the toughest schedules in the nation: we take up five of the top 10 spots, no team faces anything below 50th nationwide, and the average conference schedule is #21.667 in the country. USC leads the conference with the second-hardest national schedule, followed by Stanfurd at third nationally (thanks to some tough out-of-conference games of Fresno State, UCF, and Notre Dame – and possibly USC’s sole bye before taking the last week off). Colorado is close behind at 5th nationally, followed by OSU (8th) and UCLA (9th). Our Sturdy Golden Bears are still in the tough-zone at 13th, with Arizona at 15th. After that, things ease up: Washington has a #29 national schedule, ASU is #36, Oregon is #44 (despite the early-season Auburn game), South division favorite Utah sits at #46, and Wazzu rounds things out at 50th in the country. Even though the North is viewed as the tougher division by most pundits, the average difficulty for the South division is way ahead at #18.83, rather than the North’s 24.4 average – maybe that’s because of a tougher overall out-of-conference slate and maybe it’s partly due to UCLA’s bizarrely high national ranking, and there are surely other factors. But no matter what, looks like we are playing in a tough conference overall, and Cal is facing a rough schedule.

Predicting the Seasons...

Finally, I’ll end the post looking at the projected wins for each team, based on FPI and S&P+. Both services post percentage chances for victory, and S&P+ lists of the projected margin of victory as well. Both services listed the projected wins in their publications: technically, this should just be the sum of all win percentages, but things seem to differ a bit from that calculation (and FPI also takes into account the likelihood of reaching a conference championship in their numbers). So, to keep things simpler, I just added up the percentages of each game’s victory… It might be a bit different than the prognosticator’s figures (by a fraction of a game), but it’ll provide some more consistency overall.

Each schedule shows the team on the left (with its national and conference ranking), followed by its schedule. The opponents are color-coded depending on where they are: out of conference (light purple), Pac 12 North (yellow), Pac 12 South (light blue), and bye weeks (magenta). On the right are win records (the sum of all win percentages) and losses in the 12-game season: these are “OVERALL” for season records and “Conf W-L” for conference records. I’ve also put numbers where any game over 50% is marked as one win, anything under 50% is a loss, and the rare game that’s exactly 50% gets 0.5 on each side. First is “Raw W-L” for the whole season and then “Raw Conf” for conference wins and losses. In the top-right shows projected cross-division wins any time North team plays a South one.

Now, this was all tracked in Excel for color coding and was put into jpeg form (just like the graphs up top)... so pardon the formatting.

S&P+ Projected win percentages and record

A chart showing the projected win percentages for each game and records for the different teams in the Pac-12, based on S&P+ predictions. Cal ends up with a 5.4-6.6 record and 3.5-5.5 in conference. Other highlights include Washington, with a 9.2-2.8
S&P+ Projected Win Percentages

Honestly, it would take a long time to go through this entire deal, so I’ll just leave the calendar as-is for the most part. Some interesting data points:

  • Our Sturdy Golden Bears are projected to win 5.4 games overall and 3.5 in-conference. But we are only favored outright in three games (Davis, North Texas, and OSU) and ASU at home is listed as a tossup. So the raw win totals would leave us with a 3.5-8.5 overall record and 1.5-75 in conference. Not a rosy outlook… But if we can improve on that projected 125th -ranked offense, bowl game ahoy.
  • Adding up the percentages, OSU is projected to win 2.6 games overall and 1.3 in conference… But are only favored in their one FCS contest, leaving them with a 1-11 overall record and 0-9 in the Pac. Sorry guys…
  • Washington is the North favorite, with a 9.2-2.8 season and 6.6-2.4 in conference. However, they are favored in every single game – so if things fall the right way, they’ll be undefeated and maybe crash the BCS semifinals.
  • Utah is the clear top dog in the South. They are projected at 8.9-3.1 and 6.4-2.6 in conference, and are only underdogs in one game (at UW), meaning the “raw” record would be 11-1 overall and 8-1 in the Pac (plus undefeated in the South).
  • The rest of the South is pretty muddled, with three teams expected to win between 6.2-6.8 games over the course of the season, a couple teams barely under five wins (Colorado and UCLA), and just more balance overall. Colorado is the clear underdog in the South, and “raw” scores have them winless in-conference and only defeating their non-power-five opponents.
  • The cross-division games are projected to yield some pretty even results. Adding up the percentages, between 24 inter-division contests, the North is projected to win 12.33 and the South will win 11.67. Curious…

Next, the projections for FPI:

A chart showing the projected win percentages for each game and records for the different teams in the Pac-12, based on FPI predictions. Cal ends up with a 4.9-7.1 record and 2.9-6.1 in conference. Other highlights include Oregon, with a 9.3-2.7 record an
FPI Projected Win Percentages

Some thoughts:

  • Unfortunately, our Sturdy Golden Bears are worse off in the FPI projections than in S&P+. The overall wins are 4.9, instead of 5.4, and we only have a better chance of winning against North Texas. The one tossup game against ASU – that made our “raw” record 3.5-8.5 overall and 1.5-7.5 in conference – is now in favor of the Sun Devils, giving us a raw record of 3-9 overall and 1-8 in conference. Ouch…
  • Oregon is now the top dog, as they have the most projected wins overall (9.3) and in-conference (6.9), and “raw” wins puts them at 11-1 overall and 9-0 in conference. Washington is close behind, with their only loss being at home against the Ducks.
  • The South is pretty jumbled and Utah isn’t so clearly #1 in the division. Utah is a slight underdog at USC in week 4, and a big underdog at UW in week 10; UCLA might give them a run for their money at home in week 12. USC would actually win the South division if we went with “raw” wins, as the Trojans and Utes would be the only teams with one loss in the South – and USC would have the tiebreaker.
  • The North is still projected to win more cross-division games, but it’s a slightly narrower margin (12.24-11.76) than S&P+.

Differences between S&P+ and FPI

This next schedule shows the differences between FPI and S&P+ across each team’s schedule: positive numbers (highlighted in green) are when S&P+ data is higher/more favorable, and negative numbers (highlighted in orange) are when FPI is more favorable. It includes national and conference rankings, win percentages for each game, and each team’s projected wins (overall and in conference, based on percentages and “raw” wins). I won’t really do any commentary at the end – except for the note at the beginning that there’s a huge difference for UCLA, pretty much everywhere – but otherwise it’s worth taking a peek…

A chart showing the difference in each game's win percentage and overall records, comparing S&P+ and FPI. Cal is predicted to have a better record by 0.6 games overall and in conference. Other highlights include Oregon, which is projected to have a wo
Projected Win Percentages: Difference from FPI to S&P+

S&P+ Predicted margin of victory

And finally, one more interesting scheduling table. S&P+ publishes the predicted scoring margin (not the final score, but just the margin) for each team. This is the scoring margin for each game, for the season, and in conference. It also includes the “raw record” for overall schedules and conference records, same as the original win percentage schedule.

A chart showing the projected margin of victory or margin of loss for each game, and overall point margin over the course of the season. Cal has a worst game of at Washington (losing by 16.7 points) and best game against Davis (winning by 26.5 points); th
S&P+ Projected Margin of Victory (or Loss)

And, the final thoughts for the day, on this margin of victory bit…

  • Only four teams have overall negative margins over the course of the season (Cal, OSU, Colorado and UCLA), while those teams plus Arizona have negative margins in-conference.
  • Cal is the least-bad of the negative-margin teams over the whole season, but third-worst for in-conference play (behind Arizona and UCLA). Our Bears are projected for 21.8 points in the red over the season (1.8 per game), but that jumps to 47.7 in-conference (5.3 per game). The points awarded by Davis and North Texas (and the projected one-touchdown loss at Ole Miss) make a pretty big difference. Meanwhile, in-conference, Cal is projected for a 15-point win over OSU, but otherwise have losses between 2.1 points at UCLA and a huge 16.7 points at UW in week two.
  • Arizona, USC and Furd cut it pretty close season-long, with average margins of 1.6, 1.8 and 2.9 points per game, respectively. Furd actually improves their points per game in-conference (from 2.9 to 4.2), as does USC (from 1.8 to 2.5). In-conference, ASU is barely in the green (0.3 PPG), while WSU is also cutting it close (1.8 PPG).
  • The big winners are UW (14.3 PPG season-long and 11.3 PPG in-conference), Oregon (9.8 PPG total and 8.1 PPG in-conference) and Utah (13.2 PPG total and 10.4 PPG in-conference). They are pretty clearly the top of the Pac, just like the percentage projections showed.
  • OSU: ouch. 182.3 points behind the other teams over the course of the season, or an average of 15.2 points per game. In-conference, it’s even worse: 170.9 points total and 19.0 points per game. That’s worse than the positive points of the best team (Washington), both over the whole season and in conference play. Tough luck, I guess…

That’s all the number-crunching for now. Thanks for joining for this edition of the blog. Keep an eye out the week after our first game for more!