Blog Entry

Best or most consistent?

Posted on: September 5, 2008 1:26 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2008 10:33 pm
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There has been a lot of debate about conference superiority in NCAA football, but the endless debates have done little to convince knowledgeable college football fans. I would like to propose a different idea today. Superiority in football (and really any endeavor) is achieved through consistency and not by always being the best.

For example, I looked at winning percentages vs. ranked opponents for the BCS years. This is not the ultimate stat just a performance measure that I follow and chose as an example. I used the excellent program at the Sports Link Network for this analysis and want to cite them.

Here are the annual results for each BCS conference for the years 1998-2007 in reverse chronological order.

6. ACC (7-28-0)--0.20000
4. ACC (8-28-0)--0.22222
1. ACC (17-36-0)--0.32075
2. ACC (12-33-0)--0.26667
4. ACC (8-25-0)--0.24242
4. ACC (12-33-0)--0.26667
3. ACC (10-25-0)--0.28571
5. ACC (7-26-0)--0.21212
3. ACC (8-19-0)--0.29630
1. ACC (11-25-0)--0.30556

4. Big 12 (15-36-0)--0.29412
7. Big 12 (3-25-0)--0.10714
3. Big 12 (11-32-0)--0.25581
6. Big 12 (7-27-0)--0.20588
6. Big 12 (9-34-0)--0.20930
3. Big 12 (13-33-0)--0.28261
6. Big 12 (7-31-0)--0.18421
4. Big 12 (12-39-0)--0.23529
4. Big 12 (12-30-0)--0.28571
4. Big 12 (10-39-0)--0.20408

1. Big East (8-11-0)--0.42105
3. Big East (6-20-0)--0.23077
6. Big East (3-21-0)--0.12500
5. Big East (4-15-0)--0.21053
1. Big East (4-9-0)--0.30769
1. Big East (12-27-0)--0.30769
2. Big East (11-27-0)--0.28947
6. Big East (4-18-0)--0.18182
8. Big East (2-21-0)--0.08696
3. Big East (8-25-0)--0.24242

5. Big Ten (13-34-0)--0.27660
5. Big Ten (9-36-0)--0.20000
2. Big Ten (9-26-0)--0.25714
4. Big Ten (9-30-0)--0.23077
2. Big Ten (15-36-0)--0.29412
5. Big Ten (11-33-0)--0.25000
7. Big Ten (4-21-0)--0.16000
2. Big Ten (11-24-0)--0.31429
1. Big Ten (25-41-0)--0.37879
2. Big Ten (14-36-0)--0.28000

3. Pac-10 (15-32-0)--0.31915
1. Pac-10 (13-29-0)--0.30952
5. Pac-10 (9-31-0)--0.22500
6. Pac-10 (7-27-0)--0.20588
5. Pac-10 (7-23-0)--0.23333
8. Pac-10 (6-22-0)--0.21429
4. Pac-10 (10-30-0)--0.25000
3. Pac-10 (10-25-0)--0.28571
5. Pac-10 (4-19-0)--0.17391
6. Pac-10 (5-23-0)--0.17857

2. SEC (18-34-0)--0.34615
2. SEC (19-43-0)--0.30645
4. SEC (13-38-0)--0.25490
3. SEC (13-37-0)--0.26000
3. SEC (14-41-0)--0.25455
6. SEC (11-35-0)--0.23913
1. SEC (20-34-0)--0.37037
1. SEC (21-44-0)--0.32308
2. SEC (21-45-0)--0.31818
5. SEC (9-36-0)--0.20000

Highest and lowest winning percentages with the average position for each conference.

highest
1. Big East (8-11-0)--0.42105
1. Big Ten (25-41-0)--0.37879
1. SEC (20-34-0)--0.37037
1. ACC (17-36-0)--0.32075
3. Pac-10 (15-32-0)--0.31915
4. Big 12 (15-36-0)--0.29412

lowest
6. SEC (11-35-0)--0.20000
6. ACC (7-28-0)--0.20000
5. Pac-10 (4-19-0)--0.17391
7. Big Ten (4-21-0)--0.16000
7. Big 12 (3-25-0)--0.10714
8. Big East (2-21-0)--0.08696

average position
SEC 2.9
ACC 3.3
Big Ten 3.5
Big East 3.6
PAC-10 4.6
Big-12 4.7

Looking at this further we see that the SEC was first in this category only twice in a decade and didn’t even have the highest single year winning percentage. However, they did achieve the highest average position and a tie for best lowest single year winning percentage.

Here are the cumulative results for every D1 conference for the BCS years.

1. SEC (159-387-0)--0.29121
2. Big Ten (120-317-0)--0.27460
3. ACC (100-278-0)--0.26455
4. Pac-10 (86-261-0)--0.24784
5. Big East (62-194-0)--0.24219
6. Big 12 (99-326-0)--0.23294
7. Independent (13-107-0)--0.10833
8. CUSA (15-141-0)--0.09615
9. WAC (13-145-0)--0.08228
10. MWC (9-113-0)--0.07377
11. MAC (9-141-0)--0.06000
12. Missouri Valley (0-3-0)--0.00000
12. Sun Belt (0-61-0)--0.00000
12. Big West (0-15-0)--0.00000
  (685-2489-0)--0.21582

In conclusion, this certainly will not end the conference superiority debates. This is merely an example intended to illustrate how superior results are achieved through consistency rather than domination. If anything, performance during down years are more telling. So, it appears to me that both sides have valid arguments. The SEC is usually not the best but achieves superior results through consistency rather than perpetual domination.

Links to the raw data

2007
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2007&thy=2007&yrk=on&fcn=on

2006
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2006&thy=2006&yrk=on&fcn=on

2005
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2005&thy=2005&yrk=on&fcn=on

2004
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2004&thy=2004&yrk=on&fcn=on

2003
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2003&thy=2003&yrk=on&fcn=on

2002
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2002&thy=2002&yrk=on&fcn=on

2001
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2001&thy=2001&yrk=on&fcn=on

2000
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=2000&thy=2000&yrk=on&fcn=on

1999
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=1999&thy=1999&yrk=on&fcn=on

1998
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=1998&thy=1998&yrk=on&fcn=on

1998-2007
http://www.sportslinknetwork.com/cf
btrivia/record.php?fry=1998&thy=2007&yrk=on&fcn=on
 

 

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Comments

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: September 10, 2008 5:16 am
 

Best or most consistent?

Additionally, conference games are generally excluded because they will show a .500 winning percentage for every conference. Conference games vs. ranked opponents are not the same because they do not reveal a .500 winning percentage for any conference.

1998-2007 all year ranked
conference games
1. SEC (120-322-0)--0.27149
2. ACC (69-200-0)--0.25651
3. Big Ten (84-252-0)--0.25000
4. Big 12 (75-262-0)--0.22255
5. Big East (38-135-0)--0.21965
6. Pac-10 (48-191-0)--0.20084
7. MAC (6-47-0)--0.11321
8. CUSA (4-39-0)--0.09302
9. WAC (6-67-0)--0.08219
10. MWC (4-56-0)--0.06667
  (454-1571-0)--0.22420

non-conference games
1. SEC (39-65-0)--0.37500
2. Big Ten (36-65-0)--0.35644
3. Pac-10 (38-70-0)--0.35185
4. Big East (24-59-0)--0.28916
5. ACC (31-78-0)--0.28440
6. Big 12 (24-64-0)--0.27273
7. Independent (13-107-0)--0.10833
8. CUSA (11-102-0)--0.09735
9. WAC (7-78-0)--0.08235
10. MWC (5-57-0)--0.08065
11. MAC (3-94-0)--0.03093
12. Sun Belt (0-61-0)--0.00000
12. Big West (0-15-0)--0.00000
  (231-915-0)--0.20157

all games
1. SEC (159-387-0)--0.29121
2. Big Ten (120-317-0)--0.27460
3. ACC (100-278-0)--0.26455
4. Pac-10 (86-261-0)--0.24784
5. Big East (62-194-0)--0.24219
6. Big 12 (99-326-0)--0.23294
7. Independent (13-107-0)--0.10833
8. CUSA (15-141-0)--0.09615
9. WAC (13-145-0)--0.08228
10. MWC (9-113-0)--0.07377
11. MAC (9-141-0)--0.06000
12. Sun Belt (0-61-0)--0.00000
12. Big West (0-15-0)--0.00000
  (685-2486-0)--0.21602

Conference games vs. ranked opponents does reveal much about conference depth and improves sample size. Additionally, with conference games since a team can't chose their opponents the games are more representative of the entire conference by including more unranked vs. ranked games. Of course, this is merely my opinion on the subject. It does not change the SEC's position but does suggest that the ACC is somewhat underated by excluding conference games.




Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: September 10, 2008 4:01 am
 

Best or most consistent?

4SoCalFan,

I agree with your post. I posted this blog to illustrate the idea of consistency over time and not to prove the SEC's superiority.  The SEC does not dominate CFB, since they achieve superior results over time by being more consistant and avoiding extreme down years.




Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: September 5, 2008 2:36 pm
 

Best or most consistent?

Ed ,

Hate to be a party pooper , but what is the significance of conference games in determining conference consistency or " conference superiority debates "

There is one simple stat ( not the only stat ) one can use in comparing conferences based on records vs ranked opponents . Simply look at each conferences record OOC vs year ranked opponents . The fact that Stanford defeated USC or Arkansas defeated LSU is irrelevant in speaking of conference " superiority " conference .

I have run the numbers for the BCS years , 1998-2007 in total for each BCS conference against year ranked non conference opponents . There is no superiority by any conference . There are differnces , but a 2% lead over 2 different conferences , based on over 100 games , is well short of superiority , dominance , or any other similar term . Here are the numbers , courtesy of the Sports Link Network , for each conference :

1. SEC     :  39-65   .375
2. Big 10  : 36-65   .356
3. PAC 10 : 38-70  .352
4. BE         : 24-59  .289
5. ACC      : 31-78  .284
6. Big 12  :  24-64  .273



Since: Jan 1, 2008
Posted on: September 5, 2008 2:09 pm
 

Best or most consistent?

Good work BigEd, I glossed this first look, but will look in more detail soon.  Thanks for doing the work.  I love this kind of stuff.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com