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Official Statistical Analysis Thread

While I'm obsessed with numbers, I'm probably even more obsessed with definitions. Most people are very sloppy with definitions; most arguments stem from this in my opinion.

One of these sloppy definitions that most people just accept (and that I have let slide without comment until now) is what we call "Scoring Offense". The number that is kept would be better characterized as "scoring", as it includes scoring done by defense and special teams too, not just scoring by the offense.

The reason I bring this up is that it occurred to me that Ohio State's offense is carrying all of the water for the team in terms of scoring this year. Other teams (looking at you Iowa) are getting a lot more help from defense and special teams. There is also the small matter of Ohio State putting the offense in neutral and coasting for the 4th quarter of most games; the Buckeyes are the only team to have won every game by double digits this year.

So I decided to compile offensive touchdowns scored by each team in the first 3 quarters of each of their games. Below is a table of the top 32 teams in this metric (Offensive Touchdowns per game in quarters 1-3)


Please excuse the sloppy numbering; I didn't bother to indicate ties.

Iowa is dead last in FBS at 0.667 Offensive Touchdowns per game in quarters 1-3.

Ohio State's lead over Tennessee (2nd place) in Scoring is just 1.167 points per game. If you extrapolate the above to 4 quarter games, Brutus is outscoring Smoky at a rate of 7.778 points per game during the first 3 quarters.

The Buckeyes and Vols are 2 of 23 teams that are tied for 41st place in Offensive Touchdowns Scored in the 4th Quarter at exactly 1 per game, so the difference shown above comes purely from the omission of defensive and special teams scores and not at all from the omission of 4th quarter scoring.

The omission of the 4th quarter did affect some teams more than it did the Buckeyes though. The 32nd ranked team in the above graph (tied for 30th actually) is tied for 2nd place in Offensive Touchdowns Scored in the 4th Quarter. That's how they roll I guess.

By quarter, the Buckeye Offense is #1 at scoring touchdowns in both the 1st and 3rd quarters, 41st in the 4th quarter as indicated above, and is in a 5-way tie for 20th place in the 2nd quarter.

EDIT: Based on the above, Ohio State is scoring at a rate of 54.44 points per game during the first 3 quarters of games.
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Continued from the above...

If I learned anything from running DSA spreadsheets for about 10 years, it was that one of the easiest simplifications that would make the spreadsheets MORE predictive was to delete all week 1 results.

Usually more data is a good thing. But when a sub-set of the data provides more aberrations than any other by a huge margin, it can sometimes improve the predictive power of the data to dismiss the entire sub-set. So it is with week 1 in college football.

Two great examples this year: UGA-Oregon and ND-OSU

UGA is not nearly as good as week 1 indicated, and Oregon is not nearly as bad (more on that below).
ND certainly wasn't top 5 material to start the season and nor are they now, but coming within 11 points of Ohio State is not who they are. At all. That was, in my opinion, just as big an aberration as the UGA-Oregon game.

If we dismiss week 1 results from the analysis above (and restrict this change to the top 10 because it was very labor intensive), the top 10 changes quite a bit.

So as to make the results more easily digestible, I took each team's offensive scoring for the first 3 quarters and extrapolated it to a full game. The results are thus:


First of all... imagine a Scoring Offense ranking chart that looked like that. Since week 1 there has been one dominant offense in college football. Only 1. And it's not close.
Yeah, OK, Tennessee's performance last night was impressive.

Second of all... I slept on Oregon. I had no idea the kind of season that they've been having since they got home from Georgia. No, they are in no danger of beating Georgia if they played again, but they are clearly better than they showed that day.

Third: No, if I'd gone farther down the list Alabama would not have stayed in the top 10. That's a great collection of athletes, but I'm not sure B.O'B. has learned as much from Saban as some of his former reclamation projects have. If you pinned me down today, I'd say they're going to miss the playoffs.

Finally... Yeah... the giant gap between #1 and #2 at the top of that chart deserves another look. That is proof positive that NO ONE is kicking ass and then coasting like Ohio State is this year. And don't look for Iowa to slow them down either. More on that in the Iowa game thread over the next 6 days...
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