Week 9 Statistical Review

October 31, 2017

Since I finished my Y1P+ system recently, and it can provide more granular data than by merely looking at final scores, I'll be using that system instead of my main system for weekly grades for the rest of the season. 


Highest Graded Teams (Percentile Performance)

Since, St. Thomas lost to Stout the first week of the season, they've been playing exceptionally well, led by the #1 rush defense in the country. They would have the #1 overall defense in the country most seasons, but UMHB's defense is out of this world this year. Their overall team rating on the year is easily within the Top 3, despite having an offensive rating hovering around 15 ppg (borderline Top 25). Their defensive rating alone would rank as a Top 10 team


Stout, the aforementioned defeaters of the Tommies, earned them their second Top 5 grade (the first being their upset of UST) for their beat-down of UWEC. Eau Claire is having easily the worst season by a WIAC team since at least 1998. The previous worst was UW-Platteville the season before Coach Emendorfer took over with a net rating 3 points per game below average. The Blugolds this year are a full touchdown per game worse than that. 


Salisbury is playing their best football of the year right now, and that's great for them (and chaos in the NJAC), because their last two games are against the two teams directly behind them in the standings.


Wartburg was among the Top 10 in overall grade again this week. Just thought I would point that out.

Highest Graded Offenses (Percentile Performance)

Like Salisbury, Trine has been playing their best football of late. Their offense has been on fire the last two weeks, posting their best raw stats against some of the best defenses they've faced. For most of the season, Trine ranked relatively low for an undefeated team in my ratings due to their weak schedule, but not anymore. The Thunder now rank in the Top 10 in both rushing and passing offense, and are the 26th-rated team overall.


One of the best things about football is the variety of offensive and defensive styles that can be deployed effectively. As an example, take the two most-efficient teams from Week 9, North Central and Husson, compared to the most-efficient offense from last week, Springfield. North Central runs what Ian Boyd at FootballStudyHall.com would call a "smash-mouth spread." They like to use multiple spread formations, option and RPO concepts, and hybrid H-back type players to spread teams out and then beat them up at the point of attack. From a glance at Husson's participation log--which shows two TEs who have played in all 8 games--and their team capsule from last season--which lists their offensive style as "spread," I would venture a guess that they use similar concepts. Springfield, on the other hand, runs a traditional triple-option offense. Both styles result in maximum efficiency when all 11 players know and execute their scheme.

Highest Graded Defenses (Percentile Performance)

UMHB and UST are both really good at defense, blah, blah, blah. CAN WE TALK ABOUT WARTBURG SHUTTING OUT DUBUQUE? Part of this may have been to do with the cold weather, but it was also the first time Dubuque had been shut out since Stan Zwiefel took over as HC, and their first time being held scoreless since September 3, 2005 against UW-Platteville. Wartburg gave up some minimal yardage in the second half once Dubuque decided that throwing the ball was a viable offensive strategy, but Wartburg stopped two 4th down conversion attempts in their own territory to keep the shutout alive. UD's two quarterbacks combined for a 10-25 & 102 yard day. Their feature back, Mo Herrion, rushed for 2.3 yards per carry on 32 attempts, and had a long of only 11 yards. Go Knights.


Monmouth (who Wartburg beat Week 2) exposed Lake Forest as merely a pretender. Lake Forest had been averaging over 45 points per game against the bottom-feeders of the MWC, but could only muster a garbage-time touchdown with 4 minutes left in the game against the Scots.

Biggest Upsets (Predicted Line)

Props to Marietta for pulling off consecutive 20-point upsets. Last week, both sides of the ball played exceptionally well, with the defense only allowing 14 points in the first 58 minutes of the game, and the offense building a large cushion going into the 4th quarter. This week, the defense played just well enough to allow the offense to mount a comeback late in the game. Only one other team this year has pulled off two upsets this large, Buena Vista, who beat Central and Dubuque, but has lost every other game against DIII opponents by an average of 25 points.


I also want to point out Brevard's performance. The Tornados dropped down from DII this season, lost dang near their entire roster, hired a new coach, and switched from a run-heavy triple option to a pass-heavy spread attack. Last year, against DII competition they completed only 36 passes all season. In their game against N.C. Wesleyan last week, they completed 31 of 43 passes, and 26 of those completions went for a first down. I honestly think Coach Khayat deserves some consideration for Coach of the Year this season. 


I think I've pointed this out before, but one common thread among all of these large upsets is turnovers. Looking at the same table as above, but including turnover margin, this becomes even more apparent:

The average turnover margin in all of these games was +1.9 in favor of the underdog, and among the five largest upsets, the average margin was +2.6. In terms of expected points, an average turnover is worth about 4 points on the scoreboard, which means that the five largest upsets had an average advantage of +10.4 points from turnovers alone. 

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