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Friday, May 17, 2013

Statistical Review: Western Kentucky #77

Western Kentucky 2012 is the reason I use two metrics to measure strength of schedule. They played one team in the top 25, two in the top 50, and four in the bottom 25 plus Austin Peay. But that one team in the top 25 was Alabama. Fewer teams had an easier road to six regular season wins - six by my count - but almost 100 teams had a better chance of going undefeated based on schedule alone.

They also demonstrated the value of focusing on points per possession instead of points per game. With only 11.8 possessions per game, Western Kentucky was in the bottom 10 nationally. As a result, they scored only 28.2 points per game (70th nationally) but scored 2.38 points per possession (46th best).

In all other ways, the Hilltoppers violated my best rules of thumb. For example, on defense they had a high TFL and sack rate and were average at preventing explosive plays, yet they were poor on 3rd down. Usually, the ability to get in the backfield while also preventing explosive plays adds up to good 3rd down defense.

On the other side, they allowed a high sack rate, they were not explosive, and yet 3rd down offense was a strength. Go figure.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions of the stats used in the table below.

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