Wake Forest and Boston College both enter Saturday’s game with only one loss. Both are only a few plays from being undefeated. Yet both got very lucky and could just as easily have lost three or four different games. So I tried to see who was more lucky so far through the statistical and the subjective.
Strength of Schedule
You can run up a good record by playing nobodies (*cough, Rutgers, cough*). Of the two schools, BC has played the tougher schedule. Our current Colley Strength of Schedule ranking is 46 (it took a hit after playing Buffalo). Wake’s is an embarrassing 114th (worse than Rutgers).
A one-point win counts as much as a 40-point win. Over the course of a season though, the big wins tend to prove a team’s worth, while too many one-point wins shows a certain amount of luck. Luck runs out. While each game is a statistically independent event, I would expect a team with a record better than their point differential to come crashing down to earth eventually. So far based purely on point differential Wake’s record is slightly better than it should with a mark of +65. BC heads into the game with the same record but a point differential of +100. For a frame of reference, here are some other teams, their record and current point differential. Rutgers, 8-0, +161. Florida, 7-1, +114. USC, 6-1, +88. Oklahoma, 6-2, +126.
“We’re lucky we won that game” wins
This is purely subjective, but something that needs to be addressed. I define “we’re lucky…” wins as anything that turned late on a somewhat fluky play and handed BC or Wake the victory. But my count, Wake has had three of these, while BC has had two.
-- Wake held off Duke with a last second blocked field goal. This was after trailing most of the day and only going ahead with just over a minute to play.
-- Wake also needed a late INT returned for a TD to hold off UConn.
-- Finally, Wake needed a last minute INT to keep UNC from sending their game into OT.
-- On BC’s side. BC blocked a Clemson PAT in OT to hold off the Tigers at home.
-- BC also needed a second OT to beat BYU. The Cougars missed a FG in the first OT.
So both teams are lucky to be where they are. Of the two I would say that WF has been more lucky/overachieved. My hope is that their luck will end starting this Saturday.