Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Point differential

As BC started tacking on wins midseason, “they’re only 6 points away from being undefeated” became a familiar refrain. But if we had pulled out narrow wins over Wake and Pitt, we still may have not been as good as our record would have looked if you examine point differential. In the Pros, point differential is meaningless because things are settled on the field and the inevitable parity that comes from having just 32 teams. But in college it is a great indicator of how good or bad a team is playing and if they are playing over their heads or are underachieving. If you look back at the past ten years you’ll find most National Championship teams have very strong (+200) point differentials.

Take a look at the some of the top teams and their point differential heading into the bowl games:
USC  (12-0) +292
Oklahoma  (12-0) +269
Auburn  (12-0) +266
Utah  (11-0) +283
Boise State  (11-0) +283
Louisville  (10-1) +358

Now take a look at teams with similar records to BC. (I selected two schools from BCS conferences that people would assume were stronger than Big East teams.)

Boston College  (8-3) +79
Pittsburgh  (8-3) +65
Texas A&M  (7-4) +45
Ohio State  (7-4) +80

So it looks like BC is inline with its pears. And if we play the “what if" game and add 8 points (4 each for a potential win at Wake and Pitt) and even add another 30 points (call it a shoot out win over ‘Cuse) BC still would have come up way short in point differential when compared to other undefeated teams.

And just to reinforce point differential as a college indicator, I randomly selected two bad BCS teams.

Mississippi St.  (3-8) -108
Washington  (1-10) -180

Oh, and for what it’s worth:

North Carolina  (6-5) -51

1 comment:

Jay said...

Wow, -51 for UNC. Look at their schedule? They got KILLED in some of the losses...

56-24 vs UVA #20
34-0 vs Louisville #22
46-16 vs Utah #10

3 losses by 30 or more points. Yikes.

Then again, their schedule is way better than BC's, 7 teams ranked in the Top 25, vs 2 for BC including #25 ND who finished 6-5 and unranked and an overrated WV team.

Any doubt that TOB would have gone 2-9 at BC with this schedule, beating only Wililam and Mary and Duke? UNC's other wins were Wake Forest (who beat us), GT who beat Cuse handily last night (and we know how we did vs Cuse), #3 Miami (yeah right TOB wins that game) and #25 NC State.

I'm thinking UNC steamrolls us. Fortunately it's a 1pm game next week so no one will be watching.