White and Nerdy: The Georgia Bulldogs and the Rest of the Nation


A few weeks ago I dropped a lot of data on folks, bored most of them and puked out some graphs in the process.  Well if you hated that you’ll hate this – but hopefully not quite as fervently.  Here is an update on the scoring coefficients that I explained here.


Best Conferences: 

Offensively the Big 12 is the nation’s most prolific in scoring with an average offensive coefficient of 0.8811.  Again, this implies that if a Big 12 team scored one point against your defense it is the equivalent of an average – or “normalized” – team scoring 0.8811 points.  Big 12 defenses struggle, so not surprisingly the Big 12 is the only conference in America that averages more points per game than the national average.

Defensively the Southeastern Conference is king with a defensive coefficient of 1.3604.  Again, a point scored on an average SEC defense is the equivalent of 1.3604 points scored against an average – or “normalized” defense.  The Big East, Big Ten, Pac 12, Mountain West, Mac and ACC also boast “better than average” defensive units.

The SEC also leads the nation in Coefficient Differential with a tally of 0.2825.  Surprisingly, the second closest conference is the Big East.  The SEC and the Big East are joined by the Big Ten, the Big 12 and the Pac 12 as “positive” teams, which means that a typical school from those conferences averages a win against a “normalized” opponent.


 Worst Conferences: 

A few years ago the WAC was known for high-volume shootouts, but as teams have switched affiliations the conference has lost its offensive firepower and is now the nation’s worst in offensive coefficient at 1.1721.

Defensively Conference USA is the worst conference in the country with a coefficient of 0.8797.  But, Conference USA is the most patriotic conference.  C-USA is joined by the Sun Belt, the Big 12 and the WAC as sub-par defensive performers.

The WAC also holds the title of “Worst Football Conference in America” thanks to a negative differential coefficient of -0.2071.  Conference USA, the MAC, the Sun Belt, the ACC and the Mountain West (this is just a Who’s Who of bad football) also have negative averages.


Best Teams: 

Louisiana Tech is now the nation’s most explosive offense with a coefficient of 0.5516.  Oregon, Baylor, Clemson and Texas A&M round out the top-5.

Alabama boasts the stoutest defense with a coefficient of 2.8297 (again, a point against Alabama is almost the equivalent of 3 points against a “normal” defense).  The Tide is joined in the top-5 by Notre Dame, Florida Boise State and BYU.

Alabama also boast the nation’s largest coefficient differential, followed by Notre Dame, Boise State, Florida and BYU.


Worst Teams: 

The worst team in the nation at scoring is still UMass.  If you surrender 1 point to the Minutemen it is the equivalent of 2.2437 points to an average team.  They are joined in the bottom five by Illinois, New Mexico State, Idaho and Auburn.

Colorado has the nation’s worst defense with a coefficient of just 0.5994.  Also in the bottom five you will find Idaho, Marshall, West Virginia and Hawaii.

The nation’s five worst teams according to this model are UMass, Illinois, Idaho, New Mexico State and Colorado.


The SEC 

Here’s how the SEC shapes up along with each team’s national ranking:

Team Offensive Coefficient Offensive Rank
Alabama 0.7646 14th
Arkansas 1.3417 98th
Auburn 1.8071 120th
Florida 1.0491 70th
Georgia 0.7607 18th
Kentucky 1.7272 119th
LSU 0.9619 53rd
Miss. State 1.0183 62nd
Missouri 1.2657 92nd
Ole Miss 0.9709 56th
South Carolina 0.8856 40th
Tennessee 0.8162 27th
Texas A&M 0.6767 5th
Vanderbilt 1.0633 73rd
Team Defensive Coefficient Defensive Rank
Alabama 2.8297 1st
Arkansas 0.9211 74th
Auburn 0.9432 69th
Florida 2.0264 4th
Georgia 1.5863 14th
Kentucky 0.8512 92nd
LSU 1.7353 9th
Miss. State 1.2081 33rd
Missouri 0.9489 68th
Ole Miss 0.9971 61st
South Carolina 1.5549 16th
Tennessee 0.7569 108th
Texas A&M 1.2524 28th
Vanderbilt 1.4342 21st
Team Coefficient Differential Differential Rank
Alabama 2.0836 1st
Arkansas -0.4206 101st
Auburn -0.8638 117th
Florida 0.97737 4th
Georgia 0.8257 9th
Kentucky -0.8760 118th
LSU 0.7734 9th
Miss. State 0.1897 46th
Missouri -0.3167 89th
Ole Miss 0.0266 60th
South Carolina 0.6693 13th
Tennessee -0.0594 71st
Texas A&M 0.5757 17th
Vanderbilt 0.3709 28th



The National Champions: 

One of the following three teams will hoist the National Championship Trophy: Top-Ranked Notre Dame, SEC West Champ Alabama or SEC East Champ Georgia.

Here what their schedules against FBS opposition have looked like with “normalized” scores.  Again, we’ll take the games actual result but dilute it to represent an average opponent using the oppositions’ offensive and defensive coefficients.  It effectively levels the playing field.

Notre Dame: 

  • Defeats Navy 56-12
  • Defeats Purdue 18-17
  • Defeats Michigan State 28-4
  • Defeats Michigan 18-6
  • Defeats Miami 28-3
  • Defeats Stanford 34-13
  • Defeats BYU 28-14
  • Defeats Oklahoma 33-9
  • Defeats Pitt 39-28
  • Defeats Boston College 19-9
  • Defeats Wake Forest 33-0
  • Defeats USC 26-11

The exact calculations (not the rounded values above) show that had Notre Dame played an average offensive team and an average defensive team in each week of the 2012 season the Irish would have had an average final score of 30.02 – 10.61.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m impressed by these figures.  Much more so than I was just a few weeks ago when I ran them.



  • Defeats Michigan 62-13
  • Defeats Western KY 37-0
  • Defeats Arkansas 48-0
  • Defeats Fla. Atlantic 33-9
  • Defeats Ole Miss 33-14
  • Defeats Mizzou 40-13
  • Defeats Tennessee 33-11
  • Defeats Miss. State 46-7
  • Defeats LSU 36-16
  • Defeats Texas A&M 30-20
  • Defeats Auburn 46-0

The most glaring figure here is the Texas A&M game which was a 24-29 loss in reality.  You can see just how good Texas A&M (the team that lost to LSU and Florida in the SEC) really is by that discrepancy.  If Alabama had squared off against an average offense and an average defense in each week of the 2012 season the average score of the 11 games above would have been 40.49 – 9.30.  Wow.



  • Defeats Buffalo 46-36
  • Defeats Missouri 39-25
  • Defeats Fla. Atlantic 47-26
  • Defeats Vandy 69-3
  • Defeats Tennessee 39-36
  • Loses to South Carolina 11-31
  • Loses to Kentucky 25-41
  • Defeats Florida 34-9
  • Defeats Ole Miss 37-10
  • Defeats Auburn 36-0
  • Defeats Georgia Tech 36-8

I’ll speak at length on this tomorrow, but one of the most intriguing things in all of the data I’ve surveyed (of each team) it the turnaround Georgia had following the Kentucky game.  Georgia went from losing two consecutive normalized games by 20 and 16 point margins respectively to blowing out its final four opponents by a total of 116 points.  When combined with the unbelievable performance against Vandy, only one school rivals Georgia in paradoxical data – BYU.  In any event, had Georgia played 11 average offenses and 11 average defenses in 2012 the average score of the games would have been 37.99 – 17.39.


For What It’s Worth: 

Despite never losing a game in real competition or against “normalized” hypothetical foes, Notre Dame has the smallest average normalized margin of victory given the data above at 19.41.  Georgia’s edges that of the Irish at 20.60.  Alabama is cruising with an average margin of victory of 31.19 against normalized foes.


Other Awesome Data: 

  • You may have heard this already, but Southern Miss Head Coach Ellis Johnson just got fired.  Probably because his Eagles went 0-12.  Something I hadn’t noticed until reviewing this data.
  • Another oddity in Conference USA was Memphis’ close to the season.  The Tigers opened the season with an embarrassing loss to FCS Tennessee-Martin and raced to a 1-8 start while averaging fewer than 19 points per game against FBS opposition.  They finished the year on a 3-0 winning streak tallying 37, 46 and 42 points in the process.  Go figure.
  • I didn’t realize schools played 13 regular season games.  This is the case for South Alabama as they play 12 FBS opponents and an FCS foe.  Know of any others?


Those Tricky Mormons:

At 7-5, BYU is a statistical anomaly on every possible level.  The Cougars boast a slightly below-average offense (coefficient of 1.0250) but a stout defense (5th in the nation with coefficient of 1.9288).  Thus they boast a tremendous coefficient differential (5th in the nation).

This problem just doesn’t occur often for teams relatively poor records.  Twenty of the top-25 teams in coefficient differential have been ranked in the BCS Poll this season – and 19 of those teams have been ranked within the last three weeks.  Four other teams – Wisconsin, UCF, Fresno State and Penn State – are receiving votes or have received votes in other polls during the latter portion of the season.  But BYU is 7-5 and ranked 5th in this category right in the middle of a 17-team stretch that’s been ranked in the BCS Polls.

Here’s how it has happened.  BYU is currently a conference independent team – and this is the Cougars first season with such a title.  Accordingly, they have a wide array of opposition.  And with that wide array of opposition has come three very distinct sets of results.  BYU beats up on bad teams and loses to top teams while splitting games with all other teams.  Here’s the breakdown:

Bad Teams (Coefficient Differential Rank) Game Score:

  • Washington (81st) BYU wins 30-6
  • Hawaii (119th) BYU wins 47-0
  • Idaho (122nd) BYU wins 52-13
  • New Mexico State (121st) BYU wins 50-14


Good Teams (Coefficient Differential Rank) Game Score:

  • Boise State (3rd) BYU loses 7-6
  • Notre Dame (2nd) BYU loses 17-14
  • San Jose State (25th) BYU loses 20-14


Other Teams (Coefficient Differential Rank) Game Score:

  • Utah (73rd) BYU loses 24-21
  • Oregon State (31st) BYU loses 42-24
  • Georgia Tech (59th) BYU wins 41-17


The lone exception to all of this is BYU’s win over a top-25 coefficient differential team, Utah State, by a score of 6-3.

So in short: the Mormons are bullying bad teams, surviving against middle-of-the-road teams and losing close games to good teams.


NEED SOMETHING MORE FUN?  Check out this Photo.

Be Sure to Read this Coverage of Conference Championship Week as well:


That’s all I got/



About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on November 27, 2012, in Blog, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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