FanPost

Scoring margin wins championships?

Defense wins championships.  That's the old adage, provided you put up a few more points than you give up.

I was recently thinking about the prolific 2005 Texas team that set an NCAA record for points scored.  We also had a good defense that limited the number of points allowed.  Texas was #1 in scoring offense at 50.2 ppg and #8 in scoring defense at 16.4 ppg.  I decided to break out some serious math skills (a.k.a. subtraction) and look at scoring margin or margin of victory.

In 2005, Texas was #1 with an average margin of victory of 33.8 ppg.  #2 was USC at 26.3 ppg.

The BCS had it right for the final game, and #1 played #2 and #1 won.

I decided to look at seasons since 2004 to look if scoring margin was as clear a signal as it was in 2005. (All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com)

All rank #s below represent scoring margin/margin of victory

2004

BCS title game:  #3 USC (25.2) beat #10 OU (18.0)
#1 Louisville (30.1), #2 Utah (25.8)
#11 Texas  (17.4)

2006

BCS title game:  #12 Florida  (16.2) over #4 tOSU (21.8)
#1 Hawaii (22.8), #2 Boise State (22.1), #3 BYU (22.1)
#7 Texas (21.1)

2007

BCS title game:  #33 LSU (6.7) over #16 tOSU (13.7)
Florida #1 (30.7)
Texas #6 (23.6)

2008

BCS title game:  Florida #4 (23.4) over OU #6 (21.2)
Texas #1 (29.0)
Boise State #2 (26.7), TCU #4 (26.3), #5 Cincinnati (21.5)

Looking back at the last five years of BCS championship games:

  • 2004, 2005 and 2008 all ended with the team with the highest scoring margin as the winner of the BCS title game.
  • A top scoring margin team from the Big 12, SEC, Pac-10 and Big-10 frequently earns a trip to the BCS title game - exceptions are #1 Texas in 2008 (.0128) and #1 Florida in 2007. Lesser conferences need not apply.
  • 4 of the 10 participants were ranked higher than 6th in scoring margin #10 OU, #12 Florida, #33 LSU, #16 tOSU and 2 of those teams won the game. tOSU lost both of those games.

-2009

It currently looks like the BCS championship game could very well pit two top teams in terms of scoring margin, through last weekend:

#1 Texas              29
#2 Boise State    26.7
#3 TCU                 26.3
#4 Florida             23.4
#5 Cincinnati       21.5
#6 Oklahoma      21.2
#7 Alabama         20

#6 Oklahoma proves that you can win with a lot of "style points" and still not crack the AP top 25.

Texas could finish #1 in scoring margin for the third time in five years, though none of us will care unless we win the game on Jan 7th, 2010

----

Here's a somewhat related post from a few weeks back - The State of... the BCS? A Discussion on Margin of Victory As Part of the Computers.

All comments, FanPosts, and FanShots are the views of the reader-authors who create them.

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