Thursday, July 24, 2008

Penalties in 2007 – Still Irrelevant to Seasonal Outcome

We (as well as the SMQ) have explored the relative mystery that penalties do not appear to have a negative impact to overall seasonal success, at least in 2006.

It’s not that a ill timed penalty can’t cost a team a game, or that a series of mistakes can’t do likewise, it is just that teams that are more penalized do not lose more often – on a season - than teams that are less penalty prone.

And the same held true in 2007.

Of the 119 NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams, 61 had winning records in 2007, and 58 even or losing records. The yards per game penalized for each group were –

Winning Teams – 54.57 ypg in penalties
Losing Teams – 54.02 ypg in penalties

You certainly cannot say that being more penalized helped a team win, it just didn’t contribute to that team losing on a seasonal basis.

Now the penalty-to-success rate of any individual team varied widely, as one might expect with a statistic that was meaningless to outcome. Take the 10 least penalized teams (and their records)

1 Navy 8-5
2 Army 3-9
3 Penn St. 9-4
4 Alabama 7-6
5 Kansas 12-1
6 Vanderbilt 5-7
7 Virginia 9-4
8 Minnesota 1-11
9 Iowa St. 3-9
10 Clemson 9-4

In this group you have one of the most successful teams in Kansas, one of the least in Minnesota, and a good range in between.

Now the most penalized teams –

110 Houston 8-5
111 La.-Monroe 6-6
112 Louisville 6-6
113 Southern Methodist 1-11
114 Ohio 6-6
115 Texas Tech 9-4
116 South Fla. 9-4
117 Southern California 11-2
118 Kansas St. 5-7
119 Cincinnati 10-3

Nearly the same as the top teams by win-loss, with highly successful USC and miserable SMU among the most penalized.

“National Champion” LSU, by-the-way, came in 97th in yards per game penalized, while Florida was 94th.

Looking at the trends by Quintile (20% intervals) and their average win percentage/win loss records –

Least Penalized (top 20%) – 53.24 win percent, average record 6.9W - 5.8L
2nd 20% - 44.72 win percent, average record 5.6W – 6.8L
3rd 20% - 48.92 win percent, average record 6.3W – 6.3L
4th 20% - 56.56 win percent, average record 7.4W – 5.5L
Most Penalized (bottom 20%) – 52.63 win percent, average record 6.7W - 5.8L

So you have the highest winning percentage among the teams that were the 2nd most penalized group, and the worst records among the teams that were the 2nd least penalized group. The winning percentages of the most and least penalized are nearly identical.

We had a theory for this phenomna which we explored in this post.

In a subsequent study we will see if it applies in 2007.

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