Friday, August 14, 2009

The Superlative Teams of the Decade

Part 2 - Scoring Defense

In our last piece in this series we revealed the top offenses of the decade statistically using standard deviation from the mean.

Now its time for the top defenses. The average Scoring Defense, or mean, for the years 2000-2008 is 25.7 points surrendered per game. Our data sample of 1054 team's Scoring Defenses shows a standard deviation of 6.8.

Perhaps not surprisingly, with zero serving as a bottom limit of our sample, there are no teams with a 3 standard deviation from the mean, or a Scoring Defense of less than 5.3 points per game. So we will look at those teams that were more than 2 standard deviations from the mean, or a Scoring Defense less than 12.1 points per game.

They are (with Scoring Defense)–

2008 Southern California 9
2001 Miami (Fla.) 9.4
2000 TCU 9.6
2000 Florida St. 10.3
2005 Alabama 10.7
2003 LSU 11
2006 Virginia Tech 11
2004 Auburn 11.3
2008 TCU 11.31
2000 Toledo 11.4
2000 Western Mich. 11.6
2002 Kansas St. 11.8
2006 Wisconsin 12.1

BCS title winners in this group include the ’01 Canes and the ’03 LSU Tigers. The 2004 Auburn squad was undefeated but didn’t get to play for the BCS title.

Two of these teams had 3 loss seasons – the ’06 Hokies and ’00 Western Michigan team. Miami and Auburn were undefeated in their seasons, while Alabama, TCU and Kansas State had 2 losses. The rest had a single loss. (Also, in retrospect, what a squandered opportunity were last year's Trojans? The best defense of the decade. But for that loss at Oregon State...).

Average Scoring Defense for this group is 10.8, with an average Win-Loss record of 11 – 1.4.

For a sample size of 1054 data points to have only 13 teams beyond 2 standard deviations is remarkable.

Where are the other BCS title winners in terms of Scoring Defense? If we rank the 9 BCS winners among the 1054 teams we find –

2. Miami ‘01
6. LSU ‘03
21. Florida ‘08
22. USC ‘04
24. Ohio State ‘02
26. Florida ‘06
63. Oklahoma ‘00
75. Texas ‘05
229. LSU ‘07

(LSU’s ’07 number is an aberration due to 2 overtime games where a huge number of points were scored.)

It is pretty remarkable that, excepting the ’07 LSU team, the BCS winners of the decade had defenses in the top 7% of all teams (75/1054).

The Truly Miserable

Hard as this seems to believe, there were actually 2 teams that found their way to 3 standard deviations above the mean, or teams that gave up more that 46.1 points per game in Scoring Defense. They were –

2002 Eastern Mich. 47.2
2008 North Texas 47.58

Somehow Eastern Michigan managed 3 wins, while North Texas last year had 1.

The worst major conference teams of the decade for Scoring Defense were the winless Duke team of 2001 (44.6 ppg) and last season’s ’08 Washington State which gave up 43.9 ppg on their way to a 2 win campaign.

Stat Geek Stuff

A fairly normal looking distribution here, albeit with a heavy concentration to the middle (most scoring defense clustered around the mean).

Next – Top Margins of Victory of the Decade

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