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Statistically Speaking: LA or South Beach?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

LA or South Beach?

The USC mini-dynasty we have witnessed in the last 3 seasons is very similar to the Miami mini-dynasty that took place from 2000-2002. Both teams had the same starting quarterback for all 3 years of their mini-dynasty. Miami had Ken Dorsey and USC had Matt Leinart. Both teams lost early on in the first year of their run. Miami lost at Washington and USC lost at Cal. Both losses crippled their title hopes, but USC was able to rebound and win a share of the national title, while Miami was able to make a case for a #2 BCS ranking, but was ultimately denied. Both teams won titles in the 2nd year of their run, 2001 and 2004. Finally, both teams went undefeated in the third year of their run and lost in the BCS title game to underdogs. What I want to do is sift through the data and determine whose run is more impressive. First let’s start by examining all 6 separate seasons.

Miami 2000
W/L:
11-1
Points Scored: 506 42.2 per game
Points Allowed: 190 15.8 per game
Opponent’s Record: 80-51 .610
Miami played Division IAA McNeese St, and if we include their 8-4 record, then Miami’s opponent’s winning percentage goes up to .615 (88-55)
Record Against Winning Teams (excluding McNeese St.): Miami went 7-1 against teams with winning records, losing only at 11-1 Washington by 5 points. Miami beat West Virginia (7-5), Pittsburgh (7-5), Syracuse (6-5), and Boston College (7-5). However, the ‘Canes 3 most impressive wins were over Florida St. (11-1) by 3 points, Virginia Tech (11-1) by 20, and Florida (10-3) by 17 in the Sugar Bowl.
Road Record: 4-1
Miami’s only blemish was at Washington. The rest of their road schedule was relatively easy, with West Virginia representing their toughest road test the rest of the way.
Record in Close Games: 1-1
Miami only played in 2 games decided by 8 points or less. A mark of a great team is not winning the close ones, but avoiding them altogether.

Miami 2001
W/L:
12-0
Points Scored: 512 42.7 per game
Points Allowed: 117 9.8 per game
Opponent’s Record: 81-60 .574
Record Against Winning Teams: Miami went 8-0 against teams with winning records. They beat Pittsburgh (7-5), Troy (7-4), Florida St. (8-4), Boston College (8-4), Syracuse (10-3), Washington (8-4), Virginia Tech (8-4), and Nebraska (11-2). Miami didn’t really beat any great teams this season besides Nebraska, but they beat a large number of good ones.
Road Record: 5-0
4 of the 5 road games were against teams with winning records.
Record in Close Games: 1-0
Another testament to Miami’s greatness in 2001. They played only one close game, a 2 point win at Virginia Tech.

Miami 2002
W/L:
12-1
Points Scored: 527 40.5 per game
Points Allowed: 248 19.1 per game
Opponent’s Record: 91-64 .587
Miami played Division IAA Florida A&M, and if we include their 7-5 record, Miami’s winning percentage stays the same at .587 (98-69).
Record Against Winning Teams (excluding Florida A&M): Miami went 7-1 against teams with winning records with their only loss coming in the Fiesta Bowl to Ohio St. Miami beat Florida (8-5), Boston College (9-4), Florida State (9-5), West Virginia (9-4), Tennessee (8-5), Pittsburgh (9-4), and Virginia Tech (10-4). Again, no great wins but a lot of good ones.
Road Record: 6-0
3 of the road games were Florida, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
Record in Close Games: 2-1
Miami beat Florida St. by 1, Pittsburgh by 7, and lost to Ohio St. by 7 in OT.


USC 2003
W/L:
12-1
Points Scored: 534 41.1 per game
Points Allowed: 239 18.4 per game
Opponent’s Record: 85-79 .518
Record Against Winning Teams: The Trojans went 5-1 against winning teams. They defeated Auburn (8-5), Hawaii (9-5), Washington St. (10-3), Oregon St. (8-5), and Michigan (10-3) in the Rose Bowl. They lost to Cal (8-6). The Washington St. and Michigan wins are good, but nowhere near the caliber of wins Miami had in the first year of their mini-dynasty.
Road Record: 5-1
The Trojans best road win was Auburn.
Record in Close Games: 0-1
One sign of greatness, USC was only really challenged by Cal.

USC 2004
W/L:
13-0
Points Scored: 496 38.2 per game
Points Allowed: 169 13 per game
Opponent’s Record: 82-70 .539
Record Against Winning Teams: The Trojans went 5-0 against winning teams. They beat Arizona St. (9-3) and Oregon St. (7-5). However, their most impressive wins were over Virginia Tech (10-3) in the season opener across the country in Landover, Maryland, at home against Cal (10-2) and of course the beat down of Oklahoma (12-1) in the Orange Bowl.
Road Record: 5-0
The Trojans best road win was Oregon State. All their other road games were against bad teams. However, the Virginia Tech win might as well be counted as a roadie.
Record in Close Games: 4-0
The Trojans struggles in 3 road games against bad to mediocre team. They beat Stanford (4-7) by 3, Oregon St. (7-5) by 8, and UCLA (6-6) by 5. They also beat a very good Cal team by 6 at home.

USC 2005
W/L:
12-1
Points Scored: 638 49.1 per game
Points Allowed: 297 22.8 per game
Opponent’s Record: 88-65 .575
Record Against Winning Teams: The Trojans went 6-1 against winning teams. They defeated Arizona St. (7-5), Cal (8-4), Fresno St. (8-5), Notre Dame (9-3), Oregon (10-2) and one of the worst 10-win teams in recent memory (10-2) UCLA. They lost the Rose Bowl to Texas.
Road Record: 6-0
The Trojans best Oregon, Arizona St., Notre Dame, and Cal on the road.
Record in Close Games: 2-1
The Trojans beat Notre Dame by 3, Fresno St. by 8, and lost to Texas by 3.



The cumulative stats:

Miami 2000-2002
W/L:
35-2 .946
Points Scored: 1545 41.8 per game
Points Allowed: 555 15 per game
Opponent’s Record: 252-175 .590
With McNeese St. and Florida A&M: 267-184 .592
Record Against Winning Teams: 22-2 .917
Road Record: 15-1 .938
Record in Close Games: 4-2 .667

USC 2003-2005
W/L:
37-2 .949
Points Scored: 1668 42.8 per game
Points Allowed: 705 18.1 per game
Opponent’s Record: 255-214 .544
Record Against Winning Teams: 16-2 .889
Road Record: 17-1 .944 (includes the Virginia Tech game in Landover, Maryland)
Record in Close Games: 6-2 .750


I am inclined to say Miami’s 3-year run was more impressive. They had a better point differential against a more difficult schedule. They beat more winning teams. They played fewer close games, indicating they were more dominant. Miami’s 2 losses came to teams with a combined 25-1 record. Washington was 11-1 and Ohio St. was 14-0. USC’s 2 losses came to teams with a combined record of 21-6. Cal was only 8-6 and Texas was 13-0. In the end, the ‘bad’ loss to Cal probably seals the deal in Miami’s favor. Just because USC won 2 titles compared o Miami’s one shouldn’t automatically clinch it for them. When a 1-loss team wins the title, a lot of things have to happen. These things are not necessarily an indication this 1-loss team is better than other 1-loss teams from past years. The right teams have to lose. When Miami had 1 loss in 2000, they had a great argument to play for the national title instead of Florida St. (of course, Washington did too). Only Oklahoma was undefeated in 2000. USC was fortunate that every team had at least 1 loss in 2003. This enabled them to win a share of the national title. Miami was not so fortunate in 2000, and should not be penalized for that.

25 Comments:

Blogger STR said...

whatever dude, are you NUTS! 2 Words.....Reggie Bush, I have to disagree with you on this one matt.

7:53 AM  
Blogger STR said...

Miami blowing it to Ohio State in the National Championship is losing to a piss poor Washington team in 2000 is enough reason to say that they can't even hold up Reggie Bush's jockstrap

8:01 AM  
Blogger matt said...

Have you forgotten Willis McGahee? Before his knee got ripped to shreds on national TV, he was one of the best backs I had ever seen in college. And the U still almost pulled it out. They would have if not for a bogus PI call on 4th down in OT.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Heisman Pundit said...

Let's not forget that included in Miami's schedule from 2000-2002 was McNeese State (2000), Rutgers (three times), Temple (three times), Florida A&M, Connecticut, Louisiana Tech and Troy State.

So about 33 per cent of Miami's wins came against teams that are either barely 1-AA or in the nether regions of Div. I.

I think that right there, that disqualifies them from this argument.

The best of those teams was not as good as the worst of the teams USC played.

10:35 PM  
Blogger matt said...

The bad teams on Miami's schedule may have been worse than the bad teams on USC's schedule, but the fact still remains that Miami's opponents had a better overall record. They beat more teams with winning records during this span than USC. Plus, USC lost to Cal! Cal was 8-6 that year. Besides USC, the only teams with winning records that Cal beat were VT (8-5) and Southern Miss (9-4). That bad loss seals it for Miami.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Heisman Pundit said...

Just because your opponents have a better overall record means nothing.

Florida A&M went 7-5 in its Div 1-AA schedule in 2002 (the year it played Miami). Yet you count them as being a team with a winning schedule. Do you really think they would have beaten a 4-8 Arizona team?

The year Miami played McNeese State, McNeese State was 8-3 overall. But THEY ARE A DIV.I-AA SCHOOL!!!!

Your numbers are skewed because you include these teams as part of the teams with winning records.

As for Cal, say what you want about them, but that was a team that lost a lot of close games because it was killed by injuries and the next year when it was healthy, it went 10-2. The quarterback who beat USC that day was a first round pick. Cal went on to beat a Virginia Tech team that had crushed Miami. As it was, USC was also breaking in a young quarterback that day, but he quickly improved.

Miami's loss up at Washington was not as close as the score indicated. And Washington had lousy talent on defense that somehow held Santana Moss to one catch.

If you eliminate 33% of Miami's wins, since they came over absolute crap, then we see whose run was more impressive. And it's not even close

8:36 PM  
Blogger matt said...

If you'll notice, I also listed Miami's opponent's record excluding McNeese and Florida A&M and did not include them in the teams with winning records Miami beat. You're argument that USC was breaking in a new QB holds no water. Who cares, they lost. If I use that logic, Miami was breaking in Ken Dorsey earlier (2nd game as opposed to 4th for Leinart). Also the Washington game may have been 21-3 at the half, but Miami battled back and actually outgained the Huskies. The game was not decided until the final minutes. As far as Cal losing 'a lot' of close games in 2003, they went 2-3 in games decided by 7 points or less. That's hardly a lot of close games. They did beat VT by 3, who beat Miami by 24. But, that Miami team is not included in the 3 year run. If USC continues their run this year, then of course their run will be better, but I am living in the present not the future. Plus when Cal went 10-2, they lost by 14 to Texas Tech, a team with a gimmick offense.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Heisman Pundit said...

I think you are splitting hairs on a lot of the things you use to determine that Miami had the better run.

Miami won games by 26.8, USC by 24.7. That's 2 points per game more. That could come down to something as simple as when did the reserves come in?

I think your numbers are also skewed by Miami's easier conference schedule.

Miami played six more teams with winning records, but that does not take into account why those teams had winning records (the weak Big East). For instance, take that 8-4 BC team that barely lost to Miami in 2001 (note that you do not count that game as close, even though BC was down 12-7 on the last drive and was driving and Miami got a miracle play to make it 18-7). Of those team's 8 wins, five were against 3-8 WVU, plus Army, Navy, Temple and Rutgers. In fact, BC beat TWO teams with winning records all season, one in the bowl. Most of those Big East teams with winning records that Miami beat achieved their winning records in much the same way. Basically, the Pac-10 has been a better conference up and down than the Big East, which is why those records can be deceiving.

Basically, USC played a tougher schedule overall. And those 11 games that I brought up earlier skew your overall offensive and defensive stats. Miami has better numbers there because they were playing worse teams! You discount McNeese State and Florida A&M from the winning teams column, but you include the scores when calculating the stats! Hardly fair.

And of the 'tough' Miami games, FSU (except for 2000), Florida and Tennessee also went through down periods during this time for Miami.

Finally, I think you fail to bring up one great stat in USC's favor: its record and dominance of ranked teams during that time.

Miami played 13 teams that ended the season ranked by the AP. Those 13 teams had an average ranking of 15th and 6 of them were ranked worse than 15th, meaning that it played a lot of ranked teams with 3, 4 or even 5 losses. It won those games by an average of 39-20.

USC played 10 teams that were ranked at the end of the season by the AP. Only three were ranked worse than 15th. Those tams had an average ranking of 12th. USC won by an average of 40-15.

What's more, USC played more top 10 teams than Miami during that time (5 to 3) and won those by an average of 37 to 19. Miami won its games against top 10 foes by an average of 35-20.

There are other things which color your analysis. You note that this year's UCLA team was one of the worst 10-2 teams ever. But what about the 10-3 2001 Syracuse team that lost to Miami 59-0? That team's signature wins were over 8-4 BC and 8-4 Va. Tech, the only ranked teams it beat. UCLA beat a ranked 8-4 Oklahoma team and a ranked 8-4 Cal team. Point being, UCLA and Syracuse were about the same.

In the end, the things you look at are really splitting hairs. Both teams were dominant and I don't think you can tell who was better by looking at the numbers, since they don't play the same schedule.

Where the tie breaker comes in is in the fact that USC won its two titles, was able to hold on to No. 1 for a record amount of time (thus ensuring the bullseye was on its back), managed to weather the storm of the three-peat spotlight up until the last game and did things like garner three Heismans, set offensive records (like the 3,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard rushers, 1000 yards receiver in the same season, best combined backfield yardage ever, NEVER scored less than 23 points during that entire stretch, led nation in rush defense two-straight years, etc.)

Finally, the coaching I think is another tie breaker. Put up Pete Carroll on defense and Norm Chow on offense against those Miami teams and I think USC wins the game.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

imo the tie breaker is the fact that Miami did not have a season that compared to USC's 2002 season. From looking at just 3 years I have to side with Miami.

Remember that neither the 1 loss Miami team in 2000 or the 1 loss USC team in 2003 was invited to the BCS title game. The difference was just that the USC had no undefeated teams to compete with for votes.

Had Florida state beaten oklahoma it's very possible that Miami would have also won a split championship.

So anyway I think USC has been more of a "dynasty" but Miami had a better 3 year run.

11:53 PM  
Blogger matt said...

I agree I am splitting hairs. Miami's 3 year stretch was slightly more impressive than USC's. It's not by much. I don't use poll rankings in coming up with my data because the polls are skewed. Remember why we came up with the blog poll in the first place? Football is a team sport, so I am not counting Heisman's or unique offensive stats like the 3,000 yard passer, 1,000 yard rusher, and 2 1,000 yard receivers in the same season. Think about it, is a team with a 1,000 yard rusher really better than a team with 2 backs who gain 6 yards each? I'll give USC credit for having a unique offensive season, but to suggest that that in itself connotates greatness is silly. As far as UCLA, they were outscored in conference play by 35 points! and still went 6-2. That Syracuse team beat 5 teams with winning records. Central Florida (6-5), Auburn (7-5), Pitt (7-5), VT (8-4) and BC (8-4). Their 3 losses came to Georgia Tech (8-5), Tennessee (11-2), and Miami (12-0). UCLA lost 38 to a 3-8 Arizona team. The Bruins beat Oklahoma (8-4), Cal (8-4), Arizona St. (7-5), and Northwestern (7-5). So the wins are comparable, but the losses are not. Losing to a 3-8 team by 38 indicates you might not be that good.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Heisman Pundit said...

Sure poll rankings are skewed, because they are based on records, which are skewed because of scheduling. Yet you use the 'winning record' canard as a main criteria.

For the record, I found no use for the blogpoll, which ended up mirroring the AP poll anyway.

Finally, you do not address the fact that Miami's far easier schedule (33 per cent of the wins were against unadulterated crap teams) not only allowed them to win all those games, but also skew your offensive and defensive numbers. Since USC played in a tougher conference and played a tougher schedule, USC's 34 in a row was a greater accomplishment. I think you are ignoring that fact.

11:13 AM  
Blogger matt said...

Here's the list of teams that Miami and USC beat that had 3 or fewer wins or were not Division I. Miami beat 7 such teams. McNeese St, Rutgers (3-8), and La Tech (3-9) in 2000. Rutgers (2-9) and West Virginia (3-8) in 2001. Florida A&M and Rutgers (1-11) in 2002. USC beat Arizona (2-10) in 2003. Washington (1-10) and Arizona (3-8) in 2004. Washington (2-9) and Arizona (3-8) in 2005. So the final tally stands with 7 'weak' wins for Miami and '5' for USC. Miami still beat more teams with winning records and didn't lose to a mediocre Cal team. Had they lost to BC or Pitt in 2000 instead of Washington, I would certainly side with USC. But facts are facts. Miami played better against a more difficult schedule and avoided bad losses.

2:02 PM  
Blogger USC Dynasty said...

Your criteria of 3 wins or less is completely arbitrary. What about Temple? They won 4 games each of those three years, but that does not mean they were better than a 2 win Arizona team. And yet you do not include them as a really bad team that Miami beat 3 times.

In 2000, Temple beat Navy, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Rutgers.

In 2001, Temple beat Navy, Rutgers, West Virginia (which was 3-8) and UConn.

In 2002, Temple beat Richmond, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers.

Hardly quality wins on temple's part.

The fact remains that Miami played 11 teams in its run that would not be able to beat the worst teams USC played during its run.

And you include the stats from all 11 of those games in your offensive and defensive stats.

That is why your analysis is skewed. You CAN'T give Miami more credit for beating a 4-8 Temple team than you give USC credit for beating a 2-10 Arizona team. It's apples and oranges.

3:05 PM  
Blogger matt said...

If we include teams with 4 wins or less Miami's gets 4 more 'weak' wins, Temple thrice and Syracuse in 2002. USC gets Brigham Young (4-8) and Stanford (4-7) in 2003. Colorado St. (4-7) and Stanford (4-7) in 2004. And Arkansas (4-7) and Washington St. (4-7) in 2005. Those 4 win Stanford teams are better than Temple, but are they really that much better? USC should not get any extra credit fot beating them. The fact remains: Miami beat more winning teams than USC. And they avoided bad losses. They did have some cupcakes, but overall, their schedule was at least as difficult if not more so than USC's.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous uscdynasty said...

well, I guess you are just not going to be convinced.

It has been shown that USC beat more top 10 teams.

It has been shown that Miami played more lower end teams--that fully 1/3 of their wins came against teams that are at best in the bottom 5-10 of college football.

The point is not that USC get any extra credit for beating them, it's that when you calculate miami's stats, you do not weigh the fact that they played a weaker schedule.

Playing a weaker schedule allows you to score more points and give up fewer points. It also makes it easier to win 34 in a row.

USC played a tougher schedule because it played in a tougher conference. It dominated against he elite competition (top 10 teams) and held the No. 1 spot for a record time. It won more games overall. It also won two national titles--which Miami didn't do--and won two Heismans in that span.

The Miami run was ended by an Ohio State team that had one of the weakest title years in memory, while USC's was stopped by a Texas team that was one of the best of all time.

The only similarity to the two teams is that their other loss came, fittingly, to a Pac-10 team. Which just is a testament to the superiority and strength of USC's schedule over Miami's.

7:39 PM  
Blogger matt said...

I see you are not going to be convinced. The schedule strength (oppponent's winning percentage) clearly shows Miami played a more difficult schedule. They beat more teams with winning records (I know, broken record). USC was 2 more wins because they played 2 more games. Though Miami lost to a 'weak' national champion, they did not lose to a medicore Cal team. You continually ignore that piece of USC's resume. Intelligent minds can disagree.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous uscdynasty said...

intelligent minds can disagree, yes, but they can also agree if they actually acknowledge a point being made.

You made Point A, which is that Miami played more teams with winning records and so Miami had a tougher schedule.

I (and HP) made Point B, which is that most of those teams beat really weak competition in a weak league (the Big East), thus enabling them to have winning records.

I also made point C, which said that playing such an easy schedule (those 11 teams in particular) skewed your offensive and defensive stats in Miami's favor.

Point D was also made, that USC beat more top 10 teams by a wider margin.

You have replied to none of these points, but have instead reiterated point A.

At this point, without addressing points B through D, the only differential you can make between USC and Miami is that Washington was better than Cal to lose to. But you don't really know that. Your only basis for that is the team's records. You have no idea if Cal would have beaten that Washington team or not, or if Cal would have beaten Miami or not.

We will obviously have to disagree, but most assuredly, you did not properly address points B through D.

11:40 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Point B:
If the Big East (2000-2002) was truly much weaker than the Pac 10 (2003-2005), then the winning teams in the Big East that Miami beat should not have a goo record against winning teams themselves as they would just beat up on each other. Here's the record of the winning Big East teams Miami beat against other winning teams excluding Miami:

2000:
WVU 3-4
VT 8-0
Pitt 2-4
Cuse 2-4
BC 1-4
Total: 16-16

2001:
Pitt 3-3
BC 2-3
Cuse 5-2
VT 2-3
Total: 12-11

2002:
BC 2-3
WVU 3-3
Pitt 4-2
VT 5-2
Total: 14-10

Cummulative: 42-37 .532

Now here's how every winning Pac 10 team that USC beat did against other winning teams excluding USC.

2003:
Wash St. 4-0
Ore St. 3-3
Total: 7-3

2004:
Cal 3-1
Ari St. 4-1
Ore St. 1-4
Total: 8-6

2005:
Ore 3-1
Ari St. 2-3
Cal 0-2
UCLA 4-0
Total: 9-6

Cummulative: 24-15 .615

I will concede this point to you, the Pac 10 was tougher than the Big East during this stretch.

Point C:
Here are Miami and USC's scoring margin when we exclude teams with losing records or teams that are Division IAA.

Miami
2000: Scored 294 Allowed 122 in 8 games
2001: Scored 335 Allowed 107 in 8 games
2002: Scored 329 Allowed 186 in 9 games
Total: Scored 958 Allowed 415 in 25 games
Total Scoring Margin: 21.72 per game

USC:
2003: Scored 281 Allowed 147 in 7 games
2004: Scored 245 Allowed 110 in 7 games
2005: Scored 306 Allowed 184 in 7 games
Total: Scored 832 Allowed 441 in 21 games
Total Scoring Margin: 18.62 per game

So actually the scoring margin for Miami actually increases. Point C was not even true. Nice try.

Point D:
In the Final AP and Coaches Polls here are the teams Miami and USC beat.

Miami:
2000:
Florida St. (5 AP, 4 Coaches)
Virginia Tech (6 and 6)
Florida (10 AP, 11 Coaches)

2001:
Nebraska (8 AP, 7 Coaches)

2002:
none

USC:
2003:
Washington St. (9 and 9)
Michigan (6 AP, 7 Coaches)

2004:
Virginia Tech (10 and 10)
Cal (9 and 9)
Oklahoma (3 and 3)

2005:
Notre Dame (9 AP, 11 Coaches)

So that's 4 for Miami and 6 for USC. Point D is valid, but is 2 top 10 team really that big a deal? Here's the scoring margin for those games.

Miami: Scored 142 Allowed 79
Scoring Margin 15.75 per game

USC: Scored 207 Allowed 110
Scoring Margin 16.17 per game

USC does have a narrow lead in scoring margin, but that includes the outlier drubbing of Oklahoma 55-19.

Point B and D are correct, but Point C is absolutely wrong. Point B and D do not switch the answer to USC. As far as Cal/Washington, you are right I can't say for certain who would win that game. Just as you can't say for certain that one of those 3-8 Arizona teams would beat one of thos 3-8 Rutgers teams. However, Washington would certainly be favored no matter where the game was played. Cal lost 6 times as many games as that Washington team and Washington's only loss was by 7 to a 10-2 Oregon team. So I am gonna assume they are better than an 8-6 Cal team that was 5-6 at one point.

Here's another USC tidbit, you haven't mentioned. USC beat a 4-7 Stanford team by 3 in 2004. Against teams with losing records, Miami never won by fewer than double digits.

7:19 AM  
Blogger USC Dynasty said...

You are almost there and close to the point where you will have to revise your whole argument.

As we have already proven, USC played a tougher schedule during that time.

As for point C, you again use your own criteria for figuring things out. I am not talking about comparative scores between teams with losing records. I am pointing out that an Arizona team with a losing record is better than a Temple team with a losing record and that to compare how Miami did againts Temple with how USC did against Arizona is unfair and skews things in favor of Miami. You have not yet taken that into account. When you do, you will see that your stats, which Miami STILL leads by a relatively insignificant amount, are not relevant.

As for Point D, once again, USC comes out ahead. But you ask "is two games really that big a deal?" Well, since you already conceded in your previous point that Miami's run was only 'slightly' better than USC's, then this is a new piece of data that could probably tilt the already fragile balance, no? Especially when you now have to factor in your concession of Point B and your what-should-be-pending concession on Point C.

I also find it funny that USC's 55-19 win over Oklahoma is an 'outlier', but Miami's 65-7 win over Washington is not. The fact is, both those teams kicked the shit out of bad and good teams--that's how good both teams were--and none of the scores are outliers.

So, true, Washington would be favored over Cal, but Texas would be favored over Ohio State. It works both ways.

As for the point about Stanford, you make it for me. The fact that a 4-7 Stanford team could hang with USC points to how much better the 4-7 teams were that USC played than the 4-7 teams that Miami played. When Miami played a 4-7 Temple team, it would play a team that had played crap and had only beaten I-AA teams or teams like Rutgers. As far as talent level, there is no comparison between Stanford and Temple. This talent differential is why, in the end, you took out McNeese State and Florida A&M from the 'teams with winning records' equation (though you did not eliminate them in accumulating Miami's stats).

Basically, if you concede point B and D, then there's no way you can still come by your original point, unless that was your original goal all along.

12:50 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Revisiting Point C:

Miami in 2000-2002 beat 12 teams with losing records (and Division IAA teams) by an average margin of 37.25 point per game. From 2003-2005 USC beat 18 teams with losing records by an average margin of 31.78 points per game. So Miami does boost their margin against losing teams, but they played only 12 while USC played 18. That's 50% more teams with losing records that USC played. The fact remains the Trojans had an easier schedule and lost to a team that was much worse than the team Miami lost to. You say Texas would have been favored over Ohio St. Probably so. But Ohio St. went undefeated and won the national title. Cal went 8-6 and won the Insight Bowl. The Washington team that beat Miami went 11-1 and won the Rose Bowl. That Cal team is not in the same class as Washington. Ohio St., while they may not be better, is still in the same class as Texas. The Cal loss was a bad loss. If Cal had not won that game, they would have been 6-7 at the close of the regular season and stayed home. Try to see through your biases. I do not like Miami, in fact I root against almost everyone they play (with the exception of Florida St.). But they had a better run than USC. They avoided bad losses and won their games by a wider margin.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous heismanpundit said...

Well, I guess you can just wind up the whole debate with that comment, which of course completely discounts my last valid points.

Again, your criteria is lacking and skewed and discounts the FACT that the 'bad' teams Miami played, despite their similar records, were generally less talented and WORSE than the teams USC played.

The fact that Miami played 6 fewer teams with losing records than USC did proves NOTHING, unless you want a purely static analysis. If that is the case there is no reason to discount the I-AA wins, since you are not taking talent into the equation equally. In your analysis, a 3-8 Temple team is equivalent to a 3-8 Stanford or Washington team. This is the major stumbling block in your study.

Finally, both teams lost twice. For you to say the main deciding factor in determining who had the better run was that USC lost to one team that was not as good as a team Miami lost to is very shallow. I gave your more data to reconsider things and you apparently chose not to factor it in. Well, that's all well and good, but your point is clearly lost if you decide to pick and choose the criteria that fits your final conclusion.

6:14 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Miami's schedule was not easier than USC's. In fact, they played more ranked teams than the Trojans (based on year end ranking which are less biased than preseason rankings). Let me say that I do not like to rate teams by poll numbers because they are similar to a beauty pageant and most voters are not really held accountable for whom they vote. But since you keep insisting that we include top 10 teams, let's look at the entire top 25.

Miami went 14-2 against top 25 teams, losing to teams who finished the season ranked 3 and 1, on the road and in the bowl game. USC went 10-1 against ranked teams, losing only in the bowl game to a team that finished number 1. Miami went 5-1 on the road. USC went 4-0. Miami outscored their opponents by 16.5 points on average. USC outscored theirs by 21.5 on average. USC has the edge in scoring margin, but I am still inclined to go with Miami because they:

1) played more ranked teams
2) played more ranked teams on the road
3) played 50% less games against teams with losing records (12 versus 18)
4) had a higher scoring margin
5) had a more difficult schedule based on opponent's record
6) beat more teams with winning records
7) played fewer close games (6 versus 8)
and finally
8) lost to teams ranked 3 and 1 in the final poll as opposed to teams ranked 1 and NR

6:51 AM  
Anonymous oscar said...

let's also add that usc's loss to texas was in l.a. usc's 2005 defense was easily the worst of any of the teams. scratch that, two of their bowl wins were in l.a.
the 2004 va tech team that usc beat was the first game of the season and was a completely different team at the end of the season. losing to stanford at the half, winning by 3. losing by at the half to oregon state, winning by 8. 2004 cal had 424 yards while usc had 205. beat ucla by 5. they werent even the most dominant team of 2004, their only undefeated season.
i wouldnt even say the pac-10 was better than the big east comparing those time spans. yes temple and rutgers are perennially weak teams, but were also talking about a conference that doesnt play defense in the pac-10.
and usc's opponents record is in no way inflated by playing a 9 win hawaii team, cmon.
and for a weak big east conference pittsburgh surely did slap around oregon state in 2002 38-13.
then you go to 2005, usc down 21-3 vs arizona state at the half, win by 10, obviously much closer. notre dame game, 4th and 9 50+ yard play, score of qb sneak on last play to win game.
3 win arizona team usc is only up 28-21 in the 4th quarter. barely beat fresno state at home, losing at the half, losing in the 4th quarter.
yes usc beat a lot of supremely overrated ranked at the time teams like oregon, arizon state, notre dame, fresno state, and an 8 win cal team that was completely one dimensional down to their 3rd string quarterback, whoever he was they waited until after the game to bench him.

sure you can find close miami games but not nearly as many overall or nearly as much against subpar competition. i dont even think its really that close that miami's run is more impressive or that miami's teams were much better.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous oscar said...

another point, yes usc beat a va tech team that eventually was in the top 10 at the end of the season but that va tech team lost to nc state two weeks later, they were not a top ten caliber team until the end of the season.

matt stealing your stats, excluding miami, the big east winning teams had a .539 percentage against other winning teams, while, excluding usc, the pac 10 teams had a .615 percentage.
on the surface it looks like the pac-10 good teams must be better but in 2003, there are only two teams in the pac-10 that played teams with winning records, then 3 then 4. the big east had at least 4 every year, then ucla and oregon didnt even play each other last year.
say what you want about the big east but thats more winning teams playing twice as many games against teams with winning records. including 8 games by va tech, 7 games by syracuse and 7 again by va tech in consecutive years.
included in the top ten usc victims, 3 loss washington state, 3 loss michigan, 3 loss va tech(unranked at the time), 3 loss notre dame

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mabye miami's three year is a little better but i belive in a show down btw 2002 miami and 2004 USC, USC WOULD TRAMPLE ALL OVER MIAMI JUST LIKE OKLAHOMA

5:45 PM  

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