Big 12 Rewind: SDPI
Before getting into the Big 12, head over to The Power T Blog. Doug's doing some stat work of his own, starting with the SEC.
One way to look at team strength, taken from Eddie Epstein’s fantastic book Dominance, is to look at teams points scored and allowed relative to the league average and standard deviation. The more standard deviations they are from the mean, the better (or worse they are). For those unfamiliar with what standard deviation is here’s the wikipedia link. In the coming weeks, I will be looking at each Division IA conference and ranking each team in regards to their Standard Deviation Power Index in conference play. Keep in mind, the SDPI does not adjust for schedule strength for conferences such as the ACC where each team does not play each other and it ignores special teams which can play a significant role in both points scored and points allowed.
If you want the meat of the article, skip this next paragraph as it just gives an example of how the SDPI is calculated. The mean points scored and allowed for all Big 12 teams in conference play (championship game not included) was 210.083 points. The standard deviation for points scored was 42.98. The standard deviation for points allowed was 52.14. Nebraska scored 236 and allowed 173 points. Nebraska's offensive SDPI was 0.60 = ([236-180.083]/42.98). Their defensive SDPI was 0.71 = ([210.083-173]/52.14). Their total SDPI was 1.31. In the 2006 Big 12, that was good for third best.
First here's the link to the 2006 Big 12 Standings to refresh your memory.
Now here are the 2006 SDPI Standings:
Oklahoma State 0.62
Texas A&M 0.29
Texas Tech 0.22
Kansas State -0.67
Iowa State -3.09
Their two late season losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M cost the Longhorns a shot to win the Big 12. The top two and four of the top six teams were in the Big 12 South.
Best Offense: Texas 1.39
Freshmen Colt McCoy did his part to help keep the Longhorns at the top of the Big 12 heap.
Worst Offense: Iowa State -2.10
Despite returning their starting quarterback, running back, and leading receiver the Cyclones struggled mightily in Dan McCarney's final season. They broke the 20 point barrier only twice in conference play (Missouri and Texas Tech).
Best Defense: Oklahoma 1.71
Sooners had the league's best defense. A good thing because their offense was actually below average.
Worst Defense: Baylor -2.11
After they opened conference play holding Kansas State to 3 points, the Bears allowed at least 30 points in their next 7 conference games. Three teams broke 50 and two (Texas and Oklahoma State) broke 60.
Best Team that Didn't Go to a Bowl: Kansas 0.27
The Jayhawks did get to bowl eligibility at 6-6, but were not selected for postseason play. According to SDPI, they were the 7th best team in the conference, just a notch below Texas A&M.
Worst Team that Went to a Bowl: Kansas State -0.67
Aided by a 3-0 record in close games (2-0 in conference play) the Wildcats went bowling for the first time since 2003.
Toughest Schedule (ranked by sum of opponent's SDPI): Iowa State 4.66
The Cyclones drew both of the behemoths from the South (Texas and Oklahoma) and avoided Baylor.
Easiest Schedule (ranked by sum of opponent's SDPI): Kansas -4.26
The Jayhawks avoided Texas and Oklahoma from the South and drew Baylor (who they lost to).
Entire Schedule Strength (hardest to easiest):
Iowa State 4.66
Texas A&M 4.42
Oklahoma State 2.71
Texas Tech -1.13
Kansas State -1.50
Team(s) Likely to Decline: Kansas State and Texas A&M
The Wildcats won 7 games last season thanks to luck (3-0 in close games) and great special teams play. Their offense and defense were both below average in Year One of the Ron Prince Era. Check the stats. Twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes? Allowed 58% of passes to be completed? The return game bailed these guys out a lot last season. Punt and or kickoff return touchdowns were the difference in the narrow victories over Illinois State and Oklahoma State. Relying on the return game to be as phenomenal as it was last year is a lot to ask. Couple some special teams regression with a tougher non-conference schedule (at Auburn, at Fresno State, and a home date with feisty San Jose State) and the Wildcats will very likely be spending the holidays in Manhattan. Seven of Texas A&M's eight conference games were decided by 6 points or less. The Aggies went 4-3 in those games. Any regression in the luck department and the Aggies could be looking down only at Baylor in the Big 12 South.
Team(s) Likely to Improve: Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma State
Only 6 on the conference's 12 teams have played in the Big 12 Championship Game: Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas State from the North and Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas A&M from the South. That could change this season as these three teams should all improve. Missouri returns their terrific quarterback Chase Daniels and gets their biggest division foe Nebraska at home while avoiding at least one of the Southern Giants (Texas). Kansas also gets the Huskers at home and avoids both Oklahoma and Texas while once again drawing Baylor. Despite their 3-5 conference record last season, SDPI sees the Cowboys as the 5th best team in the conference. They were a tough luck 0-4 in close games in conference play. In 2007, their high powered offense returns both the starting quarterback, Bobby Reid, and his leading receiver Adarius Bowman. The Cowboys do draw two of the stronger teams from the North (Nebraska and Kansas), but if the 8-year reign of Sooner/Longhorn terror is to end in the South in 2007, the Cowboys will be the team to do it.