Monday, May 25, 2009

Mountain West Review: 2005-2008

In addition to the SDPI posts, another offseason interest of mine has been to look at how each IA conference has shaken out since 2005. I chose 2005 as the starting point because that was the year the ACC expanded to 12 teams, the Big East added 3 new members and booted Temple, Conference USA added a championship game, the Mountain West added TCU, the WAC looted the Sun Belt after several of its members joined Conference USA, and the Sun Belt added 2 independents from Florida (FAU and FIU). Since 2005, there has only been one change in any IA conference. That was the expansion of the MAC by a single team with the addition of Temple. Thus far, we've examined all 6 BCS conferences and Conference USA. Now we'll take a look at what has consistently been the best of the non-BCS leagues, the Mountain West. First here are the cummlative Mountain West standings since 2005.No surprise who is number one. When you win 18 straight conference games that will happen. There is a definitive drop off after the Big 3 (BYU, TCU, and Utah). In fact, outside of losses to TCU and Utah, BYU is 23-1 against conference foes since 2005. For TCU, outside of losses to BYU and Utah, the Horned Frogs are 22-2. Utah is a less outstanding 17-7 against the rest of the Mountain West, but it remains pretty clear that this triumverate are the current overlords of the league. UNLV is the only team in the conference that has not at least notched a .500 conference record in any season since 2005.

Now here is each team's home record in conference play since 2005.These standings look eerily similar to the standings at large. The two home losses by BYU have both come against TCU and Utah (in 2005). The Cougars have won 12 straight conference games at home since since falling to the Utes at the end of the 2005 regular season. The two home losses by TCU came to BYU (in 2006) and Utah (in 2007). Once again, Utah is a little less outstanding, having lost thrice at home to teams not named BYU or TCU. Still, the extent of the domination by BYU, TCU, and Utah is great. The biggest discrepancy between home and road record belongs to the UNLV Rebels. The Rebels are a subpar 5-11 at home, but have not broken through for a single win on the road in conference play since 2005. Their last road win in the league came against BYU on October 8, 2004. In a bit of a statistical anomaly, while they have yet to win a road game against a conference foe in the past four full seasons, the Rebels did manage a road upset against a top-20 (at the time) Arizona State team in 2008.

Now here is how homefield advantage shakes out in the Mountain West (in conference play only) with respect to the nation at large (with rank out of the 11 IA conferences in parentheses).After a having a near non-existent homefield advantage in 2005, the Mountain West has steadily been one of the most (consistent) homefield friendly leagues with its members going 22-14 at home each of the past three seasons.

Next up is how each Mountain West team stacks up offensively for each season. This is the ranking of yards per game in conference play.The best and most consistent offenses in the league the past four seasons have been those of BYU and TCU. That's very interesting as both Bronco Mendenhall and Gary Patterson were defensive coordinators before receiving their current head coaching gigs. Both coaches have one thing in common amongst their offensive coaches--continuity. Robert Anae has been has been calling plays in Provo since 2005. Before that he was the offensive line coach at Texas Tech for a season, where he was no doubt influenced by offensive impresario Mike Leach. Down in Fort Worth, Mike Schultz has been the offensive coordinator for the Horned Frogs for eight consecutive seasons and has been on the staff for eleven straight years. Despite his namesake, its clear Schultz does not know nothing. These numbers also illustrate why Joe Glenn (Wyoming) and Chuck Long (San Diego State) are no longer employed at their current institutions. Look out Mike Sanford (UNLV), you're probably next.

And finally, here are the defensive rankings for each team. This is yards allowed per game in conference play.Despite not being his own defensive coordinator, Patterson has clearly delegated well. The units led by Dick Bumpas (who ironically coached Patterson at Kansas State and was his boss at Utah State and Navy) have consistently been the best in the league. Outside of TCU, the only other school that has finished in the top-four defensively each season is the Utah Utes. Kyle Whittingham has been the defensive coordinator at Utah since 1995, and did not drop those duties when he succeeded Urban Meyer in 2005.

1 comment:

MarkS said...

Great blog, it's clear you do your homework. Just one addition to your notes on home in-conference records, it's also worth noting that BYU is on an 18-0 streak at home over the last three years, not having lost at home since 2004.