This week, we'll try to shed out East Coast bias as we head out west to take a look at the Pac-10, another league that will be getting a makeover in 2012. Once again, for a primer, here is the link to last year's Pac-10 post.
As usual, this first paragraph will explain how SDPI is calculated. So if you want the meat of this article skip on down. In the 2010 Pac-10 regular season, conference play only, the average Pac-10 team gained and allowed 3533.5 yards. The standard deviation for yards gained (offense) was 661.93 yards. The standard deviation for yards allowed (defense) was 359.76 yards. Cal gained 2629 yards and allowed 3010 yards. Their offensive SDPI was -1.37 = [(2629-3533.5)/661.93]. Their defensive SDPI was 1.46 = [(3533.5-3010)/359.76]. Their total SDPI was 0.09. This number ranked 6th in the Pac-10.
Here are the 2010 Pac-10 standings.Now here are the 2010 Pac-10 SDPI standings. The standings are sorted by total SDPI with ranking for each category (out of 10 teams) in parentheses.The Pac-10 produced a BCS National Championship Game participant, as well as a second BCS team in 2010, but may have suffered a bit in terms of national perception thanks to the fact that only four of the ten (Southern Cal had enough wins, but were banned from the postseason) conference teams attained bowl eligibility. The Pac-10 became the first BCS conference since the 2005 Big East to send fewer than five teams to bowl games. The 2010 Pac-10 was a top-heavy league. Oregon and Stanford dominated their peers out west, going 16-0 against the other eight schools with an average margin of victory of 22.7 points per game!
So Who Was Better Than Their Record Showed?
For the second year in a row, the Arizona State Sun Devils played better than their won/loss record showed. The Sun Devils were a shade above average on both sides of the ball, and should have probably finished with an extra league win, which would have gotten them to their first bowl game since 2007. However, the Sun Devils turned the ball over more than any Pac-10 team save UCLA and finished 1-3 in one-score conference games, resigning them to a third straight year of watching the postseason in Tempe.
So Who Was Worse Than Their Record Showed?
They may have closed the season with a nice hot streak, winning their final three regular season games, and upset a top-20 outfit in their bowl game, but Washington was still not quite ready for prime time. Four of their five league wins came by a touchdown or less (combined margin of 12 points), while each of their four losses came by at least 10 points (average margin of 29.5 points per game). The Huskies were slightly below average on both sides of the ball in 2010, so while their first postseason game since 2002 (and first win since 2000) is a nice bullet on Steve Sarkisian's resume, the rebuild ain't over yet.
Best Offense: Oregon 1.63
Chip Kelly's spread and shred topped the Pac-10 in offense for the fourth straight year! The Ducks were number one out west when Kelly was the offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008, and have done nothing but continue that success since he assumed the head coaching role prior to the 2009 season.
Worst Offense: Cal -1.37
Guess who is taking back the play-calling duties in Berkeley? Jeff Tedford has tutored many a fine collegiate quarterback, but 2010 represented rock bottom for the Golden Bears as they were held below 300 yards of offense in two thirds of their conference games. That's quite a shame too, considering how good their defense was.
Best Defense: Cal 1.46
Speak of the devil. Southern Cal and Stanford maimed the Golden Bears to the tune of 1069 total yards and 96 total points. In their other seven league games, Cal held the opposition to an average of 277 yards and 16 points per game.
Worst Defense: Washington State -1.94
The Cougars have now finished dead last in the Pac-10 in defense for three straight seasons and for four of the six years of the SDPI era (2005-2010).
Washington State: From Worse to Bad
To say the Washington State Cougars have been stuck in a rut under head coach Paul Wulff would be putting it very mildly. In Wulff's three seasons, the Cougars have beaten just three IA schools, and have lost by at least 30 points 16 times! However, the Cougars did show a few signs of life in 2010. They beat a Pac-10 team for the first time since their (Cr)Apple Cup win over Washington in 2008 and were competitive in several losses (losing one score games to Washington and Cal and staying within two touchdowns of Stanford and UCLA). The following table will show you just how far the Cougars have come since Wulff's first season. As you can see, the Cougars were historically bad in 2008. They scored eight total offensive touchdowns in their nine conference games while allowing 59! To put that number in perspective, consider this: If we take away field goals, safeties, and non-offensive touchdowns and then assume each offensive touchdown scored by Washington State is worth seven points, while each offensive touchdown scored by their opponents is only worth a single point, the Cougars would still have been outscored in 2008! They improved a little in 2009, primarily on the defensive side of the ball where they shaved off more than a quarter of their touchdowns allowed. In 2010, they went from historically inept to merely last-place bad. They actually managed to scored touchdowns on a semi-regular basis while cutting into their touchdowns allowed slightly. The Cougars have hopes to be more competitive in 2011, as their junior quarterback Jeff Tuel posted solid numbers as a sophomore (nearly 60% completion rate, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions), and sophomore receiver Marquess Wilson topped 1000 yards through the air as a freshman. A bowl game is probably out of the question, but Pullman could no longer be a punchline.