Friday, July 19, 2013

2013 American Athletic Conference Preview

Our second season preview brings us to the newly christened American Athletic Conference. The former Big East will begin play in 2013 with a new name, and some new teams. Who is poised to capture the inaugural crown?

Homefield Advantage for the Pony Express
Back in my Conference USA SDPI recap, I looked at how SMU had performed at home in league play the last four years under June Jones. If you don't want to bother clicking the link, I'll tell you the Mustangs are a sterling 15-1 at home against conference foes since 2009. Their road record, while not terrible, is just 7-9 over that span. For this post, I wanted to take a deeper dive and examine how the Mustangs had performed on a per play basis on both offense and defense, at home and on the road. The table below lists SMU's home splits the past four seasons for their offensive and defensive yards per play.
As you can see, the Mustangs have put up mostly solid, but only one season of extreme yards per play differential at home. Now let's look at the road numbers.
Like most teams, SMU has performed better at home, but the Mustangs have actually been better on a per play basis that their opponents on the road, despite their losing record. One potential reason for this? Total randomness. While SMU has gone a spectacular 15-1 at home over this span, they are an even more unbelievable 7-0 in one-score games, meaning their home mark is at least a tad buoyed by our friend lady luck. Meanwhile, the Mustangs are a more mortal 2-2 on the road in one-score games.

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