Last week we looked at 1HPD in the Group of Five. This week we examine 1HPD in the power conferences.
Beginning alphabetically as we always do, here are the ACC standings from 2019.
won by a single point. Speaking of the Tar Heels, while they enter 2020 as the favorites in the Coastal Division, they were actually in fifth in the division in 1HPD and Duke was not very far behind them. Chaos always seems to reign in that half of the ACC, so don't assume Mack has a cakewalk to the ACC Championship Game.
Moving on to the Big 10 standings.
put up a fight in the conference title game, but that is still quite a feat. On the other end of the spectrum, in a shocking development, Maryland actually finished with the worst 1HPD! While the Terrapins did beat Rutgers (and led by twenty at the half), they trailed by double-digits six times in conference play (Rutgers trailed by double-digits seven times).
Next up is the Big 12.
Neal Brown's second season and the perennial punching bag at least showed flashes of competency last season (and is coached by a national champion). I wouldn't go so far as to predict Oklahoma failing to qualify for the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time since its reinstatement, but a title game pitting Iowa State and TCU wouldn't be the most shocking development.
Here are the Pac-12 standings.
Finally, here are the SEC standings.
hate on Alabama, but don't go throwing dirt on the Tide just yet. Alabama was nipping at the heels of LSU in 1HPD and if we look at the other seven conference games both teams played, Alabama actually had a better differential (+137 to +113). Of course, that classic in Tuscaloosa does count and lets also give LSU credit for never trailing at the half in any conference game (they were tied against Florida and Auburn). In the East, Georgia finished with a healthy 1HPD margin over Florida and Kentucky and despite the relatively disappointing season, the Bulldogs led by double-digits six times in SEC play (tied with Alabama and LSU for the most double-digit leads).
In the YPP and APR offseason recaps, I sort the teams in each conference by how much they over or under-performed relative to their expected record. Since all the Power Five conferences are grouped together here, I am only going to list those that significantly over or under-performed (a difference of at least .200). We'll start with the overachievers.
Scott Satterfield. However, there are a few flashing warning signs if you expect continued improvement in 2020. Despite an 8-5 overall record, the Cardinals were actually outscored in 2019 and in ACC play, they trailed at the half five times. Despite a 5-3 conference record, their 1HPD ranked fifth in the Atlantic Division. NC State and Syracuse probably won't be as bad as they were last season and Florida State is likely to rebound as well. The Cardinals also retain two challenging non-conference games in 2020, as they travel to Notre Dame and host their in-state rival Kentucky. A return to bowl eligibility, even it it means a regression to 6-6 should still be seen as a success as the Cardinals try to move on from Bobby Petrino. A championship repeat by Oregon in the Pac-12 would be quite an accomplishment considering the Ducks lost their starting quarterback in the NFL draft and did not post numbers typically befitting an 8-1 conference record. Tennessee has been one of the hardest teams for me to get a read on this offseason. Were the Volunteers good in 2019? They closed the year on a six-game winning streak, beating three bowl teams in the process (Indiana, Kentucky, and UAB). Their YPP numbers were solid (fifth overall and third in the East). On the other hand, their APR numbers were much less glowing (ninth overall and fourth in the East). They also lost to Georgia State and were pounded by the three best teams on their schedule (Alabama, Florida, and Georgia beat them by a combined 82 points). And since when are Tennessee fans delighted by victories against Indiana, Kentucky, and UAB? Their 1HPD also shows them to be pretty weak. Despite winning five of their eight league games, they were outscored in the first half in conference play and actually trailed at the half five times, including four times by double-digits. The Vols do have the benefit of drawing Arkansas in their rotating cross-division game in 2020, but Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are still on the schedule as well as a non-conference trip to Oklahoma. 8-4 seems like the ceiling for this team with a real possibility of 6-6 or worse.
And now the underachievers.
first year head coach and a true freshman quarterback respectively. Both those conditions are often marked by initial inconsistency and then marked improvement as time goes on. Keep an eye on both in the Big 12 race. The only other Power Five team to significantly under-perform relative to their 1HPD was Washington State. In Mike Leach's final season on the Palouse, the Cougars lost twice as many conference games as they won despite outscoring their nine Pac-12 opponents in the first half. The Cougars fielded a very bad defense in 2019 that kept them from closing games. That defense has almost no choice but to improve in 2020. The turnover at the top is always a concern, especially at a locale that does not recruit well, but Washington State can expect to extend their bowl streak to six years in 2020.
Thanks for reading. Check back next Thursday when we see how well 1HPD has done in handicapping conference title games and the College Football Playoff.