Last week I posted about EqPts. If you haven't read it yet, I'll sit here while you do.
I'm taking the EqPts idea a step further now, looking at both averages and expected averages depending on schedule. Assuming your eyes haven't gone blurry at the thought of that, let's move on!
First, here are the EqPts scores for last week's games...
KSU 40.13, BU 10.52 (real score: KSU 51-13...once again continuing the pattern of EqPts underestimating high scores)
CU 29.17, Tech 21.73 (real score: CU 31-26)
MU 27.09, ISU 23.79 (real score: MU 42-28)
KU 25.80, A&M 15.29 (real score: KU 19-11)
UT 31.58, NU 24.62 (real score: UT 28-25)
Not the most accurate week ever for EqPts (there are still things like special teams, momentum, and lucky bounces to take into account), but still pretty close. The game that was most off was the MU-ISU game, and I can't totally explain why...other than to say that ISU ended up running 23 more plays and outgaining MU by 22, and since yds are part of the EqPts idea...well...makes some sense, I guess.
Click 'Full Story' for the rest...rankings and predictions at the bottom!
So at this point in the season, here are the (conference only) averages for Big 12 teams...
Avg EqPts (offense): 14.67
Avg EqPts (defense): 32.95
Avg EqPts (offense): 23.69
Avg EqPts (defense): 24.16
Avg EqPts (offense): 17.40
Avg EqPts (defense): 29.57
Avg EqPts (offense): 27.52
Avg EqPts (defense): 15.99
Avg EqPts (offense): 29.66
Avg EqPts (defense): 23.16
Avg EqPts (offense): 29.70
Avg EqPts (defense): 22.20
Avg EqPts (offense): 22.20
Avg EqPts (defense): 31.88
Avg EqPts (offense): 24.44
Avg EqPts (defense): 19.61
Avg EqPts (offense): 35.31
Avg EqPts (defense): 30.98
Avg EqPts (offense): 27.39
Avg EqPts (defense): 20.33
Avg EqPts (offense): 25.26
Avg EqPts (defense): 23.21
Avg EqPts (offense): 30.38
Avg EqPts (defense): 27.92
All Away Teams: 23.89
All Home Teams: 26.86
So by looking at these numbers, we can get a pretty strong idea of who has the best offenses and defenses in the league.
But there's another factor here: each team has only played 4-5 games, and strengths of schedule could vary wildly. Maybe one team has played ISU, BU, NU, and...I dunno, ATM, and therefore racked up pretty strong numbers, while another team's had to play OU, MU, KU, and UT. It's not very fair if we don't take that into account.
So I went back to each game and compared how each team fared compared to their opponents' overall averages using the 'value over average' idea I discussed here.
For instance...let's look at the Missouri-Iowa State game. And remember, anything over 100 = good.
Iowa State scored 23.79 EqPts. For the year, the Missouri defense has given up an average of 22.20 EqPts.
ISU Offense VOA: (23.79 / 22.20) * 100 = 107
Meanwhile, Iowa State has been averaging 17.40 EqPts per game in conference play.
MU Defense VOA: (17.40 / 23.79) * 100 = 73
Not a very strong performance for Mizzou.
Mizzou scored 27.09 EqPts. For the year, the ISU defense has given up an average of 29.57 EqPts per game.
MU Offense VOA: (27.09 / 29.57) * 100 = 92
Meanwhile, Mizzou is averaging 29.70 EqPts per game.
ISU Defense VOA: (29.70 / 27.09) * 100 = 110
In other words, on both offense and defense, ISU performed better than the average team has Mizzou. Meanwhile, Mizzou performed worse than the average team has against ISU. Make some semblance of sense? If not, just keep reading...
My idea is that I can rank conference offenses and defenses taking strength of schedule into account. I do that by taking the average VOA for each team's offense and defense. Some of the results might surprise you a bit.
Big 12 Offenses according to Offensive VOA
Oklahoma State 135.2
Kansas State 126.8
Texas Tech 112.9
Texas A&M 91.4
Iowa State 68.1
Baylor 58.6 (!)
Big 12 Defenses according to Defensive VOA
Kansas 166.1 (!!)
Kansas State 122.0
Texas A&M 114.8
Texas Tech 94.7
Oklahoma State 91.7
Iowa State 87.6
Now, in theory, we could add these two VOA scores together and get a decent idea of who has the best offense/defense combo...and while special teams and coaching still have an obvious impact, the Combined VOA score should give you a decent idea of which teams have performed the best in conference play, no?
Big 12 Combined VOA
Kansas State 248.8
Oklahoma State 226.9
Texas Tech 207.6
Texas A&M 206.2
Iowa State 155.7
First of all, these rankings should prove that my own biases haven't come into play even 1%. Kansas is undefeated, and therefore they should almost certainly place near or at the top of the list, but they're #1 here by a significant margin. Their schedule of KSU, CU, ATM, and Baylor isn't exactly made up of world-beaters, but the numbers they've put up against these teams are far better than anybody else did against them.
Meanwhile, I would not have placed K-State in the Top 6, much less the Top 2. But if their offense and defense have both performed quite well compared to what their opponents normally achieve, and if they're averaging like 2 return TD's a game, and if they have the easiest down-the-stretch schedule of any contending North team...then maybe we should be more worried about them than we are?
I think Ron Prince is a piece of crap (hey Scary-Smart...why in the hell was Jordy Nelson returning punts with 1 minute left in a 44-13 game? Did you feel even a little remorseful when your best offensive player scored with a minute left in a blowout? Even a little tiny bit?), and it made me sick to my stomach saying that, but it may be true. That, or this whole EqPts idea is a bunch of crap. One or the other.
So let's put EqPts to the test. Looking at a) two team's EqPts averages (both offense and defense), and b) the teams' average VOAs, we should get a decent idea of how they match up and what a likely score would be. Again, EqPts has yet to take special teams into account, but as I continue to tinker, I'd like to see how it does in the area of forecasting.
So here's what I get for predicted scores for this coming week. I added basically a 3-point home-field advantage.
Missouri 28, Colorado 23
Oklahoma 24, Texas A&M 17
Oklahoma State 31, Texas 30
Kansas 37, Nebraska 13
Texas Tech 36, Baylor 17
Kansas State 34, Iowa State 17
Aside from OU-ATM (my gut tells me that will be a complete and utter blowout), those picks look pretty damn realistic. Guess we'll find out, huh?