Big 12 North: Beyond the Box Score

To continue the conversation that has basically been going on all week (since Sunday, really), I thought it would be interesting to see what the S&P+ rankings tell us about the current state of the Big 12 North.

Below are some basic BTBS tables that simply report the rankings (both nationally, and in the North) in most of the major "+" categories.  We'll report the data first, then analyze, starting with offense.

(Oh yeah, and you can now keep up with updated S&P+ rankings on a weekly basis at Football Outsiders.  Woohoo!)

Big 12 North Offensive S&P+ Rankings (National and Division)
Category Colorado Iowa St. Kansas K-State Missouri Nebraska
Close S&P+ 92 (5) 33 (2) 25 (1)
106 (6) 55 (3) 84 (4)
Close Success Rate+ 70 (4) 30 (2) 16 (1) 104 (6) 52 (3) 96 (5)
Close PPP+ 103 (5) 35 (2) 26 (1) 105 (6) 56 (3) 76 (4)
Rushing S&P+ 25 (1) 32 (2) 41 (2) 92 (6) 66 (4) 86 (5)
Rushing Success Rate+ 24 (2) 23 (1) 36 (3) 86 (5) 42 (4) 93 (6)
Rushing PPP+ 18 (1) 36 (2) 49 (3) 95 (6) 69 (4) 77 (5)
Passing S&P+ 108 (6) 29 (2) 23 (1) 105 (5) 49 (3) 85 (4)
Passing Success Rate+ 100 (5) 41 (2) 15 (1) 109 (6) 57 (3) 94 (4)
Passing PPP+ 112 (6) 23 (1) 34 (2) 104 (5) 49 (3) 77 (4)
Standard Downs S&P+ 83 (5) 32 (2) 16 (1) 87 (6) 59 (4) 57 (3)
Passing Downs S&P+ 85 (5) 38 (2) 28 (1) 112 (6) 46 (3) 63 (4)
Red Zone S&P+ 60 (3) 15 (1) 25 (2) 90 (5) 112 (6) 81 (4)
Q1 S&P+ 69 (3) 77 (5) 63 (2) 107 (6) 58 (1) 75 (4)
Q2 S&P+ 57 (4) 50 (3) 33 (2) 87 (6) 76 (5) 29 (1)
Q3 S&P+ 103 (6) 1 (1) 22 (2) 81 (5) 32 (3) 67 (4)
Q4 S&P+ 93 (6) 39 (3) 3 (1) 88 (5) 37 (2) 45 (4)
1st Down S&P+ 82 (5) 19 (2) 8 (1) 84 (6) 64 (4) 25 (3)
2nd Down S&P+ 97 (4) 54 (3) 20 (1) 100 (5) 49 (2) 106 (6)
3rd Down S&P+ 78 (5) 59 (3) 64 (4) 102 (6) 35 (2) 31 (1)
Line Yards+ 5 (1) 12 (2) 70 (4) 71 (5) 41 (3) 73 (6)
Close Sack Rate+ 102 (5) 2 (1) 46 (3) 116 (6) 20 (2) 98 (4)


Disclaimer: As we're just barely over halfway through the season, the sample size issue that always impacts college football stats is even more of an issue.  That's how you get ISU ranking so well in so many offensive categories for no other reason than they've played two of the top six defenses in the country, Iowa and Nebraska.  They did absolutely nothing against Nebraska--in fact, NU's defense moved #1 in the country based on their performance last weekend, but the strength of schedule adjustment has caused their ranking to skyrocket.  Same with Mizzou, really.  Despite only having one good drive last Saturday, their ratings moved up for a lot of the same reasons.

On the flipside, K-State's brutally easy schedule is the main reason for their terrible offensive ratings (that, and their offense hasn't been very good).  Two 1-AA opponents, UL-Lafayette, Iowa State, ATM, and a slumping UCLA?  Ouch.  Against that level of defense, K-State needs to have moved the ball really well to generate positive ratings, and they clearly have not done that.  This is the single biggest reason for my doubts about K-State's staying power.  Clearly they are a better team than they were a month ago, but they were starting from so far behind--can they beat KU, MU, and/or NU without those teams killing themselves (which is certainly feasible)?

Meanwhile, Blaine Gabbert has been hurt for 11 of 12 quarters in Big 12 play.  What is their ceiling if or when he gets healthy?  Right now, the rushing game is trending up, and the passing game is trending down.  Are we going to see all the pieces put together?

And seriously...how badly has Nebraska's offense fallen off a cliff??

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Big 12 North Defensive S&P+ Rankings (National and Division)
Category Colorado Iowa St. Kansas K-State Missouri Nebraska
Close S&P+ 29 (2) 94 (6) 81 (5) 76 (4) 31 (3) 4 (1)
Close Success Rate+ 13 (2) 114 (6) 77 (4) 80 (5) 43 (3) 2 (1)
Close PPP+ 43 (3) 65 (4) 83 (6) 66 (5) 30 (2) 4 (1)
Rushing S&P+ 26 (2) 51 (3) 89 (6) 53 (4) 64 (5) 4 (1)
Rushing Success Rate+ 8 (2) 84 (5) 61 (3) 77 (4) 86 (6) 2 (1)
Rushing PPP+ 62 (5) 25 (2) 108 (6) 33 (3) 45 (4) 8 (1)
Passing S&P+ 37 (3) 114 (6) 70 (4) 92 (5) 25 (2) 5 (1)
Passing Success Rate+ 31 (3) 119 (6) 82 (4) 85 (5) 23 (2) 7 (1)
Passing PPP+ 40 (3) 98 (6) 59 (4) 93 (5) 32 (2) 6 (1)
Standard Downs S&P+ 22 (2) 78 (4) 99 (6) 94 (5) 27 (3) 7 (1)
Passing Downs S&P+ 71 (4) 76 (6) 54 (3) 72 (5) 32 (2) 1 (1)
Red Zone S&P+ 27 (2) 81 (5) 69 (4) 110 (6) 68 (3) 7 (1)
Q1 S&P+ 58 (2) 101 (6) 74 (4) 83 (5) 73 (3) 11 (1)
Q2 S&P+ 32 (3) 73 (5) 39 (4) 97 (6) 18 (1) 21 (2)
Q3 S&P+ 15 (2) 85 (4) 111 (5) 88 (6) 24 (3) 1 (1)
Q4 S&P+ 48 (4) 44 (3) 68 (6) 64 (5) 40 (2) 3 (1)
1st Down S&P+ 34 (2) 58 (4) 97 (6) 86 (5) 42 (3) 7 (1)
2nd Down S&P+ 37 (3) 96 (5) 84 (4) 99 (6) 35 (2) 1 (1)
3rd Down S&P+ 36 (3) 99 (6) 43 (4) 80 (5) 33 (2) 11 (1)
Line Yards+ 45 (2) 70 (5) 76 (6) 67 (4) 64 (3) 10 (1)
Close Sack Rate+ 4 (1) 118 (6) 11 (3) 87 (5) 75 (4) 8 (2)


Aaaaand here's reason #2 why I'm not sold on K-State just yet, not to mention the #1 reason why I think NU is still the favorite (gag).  There's definitely a pretty tiered set of defensive rankings here--Nebraska is clearly in the top tier, MU and CU in the middle, and the other three in the bottom.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to look at this as we await the next set of games that will completely throw these rankings up in the air.

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