Inside the Numbers: Advanced Stats

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I’ve always enjoyed advanced stats, and I suppose that’s the baseball fan in me. I believe advanced stats are becoming more appropriate for college football as well. For example, with so many teams scoring 50+ points and so many programs having offensive philosophies that negatively affect their own defensive rankings, I think defensive efficiency is a better way to judge a defense than yards and points allowed.

Likewise, offensive numbers such as total offense and points per game doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, because not all teams run at the same pace. Fortunately, the good folks over at FootballOutsiders.com have a number of advanced stats, and their formulas make this article possible.

Overall Rank

FootballOutsiders.com (hereafter referred to as FO.com) has an overall ranking based on the rankings of offense, defense and special teams. Likewise, the offensive and defense rankings are based on drive results, and they do not include scores in garbage time or clock killing drives. They also take into account playing well against good teams (win or lose), and also playing poorly against bad teams (win or lose).

You might be surprised to know that Virginia Tech is ranked #28 in the country in FO.com’s overall rankings. They are the highest ranked team in the country with a losing record. The closest teams to Tech who also have a losing record are Arkansas (#37) and Tennessee (#38), both of whom are 4-5 as well. Clearly the Hokies are boosted by their win against Ohio State, as well as their overall defensive efficiency rankings.

Here’s how the rest of the ACC ranks:

#9 Florida State
#12 Miami
#15 Louisville
#17 Georgia Tech
#18 Clemson
#23 Duke
#28 Virginia Tech
#32 Boston College
#40 UVA
#43 Pitt
#68 NC State
#70 UNC
#71 Syracuse
#80 Wake Forest

Tech’s overall ranking of #28 puts them right in the middle of the pack of the ACC. In case you are wondering, here is the overall top 10:

#1 Alabama
#2 Ole Miss
#3 Ohio State
#4 Oregon
#5 Auburn
#6 Mississippi State
#7 TCU
#8 Baylor
#9 Florida State
#10 LSU

Now let’s take a deeper look at offense, defense and special teams. First, the offense…

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