Sunday, January 14, 2007

2006 CGVRs

Sorry this took so long to get to you loyal readers (reader?). I'm not proficient enough in HTML to make a big table for this, but maybe in the future, it will look better. Anyway, here are the qualifying CGVRs for 2006.

+4 or more:
Wake Forest +5 (11-3)
Maryland +5 (9-4)
Auburn +5 (11-2)
Florida +5 (13-1)
Oregon State +4 (10-4)
Rice +4 (7-6)
Boise State +4 (13-0)
Iowa State +4 (4-8)
Arkansas State +4 (6-6)

Kansas State +3 (7-6)
Texas Tech +3 (8-5)
Wisconsin +3 (12-1)
Notre Dame +3 (10-3)
Ohio +3 (9-5)
Troy +3 (8-5)


Boston College +2 (10-3)
Texas A&M +2 (9-4)
LSU +2 (11-2)
Tennessee +2 (9-4)
Georgia +2 (9-4)
Kentucky +2 (8-5)
Ohio State +2 (12-1)
Purdue +2 (8-6)
Rutgers +2 (11-2)
Cincinnati +2 (8-5)
Southern Miss +2 (9-5)
Idaho +2 (4-8)
Louisiana-Lafayette +2 (6-6)

-4 or more:
North Carolina State -5 (3-9)
Memphis -5 (2-10)
Eastern Michigan -5 (1-11)
Florida International -5 (0-12)
Louisiana-Monroe -5 (4-8)
New Mexico State -4 (4-8)
Colorado -4 (2-10)

Duke -3 (0-12)
Missouri -3 (8-5)
Oklahoma State -3 (7-6)
Vanderbilt -3 (4-8)
Michigan State -3 (4-8)
Illinois -3 (2-10)
Air Force -3 (4-8)
Alabama-Birmingham -3 (3-9)
Miami (OH) -3 (2-10)

Clemson -2 (8-5)
Florida State -2 (7-6)
Alabama -2 (6-7)
Mississippi State -2 (3-9)
Iowa -2 (6-7)
Minnesota -2 (6-7)
San Diego State -2 (3-9)
UNLV -2 (2-10)
Houston -2 (10-4)
Nevada -2 (8-5)
North Texas -2 (2-10)

Expect the teams listed with positive CGVRs to be unable to improve on their 2006 records, while teams listed with negative CGVRs to be able to improve on theirs.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Close Game Variance Ratio

One of the resources I use is something I call the "Close Game Variance Ratio" or CGVR. It's an idea I picked up from Phil Steele's preseason magazines, and so far, it's been a pretty strong predictive tool.

The way to find a team's CGVR is to take the difference of games won by 8 points or less from the games lost by 8 points or less. For instance, Tennessee in 2006 beat Air Force by 1, Alabama by 3, South Carolina by 7, and Kentucky by 5, giving Tennessee 4 close wins. UT lost to Florida by 1 and LSU by 4, giving UT 2 close losses. Two from four is +2. So, Tennessee's CGVR is +2.

The idea behind the theory is that teams with higher CGVRs were extremely lucky, or, to sound a little more serious, had positive variance. I believe variance tends to balance itself out, usually from year to year, but sometimes longer. Conversely, teams with lower, negative CGVRs will usually get no worse in record. A 4-7 team with a -3 CGVR will probably improve their record the next season, or at the very least, stay at the same level.

The evidence? I still consider my research to be done over a small sample size, but it's looking pretty good so far. I calculated every team's CGVR for every season from 2001-2005, and so far, the outcomes are pretty telling. First, we'll look at teams with high CGVRs:

+4 and up - Has occurred 34 times, with 91% of the teams having the same or worse record the next season
+3 - Has occurred 24 times, with 75% of the teams having the same or worse record
+2 - Has occurred 49 times, with 71% of the teams having the same or worse record

Solid evidence. Now, for negative CGVRs:

-4 and worse - Has occurred 22 times, with 86% of the teams having the same or better record
-3 - Has occurred 37 times, with 68% of the teams having the same or better record
-2 - Has occurred 50 times, with 71% of the teams having the same or better record

As far as I can tell, this theory can continually be a solid resource in preseason predictions. Obviously, preseason predictions are about as common as the sniffles, but it's still fun to be right. If you used this resource before the 2006 season, you could have predicted Arkansas's improvement (-4 in 2005), Alabama's and Penn State's record drop (both +2 in 2005), Oregon's troubles (+3), Arizona's 3 win jump (-4), and other teams' fortunes.

Later this week, I will outline which teams from 2007 fall into the important CGVR ranges.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Boise Arrives!

"Boise State doesn't deserve to be in the BCS!"

"Oklahoma is going to pound Boise."

"Boise will get killed."

All of the above phrases could have been heard around bars, offices, homes, and everywhere else over the course of the holidays. There was no way Boise could hang with a BCS conference powerhouse school like Oklahoma. No way, no how. Well, they did.

Not only did the Broncos of Boise hang with Bob Stoops and the 11-1 Sooners (don't correct me), the Broncos BEAT Bob Stoops, Paul Thompson, ADRIAN PETERSON, and the pressure of playing for all mid-major football programs in the country. What will people say now?

"Boise got lucky!"

"Oklahoma overlooked them!"

Those people will be wrong. Oklahoma had 406 total yards to Boise State's 378. Ian Johnson ran for more total yards and yards per carry than 2007 1st Round Draft Pick Adrian Peterson. Even after Oklahoma put the dagger into the hearts of all of Boise, the Broncos pulled the dagger out, licked the blood off the blade, and stuck it into Norman. Boise State beat the Oklahoma Sooners, no excuses.

Will a mid-major ever play for a national title in the current BCS system? I doubt it. The conference strength of schedule just isn't there, and it won't be for awhile. However, the Broncos cooked the crow the best way they knew how, and served it to about 99% of the football fan community. "Well done," was my request.

Oh, and Ian Johnson became engaged in the postgame interview.