Tag Archives: Cornhuskers

Playing with Pythagorean Wins

I’m sort of falling in love with football’s Pythagorean Wins Theorem.

Before we get into that data, there are two questions worth answering quickly:

1) How accurate are Pythagorean Wins in college football? – This concept works very well in the NFL but there’s some debate, or at least there was a few years back based on Google searches, over how well it applies to the college game. Based on my numbers, the football formula predicted win totals within one game of the actual win totals nearly two-thirds (63.07%) of the time between 2007 and 2012. The formula projected 35.96% of the teams within a half game of the actual win totals over the same span. It’s reasonably accurate.

2) How predictive is it? – Pythagorean Wins does a pretty good job of identifying teams that drastically over or underperformed. Over the last five seasons, teams that were +/- 1.5 or more wins typically played to their actual form the next season, particularly the underperforming teams. Between 2007 and 2012, 64.8% of teams that were 1.5 games or more below their expected win total improved their win total the next season, while just 14.8% got worse. On the other end of the spectrum, teams that were 1.5 games or more above their expected win total saw their win total decline 62.2% of the time the following season, while 31.1% improved.

Read the entire thing over at HailVarsity.com.

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What do champions have in common?

Stretching the limits of my statistical prowess here, but I decided to use standard deviation to examine what modern day national champions in college football have in common. A short excerpt below:

If we were to write out those results in plain English, the profile of a national champion over the past six years would read something like this: The last six national champions have consistently ran the ball well (rushing YPG and YPC), pressured the quarterback (sacks/g), stopped the run (rushing YPG and YPC allowed), scored enough points to rank in the top 25 (PPG) because they get to the red zone frequently (red zone attempts) and convert those attempts (red zone scoring percentage), had a merely adequate passing game (passing YPG), and got off the field on third down (opponent third down conversion percentage).

You can read the whole thing at HailVarsity.com.

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April ’12


March ’13


Sorta changes the look of Memorial Stadium a bit, no?

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