Byeing time

In the wake of Alabama lobbying the SEC to do something about the conference schedule in light of the number of the teams the Tide faces this season coming off bye weeks, Year2 does something that strikes me as being quite sensible:  he takes a look at how much of an effect bye weeks have had in the SEC in contributing to wins and losses.

The answer is not much, or at least not as much as most people expect.

… In three of the four situations I looked at, coming off of a bye week was a hindrance if it had an effect at all. In the case of underdogs, coming off of a bye week might help if it does anything at all. While for the most part bye weeks make little difference, the fact that Alabama is projected to be really good actually puts them into the one situation where opponents off of bye weeks are more dangerous than usual.

Now he explores the subject in the context of ‘Bama’s scheduling issue this season, but I found it interesting that the one area where he perceives a statistical advantage from the bye week, that of the underdog having enjoyed the off week, is impacted by the Zooker’s two wins over Georgia in ’02 and ’03.  Obviously, reasonable minds can differ on how much of an impact the bye week had on those games (can you attribute DJ’s brain fart on the pick six, or Foster’s body boogie to the off week?), but if you attribute those two losses more to the general mojo of the series than to the schedule, there really isn’t anything statistically significant to this category either.

Obviously, others’ mileage may be different.  But maybe it’s just a matter of degree.

Also, it might be worth exploring the timing of the bye week to see if there are parts of the season when it proves more beneficial than others.

All of this is not to say that the SEC needs to get its act together about this.  Year2′s final conclusion is compelling stuff simply from the perspective of general fairness.

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13 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

13 responses to “Byeing time

  1. gatriguy

    Didn’t both Freddie and Damian Gary get hurt at Kentucky the week before Florida 02 while Florida had a bye?

    Also, didn’t DJ get hurt against Arkansas the week before Florida in 05 while Florida had a bye.

    Ignoring the possibility of injury one team has while playing when their next opponent is not is kinda missing a huge part of the bye week discussion.

    • ConnGator

      Good point. Florida certainly benefited from the fact that Tebow’s concussion last year was before a bye week, and he had two weeks get healthy before the LSU game. No bye week there and Brantley gets his first start in Tiger Stadium at night.

  2. JC in Powder Springs

    I guess this gets off the point somewhat, but what I’ve never understood is why any team would want a bye after their first game or before their last game (Dawgs ’10 schedule). Seems to me it makes better sense to schedule the bye somewhere in the middle of the season. If a team is doing poorly, it allows time to lick their wounds and re-group. If doing well, it allows a team a brief rest and re-focus for a title run.

    • Proper scheduling of the bye is even more important now with the longer season. Of course, Auburn wants its bye before the annual rivalry game with Alabama. Priorities and all. However, for teams with a desire of winning a championship, an earlier bye placed at the right moment in the season would benefit the team.

  3. Worth Mentioning

    The research is based on four games. A sample size of four is probably too small to be the basis for any conclusions.

  4. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Look, this isn’t rocket science. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that, particularly in the last half of the season, having a week off when your opponent did not get one is an advantage, if only for the injury/rest factor. Anyone who denies that (no matter what their statistical analysis says) is full of sh!t. Engineers (i.e. Tech nerds) can prove mathematically that a bumblebee cannot fly. The “bye-week” trick is the very thing Spurrier used to reverse the losing skid FLA had at the hands of the Dawgs for so long and he said exactly what he was doing and why at the time. Some coaches are better at using the bye-week than others, too. In 2005 (S)CUM used it to completely change the Gator offense before the WLOCP and the Gators beat a Dawg team that was hampered by a QB injury but which was otherwise vastly superior to the caimans. How about UT going 5-7 in 2008 when it had to play 6 teams with a bye-week advantage that year? Con-men convince people that night is day all the time (and steal their money) with BS. That Year2 analysis is total BS.

    • Hackerdog

      Arguing that, “I’m right and I don’t care what your facts say,” just doesn’t strike me as particularly serious.

      +1 for the certainty, though.

  5. Vious

    We claimed that UF always beat us b/c of the bye week

    Then UF destroyed us after we had one last year

    That is like people forgetting about the bye week before Tech 2 years ago and AU in ’05

    • Mator of Dawgtown

      We beat Arky last year when they had a bye week and we didn’t. We also beat FLA in ’97 and ’04 when they had the previous week off and we didn’t. It doesn’t work every time. Just think about it. Would you want to play all your games without a week off against teams that did have a week off? It’s just an advantage. It can be overcome occasionally but, over time, it affects results if talent levels are equal.

  6. Hobnail_Boot

    Just your mere mention of George Foster has my blood boiling.