2010 SEC SDPI: defense doesn’t always win championships.

Matt Melton’s posted his SDPI analysis of the 2010 SEC season.  It’s one of the few statistical looks at Georgia which doesn’t leave me scratching my head.

Yup, middle-of-the-pack offense plus middle-of-the-pack defense equals mediocrity.

Much of what’s there is more a confirmation of what we knew – the West was the better division, by far; Mississippi State was the conference overachiever; Vanderbilt’s season defined “epic suck” – but there’s one interesting thing I found that surprised me.  Auburn won a national title without being dominant statistically in the conference.  To get an idea of what I mean by that, check out Matt’s results from the prior season.

Auburn’s 2010 SDPI would have only been fourth-best in 2009, and it would have been considerably behind the top two teams.

Here’s the picture from 2008.

Again, there are two teams which put together far superior SDPI numbers to Auburn’s 2010 result.

The difference is with the defense.  In the two seasons before 2010, the top teams (Florida and Alabama, in both cases) sported defensive rankings which were no lower than third in the conference.  Auburn’s 2010 defensive SDPI ranked seventh in the SEC.

Don’t get me wrong, Auburn’s number is certainly above average.  It’s not like the Tigers were awful, of course.  But you’d expect a team that went undefeated through the nation’s toughest football conference regular season, won the SECCG and capped the season by winning the BCS title game to have stood out a little more strongly.  As it turned out, Auburn didn’t even have the best SDPI in the conference.

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5 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

5 responses to “2010 SEC SDPI: defense doesn’t always win championships.

  1. Hobnail_Boot

    Holy crap, Vanderbilt.

  2. JaxDawg

    The answer to your question is simple: Auburn cheated. The sdpi doesn’t measure cheating b/c if it did, Auburn would rank tops in the conference.

  3. Go Dawgs!

    Through the first 3/4 of the season, Auburn wasn’t all that impressive. They managed only narrow escapes against South Carolina, Clemson, and Kentucky. If not for the way they loaded up and beat the doors off of LSU, they would probably have been the furthest under the radar of any undefeated team in the history of November. Then the lightbulb switched on and they blew Georgia out in the second half, and posted another strong second half against Alabama. For most of the year, though, they weren’t impressive statistically. They just won.

  4. David H.

    Also, the SDPI doesn’t include the data from the SEC championship game, which was maybe Auburn’s best performance last year. They definitely got better as the season went on.

  5. W Cobb Dawg

    Arky and awburn separated themselves from the pack on offense, and both were in the tougher division of the sec. It’s not just running up scores on directional schools. Advanced offenses are a threat to score the second they take the field.