When stats aren’t convincing

Interesting assertion from the AJ-C’s Brandon Adams yesterday:

Georgia football podcast: One stat could determine SEC East winner

Beginning of the show: In three of the last four seasons the winner of the SEC East has collected more than 40 sacks as a team.

Now that’s true, as far as it goes.  Missouri cracked the 40-sack mark in 2013 and 2014, while Florida did the same in 2015.  However, the Gators, while leading the East in sacks last season, only managed 31 on the way to winning the division.  So, maybe the key is simply topping the division rather than a specific number.

Except when you go back to 2012, you find Georgia’s 32 sacks were only second-best in the East, behind South Carolina’s 43 (I think some dude named Clowney was a Gamecock back then).

There really isn’t much of a rhyme or reason to this, then.  Which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about how chaotic the division has been, in the sense that the favorite never seems to win it these days.  In fact, scrounging around the cfbstats.com site, I couldn’t find a single statistical category over the past four seasons that the East winner topped in all years.

None of which is to say I wouldn’t love for the Dawgs to manage forty-plus sacks.  I would venture to say were that to happen, it would be an indication that the defense enjoyed a dominant 2017.  But as far as that guaranteeing a trip to Atlanta in December, who knows?



Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

26 responses to “When stats aren’t convincing

  1. South Carolina had the misfortune of drawing a game at Baron Rouge which they lost by 2 and then got rolled by Muschamp. They also beat the hell out of us.
    2012 was the last time the sec east had any legit teams and that year there were three.


  2. Irwin R. Fletcher

    In fact, scrounging around the cfbstats.com site, I couldn’t find a single statistical category over the past four seasons that the East winner topped in all years.

    Hmmm…it’s almost like the winner of the division has to play good football across the board? I don’t think that would drive folks to the podcast like a ‘secret stat that is guaranteed to win!’.


    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      Although…when you look at the stats on CFBstats.com…every division winner has been 1st or 2nd in their division in Points Allowed in Conference games in every season back to 2008 except two…2010 and 2013.

      I guess there is some correlation between keeping your conference opponents from scoring and winning? 🙂



      • I’ll tell you how crazy the East has been. You can’t even fully correlate net conference scoring to winning the division. One year in the last five didn’t match. Can you guess the school and season?

        2016: UF +73
        2015: UF +81
        2014: UGA +115
        2013: Miz +134
        2012: UGA +123



        • Otto

          Someone must have been padding box scores but not winning the big game.


          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            Right…I’m sure that during that 34-0 win at eventual SEC-East division winner Mizzou, Richt was thinking he better run it up to statistically cover for the eventual loss to Florida.

            But it is interesting…you give up 0, 7, and 17 points in 3 games….and 38, 32, 38, 32, and 31 in the other five…your ‘average’ is 24.4 ppg but your median at 31.5 points really tells the story. The 0 and 7 were clearly outliers. Just the fact that UGA is the only team on that list that had the best point differential but didn’t win the division leads me to hypothesize that having that kind of a distribution must be pretty atypical. (Grantham-effect? Where a couple of out of this world performances statistically masks the deficiencies of your defense.)


            • Otto

              Yes because an absence of production from the offense for majority of the WLOCP has nothing to do with the defense getting tired and being put in bad situations.


              • Irwin R. Fletcher

                The defense gave up points when the offense scored in 2014 and when the offense didn’t in 2014.

                Pinning a loss on the offense when Florida scored 5 TDs on only 6 Pass Attempts is lunacy. You know that the offense had the ball for 11 minutes to Florida’s 4 prior to Florida’s first touchdown drive…and we were up 7-0…then the D let them go 14 plays, 74 yards, and and hold the ball for 6:35. You tell me why I should buy the tired refrain from that game that it was the Offense’s fault that the D was gassed? The Defense couldn’t get off the field because they couldn’t stop a simple run play. The offense didn’t help them the next drive by going 3 and out…but the at least put them back on the 36 to start the drive.

                And how does that affect the first drive after the half where we let the game get out of reach by giving up 73 yards in 6 plays? Did the offense hog the gatorade in the locker room and that is why the defense wasn’t ready to play after getting a long break in the A/C?

                Come on…you can blame the offense for not getting us back in the game, but you can’t blame them for the game getting out of reach or for the defense’s performance.


  3. Cojones

    Yeah, you have to go through stats carefully. Thought the East Champion coincided with the years I had sex, but was wrong about that also. Heads up though, ’cause tonight’s the night for 2017.


    • Too much information. 😉


      • Cojones

        Never mind. My knees are too shaky to get me through the groveling stage. And the glass pump is broken, an accident that occurred mysteriously after I showed the circled date on the calendar to Imelda-in-Waiting.

        Think I’ll just drive over to the mall, go drankin’ and look for those poor girls who are washing windshields in order to get a ride across town. First, I have to get the training wheels off the walker and put those oversized wheelchair wheels on because those fillies move fairly swiftly. The Nesian thinks I’m birdwatching in the classical sense; just trying to prevent knots on the forehead from mosquito swatting that’s done after I nod off on the porch.


    • Uglydawg

      Thanks, Cojones! I needed a good laugh.


    • The Dawg abides

      Viagra 100’s and plenty of Red Bull my man.


  4. Alcoholic Genius

    The immeasurable factors. Heart. Leadership. LUCK. Don’t know about the first two, but we sure are due some return on the last one.


  5. Dave

    Not a big fan of Brandon Adams. He reminds me of Ray Lewis in that he acts like an unimportant word has ever rolled off his tongue.

    This one is a case of correlation is not causation. Obviously, if you’re leading the division in sacks, or at least are high up there, you likely have a good defense. That’s pretty much where it ends.

    Georgia had 29 sacks last year. If they had 41 (so, 1 more per game excluding the bowl), would that have really made up the difference to win the division? Most likely not. Then again, who knows? Maybe an extra sack at the right time against Tennessee would have rendered the hail mary null, and 2 more sacks at the right times against Florida might have turned the tide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave

      *never. He acts like an unimportant word has never rolled off his tongue.


    • doiknowu

      “Maybe an extra sack at the right time against Tennessee would have rendered the hail mary null…”

      Yeah, I’m thinking that maybe on the game’s final play?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave

        Nice. Well, then it wouldn’t have been thrown at all, but yeah, that’d have done it.


      • Macallanlover

        Just someone in the same zip code would have prevented him setting up and having time to make a decent throw. Doobs was a terrible passer, we gave him a chance to get it on the mark. Will never, ever understand defensive coaches’ thinking. This wasn’t just a “prevent defense” dumb decision, they only had one choice of plays…..why ask your guys to stand down? Dumb, very dumb.


  6. watcher16

    The team that scores the most points in the most number of games will win the East

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Captain Obvious

    obscure stat of the day: more points than the other guys = win


  8. whb209

    The great Coach Russell told us 4 or 5 times a week and twice on Friday, “We would like for the O to score every time they get the ball, but don’t ever believe the stuff you read about getting tired. No matter what the O does we will go and play 3 snaps and then come sit our ass on the bench. Hard to get tired playing 3 plays.”
    Coach Russell might not have been correct all of the time, but he was
    NEVER wrong….


  9. pretty sure if you score points, and dont let your opponent score points, stats dont matter much.


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