The problem with a small sample size

With college football’s first two weeks in the books, Bill Connelly’s updated his win projections.  Here’s how the SEC shapes up for him now:

  • Alabama:  11 (+1.1)
  • Georgia:  10.8 (+0.7)
  • Mississippi State:  9.5 (+1.4)
  • Vanderbilt:  8.1 (+3.2)
  • LSU:  8.0 (+0.8)
  • Missouri:  7.9 (+1.1)
  • Auburn:  7.7 (-1.2)
  • Texas A&M:  7.3 (+0.5)
  • Kentucky:  7.8 (+1.8)
  • Ole Miss:  6.7 (-0.1)
  • South Carolina:  5.8 (-1.2)
  • Florida:  5.3 (-1.3)
  • Tennessee:  4.7 (-0.7)
  • Arkansas:  3.9 (-2.1)

The Vanderbilt number is crazy — even Bill knows it’s crazy.

Who’s falling back to earth? Vanderbilt. I mean, it has to be the Dores, right? They’ve risen a little too far for beating teams in the lower half of Conference USA and the Mountain West.

The best thing the ‘Dores have going for them at this juncture in the season is that they won’t be running into Alabama.  That’s not going to be enough for them to avoid a return to the lower reaches of the division, though.

And how about Auburn’s decline in the face of beating Washington?  Even if you peg them with losses to the four teams ahead of them — and I think they roll LSU this weekend — that’s still an eight-win season.

On the other hand, how much would I love a football season that ends with South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee all whiffing on bowl eligibility?  (Answer:  a lot.)

17 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

17 responses to “The problem with a small sample size

  1. 81Dog

    Is this what the intellectuals call “cognitive dissonance”? As for me, the thought of living in a world where Vandy outperforms Auburn is an awesome one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vandy jumped based on their play and their competition’s play… But you are spot on… Vandy looked pretty darn good after their first two games and then made the mistake saying they ‘want Alabama’. And Bama just destroyed them. Then they went to UF and played pretty well and almost pulled the upset. And UGA came to town and played a very similar game that Alabama did. I was there. By then the support was gone from their students and fans. There were at least 35,000 Georgia fans in the stands. The Dawgs came out and physically beat up this Vandy team. It was pure dominance from beginning to end. When Bama left town this team was filled with doubts; rebuilt a little of that in Gainesville, but Georgia took what was left and left this team devastated. Looking back, they lost badly; but lost badly to the two best teams in the country. It took them weeks to get back to playing any type of good football…

    Liked by 1 person

    • moe pritchett

      I was at that game too and it was a complete Dawg Nation invasion. Whole family sitting on the 35. Me, my son and son in law went through a flask of Four Roses Small batch before the half. It was a good day.

      Like

  3. Biggus Rickus

    Yes, they probably won’t look that good in the S&P+ metrics going forward, but given their crossover games and the general state of the East, it’s not insane they could actually get to 8 wins if they’re just a little better than everyone anticipated.

    Like

  4. The Truth

    I’m torn, Senator. Watching UT, UF, and Carolina struggle is certainly good for the soul and gives any recruit we’re commonly chasing an even better reason to get on board the fully functional Death Star.

    However, “they didn’t play anybody” doesn’t need to be a weapon in the arsenal of any committee member looking to keep 2 SEC teams out of the playoff. On that front the East teams need at least decent records.

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    • I don’t want two SEC teams in the playoff. I want one SEC team in the playoff.

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      • Macallanlover

        And that is how it should be in a 4 team playoff. SEC champs should be in, others should go to regular bowls. Bama has pulled this trick twice, it isn’t good for football in such a limited playoff system. As a priority, conference championships should mean something again. Bama sitting home in early December of 2011 and 2017 was a bad look.

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        • AusDawg85

          A 12 – 1 UGA team with another close loss to an undefeated Bama in the SECCG not making the playoffs over a 2 loss Washington PAC 12 winner would not be right and I dare say would challenge any purist’s thinking about “you must be a Conference winner”. This is exactly why the committee was formed…to try to bring some rational, subjective balance to the selections for a sport that simply can not be objectively measured. I’m not suggesting the committee has and will always get this right, but it is the proper mechanism over computers or changing the entire structure of FBS football to NFL lite.

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          • Anonymous

            This is exactly why the committee was formed…to try to bring some rational, subjective balance to the selections for a sport that simply can not be objectively measured.

            Uh, no. The committee was formed because the B1G was butthurt about SEC dominance. The B1G had been left out of the title game 4 years in a row and the tittle game ended up being SEC vs SEC. While they may be “forced” to put two SEC teams in the playoff (before they expand it to 8), I can basically guarantee you that the two SEC teams will meet in the first round. They will not risk another SEC vs SEC championship game.

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          • Macallanlover

            Your 12-1 UGA runner-up hypothesis is conceivable, but it depends on the other candidates stumbling badly, combined with a very close loss to Bama, similar to 2012 SECCG, and this January’s MNC game. So it can happen, but it will be resisted strongly. And I am fine with that. Bama’s situation would be almost the same, but they would likely get a little more leeway.

            And, I am not against a non-conference champ getting into the playoff, as long as all other Power 5 champs are included first. My preference is an 8 team playoff that includes two wildcards for the highest ranked Power 5 teams that did not win a conference title.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Beat Alabama in Atlanta. Problem solved.

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      • Erk's Forehead

        IMO, the SEC Title is the biggest prize. The Natty is fun for $#@^$ & giggles, but If we can’t win the SEC, I don’t want to play for the MNC. I’m sure I’m in the minority.

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        • Anonymous

          I agree. Since 2006, the number of times a team from outside the SEC has won the Natty is equal to the times that Bama has won it while not being the SEC Champ. The the Saban at Bama era, winning an SEC Championship is just as hard as winning the National Championship.

          Like

  5. Rocketdawg

    Vandy can beat any team in the East not named UGA. I expect Shurmur to light up S.C. and UF. How funny would it be to see Vandy as the number 2 team in the East? I’d be happy for Derek Mason.

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    • Macallanlover

      I like Mason as well but Vandy as number 2 would, unfortunately, bring about more Dawgrading of whatever UGA accomplishes. It is possible, but still not probable. Kentucky is a physical football team with a solid running game, and decent defense. If they stay healthy, they would be my pick for runner-up based on early returns. Lexington could be a battle for UGA, it has been before. I was there when they brought the goalposts down, they would tear more than just goalposts down if they beat a Dawg team rated in the Top 10.

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  6. Bulldog Joe

    Vanderbilt (+14) @ Notre Dame could be a good viewing alternative if LSU (+10) @ Auburn gets out-of-hand.

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  7. Whiskeydawg

    Florida and Tennessee at the bottom just makes me smile.

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