Two out of three ain’t bad, just not good enough.

Final SP+ rankings for 2020:

Screenshot_2020-01-16 Final SP+ rankings for 2019 college football season

So, Georgia finished first in both Defensive SP+ and Special Teams SP+… and fifth overall, behind four of the five top offensive SP+ teams (Oklahoma was the other, natch).  Should we call Kirby’s team the best Manball team in the country?

By the way, if you’re curious, as I was, about LSU’s second place ranking, Bill does his readers the courtesy of providing an explanation:

This is a long way of saying that LSU, 2019’s national champion and a team that finished the season playing otherworldly ball, didn’t finish the year No. 1 in SP+, just as it didn’t finish No. 1 in FPI. Ohio State all but clinched the No. 1 spot by playing the best overall ball in the regular season and then playing Clemson to a near-statistical draw in the CFP semifinals.

Oh well. LSU timed its peak perfectly, playing well throughout the year and then going nuclear late. In the Tigers’ last four games, their average per-game SP+ percentile rating was 99%. Play like that all year, and you’re the greatest team of all time. As it stands, their midseason defensive funk (driven in part by injuries) dragged their full-season numbers down to that of a merely tremendous team.



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

14 responses to “Two out of three ain’t bad, just not good enough.

  1. DawgPhan

    I was thinking about this today. I wonder what then highest possible offensive rating is and what portion of that rating LSU got.


    • Biggus Rickus

      Oklahoma’s offensive rating was 54 in 2018. I believe that’s the highest total anyone’s posted. I’m skeptical that that offense was actually better than LSU’s, or even Oklahoma’s in 2017, but stats don’t make room for nuance.


      • Will (the other one)

        Remember these are for the course of a season. As great as Burrow and co. were down the stretch, they weren’t putting up quite the same peak all season (their numbers against an OK GaSouthern look poor now compared to what they did at the end of the year+playoffs.)


  2. Biggus Rickus

    Everyone knows that Georgia’s offense was the reason it faltered. Let’s put that 32nd in perspective, though. After the loss to South Carolina, Georgia ranked 11th nationally in offensive SP+. Over the next half of the season they fell 22 spots. That means the offense was performing more like the 50th best offense over those games than the 32nd. Also, three of the other four teams were 2-4 in defense, and LSU trended upward late in the season (there were fluctuations, but they were 29th after week 8 and got as high as 18th a couple of times down the stretch). The lesson to me is that you can’t be inept on either side of the ball, but I don’t think that’s news.


  3. mp

    I am pretty sure that the way to think about SP+ is in terms of points. (Offense and ST are positive (bigger better), defense is negative (smaller better).) So UGA’s 32nd ranked offense is 14 (!!!) points worse than LSU’s. That is a gap that no defense is going to ever be able to overcome.


  4. chopdawg

    Stats overload, IMO. LSU won the Natty. They were the best team in the country. Not sure how secondary statistics even matter, especially after the season is complete.