The midpoint of a football season is a time that calls for both reflection and projection.
At this point in the 2015 college football season, every FBS team in the country is at least halfway through their regular season schedule. There’s now enough to data and statistics to begin figuring out every team’s strengths and weaknesses and measure how the top team’s stack up against each other from a purely statistical standpoint.
Here at Gridiron Perspective, we use a certain power stat formula to attempt to get as close to a complete statistical description of a team as possible by measuring overall offensive production (scoring, efficiency, explosiveness), overall defensive prowess, special teams play and basic fundamentals for success (penalties, time of possession and turnover margin).
For each team, we analyze 30 key power stats and see how each team measures up against the national average on an eight-tier, eight-point scale ranging from elite to inferior.
If a team ranks in the top 16 nationally in a given stat, it’s awarded four power points; if it ranks 17-32, it’s awarded three points; 33-48 gets two points) and 49-64 gets one point. If it ranks below the national average in a certain stat, it’s penalized in descending order of each of the final four tiers: 65-80 (-1 point), 81-96 (-2 points), 97-112 (-3 points), 113-128 (-4 points).
Each team’s offense and defense is each measured in 11 key statistical areas: Yards Per Game, Points Per Game, Average Yards Per Play, Total Plays of 10 Yards or More, Total Plays of 20 Yards or More, First Downs Per Game, Total Touchdowns Scored, 3rd Down Conversion Percentage, Sacks Allowed/Created Per Game and Tackles For Loss Allowed/Created Per Game.
For Special Teams, there are five main stats analyzed: Average Kickoff Yardage, Average Punt Yardage, Average Kickoff Return Yardage, Average Punt Return Average and Field Goal Conversion Percentage.
Finally, the “Fundamentals” category measures a team’s Penalties Per Game, Average Time of Possession Per Game and Overall Turnover Margin.
It’s certainly not a perfect formula, since it doesn’t take into account quality of competition. That obviously matters when comparing a team like Utah, which has already beaten four teams that have at some point been ranked in the AP Top 25 this season, and Ohio State, which has only beaten one.
What it does do, however, is give a good indication of what a team’s main strengths and weakness truly are, and how the team stacks up overall on a national scale.
As the season goes on, the more data can be collected and analyzed and a more complete statistical picture of each team will start to take shape. For now, here’s a look at how the top 10 teams in the current AP Poll stack up in the midseason power stat comparative analysis.
*Note: All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com