F/+ ratings in the SEC, 2007 - 2012

Stacy Revere

We go back to the scatter plot machine to take a look at F/+ ratings in the SEC from 2007 to 2012.

In last week's post, I introduced you to a new method of looking at a team's F/+ ratings. This week, I'll be starting a tour of every major conference -- I believe I am statutorily bound by the laws of college football to begin with the SEC. In this post, I plotted every SEC team from 2007 to 2012 using each team's offensive and defensive F/+ ratings. Defense is on the horizontal axis and offense is on the vertical axis. When looking at the charts, remember this:

  • The better a team's offense is, the further "north" they are on the chart.
  • The better a team's defense is, the further "east" you want to be.
  • The best teams reside in the NE corner.
To more easily put teams into categories, the gray lines on the chart are percentile rankings for offense and defense: The 0, 20th, 50th, 80th, and 100th percentiles are represented on the chart. The corresponding F/+ ratings are shown at the bottom and left of the chart (for example, a team in the 80th percentile on defense has a +8.2% F/+ rating). Only 16 teams are in the super-elite NE box, signifying that the team's offense and defense are in the 80th percentile or better.


In the chart below, every black dot represents an SEC team from 2007 to 2012 (74 teams). The NCAA logo is the average for all FBS teams. It is (by definition) at the intersection of the 50th percentiles of offense and defense. The SEC logo is the average of all 74 SEC teams on this chart. No surprise here, but the average SEC team is "northeast" -- better -- than the average Division 1 team:

In the chart below, I kept all 74 dots but faded them to gray in order to highlight a few interesting points:

  • Every place you see text in the chart represents an average for this 6-year period. For example, "1W" is the average of every team that finished 1st place in the SEC West. Likewise, "1E" is the average of every team that finished 1st place in the SEC East.
  • The "SEC Champs" text shows the average of all six SEC title game winners in this time period.
  • I like to think of these numbers this way: if you want to win the west, your team's F/+ ratings had better be up in that NE corner of the chart. If you think you are going to challenge for 2nd in the east, you had better be up near the intersection of the 80th percentiles (and so on). This may be good to look at in the middle of the football season when we're not quite sure what teams are made of yet.

Now, here's a closer look at the group of six SEC champions over this time period (I also included Alabama's 2011 team even though they did not win the conference title). The blue dot is the average of all seven of these teams.

Observations:

  • Remember how I said that only 16 teams are in the extreme NE corner? Well, all six of the SEC title winners are in this category (also there: the 2011 Crimson Tide). All of these teams played for or won the BCS title game as well.
  • Auburn's 2010 BCS title team had the weakest defense in the group of title winners, but also the best offense.
  • The 2nd-best offense during this time period is the 2007 Florida Gators...they are at 2.2% defense, 23.6% offense. That team (led by Heisman winner Tim Tebow) had a historically good offense, but a slightly-above-average defense. That team finished at 9-4.

Okay, now it's time for a little fun. For each team in the SEC, I used my "what have you done for me lately" ratings system: F/+ ratings for each team weighted this way:

  • 2012: 40%
  • 2011: 30%
  • 2010: 20%
  • 2009: 10%

I figure recruits kind of look at it this way. 70% of the rating is what has happened in the last two years...everything else is a foggy memory. Using this weighting system, I plotted the teams using the chart below:

Observations & notes:

  • Bama, clearly first -- no one could argue that. But who has been the second-best team in the SEC? You could make a case for LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, or A&M (even though the Aggies are only entering their sophomore SEC season).
  • Missouri kind of sits in the middle of the pack, but we'll have to keep an eye on this -- remember, 60% of this placement on the chart is from their Big 12 days.
  • It's striking to see Auburn duking it out for the basement when you consider they won a BCS title in the four-year span we're looking at.
  • Kentucky -- oh, Kentucky.

Okay, one more thing. Let's take a look at the best and worst offenses in the SEC during this six-year period:

Observations:

  • I highlighted the teams that appear on both top-10 and bottom-10 lists. Bama has three teams that made both top 10 lists and one (2010) that barely missed out on it as well. Saban!
  • The top three offenses were all Heisman-winning seasons for the team’s QB (Cam, Tim, Johnny).

Next up: the Big 10

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