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2018-19 bowl season Five Factors box scores

Did it seem to you like the wrong team was winning a lot of this year’s bowls? The stats agree.

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Northwestern vs Utah Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s Five Factors box scores are up! Check out all the results here. Week 14’s superior performances in each category are below.

Bowl season was pretty wild, in that nearly half the games were decided by a touchdown or less and nearly half were decided by 24 points or more. Despite the blowouts, we did still have quite a few super-funky results that the stats thought were pretty damn unlikely:

  • Nevada 13, Arkansas State 10. ASU’s post-game win expectancy: 90%
  • Georgia Southern 23, EMU 21. EMU’s post-game win expectancy: 88%
  • Washington State 28, Iowa State 26. ISU’s post-game win expectancy: 82%
  • Northwestern 31, Utah 20. Utah’s post-game win expectancy: 81%
  • Kentucky 27, Penn State 24. PSU’s post-game win expectancy: 75%
  • Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 33. Mizzou’s post-game win expectancy: 73%
  • Oregon 7, Michigan State 6. MSU’s post-game win expectancy: 65%
  • TCU 7, Cal 6. Cal’s post-game win expectancy: 56%

That’s eight of 39 games in which the statistically superior team lost — way more than normal. Guess we’d hope for nothing less in bowl season.

Top 5 success rate margins (vs. FBS)

  1. Wisconsin (+29% vs. Miami)
  2. Army (+28% vs. Houston)
  3. Auburn (+26% vs. Purdue)
  4. Syracuse (+21% vs. WVU)
  5. Virginia (+18% vs. South Carolina)

It really was like Miami was hopeless from its first offensive play of the game.

Top 5 yards per play margins (vs. FBS)

  1. BYU (+5.3 vs. WMU)
  2. Army (+5.2 vs. Houston)
  3. Texas A&M (+5.1 vs. NC State)
  4. Auburn (+3.8 vs. Purdue)
  5. UAB (+3.4 vs. NIU)

The only surprise about the BYU-WMU game is that the score wasn’t even more lopsided. (Thanks, first-half turnovers.)

Top 5 field position margins (vs. FBS)

  1. Troy (+23.3 vs. Buffalo)
  2. Wisconsin (+18.5 vs. Miami)
  3. Toledo (+18.5 vs. FIU)
  4. Marshall (+18.3 vs. USF)
  5. Texas (+14.3 vs. Georgia)

Georgia was figuratively fighting uphill all game, both on the scoreboard and on the field.

Top 5 points per scoring opportunity margins (vs. FBS)

  1. UVA (+5.6 vs. South Carolina)
  2. Ohio (+4.5 vs. SDSU)
  3. FIU (+4.3 vs. Toledo)
  4. Cincinnati (+4.3 vs. Virginia Tech)
  5. Appalachian State (+4.3 vs. MTSU)

Virginia generated five scoring opps to South Carolina’s three. On average, that should have resulted in about a 23-14 win, not 28-0. UVA’s defense stiffened when it needed to, though.

Top 5 turnovers luck margins (vs. FBS)

  1. Northwestern (+2.9 vs. Utah)
  2. Temple (+2.8 vs. Duke)
  3. Wisconsin (+2.6 vs. Miami)
  4. Washington State (+1.8 vs. Iowa State)
  5. Missouri (+1.5 vs. Oklahoma State)

Translation: Northwestern had a turnover margin that was +2.9 ahead of where national averages suggest it should have been. As each turnover is worth approximately five points in terms of field position lost by one team and gained by the other, that means the Wildcats enjoyed about a 14 or 15-point boost thanks to turnovers luck. And really, considering the amount of fumble return yardage, it’s safe to say that their turnovers were worth more than an average of five points.

What a fitting damn way for this strange Northwestern season to end.