Why is the SEC data so good?
The SEC is 32-7 (.821). They are 27-2 (.931) in the non-conference. They are scoring 39.8 PPG and allowing just 19.4 PPG. Their margin of victory is +20.5 PPG. They have the best KPI among conferences by a wide margin (.164 to the ACC’s .104). They are tops in every one of these categories.
They have also played more home games (27) than any other conference, including their five conference games played to date. The SEC is 5-4 on the road and 3-0 in neutral site games. Georgia is the only SEC team to play multiple Power 5 non-conference games. Four teams won’t play any. They still have nine games remaining against FCS opponents – more than every other FBS conference combined. Only two of their non-conference games have been decided by less than 10 points (LSU-Wisconsin and UMass-Vanderbilt). 22 of 29 games have been decided by 20 points or more.
Their only two non-conference losses are a forgivable Tennessee loss at Oklahoma and a Vanderbilt home stinker to Temple. Headline-grabbing conference matchups are sprinkled in the first three weeks of the season rather than big non-conference games – somebody always wins!
The SEC is really good. The data shows it. Winning games cures a lot of problems. But the SEC clearly has figured out how and when to win them. In the BCS era, that worked. It remains to be seen how the new selection committee looks upon their methods.
Show Your Work:
Why is Syracuse so high?: Syracuse (No. 2 in the KPI Rankings) is benefitting from the transitive property of math right now. Their 1-point win over Villanova is helped by Villanova’s blowout of 2-1 FCS/Fordham. Furthermore, their 40-3 blowout road win at Central Michigan (who is 2-1, including a 21-point win at Purdue) Saturday is currently worth .65 through three weeks. A bye mixed in gives 50% value to each game. For better or worse, this will work itself out for the Orange.
Margin: Margin by week: Week 1 (+24.4 PPG, +15.2 in conference games), Week 2 (+23.9 PPG, +10.3 in conference games), Week 3 (+19.6 PPG, +7.4 in conference games). Total points scored per team by week: Week 1 (27.6 PPG, 29.0 PPG in conference games), Week 2 (28.6 PPG, 25.1 PPG in conference games), Week 3 (30.0 PPG, 30.6 PPG in conference games). The average margin in all games this season is 22.9 PPG.
Remaining Non-Conference Schedule: Non-conference games have a lot to do with how conference rank up against each other. The Big 12 (5 remaining) and Pac-12 (8 remaining) have limited non-conference games left due to their nine-game conference schedule. The Big Ten (20 remaining) will play most of their non-conference games over the next two weeks while the ACC (24 remaining) and SEC (27 remaining) have spread their non-conference games out throughout the remainder of the season.
Extremes: There are 34 FBS teams still unbeaten through three weeks. 23 of them are 3-0, 10 are 2-0 and one (Cincinnati) is 1-0. Conversely, there are 11 teams without a win yet. Five are 0-3, six are 0-2. Northwestern is the only Power 5 team still without a win. The MAC (3), American (2), Sun Belt (2), Mountain West (2), and Conference USA (1) make up the remaining ten teams.
Power 5 vs. Power 5: There have been 20 non-conference games between the Power 5 conferences and Notre Dame. The SEC leads the way at 4-1, followed by the Pac-12 (5-2), ACC (4-2), Big 12 (4-5) and the Big Ten (1-10). Notre Dame is 2-0 (both against the Big Ten). The Big Ten has as many Power 5 non-conference losses as the other four conferences and Notre Dame combined.
EXPs data is inconclusive on which conferences had the scheduling advantages. It is possible some conferences had top teams matched up against lesser teams from another conference and vice versa. The records are telling, but more data is needed to know exactly how good and/or bad it is.
Following up on the Week 3 Prologue from Friday, the Big Ten has now played 11 Power 5 games (most of any conference) with six remaining. The ACC has played six of 17, the Big 12 nine of 10, the Pac-12 seven of 11, and the SEC five of 11.
Best Week 3 Wins by KPI Formula (2014 Data Only)
- Syracuse 40, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 3
- OREGON 48, Wyoming 14
- OKLAHOMA 34, Tennessee 10
- East Carolina 28, VIRGINIA TECH 21
- WASHINGTON 44, Illinois 19
Best Week 3 Wins by KPI Formula (Including both 2013 & 2014 Data)
- MISSOURI 38, Central Florida 10
- VIRGINIA 23, Louisville 21
- Nebraska 55, FRESNO STATE 19
- East Carolina 28, VIRGINIA TECH 21
- BOSTON COLLEGE 37, USC 31
Most Valuable Week 3 Games by KPI Formula (2014 Data Only)
- 97.9% OKLAHOMA 34, Tennessee 10
- 95.6% TCU 30, Minnesota 7
- 95.4% OREGON 48, Wyoming 14
- 95.1% Syracuse 40, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 3
- 94.7% WASHINGTON 44, Illinois 19
Most Valuable Week 3 Games by KPI Formula (Including both 2013 & 2014 Data)
- 98.1% MISSOURI 38, Central Florida 10
- 88.3% SOUTH CAROLINA 38, Georgia 35
- 84.5% OKLAHOMA 34, Tennessee 10
- 83.1% TEXAS A&M 38, Rice 10
- 81.6% UCLA 20, Texas 17
Outlier Week 3 Games by KPI Formula (2014 Data Only)
- 44.2% FCS/Abilene Christian 38, TROY 35
- 37.2% Iowa State 20, IOWA 17
- 36.8% East Carolina 28, VIRGINIA TECH 21
- 35.6% Arkansas 49, TEXAS TECH 28
- 34.6% Western Michigan 45, IDAHO 33
Outlier Week 3 Games by KPI Formula (Including both 2013 & 2014 Data)
- 77.3% FCS/Indiana State 27, BALL STATE 20
- 71.4% Iowa State 20, IOWA 17
- 69.8% Louisiana Tech 42, NORTH TEXAS 21
- 62.6% FCS/Abilene Christian 38, TROY 35
- 59.2% VIRGINIA 23, Louisville 20
TV Schedule: The following games with a 6-day network flex were confirmed late Saturday:
- Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech: 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Iowa at Pittsburgh: 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU
- Virginia at BYU: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
- North Carolina at East Carolina: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
12-day flex picks for Saturday, September 27 will be released on Monday.