Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Southern Boys Play Football

Or looking at football scores in a different way. More interesting way? probably not. Grab some coffee and pull up a chair and observe as I spiral down a mathematical hole of which you nor I have any business going down.

28 bowl games played, 56 total teams.

Data can be very misleading but here goes; The traditional South (for my definition of that go HERE) has fielded 22 of those 56. Here is the breakdown:

22: South
16: West
11: Mid West
07: North

Here are the Records by region:

13-9: South
8-8: West
3-4: North
4-7: Mid West

So how about match-ups? Say... North vs. South? They had 12 head to head.

South 8 wins, 4 losses. Average margin of victory? 22 pts. When Northern team wins the margin was 14 pts.

I found something interesting here in terms of point margins; That being when one school from a particular region plays another region it is a blow out (one way or the other). For example: when the a Northern team travels it either won by 21 or lost by 16. But when a Northern School plays another school from the North, the margin is only three points. Same thing in a South v. South match up (4.8).

Southern teams didn't do well in their 2 games against teams not in the North. Two losses (and loosing bad) by an average of 17.5 pts. An aggregate of 35 pts.

I got turned on to soccer more this year so lets look at Goal Difference, oops, I mean point difference in North v. South:

South: +74

HA HA! Suck it Yankees!

When it was North v. Other:

Other: +24

How about variance. What is the distance between a win and a loss for each region:

12.4: Mid-West (good)
15.6: South
18.1: North
18.5: West (bad)

Generally speaking, this tells me is that Mid-western teams are scoring more in a loss because the winning team, no matter region is scoring around 35 pts. It's pretty predictable that the teams out west have all this variance. From what I've heard, they don't play defense out there.

What's strange is that mid-western teams have the worst record out of the bunch. I first thought that there isn't enough data points (11 games) for them, but then again, that 20% of the games played. So what's with this region? Some sociologists may stay going from a colder region to a warmer one (most bowl games are in warm climates) to play and the kids may treat it like a vacation and not a game. Football analysts in the know will probably say that it is because cold weather teams are built for a slower game (run and defense).

Let's put that last part to the test. Points per Game by where the school is from in terms of weather (generally):

26.3: Warm (Western teams, Deep South, California)
25.1: Cold
24.3: Moderate Temp (Mid-Atlantic, Maryland, North Carolina)

Here are the winning %:

56%: Moderate temp
46%: Warm
45%: Cold

One very important note; I took Oklahoma out. That state has been very successful this year winning all three of their games and I don't know how to classify their weather.

So is it that teams in the Mid-Atlantic are balanced and can play with anyone? Man, I don't know. I'm rambling on now, but it has been fun to look at this stuff. Just a different way to look at this stuff.

Statistically speaking the only significant difference I found was in the South vs. North match-ups. All other match-ups, North v. West, West v. West, South v. anyone, Mid-West or whatever, is 50-50. So, when it comes down to it I think it comes to playing for something bigger then your school. Southern teams and Southern players have an enormous amount of pride and passion for their region, especially when playing a school up North. Combine that with the reality that schools up North probably don't care and you get a disparity.

Don't believe me about the Southland? Talk to someone from down there. Here; I'll simulate a conversation for you if no Southerner and Yankee is available to you.
Yankee: Yeah, yeah who cares.
Rebel: Not too many, I reckon.
Yankee: Fat, lazy, backward, redneck sumbitches
Rebel: Maybe so, but we set out to win some football games, and we did. What have y'all done?
Yankee: You want me to seriously answer that question?!
Ok, so it's not much to win a couple football games, but good enough for me.

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