Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The numbers behind FSU football's ACC domination

Florida State dominated the ACC last season in football last season. The Seminoles won seven regular-season games and the ACC title.

FSU was really good. Sometimes you don't need advanced stats to tell you the obvious but sometimes they can explain just how good a team was.

The Seminoles led the ACC in yards per play on offense and defense (see chart below). On offense, FSU averaged 6.99 yards per play in nine conference games (including its 21-15 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game). The Noles held their conference opponents to just 4.02 YPP (Virginia Tech was only other ACC team with an average of less than 5.0).

The difference between FSU's offensive YPP and defensive YPP was 2.97 (the best difference among ACC teams the six years of data available on Clemson was second in the league with 0.68.

Interestingly enough, the five teams with the most conference wins last season had the five best difference in YPP. None of the teams with a negative average differential had a winning record in league play.

N.C. State, 4-4 in the ACC last season and the only team to beat FSU, was the only team with a negative average differential to have at least a .500 league record.

Duke, which went 3-5 in ACC play, had the worst difference in YPP at minus-2.02. The Blue Devils gave up a league-worst 7.07 yards per play in eight conference games. Wake Forest averaged the fewest yards per play on offense with 4.09.

Team YPP-O YPP-D +/- Wins
FSU 6.99 4.02 2.97 8*
Clemson 6.54 5.86 0.68 7
Georgia Tech 6.35 5.77 0.58 5
UNC 6.29 5.75 0.54 5
Miami 6.52 6.16 0.36 5
Virginia Tech 5.14 4.85 0.29 4
Virginia 4.95 5.20 -0.25 2
N.C. State 5.30 5.87 -0.57 4
Boston College 4.99 5.74 -0.75 1
Maryland 4.40 5.29 -0.89 2
Wake Forest 4.09 5.33 -1.24 3
Duke 5.05 7.07 -2.02 3

Note: *-counts FSU's win over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game.