Mike Lantry, 1972
So this is a follow up to The Over and Underrated, however I have changed the title because I decided "overrated" maybe wasn't the best description of what I was trying to do. "Overrated" is a very strong word that involves hype, the media, and giving talking heads subjects to talk about. What I am trying to do is compare team performance to what is expected of them.
This time around, I will be comparing all teams in Division I-A over the past 10 years. I've also made another few important changes. First, I wanted to weigh team upsets; I didn't think it was fair a team would be knocked the same for losing a game where they were a 1 point favorite compared to losing a game as a 20 point favorite. A convenient method of weighing this is the actual point spread. So a team that pulls off a win when they were slated to lose by 20 would get 20 points, a team that lost when they were suppoed to win by 1 would lose 1 point, and a team that did what they were supposed to go would get 0. The total over 10 years is the "W Upset" column.
Another important change I made was giving the scores some context. In my previous analysis, basically we found that the more successful teams were overrated, while the crummy teams were underrated. Just because Indiana wins 4 games in a year they were only supposed to win 2, does not make them "underrated". So we need to compare the teams to their peers. I did this by plotting teams' total "Win %" vs. total "W Upset". Turns out there is a very decent linear correlation between the two (EDIT: chart now shown below). Teams that deviate the most above the trendline are overperforming, those that deviate below are underperforming.
Note that the trendline crosses the X axis at almost exactly 50%.
So finally, your most underperforming Division I-A football teams of the past 10 years:
W Upset: upset x line
# of Games: # of games played w/spread
Win %: actual win % in games w/spread
Pred Win%: percentage of games supposed to win
Plot: W Upset score based on linear trendline
Variance: variance from trendline
| # of
|Win %|| Pred
|New Mexico State||-5||113||31%||30%||54.8||-59.8|
So while some of these teams are likely expected (cough, Florida State, cough), others might be more of a surprise. But keep in mind that these variances show how these teams compare to others in their "class". For example, Fresno State's weighted Upset score of -107 would be very respectable in Florida's class. But compared to other teams with a Win % of 54%, it is terrible.
The most overperforming:
| # of
|Win %|| Pred
Boise State is far and away the most overperforming team. Boise is that badboy circled in red on the chart above. Just ... wow. I think this is good evidence as any that they need to exit the WAC, while I don't think Fresno State is ready to spread its wings yet.
And finally, here is how the Big 10 shakes out with the new strategy:
Purdue still sucks diddlyuck, and Northwestern is still the best. But now Michigan isn't looking so bad; when compared against other teams in its class, it actually performs just about where it should be. And MSU is finally near the top, where it belongs. I think this is undeniable proof that this system works. Ohio State has improved as well, which OK, fine, this is probably accurate.
- Single most overperforming team of the past 10 years: Stanford 2007. Huge upsets against Cal, Arizona, and oh yeah, USC. Honorable Mention: Notre Dame 2006... ugh.
- Single most underperforming team of the past 10 years: Louisville 2007. Upsets by juggernauts Kentucky, Syracuse, Utah, and Connecticut. Ouch. Honorable Mention: Bowling Green 2005.
Next up, we will look at conferences as a whole. Thoughts?
Given all the talk before the Michigan – Michigan State game about “respect” as well as under and overrated teams, I found myself wondering which team in the Big Ten is typically the most overrated. I feel like MSU never meets their preseason expectations, but the same can usually be said about Michigan as well. Ohio State has been very solid within the conference, but obviously slips up once it goes up against the elite outside the Big 10. But which team is the most consistently overrated during the entire season?
I analyzed the point spreads for all Big 10 games for the past 10 years, 1999-2008. Team performance against the spread is well documented, but we don’t really care about ATS; hanging 50 points on Wofford when the spread is 40 does not an underrated team make. We want to break the lines down to victory or defeat, and see how the team performs in comparison.
W # of upsets against opposing team
L # of times being upset
TOT Total deviation from expected over total games
Stdev Standard deviation
PW Predicted win percentage
ATS Performance against the spread
46% Penn State
51% Ohio State
53% Michigan State
Move over Mark Dantonio, there is a new Rodney Dangerfield in town. Yes, humble Northwestern earns the title of most misunderestimated in the Big 10. Meanwhile, Purdue is the most overrated team, although they have several teams not far behind, notably Michigan. I expected the Big 10 bottom-feeders to be the most underrated; when everyone expects you to lose every game, there is nowhere to go but up. Likewise, the big boys would be near the top. But Purdue has no excuse ... they have been given the modest task of winning 2/3 of their games, and they consistently blow it.
- Ohio State has the highest predicted win percentage @ 83%, as well as the lowest standard deviation. People expect them to win, and they oblige.
- Michigan State appears to perform as-expected @ -2.5%, but they have the highest standard deviation. Sparty wins a lot of games they have no right to win, and loses a lot of games for no reason, and basically acts very Sparty-like
- The third most underrated teams is Iowa. Given Michigan's overrated-ness, this does not bode well for this Saturday. Or it has no relevance, since Iowa is already favored ... I haven't decided.
- Purdue has only upset 6 teams in the past decade. Northwestern performed the same feat between 2005 and 2006.
- I expected the ratio of underrated teams to overrated teams to be closer. The Big Ten, not surprisingly, is not performing.
Thoughts? Is this a useful analysis of overrated-ness? Should this be expanded to additional seasons and teams? Spoiler-alert: I have already looked at Notre Dame, and they are not, repeat NOT the most overrated team in the universe.
does anyone else think ole miss is overrated going into the season? does anyone know why they are so high in the countdowns (#5 SN, #8 rivals) and the preseason poll (#10 AP)?
maybe it is just because of jevan snead, or maybe it is due to the fact that they signed enough guys in their 2009 recruiting class to fill 1500 CHEM, but i don't think the rebels have been any good since 1962.
i've been trying to figure this out for weeks now and i can't keep it to myself anymore. why the hell is utah ranked 9th. does anyone really think they are the 9th best team in the country? they'd be lucky to be the 9th best team in the big 12 this year. and their signature win is over us, which they almost managed to give to us.
fortunately i think we will see tcu hang 50 on them this weekend and this utah thing will be done as we watch the MWC eat itself from the inside