A Look at Great Sports Rivalries

A Look at Great Sports Rivalries

Submitted by Son of Lloyd Brady on June 22nd, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Today in "Please God give me Football," I look at some of the best rivalries in today's sports. I originally began this about a month ago as a look at just college football rivalries but I realized there were very few that I cared enough about to waste my time looking at. I then expanded my research a little bit into pro football, basketball and baseball and was pretty interested in what I found. I have a link at the end of the Diary that will take you to the data that I used for the analysis.

I wanted to look at how closely some of the most celebrated rivalries have been played – the scores,  series record, and score difference – but I realized that if I wanted to compare them I would need to look at it a different way as score difference in baseball would be much less than football. I decided to look at the average difference as a percent of the total score (from here on out referred to as ADTS) to give me a better idea of how close the games were actually played.

 

THE GAME

   

RED RIVER RIVALRY

             
 

UM

Ohio

   

UT

OU

# Meetings

108

 

# Meetings

106

Series Record

UM 58-43-6

 

Series Record

UT 59-42-5

Avg Score

16.787

13.398

 

Avg Score

16.434

17.009

Score Difference

3.389

 

Score Difference

0.575

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

11.23%

 

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

1.72%

Looking at The Game, I was surprised to see the magnitude of the point spread, especially when compared to the Red River Rivalry, over 3 points between UM and Ohio, while less than 1 point separated UT and OU. Also very interesting in the RRR, UT holds a considerable advantage in the series record but has a lower average score.

 

TENN VS. FL

   

IRON BOWL

             
 

TENN

FL

   

UA

BAMA

# Meetings

41

 

# Meetings

76

Series Record

FL 22-19

 

Series Record

AL 41-34-1

Avg Score

23.609

17.585

 

Avg Score

15.697

19.526

Score Difference

6.024

 

Score Difference

3.829

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

14.62%

 

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

10.87%

The same also goes here for the Tenn/FL rivalry – Tenn averages 6 more points/game but is losing in the series standing. The series for the Iron Bowl is actually much closer than I anticipated, I have normally thought of Auburn as Bama’s Michigan State, makes a run in the series every couple of decades but generally inferior in the long run. UA has actually held their own quite well, but with Bama’s recent dominance (apart from Cam Newton) it looks like the series gap may start to widen.

 

CELTS VS. LAKERS

   

DUKE VS. UNC

             
 

CELTS

LAKERS

   

DUKE

UNC

# Meetings

350

 

# Meetings

234

Series Record

CELTS 196-154

 

Series Record

UNC 132-102

Avg Score

107.186

105.271

 

Avg Score

73.690

74.414

Score Difference

1.914

 

Score Difference

0.724

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

0.90%

 

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

0.49%

The two basketball rivalries I looked at are much closer in ADTS than one would think when looking at the separation in the series record. Despite being down in the series 30 games, Duke scores less than 1 point less than UNC. I find that very amazing after nearly 250 meetings. The Celtics and Lakers have a higher average score than I would have guessed as the two teams usually seem to have some of the best defenses in the league and over 105 points is a rather high scoring average.

 

DALLAS VS. WASH

   

BEARS VS. PACKERS

             
 

DAL

WASH

   

BEARS

PACK

# Meetings

104

 

# Meetings

184

Series Record

DAL 60-40-2

 

Series Record

BEARS 92-86-6

Avg Score

22.563

18.867

 

Avg Score

17.060

16.495

Score Difference

3.696

 

Score Difference

0.565

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

8.92%

 

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

1.68%

The storied rivalry between the Bears and Packers definitely lived up to its reputation, very close series average, close scores as well as ADTS. The Cowboys/Redskins matchup is not quite as close but still has a small scoring difference. Some of the flare from this rivalry has been diminished as both of the teams haven’t fared well for the better half of the past decade but it is still a strong rivalry.

 

NYY VS. BOS

     
 

NYY

BOS

# Meetings

2086

Series Record

NY 1132-954

Avg Score

4.813

4.419

Score Difference

0.395

Avg Diff as % of Total Score

4.27%

I figure most of you have either stopped reading and skipped this part or are losing interest so I’ll wrap it up. Last I looked at the Yankees and BoSox, and this information was a bitch to find (pardon my French, but this was not a fun one to put together either).  Yankees have a considerable lead in the series and while the average runs scored are right in the ballpark (pun intended) of what I would assume, they are closer than what I thought they would be looking at the series record.

Man, I really need football to start, is it September 1st yet?!

Data can be found here: https://skydrive.live.com/#!/edit.aspx?cid=778D17BE3D63472D&resid=778D17BE3D63472D%21107&nd=1