College Football Stats: A Closer Look

I’m a big stats guy. I read every box score and spend a ton of time on the NCAA stats web site. But oftentimes stats don’t tell the whole story. How can you compare total defense stats for a team in the Sun Belt to a team in the SEC? Or what about an ACC school that has played two FCS opponents vs. a Pac-10 school that has played three BCS conference teams in its non-conference schedule? The answer: You can’t compare them. It’s apples and oranges.

The most accurate measure for interpreting various statistics, in my opinion, is to compare teams in the same conference using stats accumulated vs. league opponents only. So, with the help of and an excel spread sheet, I sorted every team in all 11 conferences to determine which schools are the most dominant (and the weakest) in all 11 conferences — from a statistical standpoint. Each team’s conference record is in parentheses.

Best team — Florida State (4-1): The Seminoles are outgaining league opponents by 104.4 yards per game.
Worst team — Wake Forest (1-4): –181.6 yards per game.

Big 12
Best team — Oklahoma (3-1): +191.0 yards per game
Worst team — Kansas (0-4): -217.3 yards per game

Big East
Best team — Pittsburgh (3-0): +153.7 yards per game
Worst team — Connecticut (1-2): -155.0 yards per game

Big Ten
Best team — Ohio State (4-1): +185.6 yards per game.
Worst team — Purdue (2-2): -138.2 yards per game

Conference USA
Best team — Southern Miss (2-2): +157.2 yards per game
Worst team — Memphis (0-5): -165.6 yards per game

Best team — Northern Illinois (5-0): +147.4 yards per game
Worst team — Akron (0-5): -207.4 yards per game

Best team — TCU (5-0): +319.6 yards per game
Worst team — Wyoming (0-5): -213.6 yards per game

Best team — Oregon (5-0): +126.0 yards per game
Worst team — Washington State (0-6): -171.0 yards per game

Best team — Auburn (6-0): +124.5 yards per game
Worst team — Vanderbilt (1-4): -277.0 yards per game

Sun Belt
Best team — Florida International (2-1): +80.7 yards per game
Worst team — Florida Atlantic (1-3): -69.0 yards per game

Best team — Boise State (5-0): +309.7 yards per game
Worst team — Utah State (0-4): -207.5 yards game


• Vanderbilt is the least-productive team in the nation, relative to its conference. The Commodores are getting outgained by 277.0 yards per game against SEC teams.

• TCU is the most-productive team, outgaining MWC foes by 319.6 yards per game.

• Oregon, the No. 1 team in the nation, is only outgaining its Pac-10 opponents by 126.0 yards per game.

• Utah State, the worst team in the WAC and fifth-worst overall was only outgained by one yard (422 to 421) by Oklahoma, No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 4 overall in a 31–24 loss in Norman in Week 1.

• Penn State is third-worst in the Big Ten (-80.0 yards per game), behind Purdue and Minnesota.

• Baylor is no fluke. The Bears, 4–1 in the league, are outgaining Big 12 foes by 120.0 yards per game.

• Iowa is only +8.0 yards in Big Ten games.

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