Well here we are halfway through the regular season, with a 4-2 record. Those of us here on Dawgsports have a tendency to be very opinionated about what will get our boys a win and what will send us home with the shape of a L on our foreheads…and record books.
I decided to set the records straight. I have looked at all the team statistics that UGA keeps for each game. After running an analysis on the effect of 81 different stats on the scoring differential, I now present you with a guide for what effects the outcome of a UGA Saturday
First let’s talk about what is the most important. I will give you these in order of importance. Keep in mind that I just let the numbers talk and then give my input as to why I think the numbers are what they are:
10. Opponent’s # of 1st downs- A fairly obvious relationship. The more times they convert a set of downs, the closer they are to scoring in some capacity. If the opposition recorded 0 first downs UGA would win by 58. We start losing after the opponent converts 18 first downs.
9. Kickoffs- This one seems arbitrary, and that’s because there is an underlying factor here. By default, an attempted kick means we are either starting the half, or we just scored. Quite obviously, the more you score the better chance you have of having more points, and potentially more points than your opponent. The numbers suggest that if we attempted just 1 kick(since you have to kickoff at least once to start the half) we would lose by 38 points. We start winning after Walsh kicks off 5 times.
8. Opponents # of Offensive Plays- Same as #10...less offensive plays, less chance to score. If we allowed 0 offensive plays(yes, I realize that is impossible…just presenting for the sake of information) we would win by 204 points. Wouldn’t that be fun?! We start losing after allowing 67 plays. That seems totally do-able, especially with our defense channeling their inner junkyard dawg.
7. Defensive Yards from Interceptions- The interesting part here is that its not interceptions that make the difference, its how many yards we return the interception that counts. I don’t really know how to explain this. If we get 0 yards from interceptions we will lose by 7. Each yard counts a lot toward winning, as it only takes a game total of 5 ½ yards to push us into the win column.
6. Opponent’s # of 3rd down Attempts- This seems fairly obvious, but it’s the relationship with us winning/losing that is the interesting part. The more times our opponent attempts to convert a 3rd down (regardless of if they succeed) the better chance we have of winning. How this works…the more they are attempting 3rd down conversions means they aren’t succeeding on the 1st or 2nd down. Here is something to blow your mind though…if we allow 0 3rd down attempts we would lose by 200. Let’s hope that never happens. We start winning after our opponent attempts 15 3rd down conversions.
5. Number of 3rd down Conversions- Where it only matters if our opponent attempts 3rd downs, it matters if we convert them. Each game is inevitably going to have 3rd downs, its what we do with them that counts. If we completely fail on 3rd downs we will lose by 28. Something tells me that in reality if we failed to convert 3rd downs, we would lose by more than 28. By the numbers, we start winning after 7 successful 3rd down conversions.
4. Rushing TDs- Crowell….you out there? READ THIS! The only type of touchdown that has had a significant effect on our point differential is rushing TDs. Passing TDs…nope. Total TDs…not them either. Defensive TDs..nada. But rushing TD’s are huge. Without a single one we lose by 17, but the first rushing TD puts us back in the win column. Just one! Make this happen!
3. Opponent’s Offense Yards- Yet again a fairly obvious relationship. The more yards they have the more likely they ended up in the endzone, or at least close enough for a FG. If we somehow held an opponent without a single offensive yard we would win by 64. After 327 yards of offense for our foes we lose. Less than 327 total yards is really fairly manageable, Defense…read this and make it happen!
2. Fumbles Recovered- In this case, it doesn’t matter what they do after our boys get the ball, they just have to get it. Fumbles recovered also have a huge immediate impact on the point differential. Without a recovered fumble we will lose by 1 point (really less than a point, but that doesn’t make sense here). Each fumble recovery adds 26 points to the point differential. This is particularly encouraging. Without it we can more than likely survive, but just one fumble that we get our hands on separates us from our opponent by almost 4 TDs!
1. Punts?!- This surprised me, not that it was significant, but that it was the most significant statistic by a long shot. The underlying message here…we cannot have drives that stall. Stalled drives=punts=losing. If we could get through a game without a punt, we would theoretically win by 159. Sounds good to me. The drop of is steep though. After our 5th punt we are back in the losing column.
- The absolute least relevant statistic to our point differential is the number of times our opponent attempts a 4th down. The second least relevant stat is the number of times UGA converts a 4th down. And 4th down attempts isn’t far behind. So maybe Richt knows a little more than we thought. Everyone that booed when we kicked instead of going for it needs to check the numbers. That is unless we punted instead of going for it, because we already went over what happens when UGA punts.
- Nothing to do with penalties counts. Not how many either team gets, or for how many yards. I vote in that case that we just let the refs go home, since they don’t matter and are just annoying
- Sacks are highly irrelevant. Doesn’t effect the score differential whatsoever. I vote that we let them keep sacking QBs because it is awesome.
- For however much talk there has been of Murray’s importance to the team, none of the passing categories are statistically significant. I do think his ability to throw allows Crowell to have some space to run. Lets hope he uses that space to run for TDs
- The time of possession that all the announcers seem so focused on also has no effect. They can go hangout with the refs after we send them all away
- Stats that just missed the cut of relevance(number needed for a W): # of offensive plays UGA runs(65+), Kickoff yards(322+), Walsh’s long FG(21+), Opponents Passing yards(Less than 235), Punt yards(less than 211), Length of game(less than 3 ½ hrs)