Brian Fremeau, publisher of the FEI Ratings in college football and writer for Football Outsiders, has posted "game splits" for every game this season athttp://www.bcftoys.com/results/. What are game splits you ask? In short it's a statistical way to break up the total score difference in a game into contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams (in short...let's not get into the statistical details).
So, for example, rather than saying subjectively that against Rutgers our defense inflicted a Mack Truck of pain and our offense was a steaming..., we can more objectively say our defense was worth 27 points and the offense -25 points. See? It's just a numerical way of saying the same thing.
To save you time, here is a breakdown of VT's season...
Let’s start with the offense so we know
what Pep Hamilton is inheriting if things were as bad as they seemed:
It should be pointed out here that these numbers are not opponent adjusted - posts of that nature will come in the future. For this one, just note that while scoring 37 on Bowling Green gets you a high offensive point value, that could just as easily be attributed to their defense being poor. In fact, one team's offensive point value will be the negative of their opponent's defensive value and vice-versa. Looking at their season averages, we actually did well against Bowling Green and were by far their defense's worst performance. Against Duke? We were slightly better than average.
Next let's look at defense:
Here it is easy to see how the mid-to-late season adjustments really paid off. We were Virginia's worst offensive performance of the season by a small margin, and easily Rutger's worst offensive performance (our defensive value was 25.5; the next highest against them was 10.4).
The state of our special teams is probably best for a separate post, but I think most agree with me that we are a fairly average special teams performer at this point. Here are the values:
Obviously special teams tend to affect the game less, so the magnitude's here are less than offense and defense. But they certainly center around 0, confirming my belief that there is nothing special about our special teams.
Those three are the core components, but a subset of each which is also posted would be field position and turnovers. So here are each of those as well, which again don't contribute large magnitudes but are interesting anyway:
Turnovers and field position are correlated, but still I think this highlights what we all saw against Clemson. Similarly the brutal interceptions against Pitt stick out as well. More broadly, we were on the losing end of both field position and turnovers more often than the winning end, and that's not a recipe for winning.
Finally, here are the three core components plotted together on a single graph:
As a final thought, beat Bama.