Friday, December 7, 2012
K-State defied the odds and did it again
By David Ubben
You're surely familiar with our Friday Mailbags by now, but sometimes, your emails require a post all their own.
This is one of those.
Michael from Kansas City, Mo., writes: David, Can you do a feature in which you respond to this article? I know you didn't write it, and in some ways it was true (score differential), but I'm having a good laugh at it.
The thesis of the piece, provided by our Stats and Info crew? (Who are fabulous, by the way. They were on the money on the numbers here. K-State just bucked the trend.)
Kansas State caught breaks and came out on top in eight of nine games decided by one possession, the most of any team since 2004.
Last season’s results indicate that the Wildcats “should” have gone 7-6 or 8-5 instead of 10-3. They won approximately 2.6 more games than expected. That was the largest differential between wins and expected wins of any team in FBS last season and the sixth-largest differential since 2004.
That is not to say that the Wildcats should not have won 10 games. Whether it was luck or skill, the Wildcats performed when the game was on the line. However, recent history suggests that it's unlikely for a team to outperform its Pythagorean Win Percentage two years in a row.
Of the 63 teams that won at least 1.5 more games than expected since 2004, only four teams outperformed their expected wins by 1.5 games again the next season.
These teams averaged 0.025 fewer wins than expected the next year, meaning that they basically performed as their point differential predicted.
Fantastic stuff, and really puts into perspective how amazing the last two years have been for K-State. Heading into the season, I believed a little more in K-State than most. I figured K-State would be better and didn't need to win as many close games this year.
That's what happened, but even I never expected K-State to win a Big 12 title. Along the way, K-State went 2-0 in games decided by one possession or less, highlighted by the Sept. 22 win at Oklahoma that proved to be the difference in the Wildcats' Big 12 title.
They didn't need to go down to the wire nearly as much this year, but once again, when it had to, K-State made the plays to get tight wins.
Kudos to the Cats, who were a lot more dominant than lucky in their encore to last year's crazy success.