Finding myself with some time on my hands, I decided to explore a widely known and undoubtedly true belief, that when teams have extra time to prepare for our spread option attack they perform better against it. Much like the adages that you have to run the ball to win championships and that defense wins championships, this belief has been said so many times by so many announcers and writers that no sort of statistical evidence is necessary to support this. So, is it true?
To preface this, I threw out the games against FCS teams and I used the S&P+ ratings from Football Outsiders. By my calculations, GT is 29-19 against FBS competition in the Paul Johnson era. Tech is 5-11 when teams have extra time to prepare, defined as more than just the normal one week of preparation, and 24-8 against teams with one standard week. Pretty cut and dry, right? Not quite.
I'm going to throw some stats out there, and let's see what we can take away from this. I apologize in advance because I couldn't manage to insert an Excel table.
|AVG Total Def||AVG Rush Def||AVG Pass Def||AVG GT Points Scored||AVG Overall Rank|
So, while Tech has a much worse record against teams that have extra time, it's clear that these teams are tougher as well, being better in every single defensive category, along with overall rank. And, just like we'd expect from tougher defensive teams, Georgia Tech is scoring 4.3 fewer points per game against them, which would go a long way in explaining the discrepancy in the won loss record. In addition, I don't have time to compile the offensive numbers, but it looks like these teams are better offensively too, based on the spread between the AVG Overall Ranks being higher than that for the AVG Total Def Ranks.
Here's another interesting tidbit: of these 16 games where teams got extra time, only 3 of them were home games: a loss to NC State in 2010, a win over MTSU in 2010, and a loss in 2011 to VT. None of these were surprising results.
But, you say, it's obvious that extra time is key, because look at our bowl record! Well, not really. Georgia Tech just simply played great defensive teams. LSU was 35 in overall defense and that whole defensive line went pro; Iowa was 6th overall in total defense, and Utah was 15th in total defense, and GT put up 27 points against them. Also, the team sucked against Air Force.
So, while there might be a shred of truth somewhere in this silly idea, I would venture to guess that teams coming off a bye week perform better in general, regardless of the opponent. This, coupled with the evidence suggesting the teams Tech played which received extra time happened to be better teams, and that most of these were away games, leads me to call this meme BUSTED.