An In-Depth Statistical Recap of Ole Miss's Season

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Using some Advanced Stats to recap their season.

Y'all know by now I'm pretty big on the descriptive value of football statistics. I think they can tell a pretty good story from any game and can give you a pretty good idea of the level of play for a game. While I would love to do an Advanced Box Score for each game Ole Miss played this year, that would be a little too lengthy for a "quick-recap" article. I'll be using FEI Game Splits to go through each of Ole Miss's performances this year, quickly, to get an idea of why they won and lost the games they did.

So first, a little background on Game Splits. Game Splits looks at how much each component of the game contributed to the final non-garbage time scoring margin. It calculates this by adding up the value that the offense, defense, and special teams of each team generated. The total value of each component of the team's performance will equal that team's margin of victory. I'll use one of Georgia Tech's games as an example. Here are our splits against Virginia Tech:

Opponent Offense Defense

Special

Teams

Extra

Possession

Virginia Tech -9.1 -1.4 1.6 1.9

This tells us that our Offense and Defense forfeited 10.5 points in value based off their performance against Virginia Tech. Our special teams gained some of that back, and we had one more possession (having the ball more than the opponent is worth 1.9 points in value) to give us our final margin of victory of -7 points. Additionally, Game Splits looks at the value generated by a team's Field Position Advantage and Turnovers. In this game we lost 4.8 points and 8.2 points to Field Position and Turnovers, respectively. What this means is that if we had a turnover-neutral game we would have won the game based on how we played in other facets of the game. (Sorry, didn't mean to rub salt in old wounds.) If we look at this for each and every game we can get a sense of what parts of the team are helping or hurting a team. So here are Ole Miss's Game Splits:

Opponent NG Score Offense Defense Special Teams Possession Field Position Turnovers
Vanderbilt 39-35 21 -16.7 -0.3 0 2.9 5.7
Texas 44-23 16.4 1.6 3 0 -1.3 -0.5
Alabama 0-25 -13.8 -3.4 -5.9 -1.9 -1.8 0.9
Auburn 22-30 -6.3 -3.8 0.2 1.9 -7.6 -4.4
Texas A&M 38-41 16.5 -21.4 1.9 0 -3.5 4.1
LSU 27-24 14 -6.6 -6.2 1.9 -6.7 0.3
Idaho 45-14 21.7 6.3 2.9 0 4.4 6.1
Arkansas 34-24 19.8 -7.7 -2.1 0 -1.2 -2
Troy 44-7 32 9 -2.1 -1.9 1.5 2.3
Missouri 10-24 -1.1 -11.8 -3 1.9 0.8 -1.1
Miss State 10-17 -11.4 3.5 0.9 0 0.4 -8.2
Totals Math :/ 108.9 -51.1 -10.7 1.9 -12 3.2

Ok, I know that is a lot. What I get from this is that Ole Miss has a stronger Offense than Defense, and below average Special Teams. They played a lot of teams very close, and really only against LSU did special teams and turnovers lose the game for them. This is an incredibly tough schedule. According to FEI Ole Miss played the 11th toughest schedule this year, measured as the likelihood that a team would go undefeated against this schedule. (Georgia Tech? 49th.) The Game Split values aren't adjusted for opponent, and we will get to that, so these are just raw values. I'm curious what happened to Ole Miss's offense against Mississippi State, and that's something I'd like to look into more. Anything else to take from this table? Let me know in the comments.

Game Splits tell you how a team played against an opponent, but without any context it doesn't tell you much about how we should consider these performances in relation to Georgia Tech. Game Factors solves this problem. Game Factors takes the Game Splits and adjusts them for opponent and home/away to give an idea of how impressive a performance was against a given opponent. Here are Ole Miss's Game Factors National Ranks in percentiles.

Opponent

Game Factor

(Percentile)

Offense Factor

(Percentile)

Defense Factor

(Percentile)

Vanderbilt 73.4 82.1 29.9
Texas 95.3 91.4 80.5
Alabama 84.5 47.6 92.9
Auburn 95.6 75.9 95.6
Texas A&M 72.5 56.7 80.0
LSU 87.9 85.6 95.6
Idaho 30.2 69.7 16.3
Arkansas 31.3 63.2 38.3
Troy 62.3 48.6 89.8
Missouri 72.0 76.0 58.9
Miss State 66.4 32.2 72.1

This tells us a lot more about how Ole Miss has played against what opponent. Their performance against Texas, considering how Texas has played all year and how Ole Miss played against Texas, was in the 95th percentile of all games played (top 5%) this year. That is pretty good. They have been on a slide, though, recently -- after playing extremely well against Texas, Bama, Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU (Jesus, that is a tough slate to open with) they have only had 1 performance in the top third of games this year after their first 6 were all in the top third of performances. When you look at the raw Game Splits for Ole Miss you see that their defense contributed to a lot of their losses. But when you look at how those performances were relative to all other games, they did a great job containing Bama, Auburn, and LSU. After seeing this I can say that Ole Miss is a talented team very capable of playing at a high level, but recently has been unable to put together a great performance. What does that mean for our upcoming bowl game? I have no idea.

And here are Georgia Tech's Game Splits and Factors, because why not.

Opponent NG Score Offense Defense Special Teams Possession Field Position Turnovers
Duke 31-14 17.3 1.2 0.4 -1.9 1.8 -1.5
UNC 28-20 15.8 -9.3 1.5 0 0.9 -0.3
VT 10-17 -9.1 -1.4 1.6 1.9 -4.8 -8.2
Miami 23-45 -0.5 -20.9 1.3 -1.9 0.0 1.2
BYU 13-31 -11.7 -7.8 1.5 0 -8.1 -11.3
Syracuse 42-0 22.1 13.3 4.7 1.9 12.3 7.7
Virginia 35-25 15 -6.8 3.7 -1.9 -1.6 -12.7
Pittsburgh 21-10 6.9 6.6 -0.6 -1.9 -3.1 -3.8
Clemson 24-55 2 -28.7 -4.4 0 -10.4 -2.3
Georgia 34-41 11.2 -16.7 -1.5 0 0.4 -3
Totals More Math 69 -70.5 8.3 -3.8 -12.5 -34.2

So turnovers kinda screwed us this year huh?

Opponent Game Factor Offense Factor Defense Factor
Duke 95.7 87.8 83.6
UNC 72.0 86.1 57.5
VT 67.3 81.7 53.9
Miami 51.1 23.5 60.6
BYU 71.7 64.6 61.6
Syracuse 97.2 81.2 93.4
Virgnia 58.1 80.5 17.1
Pittsburgh 65.0 70.8 81.9
Clemson 48.1 78.2 43.4
Georgia 77.1 68.2 86.6

What the hell happened at Miami?? I promise I'm done. Let's talk about what it all means.

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