November 1st, 2011 02:23 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Tags: Fife Rating, Fife Ratings, LSU, SEC
Two months into the season and with one month to go, it’s time to start rolling out some of our favorite stat pieces here at MrSEC.com. Each SEC squad is now at least half way through its league schedule and that gives us a chance to compare a healthy sample of league-only numbers.
Below we break out a slightly re-worked favorite — our Barney Fife Ratings. The gist? We like to keep up with which SEC teams are most likely to shoot themselves in the foot.
For that reason, we include five negative statistics in our breakdown:
* Penalties — drive-killers
* Sacks Allowed — drive-killers
* Big Plays Allowed (of 30 yards or more) — one slip can undo a good defensive performance (a new category this year)
* Missed Field Goals – don’t they always seem to come back to haunt a team? (a new category this year)
* Turnovers — game-killers
Tally those five stats and you have our “miscues” category. We then compare those miscues to the total number of plays (offensive and defensive) that each team has run and that gives us our Fife Ratings — a breakdown of the number of plays a team will run between self-inflicted wounds.
Looking at the chart below, if your school has a high Fife Rating (which is a good thing) but has a bad conference record it tells you either your squad’s talent or schedule is the problem.
If your team has a low Fife Rating (meaning it runs fewer plays between screw-ups) and a good league record, it shows that it can overcome its own errors, have played a lighter schedule, or there’s some combination of the two at work.
So with the game of the century coming up in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, which team — Alabama or LSU — is more likely to be hurt by self-inflicted wounds? See the Fife Ratings below:
||Big Plays (30+Yd) Allowed
||Plays From Scrimmage
||Plays Per Miscue
* The past two seasons, this measure has been pretty accurate in terms of predicting whether a team would have a good record or a bad record. It seems to be working again this season.
* Of the teams with the five best Fife Ratings, four have just one loss or fewer in conference play. Those five combine for a record of 19-6 and Mississippi State is the exception to the rule, bringing down that number with a 1-4 conference mark. The Bulldogs don’t beat themselves… they just can’t find ways to win ballgames.
* At the other end of the list, four of the five lowest Fife Ratings belong to teams with losing SEC records. That bunch is a combined 8-19. Georgia is the exception to the rule in this case. Call it grit, luck, stick-to-itiveness or something else, the Dawgs make a lot of mistakes, but they find ways to win games (ask Florida).
* Interestingly, if Auburn had not made a goal line stand against MSU on the final play of their contest back in September, the results of Fife Ratings would look even more true.
* As for this weekend’s matchup, look at how equally Alabama and LSU are matched when it comes to self-inflicted wounds. Bama has missed one field goal in SEC play, LSU none. Both teams have just one turnover in league play. Alabama has allowed six sacks, LSU five. LSU has allowed four plays of 30 yards or more, Alabama six. But the Tide — who have the best Fife Rating in the league — hold a real advantage in terms of penalties committed in SEC play. Bama has been flagged 20 times in its five league contests. LSU has been penalized 35 times. If there’s a category to watch on Saturday, it’s penalties. Will LSU hurt itself by committing too many penalties at Tuscaloosa? With Bama serving up a miscue once every 17 plays and LSU just once every 13 plays, Saturday’s contest should come down to which team wins the game… not which team costs itself the game.
* Kentucky and Tennessee both rank toward the middle of the Fife Ratings, committing a miscue once every 10 or 11 plays. The fact that the teams are a combined 0-9 suggests that neither has the talent or depth to compete in the SEC this season. At least Tennessee has two key injuries (Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter) to fall back on. UK has no excuses.
* Ole Miss on the other hand is young and dumb. Like me at 18. And 25. And 35. The Rebels err once every 8 plays. Mistakes plus youth equal 0-5 in the Southeastern Conference.
* Woe is Florida. The Gators have been dealt a number of injuries, none bigger than John Brantley’s high ankle sprain. Playing a pair of true freshmen backup quarterbacks has added to the Gators’ boo-boo totals, but making a major mistake once every 7.95 plays? That’s just hard to believe for a program like Florida’s. It will be interesting to see if Will Muschamp can improve that number over the final month of this season and in seasons to come.
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