Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wisconsin Under Bielema

This is a little late due to personal reasons, but I figured better late than never.  Brett Bielema, former head football coach of the Wisconsin Badgers has left to become the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.  Bielema has put together a fine group of teams at Wisconsin, so I thought that I would look at how Wisconsin has performed during the last few years of Bielema's tenure as the head football coach at Wisconsin.  Bielema started at Wisconsin in 2006, but the model that I use starts in 2008, so I will exclude Bielema's first two seasons.

This year (2012) the Wisconsin Badgers are 8-5 and currently the #25 team in the nation with the #34 most productive offense and the #26 most productive defense.  Wisconsin has played an average strength of schedule (59.54) as compared to the rest of the league.  Wisconsin has had impressive wins against currently ranked #6 Utah State and their worst performance was against #46 Michigan State.  Wisconsin jumped up the rankings two weeks ago with their 70-31 victory against currently #32 ranked Nebraska.

In 2011, the NCAA production model has the Wisconsin Badgers as the most productive team in the nation.  Yes, even with Wisconsin's three losses the model has Wisconsin as the best team overall.  Also, Wisconsin was not the best offense (rather they finished at #4) nor were they the best defense (finishing at #3).  So how can a team with three losses (admittedly two on last minute "Hail Mary" touchdown passes) finish as #1?  Remember that the model is looking at on the field performance or more specifically only those statistically significant variables related to turning on field performance into points, not final wins or losses (even thought for the 2012 season the correlation between team rank and winning percentage is over 91% in absolute value).  Thus the NCAA production model evaluates team performance based on the statistically significant elements of the game as opposed to final game outcomes.  Hence Wisconsin was the most productive team using only the data for the 2011 season, since based on their overall offensive and defensive performance no other team had a higher total performance.  Thus relative to all the other teams in the "league" Wisconsin was the most productive.

In 2010 Wisconsin finished 11-2 and were the #9 team overall, with the #12 most productive offense and the #11 most productive defense.  Wisconsin's most impressive victory was a 31-18 victory over #4 Ohio State and of their two losses, the least impressive was a 24-34 loss to #36 Michigan State.  Wisconsin also lost by two points to #2 TCU in the Rose Bowl.

In 2009 the Badgers finished at 10-3 and were the #27 most productive team in the nation with the #39 offense and the #21 defense.  The Badgers defeated #19 Miami (FL.), which was the win against the highest ranked team and of their three losses, the loss to the lowest ranked team was to #59 Northwestern.

In 2008 the Wisconsin Badgers finished at 7-6 and were the #53 most productive team in the league, with the #43 ranked offense and the #70 ranked defense.  Wisconsin's best win was over #42 Illinois and their worst defeat was to #105 Michigan.

As you can see Bielema has put together a rather impressive resume over the last few years and has leveraged this into a higher paying job at Arkansas.

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