Updated 11:05 AM: The Google Sheet embedded at the bottom now shows averaged out winning percentage to help normalize some of the data as noted in the comments. I also have that new chart at the very end. If you haven't read this article yet and are reading this update first, I recommend ignoring this paragraph and carrying on. jc
In case you missed it, Matt Brown - SBNation College Assistant League Manager and Managing Editor of Land Grant Holy Land - wrote an article taking on Rutgers and their first year in the B1G so far. As one might guess, things haven't exactly been a walk in the park so far for the Scarlet Knights, and if you expected otherwise, you were probably a resident of Piscataway with a child named Schiano. That being said, I think there is definitely some space for discussion on the relative merits of how a team finishes. We've been bantering in OTE Writer Land - a wonderful place filled with jokes and wit and wasted billing time - about how to rank the Big Ten schools. You know, sort of a "State of the Conference" type piece. That is for another day when we can come through with more criteria, some deeper understanding of rev vs. non-rev sports, and an angle to actually look through data with more than the black and white map of wins/losses.
Today, though, I wanted to expand on Matt's premises a little bit and try and put things into context. Last night, I sifted through all of the current Big Ten standings that are available. That included Football, Baseball, Basketball (M), Hockey (M), LAX (M), Soccer (M), Tennis (M), Wrestling, Basketball (W), Gymnastics (W), Field Hockey, LAX (W), Soccer (W), Softball, Tennis (W), and Volleyball. After sorting by school, I created a really simple aggregate win/loss record and percentage by which we could rank the schools. Now, the obvious flaw here is that revenue sports are more important than non-revenue sports and the non-revenue will usually make up for the misses in revenue due to more games in general. Those follow up articles I talked about? Yeah, those can help address those misses. Today is more about just looking at the gross wins and losses. We do not look at Track and Field, Swimming and Diving, Golf, Cross Country, and Rowing because I can't find wins/losses and rankings are different. Again, we'll add that all in at a later date.
Okay, two paragraphs in and let's take a quick look at the data. Here's how things shape up from a conference winning percentage across the sports we mentioned:
|Overall W%||Conference W%|
So what jumps out at you? Well, Matt was probably right about Rutgers. A .267 winning percentage in conference play is not a wonderful way to start things out. Conversely, look at you Maryland! You are firmly in the top half of the conference and you're making pretty much every non-original Big Ten school look bad. Pat yourself on the back! So how did that happen? Let's compare Rutgers and Maryland:
So, a couple of things jump out to me between the two. One, Maryland is really good at basketball in general. So big props to them on that. Their women and men's teams easily boosted them to a good place. Conversely, Rutgers did not do so well, only hitting double digit wins in one sport - women's basketball. Maryland only had one winless team to Rutgers' five winless teams. That's the big differences here. Maryland gets a boost by being good at things like LAX as well. But that doesn't really explain the entire Big Ten picture, does it.
Illinois is #1?
So let's talk about the Illini. For a school that can't have nice thing, they have more teams with wnning records than teams without winning records. More importantly, they don't have very many awful teams. Even their lesser teams were just a shade under .500 or at least got some wins. So how did they beat Ohio State? Well, that's the flaw with looking at something like overall record because it weights every game/match/etc equally. Ohio State's percentage gets sort of drug down by the fact that they literally have every Big Ten sanctioned sport.
Seriously, look at all that noise. In this little look at raw data, Ohio State is actually losing ground due to having too many sports. The reality is that when we do more of a Capital Cup type approach next week, they'll probably kill everyone just by virtue of having every sport and being relatively competitive in most. They're like a solid track team that wins meets by having okay people in every single event.
I don't really know what else to say about this approach to the data. It's limited in scope for sure, and I'm not even convinced it says much about anyone that we didn't know, but it's fun to sift through the information and chat about it. Maybe Rutgers is just having a tough time adjusting, and maybe all of this doesn't really matter. Like I said, we'll get more into it soon. Hopefully this will be sufficient information for you all to argue about for today.
So I went ahead and updated the data to reflect average winning percentage instead of winning percentage on the aggregate. This chart shows what happens when I do that (spoiler: not much happens really).
|Overall W%||Conference W%||Overall W%||Conference W%|
Well, Rutgers jumps up a bit and is no longer looking like the worst team in the Big Ten. Purdue actually swaps places with them and the advantage of having more raw wins goes away a bit. Iowa and Nebraska essentially switch spots as well. Oh, and look at Maryland go! Again, all of the data is below in the google sheet. You can also click through and check things out here.