Inside the Stats: Numbers from Around the League

Marc Lawrence@@MarclawrenceContributor IIIOctober 11, 2012

It's been said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

With the College Football season nearing the midway point of the 2012 campaign, and the NFL advancing into the Bye Week portion of its schedule, let's take a look 'Inside The Stats' behind some the 'real numbers' that teams have produced.

By looking beyond the scoreboard and at the stats and stories behind the games we can put a different spin on the actual outcome and ultimately find value by either fading or playing the teams in question.

Here's our season update spin on this week's football card…

The Egg Man Cometh

Seven undefeated teams fell by the wayside last week, leaving 16 teams unscathed this season.

The SEC leads the way with four squads, followed by the Big East with three and the Big 12, PAC 12 and WAC with two unbeaten teams.

Of the Sweet 16, two own top 10-ranked defenses (Alabama and Texas-San Antonio) while two own bottom-20 ranked stop-units (Louisiana Tech and West Virginia).

Half of the 16 teams have won the total yards in every game, with the Crimson Tide having held every one of the five opponents to season low yardage.  Florida is right on their tail with four season-low efforts.

On the flip side, four FBS teams broke their cherry last week, leaving four teams victory virgins this season.

Three of the not-so-fab four teams (Eastern Michigan, Tulane and UMass) rank No. 115 or worse in total team defense.  Only 0-5 South Mississippi has some semblance of a defense at No. 74.  The Golden Eagles are surrendering 399 YPG on the season.

Devilish Doings

There were six college football underdogs of seven or more points that managed to pull off upsets last week, namely: Arkansas, Army, Iowa State, NC State, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.

Half of them (the Commodores, the Cyclones and the Wolfpack) were out-yarded in the surprises.

There were also six teams who won game despite being outgained by 100 or more yards in the contest, including: Boise State, Iowa State, Navy, Ohio U, Tulsa and Vanderbilt.

The Broncos and Cyclones opponents coughed up 5 turnovers, aiding their 'inside-out' wins.

Heisman Handicap

On course to shatter every single-season passing performance record in NCAA annals, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is, hands down, the front runner for this year's Heisman Trophy award. 

Including last year's dominating effort over Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Smith's last six game log reads: 198-of-247 for 2,403 yards with 30 TDs and zero INTs.

Geno's eyes were as big as pizza pies when taking on defenses the likes of Baylor and Marshall. In the process the Mountaineers have averaged 55 PPG their last six contests.

However, he could be in for a bite this Saturday when going up against Texas Tech's second ranked defense.  Stay tuned.

Defense, Defense, Defense

Its no surprise the top three defensive teams in the NFL have been a hit at the betting windows this season.

Seattle (surprise), San Francisco and Houston currently rank first, second and third respectively in overall team defense in 2012.

Collectively they stand 12-3 SU and 11-4 ATS this season, including 4-0 SU and ATS as underdogs.

On the flip side, the bottom three teams in overall team defense – New Orleans, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tennessee (Jaguars and Titans tied at No. 30) - check in at 5-15 SU and 7-13 ATS for the year, including 2-4 SU and ATS when favored.

Sack Meisters

To be sure, the NFL has evolved into a passing league. 

As a result, the old axiom of run the ball successfully on offense and find a way to stop the run on defense is not holding up as well these days as in the recent past.

Thus, it's no longer the appropriate formula in today's pass-happy league.

Today's new formula is 'sack differential', or sacks produced by your defense minus sacks allowed by your offense. 

Last year the Super Bowl champion NY Giants owned the league's 32nd-ranked (worst) rush attack and the 19th-ranked rush defense.

They did, however, produce 48 sacks (tied for third-best) on defense and allowed 28 sacks (seventh-best) on offense. Their final sack differential was +20.
In fact, he last 10 Super Bowl winners have all posted positive sack differentials during their championship seasons.

It's early, but your season to date sack differential leaders include: Houston (+13), Seattle (+6) and Buffalo, Miami and Minnesota – all at +5.

The back end of the list finds: Jacksonville (-12), Philadelphia (-7), Arizona (-60 and the NY Jets (-5).

Draw your own conclusions.

All odds provided by


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