Saturday, November 28, 2009

Florida vs Alabama Analysis

As expected, we've ended up with undefeated Florida vs undefeated Alabama in the SEC championship game with a invitation to the BCS championship game in the balance.  I'll likely blog more on the subject, but here are a few tidbits.

Florida and Alabama have 7 common opponents so looking at those games may shed some light on how the teams compare.

Tennessee - They played both teams on the road, losing to Florida by 10 on 9/19 and by 2 to Alabama on 10/24.  Florida got them earlier in the year before they improved some, but small advantage to Florida.

Kentucky - Both teams visited Kentucky in successive weeks, Florida winning by 34 and Alabama by 18.  Advantage Florida.

LSU - Florida visited LSU winning by 10 while Alabama hosted them and won by 9.  Small advantage to Florida.

Arkansas - They visited both teams losing to Alabama by 28 early in the year and by only 3 to Florida 3 weeks later.  Advantage Alabama.

Mississippi State - Both teams visited them Florida winning by 10 and Alabama by 28 3 weeks later.  Advantage Alabama.

South Carolina - Alabama hosted them winning by 14 and Florida visited them winning by 10.  Basically a push.

Florida International - They visited both teams losing by 26 to Alabama and 59 to Florida.  Small advantage to Florida.

In the end, it all totals a small advantage to Florida.  So why does the computer have Alabama ever so slightly rated higher?  It comes down to the non-common opponents.  Alabama beat a very good Virginia Tech team by 10, a good Ole Miss by 19, beat a good Auburn by 5, and rolled over the other patsies on their schedule.  Florida beat a decent Georgia by 24, an ok FSU by 27, and rolled over the other patsies on their schedule.  This results in Alabama's strength of schedule being about 1.3 points higher than Florida which is enough to make up the gap in common opponents.  Advantage Alabama.

In the end, the computer is going to pick Albama by around 0.6.  When a game is that close it comes down to intangibles, match-ups, and who will make the big play.

More to come later.