2016 Projected Wins: NCAA FBS Edition

Another friend sent me a message this past week in response to my last article. He noted that the same regressions could possibly be deciphered for college athletics if there were only a way to monetize a salary. Since “students don’t receive payment to attend a particular university”, I had to find another salary. This led me to research head coach salaries for FBS schools.

Luckily, I was able to find data for this year and the last three years’—thanks mostly to USA Today’s Coaches Salary Database—worth of data. I then took that data and arranged it alongside the wins, winning percentages and SRS numbers for each team. (SRS data supplied by www.sports-reference.com/cfb)

Once I had everything sorted out and aligned, I was then able to run some correlation tests on each of the sets of data and found some interesting things.

  1. SRS data—because football-reference.com is so amazing—has an 87.4 percent correlation with win percentage.
  2. Head Coach Compensation only has about a 41.5 percent correlation with winning percentage. It is also more negatively correlated to points allowed than it is to points scored. Maybe this means that money can only buy good defense, on average?
  3. Compensation has a 68 percent correlation with SRS. This was significant, and seeing as SRS had a high correlation with WPCT, I decided that I could use this route Compensation–>SRS Rating–>Win Percentage. That made the computations much simpler.
  4. Seeing that the correlation with compensation was still lower than, say, a more acceptable rate of 85 percent, I decided to add in a trend factor. When running a regression for trend on WPCT and Wins I didn’t feel that either correlation rated high enough from year to year. So, I went back to SRS and found that it had an 86.7 correlation rate from year to year SRS.
  5. Once I arrived at projected data for wins and SRS (from both the Compensation and Trend data) I was able to then give a weighted (2:1 Trend) average of each university.
  6. These numbers are based off of current head coach salaries as well as five year trend data for SRS statistics. Not all schools had reported HC salary—mostly the private universities—and for them I took simply the weighted average of the two projected win trends.
  7. The below chart details a “Top 25” of projected wins based on the noted data pools.

 

Rank School Conf. Weighted

Average

Wins

Projected

Wins

(HC Salary)

Projected

Wins

(Trend)

Projected

SRS

(HC Salary)

Projected

SRS

(Trend)

1 Ohio State Big Ten 12 9 14 10.93 26.69
2 Alabama SEC 12 10 12 14.25 20.93
3 Mississippi SEC 11 9 13 7.71 23.86
4 Stanford Pac 12 11 11 16.38
5 Clemson ACC 11 9 12 7.96 19.82
6 Michigan State Big Ten 11 9 12 8.86 18.63
7 Baylor Big 12 10 10 14.67
8 Florida State ACC 10 9 11 9.48 16.94
9 Texas Christian Big 12 10 10 14.36
10 Mississippi State SEC 10 9 11 7.71 17.27
11 UCLA Pac 12 10 9 11 7.84 17.15
12 Auburn SEC 10 9 11 9.48 15.55
13 Southern California Pac 12 10 10 12.45
14 Oklahoma Big 12 10 9 10 10.85 12.68
15 Tennessee SEC 10 9 10 7.71 13.96
16 Notre Dame Ind. 10 10 11.52
17 Georgia SEC 10 9 10 8.19 13.11
18 Washington Pac 12 10 9 10 8.19 12.86
19 Utah Pac 12 9 8 10 5.75 13.91
20 Oregon Pac 12 9 8 10 3.98 14.34
21 Duke ACC 9 9 10.21
22 Louisville ACC 9 9 9 8.42 11.07
23 Arkansas SEC 9 8 10 7.20 11.64
24 Memphis AAC 9 6 11 -1.72 15.75
25 Louisiana State SEC 9 9 9 10.42 9.14

 

The below chart is a look at how the SEC would fare this year according to this compiled data.

EAST Weighted

Average

Wins W’s

Projected

Wins

(HC Salary)

Projected

Wins

(Trend)

Projected

SRS

(HC Salary)

Projected

SRS

(Trend)

Tennessee 10 9 10 7.71 13.96
Georgia 10 9 10 8.19 13.11
Florida 9 9 9 8.42 8.58
Missouri 8 9 8 7.84 5.18
South Carolina 7 9 6 9.48 -2.20
Kentucky 7 8 6 4.92 -2.02
Vanderbilt 4 4 -7.52
WEST Weighted

Average

Wins W’s

Projected

Wins

(HC Salary)

Projected

Wins

(Trend)

Projected

SRS

(HC Salary)

Projected

SRS

(Trend)

Alabama 12 10 12 14.25 20.93
Mississippi 11 9 13 7.71 23.86
Mississippi State 10 9 11 7.71 17.27
Auburn 10 9 11 9.48 15.55
Arkansas 9 8 10 7.20 11.64
Louisiana State 9 9 9 10.42 9.14
Texas A&M 9 10 9 11.25 7.83

 

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