Toxic Differential - NCAA Week 11

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

When in a disagreement you should always look towards advanced stats. There will always be one to support your argument.

I share a similar affinity with many other college football enthusiasts out there in advanced stats. There are all sorts of different flavors of advanced stats: Efficiency, Explosiveness, Donor $/TDs, etc. Having fun with numbers is just part of the fun during a 4 month long season. Some of the communities favorite stats are F/+, S&P, Points per play, and Points per drive - and I think I found a new favorite to add to that list.

Toxic Differential

Toxic differential tries to prove how much punch a team has when things go their way. They may not always be the most efficient team but on average the big plays swing in their favor. It combines "Long Scrimmage Plays" which are 20+ yards plays and turnovers.

Toxic Differential = (Plays Gaining 20+ Yards - Plays Allowing 20+ Yards) + (TO Gain - TO Lost)

This describes a characteristic I've always liked about Oregon and OSU: They will force turnovers and when they do, you are screwed. (This just made me think of another metric - Drive Efficiency after TO. That could be a fun number to calculate next time.)

So let's look at the top few teams and their match ups this week (Toxic Diff in parenthesis):

Oregon (67) Holy Pistol Pete, 76 20+ yard plays? You're lying if you say you're not scared of playing them in a bowl game. Oregon faces Utah (-5) this week and should handle them easily.

Florida State (59) *Gulp* Next year's opening will be nothing like Mississippi State (2).

Baylor (57) Saturday is a day many Texas Tech (4) fans had circled on their calendar until they lost three straight games. Texas Tech is going to have their hands full this weekend for a 4th loss in a row. (wow)

Oklahoma State (33) We beat Texas (19) in every single category by 1, 2, or 3. Very close but it all adds up to Oklahoma State having the more Toxic team.

Name Gain 20+ Allow 20+ 20+ Margin Total Gain Total Lost TO Margin Toxic Differential
Oklahoma State 50 28 22 23 12 11 33
Texas 47 37 10 22 13 9 19

Oh, and what about the Alabama (27)? They have allowed 32 20+ yard plays which ranks them 25th nationally. SEC Defense Quarterbacks right?

On the other hand Ohio State (42) is ranked 1st nationally in 20+ yard plays allowed. They were my preseason pick to challenge Alabama in the National Title Game and for those of you not keeping track: Ohio state has now won 21 games in a row without a loss yet their title hopes were spoiled weeks ago by Florida State. Sucks to be an Ohio State fan right now.

California (-41) and Eastern Michigan (-41) deserve the Purple Heart for having a 20+ margins of -27 and -32 combined with TO margins of -14 and -9. Woof.

OU (1) vs. ISU (-22) If you look back to the Red River Rivalry you can see a big reason why OU lost to Texas - they were equal on turnovers at 2 a piece but Texas had 5 big plays from scrimmage (2 for touchdowns) compared to only 3 from OU (none were touchdowns). Bring this full circle to OU vs ISU and there should be a similar result except this time in favor of the Goons.

TCU(-5) vs. K-State (18) I love both of these teams for very different reasons. Gary Patterson's defense should be great but it just hasn't gotten the job done this year - probably because his Offense sucks so much that the Defense can't breath once they hit the field. K-State on the other hand is lead by one of my favorite coaches of all time in Grandpa Snyder. With a big difference in Toxic Differential and a few Snyder-like drives from his offense this game could be done by half time.

Full Breakdown:

Name Gain 20+ Allow 20+ 20+ Margin Total Gain Total Lost TO Margin Toxic Differential
Oregon 76 20 56 23 12 11 67
Florida State 67 21 46 23 10 13 59
Baylor 77 27 50 17 10 7 57
Louisville 57 28 29 22 8 14 43
Ohio State 53 20 33 18 9 9 42
Houston 57 37 20 32 11 21 41
Washington 66 34 32 14 9 5 37
Oklahoma State 50 28 22 23 12 11 33
Missouri 58 41 17 25 11 14 31
Wisconsin 53 25 28 13 11 2 30
Arizona State 64 42 22 20 13 7 29
Alabama 52 32 20 14 7 7 27
LSU 70 39 31 12 16 -4 27
Oregon State 62 44 18 22 13 9 27
Texas A&M 76 51 25 20 18 2 27
UCLA 49 29 20 17 12 5 25
Bowling Green 46 30 16 14 7 7 23
Notre Dame 52 26 26 10 13 -3 23
UCF 44 29 15 20 12 8 23
East Carolina 44 27 17 16 11 5 22
South Carolina 52 32 20 16 15 1 21
Texas 47 37 10 22 13 9 19
Utah State 59 46 13 19 13 6 19
Clemson 56 48 8 25 15 10 18
Kansas State 44 23 21 15 18 -3 18
Miami (Florida) 52 37 15 21 18 3 18
Michigan State 34 22 12 16 10 6 18
Ball State 61 54 7 27 17 10 17
Marshall 57 41 16 21 20 1 17
Northern Illinois 57 49 8 22 13 9 17
Arizona 41 31 10 15 10 5 15
Buffalo 45 44 1 23 9 14 15
BYU 47 34 13 17 15 2 15
Indiana 69 53 16 14 16 -2 14
Cincinnati 50 33 17 15 19 -4 13
Georgia 57 37 20 9 16 -7 13
South Alabama 44 31 13 11 11 0 13
Navy 36 31 5 15 8 7 12
San Jose State 52 38 14 15 17 -2 12
Virginia Tech 36 31 5 22 15 7 12
Michigan 46 35 11 18 18 0 11
Maryland 58 43 15 18 23 -5 10
Middle Tennessee 39 38 1 28 19 9 10
Stanford 39 31 8 13 11 2 10
Toledo 53 51 2 19 11 8 10
Vanderbilt 34 29 5 19 14 5 10
Northwestern 38 35 3 22 16 6 9
Fresno State 55 50 5 17 14 3 8
Louisiana Tech 49 39 10 18 20 -2 8
North Carolina 43 38 5 15 12 3 8
Rice 43 41 2 19 13 6 8
Auburn 55 49 6 16 15 1 7
Georgia Tech 46 34 12 15 20 -5 7
USC 46 44 2 16 11 5 7
Wyoming 51 42 9 13 15 -2 7
Duke 40 34 6 18 18 0 6
Iowa 33 29 4 16 15 1 5
Mississippi 41 38 3 15 13 2 5
North Texas 38 43 -5 29 19 10 5
Texas Tech 53 39 14 15 25 -10 4
Colorado State 58 56 2 16 15 1 3
Boise State 48 45 3 16 17 -1 2
Louisiana-Lafayette 40 44 -4 18 12 6 2
Mississippi State 43 42 1 13 12 1 2
San Diego State 51 42 9 12 19 -7 2
Syracuse 40 38 2 18 18 0 2
Boston College 41 46 -5 15 9 6 1
Minnesota 45 50 -5 15 9 6 1
Oklahoma 35 35 0 14 13 1 1
Arkansas State 40 43 -3 12 9 3 0
Ohio 41 42 -1 18 17 1 0
Rutgers 47 41 6 13 19 -6 0
Nebraska 46 44 2 15 18 -3 -1
North Carolina State 42 42 0 19 20 -1 -1
Kentucky 37 43 -6 11 7 4 -2
Central Michigan 45 43 2 14 20 -6 -4
New Mexico 49 55 -6 10 9 1 -5
TCU 33 39 -6 25 24 1 -5
Texas State 31 43 -12 18 11 7 -5
Utah 43 40 3 11 19 -8 -5
Florida 27 31 -4 15 17 -2 -6
Pittsburgh 35 44 -9 14 11 3 -6
Troy 63 61 2 8 16 -8 -6
Wake Forest 27 31 -4 18 20 -2 -6
Florida Atlantic 33 37 -4 15 18 -3 -7
SMU 42 42 0 10 17 -7 -7
Akron 35 42 -7 16 17 -1 -8
Arkansas 40 40 0 10 18 -8 -8
Kansas 35 47 -12 18 14 4 -8
UTSA 41 44 -3 12 17 -5 -8
Western Kentucky 53 48 5 15 28 -13 -8
Memphis 29 31 -2 12 19 -7 -9
Tulsa 45 44 1 18 28 -10 -9
West Virginia 46 54 -8 25 26 -1 -9
Illinois 51 56 -5 9 14 -5 -10
Louisiana-Monroe 42 46 -4 15 23 -8 -12
South Florida 24 37 -13 15 17 -2 -15
UNLV 41 60 -19 16 12 4 -15
Air Force 35 48 -13 8 11 -3 -16
Penn State 38 47 -9 12 19 -7 -16
UAB 45 58 -13 9 12 -3 -16
Nevada 43 68 -25 16 9 7 -18
Tennessee 39 58 -19 20 19 1 -18
Georgia State 38 55 -17 12 14 -2 -19
Hawai'i 42 49 -7 15 27 -12 -19
Washington State 34 47 -13 21 27 -6 -19
Miami (Ohio) 18 40 -22 17 15 2 -20
Tulane 26 54 -28 28 20 8 -20
Idaho 43 57 -14 14 21 -7 -21
Temple 36 54 -18 11 14 -3 -21
Army 31 55 -24 14 12 2 -22
Connecticut 29 45 -16 16 22 -6 -22
Iowa State 27 48 -21 15 16 -1 -22
Massachusetts 27 48 -21 13 16 -3 -24
Southern Mississippi 33 39 -6 14 32 -18 -24
Western Michigan 32 46 -14 14 24 -10 -24
Kent State 35 56 -21 12 17 -5 -26
Colorado 32 58 -26 15 18 -3 -29
New Mexico State 40 65 -25 17 22 -5 -30
Purdue 20 44 -24 12 18 -6 -30
Virginia 28 59 -31 17 21 -4 -35
UTEP 30 62 -32 10 14 -4 -36
Florida International 18 48 -30 11 18 -7 -37
California 46 73 -27 11 25 -14 -41
Eastern Michigan 35 67 -32 8 17 -9 -41

Stats via http://www.cfbstats.com/

Note: I noticed that Stanford (10) was able to beat Oregon (67) yet had a much worse Toxic Differential. Stanford Syndered Oregon to death in the first half and kept Oregon off the field. This further proves to me that long efficient drives without turnovers is exactly how to beat Oregon (67) and Baylor (57). K-State (18) was able to keep Baylor (57) at bay until the 4th quarter using this method.

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