NCAA Football Toxic Differential - Week 12

Stacy Revere

Big plays are a huge part of college football - but do they equal success?

Most of us like to look back at previous predictions and see how accurate we were. Let's take a look back at last weeks Toxic Differential predictions and see what this next week has in store for the Big 12.

Just a reminder: Toxic Differential is a measure of a teams big play offense and defense combined into a single number. The end result should describe just how explosive the team is on offense AND defense. Efficiency isn't important here - it's those big play Sports Center highlights we are looking for.

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

Last Weeks Picks

Oregon (67) vs Utah (-5) - Pick: Oregon. Winner: Oregon
Florida State (59) - Mississippi State (2) - Pick: FSU, Winner: FSU
Baylor (57) - Texas Tech (4) - Picked: Baylor, Winner: Baylor
Oklahoma State (33) vs Texas (19) - Pick: OSU, Winner: OSU
OU (1) vs. ISU (-22) - Pick: OU, Winner: OU
KU (-10) vs WVU (-9) - Pick: WVU, Winner: KU
TCU (-5) vs. K-State (18) - Pick KSU: Winner KSU, but just barely.

The better Toxic Differential was the winner in each of the mach-ups except for KU - which was basically a toss up anyway. That's promising! If you are like me you are asking yourself "If it was that good in this small dataset, is there any correlation between Toxic Differential and wins?"

Well yes, there is.

Win_vs_toxic_diff_week_12_large

I plotted Toxic Diff and it's two factors 20+ Yard play margin and Turn Over Margin. I knew the correlation would not be perfect - and it's not - but there is definitely a connection between wins and Toxic Diff. After looking at the numbers for a little while I realized that there is something wrong with the graph: The lines are pretty and everything but they don't mean anything in relation to one another because they are on different scales. We'll fix that soon.

There are a few interesting tidbits here though:

  • There are multiple teams with a negative turnover margin or 20+ Margin yet they still have over 80% wins. That's an 8 win season! Kudos to any team (Cincinnati) with a negative turnover margin but is still able to crank out 8 wins. That's resiliency. The negative 20+ Margin teams with 8 wins are Louisiana-Lafayette and Minnesota.
  • Every line says the same story: If you are on the positive side, you should have over 50% wins. If you are on the negative side, you should have less that 50% wins.
  • All perfect teams (100% Win) have positive Toxic Diff. All teams with < 40% wins have negative Toxic Diff.
Let's try to fix the scales so that the lines make sense in relation to one another.
Win_vs_toxic_diff_week_12_-_normalized_large

This actually helps prove the usefulness of Toxic Differential. Take a look at the blue line, Toxic Diff, and notice how it is the most vertical. This shows that an increase of Toxic Diff (of say 1) has a higher impact on Win percentage than a 1 increase of TO Margin or 20+ margin.

TL;DR: Toxic Diff has a higher correlation to win percentage than just TO Margin alone.

This weeks Big 12 Picks

OSU (38) vs Baylor (59) - If you give me a few more hours, I could probably throw in some strength of schedule and garbage time calculations to make OSU look better... For now, the numbers are in Baylor's favor.

OU (6) vs KSU (19) - This should be a fun game. Two good but not great teams slugging it out for bowl position. Straight up Toxic Diff comparison says KSU gets the win.

KU (-10) vs ISU (-27) - Battle for the bottom. Looks like KU could grab another win!

Name Gain 20+ Allow 20+ 20+ Margin TO Gain TO Lost TO Margin Toxic Diff
Oregon 84 23 61 24 12 12 73
Florida State 74 23 51 25 11 14 65
Baylor 86 36 50 20 11 9 59
Ohio State 61 24 37 20 10 10 47
Louisville 60 30 30 22 9 13 43
Houston 59 40 19 33 11 22 41
Wisconsin 63 26 37 15 11 4 41
Oklahoma State 55 30 25 26 13 13 38
Washington 71 39 32 16 13 3 35
Arizona State 68 45 23 25 15 10 33
Missouri 58 41 17 25 11 14 31
Alabama 57 34 23 15 11 4 27
LSU 70 39 31 12 16 -4 27
Texas A&M 76 51 25 20 18 2 27
UCLA 54 34 20 21 14 7 27
UCF 54 37 17 21 12 9 26
East Carolina 49 31 18 19 13 6 24
Bowling Green 46 30 16 14 7 7 23
BYU 56 35 21 20 18 2 23
Notre Dame 52 26 26 10 13 -3 23
Oregon State 65 48 17 24 18 6 23
South Carolina 59 38 21 17 15 2 23
Michigan State 38 27 11 21 10 11 22
Cincinnati 61 36 25 17 21 -4 21
Kansas State 47 25 22 17 20 -3 19
Utah State 59 46 13 19 13 6 19
Clemson 56 48 8 25 15 10 18
Ball State 61 54 7 27 17 10 17
Marshall 57 41 16 21 20 1 17
Mississippi 56 41 15 17 15 2 17
Northern Illinois 57 49 8 22 13 9 17
Vanderbilt 38 30 8 23 14 9 17
Miami (Florida) 58 44 14 21 19 2 16
Navy 42 33 9 15 8 7 16
Buffalo 45 44 1 23 9 14 15
Michigan 49 36 13 19 18 1 14
San Jose State 57 41 16 16 18 -2 14
Texas 49 42 7 23 16 7 14
Virginia Tech 39 34 5 24 15 9 14
Georgia 64 43 21 9 17 -8 13
Arizona 43 35 8 16 12 4 12
Rice 47 44 3 23 14 9 12
Middle Tennessee 39 38 1 28 19 9 10
Toledo 53 51 2 19 11 8 10
USC 50 47 3 19 12 7 10
South Alabama 46 37 9 11 11 0 9
Duke 47 40 7 19 18 1 8
Fresno State 55 50 5 17 14 3 8
Maryland 61 46 15 18 25 -7 8
Auburn 61 56 5 17 15 2 7
Boise State 53 46 7 20 20 0 7
Colorado State 66 62 4 18 15 3 7
Georgia Tech 46 34 12 15 20 -5 7
Stanford 42 35 7 14 14 0 7
Northwestern 39 38 1 22 17 5 6
Oklahoma 40 37 3 16 13 3 6
Iowa 33 29 4 16 15 1 5
North Texas 38 43 -5 29 19 10 5
San Diego State 59 45 14 14 23 -9 5
Boston College 48 50 -2 16 10 6 4
Louisiana Tech 52 43 9 19 24 -5 4
North Carolina 44 43 1 17 14 3 4
Indiana 70 63 7 14 18 -4 3
Mississippi State 45 47 -2 17 13 4 2
Texas Tech 62 48 14 16 28 -12 2
Wyoming 52 47 5 16 19 -3 2
Louisiana-Lafayette 45 51 -6 20 13 7 1
Minnesota 45 50 -5 15 9 6 1
Ohio 41 42 -1 18 17 1 0
Pittsburgh 40 45 -5 16 13 3 -2
Texas State 37 47 -10 19 11 8 -2
Arkansas State 44 49 -5 12 10 2 -3
Florida Atlantic 36 39 -3 18 18 0 -3
SMU 48 46 2 12 17 -5 -3
North Carolina State 46 49 -3 20 21 -1 -4
Syracuse 42 45 -3 19 20 -1 -4
Nebraska 51 48 3 15 23 -8 -5
TCU 35 42 -7 27 26 1 -6
Wake Forest 27 31 -4 18 20 -2 -6
West Virginia 51 56 -5 26 28 -2 -7
Arkansas 40 40 0 10 18 -8 -8
Florida 33 38 -5 15 18 -3 -8
Rutgers 50 52 -2 15 21 -6 -8
UTSA 41 44 -3 12 17 -5 -8
Western Kentucky 53 48 5 15 28 -13 -8
Akron 38 45 -7 18 20 -2 -9
Kentucky 38 47 -9 11 11 0 -9
New Mexico 55 63 -8 10 11 -1 -9
Tulsa 45 44 1 18 28 -10 -9
Central Michigan 47 47 0 15 25 -10 -10
Kansas 37 52 -15 20 15 5 -10
Memphis 30 36 -6 17 21 -4 -10
Utah 46 48 -2 11 20 -9 -11
Louisiana-Monroe 42 46 -4 15 23 -8 -12
South Florida 29 38 -9 17 22 -5 -14
Illinois 55 64 -9 10 16 -6 -15
UNLV 41 60 -19 16 12 4 -15
Air Force 35 48 -13 8 11 -3 -16
Penn State 39 49 -10 15 21 -6 -16
Washington State 38 49 -11 23 28 -5 -16
Georgia State 45 60 -15 13 16 -3 -18
Tennessee 39 58 -19 20 19 1 -18
Troy 66 76 -10 10 18 -8 -18
UAB 49 63 -14 11 15 -4 -18
Western Michigan 36 48 -12 19 25 -6 -18
Miami (Ohio) 18 40 -22 17 15 2 -20
Nevada 46 73 -27 17 10 7 -20
Tulane 26 54 -28 28 20 8 -20
Idaho 43 57 -14 14 21 -7 -21
Army 31 55 -24 14 12 2 -22
Hawai'i 45 57 -12 19 29 -10 -22
Massachusetts 30 51 -21 16 18 -2 -23
Temple 44 64 -20 11 15 -4 -24
Connecticut 33 51 -18 16 24 -8 -26
Kent State 35 56 -21 12 17 -5 -26
Colorado 38 63 -25 17 19 -2 -27
Iowa State 29 53 -24 15 18 -3 -27
Southern Mississippi 35 42 -7 14 35 -21 -28
New Mexico State 40 65 -25 17 22 -5 -30
Purdue 22 45 -23 14 21 -7 -30
UTEP 34 64 -30 11 14 -3 -33
Virginia 28 59 -31 17 21 -4 -35
Florida International 20 52 -32 11 19 -8 -40
Eastern Michigan 35 67 -32 8 17 -9 -41
California 51 79 -28 12 27 -15 -43
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