Wilson: The Luckiest and Unluckiest College Football Teams of 2019 By Second Order Win Total


Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Alan Bowman

Jan 14, 2020, 10:56 AM EST

College football season is in the books. And to most gamblers, this is the signal it’s time to focus on college hoops, baseball win totals or even some tennis in Australia.

To me, it means the 2020 season has started and my power ratings need immediate adjustment.

The process for handling the Action Network power ratings in the postseason differs from in-season. A number of factors can change the outlook for a program throughout the offseason.

This time last year, LSU’s Joe Brady was in a NFL Playoff run, Jalen Hurts was still at Alabama and Kelly Bryant was new to the Missouri campus. While it is impossible to evaluate the impact of each news item, purging advanced statistics will give a gambler a head start.

The first set of power ratings in January are crafted with influence from program regression, turnover luck, departing production, coaching changes and second-order win total. These bullet points are quantifiable and can be used to reconstruct a power rating.

This article will focus solely on second-order win total, which compares the advanced statistics of a team to its true results. Second order wins essentially show what a team’s record would be if luck were even across the board.

If a team has a negative SOW value, there was a bit of luck involved. Any team with a high positive value immediately gets attention for a 2020 breakout.

Each game produces a post-game win expectancy. Tally a team’s total post-game win expectancy and compare to the actual win total to get a second-order value.

Those numbers have all been compiled below to identify the teams that truly earned their final grades.

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Second-Order Win Total for 2019

Two Teams Down For 2020