College Football Havoc Ratings & Games to Watch for Week 3
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Storm Duck.
Havoc is a college football term defined as a play where there’s an unexpected outcome.
Pass breakups, forced fumbles and tackles for loss are just a few of the plays that cause pandemonium on any given Saturday. These plays, collectively, are used to build an identity for a team.
A prime example of a “Havoc Play” from Saturday was Jordan Domineck’s scoop and score for Georgia Tech against Kennesaw State.
That stiff arm though 🤯
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) September 11, 2021
The calculation for Havoc is simply a cumulative number of tackles for loss, interceptions, fumbles and passes defensed divided by the number of plays on both sides of the ball.
Our Havoc column will look at the defensive Havoc and offensive Havoc allowed each week.
Let’s dive right into the Havoc ratings and see what they can tell us about Week 3!
Week 3 Havoc
So, where do you want to be in this graph?
The Y-Axis is offensive Havoc allowed, and a lower number here is better. The X-Axis is Defensive Havoc Rate, and a higher number here is better.
Therefore, if a team is in the lower right quadrant, they cause a lot of Havoc on defense but do not allow much Havoc on offense. The top left quadrant indicates that a team allows a lot of Havoc on offense but does not cause much on defense. So, think of it this way: bottom right is good, top left is bad.
After Week 2, LSU and Rutgers have the best defensive Havoc rating in the country.
However, these ratings are inflated by games against bad teams this early in the season. The majority of LSU’s Havoc plays came against McNeese State.
Rutgers has had the luxury of playing Temple and Syracuse, which are ranked 122nd and 90th in Collin Wilson’s Power Ratings, respectively. As the season progresses, these ratings will be more stable (especially once we get into conference schedules).
Iowa had a fantastic week Havoc-wise, forcing four turnovers against an Iowa State team many thought was a dark horse to win the Big 12. This scoop and score by Jack Campbell was a key play, swinging Iowa’s win percentage from 60% to 80%, according to GameOnPaper.
🚨 SCOOP N SCORE 🚨
Iowa capitalizes off the Breece Hall fumble…
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2021
So, now that we know what Havoc is and how each team stacks up, how do we take advantage of it?
Let’s take a look at the biggest discrepancies in the home team’s Havoc rank vs the away team’s Havoc Allowed rank:
Now, let’s take a look at the discrepancies in the away team’s Havoc rank vs the home team’s Havoc Allowed rank:
One matchup that pops up on both tables is Kansas vs. Baylor. The spread here is 16.5, and our Action Network projections have this game at -18.4.
The Jayhawks’ abysmal rankings on both sides are even worse if you consider they played an FCS Team in South Dakota. However, keep in mind that Baylor played Texas Southern and Texas State in its first two games — and Texas State gave the Bears all they could handle.
Another game I have circled is North Carolina at Virginia.
Yes, the Tar Heels looked fine against Georgia Southern, but the offense cratered against Virginia Tech, which is reflected in their Havoc Allowed ranking.
If you want to check out the full tables, make sure to follow us at @Analytics_CFB on Twitter.