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Pac-10 Power-Point Rankings, 2002
Why? Because it's fun
By: Malamute, 2 July 2002

  Can the Caldwell Cowboy lasso some roses in 2002? Photo of Cody Pickett courtesy of dawgman.com How is it that people can look at the same data and come to different conclusions? That's what makes the world go round. I've examined 11 different statistical categories, awarded points to each Pac-10 team, and call the cumulative results a Power-Point Ranking for the upcoming season (2002).

According to my Power-Point Ranking, the battle for the conference championship could be decided when Washington State plays UCLA on December 7 in Pasadena. UCLA and Washington State each have 39 points followed by Washington, which has 38 points.  

Assigning points based on data analysis is subjective, and you, the reader, might assign points differently based on your analysis of the data appearing in the tables below. Or you might determine a new set of categories.

Power points are determined from 11 different categories, which range from a "Proven Pac-10 head coach," based on his win percentage in the league, to a "Successful returning field-goal kicker," based on his field-goal percentage last season. 

In all but two of the categories, points range from 1 to 5. In one category (road killers) a negative number is given. In the other, (Top 25 teams played in 2001), as much as 6 points are given (Cal).

Having luck and staying healthy might be the most important factors in determining a team's success, especially in such a closely knit conference race. 

In 9 of the last 10 years, a senior quarterback has led his team to either the Rose Bowl game or to the Pac-10 conference championship (Harrington, 2001).

So why go to all this trouble when you can probably reach a viable conclusion based on your intuition? Answer: Because it's fun. :)

Table 1. Pac-10 Power-Point Rankings (2002)

Area UW WSU UCLA USC OSU UA UO Cal SU ASU
Coaching  5 5 4 3 4 3 5 1 1 2
Home field   4 2 4 2 3 2 5 1 3 3
QB's  4 5 5 5 4 5 4 5 4 3
Road Killers  -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -2 -1
Return Off.  5 5 3 5 4 5 2 4 4 2
Return Def  3 3 3 3 5 4 4 5 2 5
2001 Offense  4 5 3 3 4 4 5 2 5 4
2001 Defense 3 5 5 5 4 3 3 1 4 2
2001 Top 25  4 3 4 3 2 4 2 6 4 3
Punting 4 3 5 3 4 3 3 4 3 3
Field Goals 3 4 4 5 3 3 2 4 3 3
Total 38 39 39 36 36 35 34 32 31 29

The following tables were used to derive the point tabulation shown by Table 1. 

Quarterbacks: A senior quarterback who is returning earns 5 points for the school. A junior quarterback earns 4 and a sophomore 3. 

Table 2. Returning at Quarterback

School Likely starter YR Backup Yr. Pts
WSU Jason Gesser SR Matt Kegel JR 5
USC Carson Palmer SR Matt Cassell  SO 5
UCLA Cory Paus SR John Sciarra  FR 5
UW Cody Pickett JR Taylor Barton SR 4
UO Jason Fife JR Scott Vossmeyer SO 4
OSU Derek Anderson JR Adam Rothenfluh  SO 4
SU Chris Lewis JR Ryan Eklund SO 4
UA Jason Johnson SR Nic Costa FR 5
ASU Chad Christensen SO Andy Goodenough JR 3
UC Kyle Boller SR Reggie Robertson SO 5

Coaching Staff: Based on their overall win percentage as  coaches in the Pac-10, the most successful coaches get five points. Mike Price, the dean of Pac-10 coaches, gets five points based on his tenure in the league. Incoming coaches get one point.  

Table 3. Head Coaching Record (Pac-10)

School Head Coach

Won/Lost

No. *

Pct. Pts.
UO Mike Bellotti 60-23 7 .723 5
UW Rick Neuheisel 26-10 3 .722 5
OSU Dennis Erickson 23-12 3 .66 4
UCLA Bob Toledo 42-27 6 .61 4
USC Pete Carroll 6-6 1 .5 3
WSU Mike Price 72-75 13 .49 5
UA John Mackovic 5-6 1 .45 3
ASU Dirk Koetter 4-7 1 .36 2
Tree Buddy Teevens 0-0 0 .0 1
Cal Jeff Tedford 0-0 0 .0 1
 

* Number of seasons coached in Pac-10

Offensive/Defensive Returnees (Starters): This is based on the number of offensive and defensive players returning from 2001. For example, Washington, USC and Arizona each get 5 points for their offensive returnees, since their returning number of starters is among the most in the league.  

Table 4. Offensive and Defensive Returnees (number of returning starters)

School Off Pts. Def Pts.
Oregon State 7 4 8 5
Arizona  9 5 6 4
California 7 4 8 5
Washington 8 5 5 3
USC 8 5 5 3
ASU 5 2 8 5
UCLA 6 3 5 3
Oregon 5 2 6 4
WSU 7 5 5 3
Tree 7 4 3 2
 

Home-field Advantage and Road Killers: Based on win percentage at home against Pac-10 teams over the last 5 years. Playing against either UCLA, Oregon or Washington on its home field is considered a road killer. None of the rivalry games played on their fields is a road killer. Oregon State is approaching road-killer status, having won 10 of its last 12 games at Reser Stadium during the three years coach Dennis Erickson has coached the Beavers. 

Table 5. Home-field Advantage (Pac-10 games only)

Team W/L Pct. Home Pct. Pts. Away Pct.
UW 28-12 .7 15-5 .75 4 13-7 .65
UO 28-12 .7 17-3 .85 5 11-9 .55
UCLA 24-16 .6 15-5 .75 4 9-11 .45
Tree 22-18 .55 12-8 .6 3 10-10 .5
UA 19-21 .475 8-12 .4 2 11-9 .55
ASU 19-21 .475 11-9 .55 3 8-12 .4
USC 19-21 .475 10-10 .5 2 9-11 .45
OSU 16-24 .4 11-9 .55 3 5-15 .25
WSU 16-24 .4 8-12 .4 2 8-12 .4
Cal 9-31 .23 5-15 .25 1 4-16 .2
 

2001 Top 25 Teams: The number of top 25 teams that the team played against during the 2001 campaign, as determined by the USA/Coaches poll (taken at the end of the bowl season). This is used to normalize the 2001 defensive and offensive records in the league. For example, Washington played against Miami, Michigan, Stanford and WSU, which  were among the top-twenty-five teams at the end of the bowl season. Washington gets four points (1 for each team played), since those games had a negative effect on its statistics—the Miami game being a prime example. Washington's bowl game against Texas doesn’t count, since its record in the Pac-10 doesn’t include that game. 

Table 6. Number of Top 25 Teams Played in 2001 (Regular season; normalizes data shown in Table 7)

Team Pts. Opponent
UW 4 WSU, Miami, Michigan, Stanford
Tree 4 Boston College, WSU, UO, UW
UCLA 4 UW, Stanford, WSU, Oregon
USC 3 Oregon, Stanford, UW
WSU 3 Stanford, Washington, Oregon
OSU 2 WSU, Washington
UO 2 Stanford, WSU
Cal 6 Illinois, BYU, WSU, UW, UO, Tree
UA 4 OSU, UW, Tree, WSU
ASU 3 Washington, Oregon, Stanford
 

2001 Offense/Defense: Compared to the other teams in the league, a team with the highest average finish in 12 offensive categories gets 5 points (Table 7). Same for the 11 defensive categories. For example, UCLA gets five points for its average finish (2.8) in eleven defensive categories. The number of returnees on defense (Table 4) balances that number, only 3 points being awarded to UCLA in that category.

Table 7. Average Finish in the Offensive (12) and Defensive (11) Categories for the 2001 season

Team Offense Pts Defense Pts.
Washington 6.1 4 6.5 3
WSU 3.27 5 3.9 5
UCLA 6.72 3 2.8 5
USC 6.41 3 2.9 5
OSU 6.25 4 4.27 4
Oregon 3.3 5 5.8 3
Stanford 2.92 5 5.2 4
California 8.7 2 8.5 1
ASU 6.25 4 7.9 2
Arizona 6.2 4 7.1 3
 

Punting/Field Goals: Compared with the other punters and kickers that are returning. The best kickers/punters get five points. An incoming specialist gets 3 points.  (See Tables 8 and 9).

Table 8. Comparison of Returning Punters

Punter School Yards/Punt Points
Fiske UCLA 44.2 5
McLaughlin UW 41.2 4
Fredrickson Cal 39.5 4
Tobey OSU 39.2 4
Arroyo Oregon 38.5 3
Johnson Stanford 38.1 3
Peru Arizona 37.9 3
Incoming ASU no record 3
Incoming USC no record 3
Incoming WSU no record 3

Table 9. Comparison of Returning Field Goal Kickers

Kicker School Pct. Made Points
Davis USC 88.2 % 5
Jensen Cal 78.6 4
Dunning WSU 77.8 4
Griffith UCLA 76.9 4
Keel Arizona 64.3 3
Barth ASU 64.3 3
Anderson UW 63.6 3
Cesca OSU 62.5 3
Siegel Oregon 54.5 2
Incoming Stanford no record 3


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