Below are the metrics across the 686 games between FBS teams for the 2014 season to this point. Bowl games will be added once complete.
First, here’s a look at the averages for each metric. A couple of things stand out – the plays are almost equal, with winners running a paltry two more plays per game. It’s what they do with those plays (Yards/Play) that matters. Secondly, many people say total yards don’t matter. They do. More on this in a minute.
Here’s a look at home vs. away and favorites vs. underdogs. 56% seems a bit low given that most Power 5 teams have 1 or 2 “gimmee” games on their schedule. When you look at conference games this number is traditionally much closer to 50%. More important than playing at home is being the favorite. The old adage “the best team usually wins” is in large part true, assuming the best team is favored.
These numbers show the % of teams that have the better number for each category. For instance, the winning team has more plays in 54.8% of the games, more total yards in 77.7% of the games (told you yards were important) and higher yards per play in 79.6% of the games. Yards per play and total yards are the two most important stats in my book. Secondly, we often hear about “winning” the turnover battle. Since 22.9% of the time the turnover battle is even it’s more important to not lose the turnover battle (win or be even) – 82.3% of winning teams are at least even on turnovers.