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Margin of Victory: Comparing the BCS Top 10

In the midst of the hoopla of the BCS Poll, lets take a moment to look at one factor of ranking teams- Margin of Victory- that the BCS has done away with in recent years.

Below are the top ten BCS teams (Oregon and Oregon State are also included) with their records and their average margin of victory.

This is one of those stats that doesn't tell you a whole lot, and isn't that accurate at ranking teams. However, it is interesting to look at.

Below is the data presented in a chart as well as a graph.

Margin of Victory (MOV)
BCS Rank Team Games Played Record Average MOV
1 Ohio State 7 7-0 24.6
2 USC 6 6-0 15
3 Michigan 7 7-0 17.5
4 Auburn 7 6-1 13.5 (w/loss)
5 West Virginia 6 6-0 28.5
6 Florida 7 6-1 15.3
7 Louisville 6 6-0 28
8 Notre Dame 6 5-1 6.7 (w/loss)
9 Texas 7 6-1 28 (w/loss)
10 Cal 7 6-1 18 (w/loss)
14 Oregon 6 5-1 11 (w/loss)
NR Oregon State 6 3-3 4 (w/3 losses)


You'll see above that USC has the lowest margin of victory for an undefeated team. The thing about this stat is teams with high margins could be playing a weak schedule or mostly non conference teams, while teams with low margins could have a tough schedule, or lost a game. USC doesn't quite follow this pattern...

The game yielding the highest margin of victory for the Trojans was against Arkansas (BCS #13) in which USC won by 36 points. They then won against Nebraska (BCS #17) by 18 points. Then, to start their conference schedule, they beat Arizona (currently 3-4) by 17 after only leading the Wildcats by 3 at halftime. The Trojans' next three games were decided by a touchdown or less, and all the games were won against teams that could be considered bottom-dwellers in the Pac-10; Washington State, Washington, and Arizona State. This brings their average margin of victory to 15.

West Virginia has the highest average Margin of Victory for a undefeated team out of the top 10. Texas is half a point higher, and I'll get to that in just a minute. West VA has beaten their opponents by a average of 28.5 points so far this season. But they hasn't faced that big of a challenge yet this year. Their 6 wins this far come against Marshall, Eastern Washington, Maryland, East Carolina, Mississippi State, and Syracuse. They still have a test the final game of the season against Rutgers (Currently BCS #24) and a match up two weeks away with #7 Louisville that will likely knock the loser out of the BCS picture.

The biggest surprise to me was Texas. Even factoring in their 17 point loss to Ohio State, the Longhorns have the highest Margin of Victory in the top 10. Granted, they haven't had hardly any competition. So far they have dismantled North Texas, Rice, Iowa State, Sam Houston State, Oklahoma, and Baylor. The win that was closest to a loss was Oklahoma, who after the pre-season injury to Rhett Bomar, didn't stand much of a chance to the Longhorns. Still, Texas beat the Sooners by 18.

Notre Dame has the overall lowest margin of victory with 6.7. Their loss to Michigan is playing a large roll in that number.

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