Simple Research Study – College Football Bowl Games

Percentage Passes Caught vs Bowl Scores for Away Teams

Introduction

Background

Home field advantage is always the most desirable, but does data back it up? In this research study, I’ve pulled stats on college football bowl games to see if having the home field advantage is all it is cracked up to be.

Hypothesis

Teams with the home field advantage will perform better than teams without the home field advantage.

Methodology

The data collected was scraped from www.foxsports.com.

Data Set

Date Pulled: 5/2/2017 8:22pm

Total Games Pulled: 540

Bowl Game Seasons: 2000-2016

Raw Data: Raw Data

Results

Percentage of Wins

Looking at the teams that played in at least five bowl games from 2000-2016, I’ve collected data on the highest winning percentages for each team.

Team Total Wins Total Loss Winning Percentage
Utah Utes 12 1 92%
Marshall Thundering Herd 8 1 89%
Mississippi Rebels 5 1 83%
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 4 1 80%
Mississippi State Bulldogs 7 2 78%
Brigham Young Cougars 5 2 71%
Georgia Bulldogs 12 5 71%
Oregon State Beavers 7 3 70%
TCU Horned Frogs 9 4 69%
USC Trojans 9 4 69%

Highest Scoring Bowl Games

The table below shows the top 10 teams with the highest combined points earned.

Away Team Home Team Bowl Sum Of Points
East Carolina Pirates Marshall Thundering Herd GMAC Bowl 125
Washington Huskies Baylor Bears Alamo Bowl 123
Idaho Vandals Colorado State Rams Idaho Potato Bowl 111
Toledo Rockets Arkansas State Red Wolves GoDaddy Bowl 107
Tulsa Golden Hurricane Virginia Tech Hokies Independence Bowl 107
BYU Cougars Memphis Tigers Miami Beach Bowl 103
West Virginia Mountaineers Clemson Tigers Orange Bowl 103
Houston Cougars Hawaii Warriors Hawaii Bowl 102
Virginia Tech Hokies California Golden Bears Insight Bowl 101
Duke Blue Devils Texas A&M Aggies Chick-fil-A Bowl 100

Away Team Scores vs. Home Team Scores

Next, I wanted to see if there was a correlation between the number of points scored by the away team and the number of points scored by the home team. My hypothesis was that home teams performed better than away teams. I found that there was a 0.109431803 correlation between the two scores with a y=0.111512994x slope. In other words, 55% of the bowl games are won by the hosted team.

Away Team Score vs Home Team Score

Passes Caught and Missed

This one is fascinating. What we can see from the correlation table below is:

  • Increasing a home team’s passing completion percentage by 11% will increase their score by 5 points
  • Increasing the away team’s passing completion percentage by 10% will increase their score by 5 points
  • Away teams lose 1.2 times more points for missed catches than home teams

With a little more digging, the combination of the number of passes caught and the number of passes missed has an adjusted R-squared of 0.1996 for the away team and 0.1438 for the home team. In other words, passes caught and passes missed can explain about 20% of the team’s score for away teams and 14% of the team’s score for home teams.

Pass Category Correlation Slope
Total Away Completions 0.208981311 0.355209553
Total Home Completions 0.239279326 0.408696297
Percent Away Completions 0.431793174 49.27826944
Percent Home Completions 0.397674054 44.84671201
Total Away Miss -0.262511848 -0.581409743
Total Home Miss -0.20180335 -0.477286865
Total Attempts Away 0.004982822 0.005612264
Total Attempts Home 0.066036722 0.079627481

The graph below displays the comparison between the percentage of passes caught and the bowl scores for away teams.

Percentage Passes Caught vs Bowl Scores for Away Teams

The graph below displays the comparison between the percentage of passes caught and the bowl scores for home teams.

Percentage Passes Caught vs Bowl Scores for Home Teams

Field Goals

The average points scored from field goals for all bowl teams from 2000-2016 is 6.7 points, or on average about 27% of all points scored.

Conclusion

In conclusion, what we learned from this short study is that home teams do score better than away teams. The largest conclusion from this study, however, is that increasing a team’s completed pass percentage will have a great impact on the overall score. Lessons learned from the study above include:

  • 55% of the bowl games are won by the hosted team
  • Increasing a home team’s passing completion percentage by 11% will increase their score by 5 points
  • Increasing the away team’s passing completion percentage by 10% will increase their score by 5 points
  • Away teams lose 1.2 times more points for missed catches than home teams
  • Passes caught and passes missed can explain about 20% of the team’s score for away teams and 14% of the team’s score for home teams

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