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SEC baseball Pythagorean win-loss, Final Edition

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“Flawed B***s***t Auburn Propaganda”

Red Cup Rebellion commenter “No Quarter” assessing the Pythagorean rankings

It’s not particularly good form for a blogger to mock another blog’s commenters, especially when that commenter isn’t representative of the blog’s position as a whole, as “No Quarter” was not; both the bloggers at RCR and most of the commenters (including those who visited here) seemed to at least be interested in the rankings, and sometimes clear-eyed about what they might mean for our Tigers and their Rebels.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but note for the record that since that week’s edition of “flawed B.S. Auburn propaganda” was released, touting Auburn as a future SEC West winner and Ole Miss as a candidate to have the bottom fall out, the Tigers have gone 8-1 against the SEC while the Rebels have gone 2-7.

These rankings aren’t perfect by any means–the last few weeks, they would have ranked the Tide as the least likely team of the Vols/’Cats/Tide scrum to have come away with a bid to Hoover–but I’d like to think they’ve been far from useless … or, you know, propaganda.

Anyways, on with the final edition! Last week’s edition here; for information on the formula used and what the point is, click here or here.

WEEK 10 RESULTS

Alabama d. Tennessee: 11-3, 4-2, 9-7

Florida d. South Carolina: 3-2, 5-2, 6-11

Georgia d. Kentucky: 8-6, 20-0, 11-14

Auburn d. Ole Miss: 5-3, 18-4, 11-1

LSU d. Mississippi St.: 14-13, 17-3, 1-2

Arkansas d. Vanderbilt: 3-4, 4-3, 7-5

RANKINGS

Teams are ranked by their collected Pythagorean wins (or “expected” wins), followed by their actual wins, difference off the Pythag (i.e. how lucky or unlucky they’ve been), and runs scored/runs allowed.

1. Auburn, 21.546. (Actual W’s: 20, -1.546 difference, RS/RA 273/171)

2. South Carolina, 20.377. (W’s: 21, +.623, 195/134)

3. Arkansas, 19.177. (W’s: 18, -1.177, 201/151)

4. Vanderbilt, 17.895. (W’s: 16, -1.895, 173/130)

5. Florida, 19.076. (W’s: 22, +2.924, 185/140)

Note here that Vandy ranks ahead of the Gators, despite a lower number of Pythagorean wins, because their Pythagorean winning percentage is actually just a hair better (.639 to .636); if the ‘Dores hadn’t had two games rained out, they’d be just over the 19 mark. Not that it matters much–for all intents and purposes, the differences between the Hogs, ‘Dores, and Gators is so slim as to be a de facto three-way tie.

6. LSU, 15.612. (W’s: 14, -1.612, 225/216)

7. Alabama, 14.471. (W’s: 15, +.529, 195/202)

8. Tennessee, 13.481. (W’s: 12, – 1.481, 178/207)

9. Kentucky, 12.991. (W’s: 13, -.009, 201/230)

10. Ole Miss, 11.997. (W’s: 16, +4.003, 160/196)

11. Mississipi St., 9.317. (W’s: 6, -3.317, 198/295)

12. Georgia, 7.398. (W’s: 5, -2.398, 154/257)

OBSERVATIONS

— Yeah, I’m gonna come right out and say it: Auburn’s the best team in the SEC. They’ve won five straight series, outscored the opposition in seven straight series, and are playing their best baseball right now, having gone 5-0 in their final 5 SEC games by a combined score of 61-8.

And as far as Pythag’s concerned, their closest competitor is more than a full game back with the league champion almost two. It doesn’t guarantee anything going forward, but am I bullish on their chances in the postseason? Yeah, I am.

— We’ve spent so much time forecasting doom for Ole Miss that we haven’t really paid enough attention to Florida, which has quietly crept right up underneath that third “extra” win in the Pythag thanks to a long string of tight victories: four straight in one-run games, a total record of 8-3 in two-runs-or-less games in SEC play. Here’s a dollar that says they lose a two-runs-or-less game in Hoover and don’t win the SEC tournament.

— Thanks to Mississippi St. taking themselves out of any kind of contention so early, “luck” (as defined here) didn’t really end up having that much impact on the final SEC standings. The Gators and Rebels were the only teams in the top 10 more than two games off their Pythag. Over only a 30-game sample–where just one unlucky series can cause a huge swing in the math–that doesn’t seem so bad.

Of course, after finishing one game behind the Gators for an SEC title, Carolina may not feel exactly the same way. (Or Tennessee, the team Pythag feels “should” be going to Hoover. But they’re less than 1.5 wins ahead of the Rebels, and Ole Miss’s excellent closer and one starting pitcher account for some of their good fortune. Don’t think the Vols have too much to complain about.)

— Last weekend’s Vandy/Arkansas series was, if I’m not mistaken, the most closely-contested series of the SEC season, with the three games decided by a total of four runs. Not surprising, I guess, when the final Pythag winning percentage for the two is .63924 for Arkansas and .63911 for Vandy–a difference of .00013.

— One final note: it is worth noting that both Auburn and Florida received a pretty big advantage by never having to play each other, Kentucky and Alabama (and, essentially, Vanderbilt) a pretty big disadvantage by never playing Mississippi St. or Georgia, respectively. It doesn’t change my assertion as regards either the Tigers’ or Gators’ standing in the league, but things might have played out very differently in both these rankings and the SEC standings if two of the league’s best teams had been forced to play each other.

Photo by Van Emst.

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