All About Statistics

I love numbers. It’s quite obvious if you’ve ever looked at the SSA Power Ratings or the CFB team pages. While SSA is numbers based, we don’t catalog historical records or weekly stats as there are other sites that do this much better than we ever could. A site that I’ve been personally using for a number of years is sports-reference.com. I decided to reach out to Sports Reference to learn more about their college football site. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Kania, who has been at Sports Reference for six years now. Sports Reference has been able to amass a tremendous amount of data not only on this season, but for previous years as well.

When you go to the 2017 standings page on Sports Reference you are greeted with a clean and simple display of the records and rankings of every college football team. This page also features the metric SRS, which stands for Simple Rating System. This stat accounts for strength of schedule and scoring margin to determine how a well a team has played this year.

But there is much more than just standings for 2017. As Kania stated, “It’s easy to miss stuff because there is so much on there.” I personally like the leaders page, which breaks down category leaders for numerous categories. It’s a great place to either start or end a debate over who is having a better season.

But the origins of Sports Reference are based on history, which means the site offers much more than just numbers for this year. I asked Kania where the historical data comes from and he stated, “Historical data comes from a bunch of different sources.” There is college football game score data back to the 1800s, player stats data back to the 1950s, and box score data back to the 1990s. With this data we can answer some interesting questions.

Which team did Bear Bryant face in his first year as the head coach of Alabama? It was LSU and the Tide lost that game 13-3. Which program has the most wins of all time? Michigan with 917. Who was the last team to win the Salad Bowl? Houston defeated Dayton 26 to 21.

What gets me excited about the Sports Reference site is that it’s a site built by sports fans for sports fans. I asked Kania what he likes most about his work. He said, “I really like to be able to answer people’s questions.” If you have any college football stats questions you can tweet @collegefb_ref. Or if you’re old school you can send them an e-mail.

Follow Jordan on Twitter @JDSports84

About Jordan Sundheim 88 Articles
Jordan Sundheim is a veteran of the sports analytics field with a background in both athletics and statistics. He earned his master's at Duke, coached football at Stanford, and is currently a sports analytics consultant.