Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
Difference >25 in National Rank =
Difference >50 in National Rank =
Difference >75 in National Rank =
Difference >100 in National Rank =
Note: The Redzone TD% and Redzone TD% Defense are calculated by me and not ranked by the NCAA. Determining who has the advantage in these categories is strictly my arbitrary judgement.
More analysis after the jump.
Now, looking at that chart you would tend to say that Northwestern and Penn State are two pretty evenly matched teams. But as always, numbers can be scewed by the level of competition. This is Northwestern's schedule and results so far this season. I also included the currect record of their opponents.
|@ Vanderbilt (2-6)||W 23-21|
|Illinois State (4-5)||W 37-3|
|@ Rice (2-6)||W 30-13|
|Central Michigan (2-7)||W 30-25|
|@ Minnesota (1-8)||W 29-28|
|Purdue (4-4)||L 17-20|
|Michigan State (8-1)||L 27-35|
|@ Indiana (4-4)||W 20-17|
As you can see, Northwestern has played one team with a winning record. Their out of conference schedule is a joke. You don't get credit for scheduling an SEC team when that team is Vanderbilt. Once they got into Big Ten play the Wildcats were brought back down to earth. They are 2-2 with their two wins coming in close games against Indiana and Minnesota. Give them credit for taking care of business, but I don't really know what to make of their numbers.
On the other side of the coin, Penn State has had to play Alabama, Iowa, and an upstart Illinois team that is playing some mighty fine defense this year. And while Penn State has been turning things around in the past few weeks, their offensive performance from the first half of the season is going to weigh like an anchor throughout the season. Granted, I know Penn State's improved offensive numbers have been greatly aided by playing Minnesota and Michigan the past two weeks. So we'll have to wait and see how they do against a respectable team like Northwestern.
I'm still amazed that Penn State has yet to stop anyone in the redzone. They are the only team in the country with this distinction. You would think they would at least get a lucky fumble or a holding penalty that caused a missed field goal or the end of a half or something. Penn State's redzone offense numbers have significantly improved in the past few weeks and would be even better if Joe Paterno hadn't taken a knee against Michigan at the five yard line to run out the clock. Unfortunately, classiness doesn't show up in statistics.