Glossary

IMPORTANT PLEASE READ– All ratings are on a scale where 100 is equivalent to the FBS average in football and the Division I average in basketball. That means that every point above 100 is equal to 1% better than the average team and every point below 100 is equal to 1% below the average team. For example: the 2009 Iowa football team finished with an overall rating of 119, which means they were 19% better than the average FBS team. Meanwhile, the 2007-2008 Iowa basketball team finished with a THOR+ rating of 102, which means they were 2% better than the average Division I team.

Why Ratings, you might ask? Because you can go to a bevy of websites that will give you the raw statistics. Instead, I like these ratings because I can glance at the number and instantly know how good a team was in a particular area compared to all other teams. Curious about how good Alabama’s defenses have been since Nick Saban came to town? Or even more granular, do you want to know how well Saban’s 2011 defense was at keeping points off the board? Well, now you can simply look it up and come away with a number that instantly tells you that they were 73% better than the 2011 FBS average. No, it’s not perfect; it has it’s flaws. However, I do find these ratings to be very handy, and I hope you do, as well.

Football

  • Passing– On offense, measured by the team’s adjusted net yards per passing attempt. On defense,  measured by the team’s adjusted net yards per passing attempt allowed.
  • Rushing– On offense, measured by how many yards per carry a team averages. On defense, measured by how many yards per opponent carries allowed.
  • Turnovers– On offense, measured by how many turnovers a team allows compared to how many offensive plays they run. On defense, measured by how many turnovers a team forces compared to how many plays the opposing team runs.
  • Blocking/Pressure– “Blocking” is for offenses, and measures tackles for loss allowed per play by a team. “Pressure” is for defenses, and measures tackles for loss per opponent plays tallied by a team.
  • Offense/Defense/Special Teams– These categories denote the overall rating for a team on offense, defense, and special teams. For offense, this measures the number of points per play scored by the offense, minus field goals. So, essentially, this measures passing and rushing touchdowns per play. Defense is the same thing, but for passing and rushing touchdowns allowed per play. Field goals, meanwhile, are assigned credit to the special teams, so as not to punish good offenses that happen to have a bad kicker or reward bad offenses that happen to have a really good kicker. Kick returns and punt returns for touchdowns are also included in the special teams rating.
  • THOR+– THOR+ is the overall rating for a team. It is essentially a weighted combination of the offense, defense, and special teams ratings. THOR is an acronym that stands for Tito Hawk’s Official Ratings. TitoHawk was my former online alias, and the THOR+ nickname for the ratings was suggested by a commenter on Black Heart Gold Pants.
  • Categories Labeled With “+”– The “+” signifies that the number has been adjusted for strength of schedule. For example: “Offense” denotes a team’s overall raw offensive rating not adjusted for strength of schedule. “Offense+” denotes a team’s overall offensive rating adjusted for strength of schedule.
  • Schedule– This number indicates how tough or weak a team’s schedule was during a particular year. Like everything else, 100 is equal to the FBS average.
  • Win%– This number indicates the number of games actually won by a team. Because luck plays such a huge part in sports, you will notice that the number of games a team wins is not always a great indicator of their overall ranking. As a result, I included the team’s actual win percentage because it’s often interesting to reference how many games a team won after looking up their final rating.
  • Win% and vs. Avg.– A team’s expected win percentage vs. an average schedule.
  • Wins vs. Avg.– A team’s expected wins vs. an average schedule. During the season, this total is based on a 12 game regular season schedule. After the season, this total is based on however many games a team played that year.
  • PPG+ and PPGA+ vs. Avg.– A team’s expected points per game and points per game allowed vs. an average schedule.

Basketball

  • Tempo– An important statistic in basketball, indicating the number of possessions a team averages per game. It generally indicates whether a team is a hold-the-ball-and-grind-it-out offense, like Wisconsin under Bo Ryan, or if they are a more run-and-gun type of offense, like Iowa State under Fred Hoiberg. A team with a Tempo rating over 100 is not necessarily better than a team with a Tempo rating below 100. Instead, a Tempo rating over 100 denotes a team averaging more possessions per game than the average Division I team.
  • Offense– This rating measures a team’s offensive efficiency, or the average number of points a team puts up per 100 possessions. It’s basically a tempo-adjusted version of points per game. Over 100 means a team puts up a lot of points compared to the rest of their peers, while a number below 100 means the opposite.
  • Defense– Similar to the above mentioned stat, defensive efficiency is the number of points a team allows per 100 opponent possessions. A rating over 100 signifies a good defense, while a number below 100 does not.
  • THOR+– Similar to football, this is the overall average of a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency. “THOR+” is the the strength of schedule adjusted version that tells how good a team is overall.
  • Categories Labeled With “+”– Just like with football, “+” means the number is adjusted for strength of schedule.
  • Schedule– Just like with football, this number indicates the quality of the opponents on a team’s schedule.
  • Shooting– One of the Four Factors, this rating is a measure of a team’s effective field goal percentage on offense, and a measure of the effective field goal percentage by a team’s opponents on defense. Effective field goal percentage, is a superior version of field goal percentage, in that it assigns extra credit to made three pointers. A rating over 100, means that the team is better than average at putting the ball in the basket or keeping the other team from doing so. Under 100? The opposite.
  • Turnovers– Another of the Four Factors, “Turnovers” is measured by turnover rate, which is the percentage of a team’s possessions that end in a turnover or the percentage of opponent possessions that end in a turnover. A rating higher than 100 means a team is good at limiting or forcing turnovers, while a rating below 100 means a team is turnover-prone or not particularly good at forcing turnovers.
  • Offensive and Defensive Rebounding– Yet another of the Four Factors, these ratings, of course, signify how well a team is at pulling down offensive and defensive rebounds. Measured by a team’s offensive and defensive rebounding rates, or the percentage of available offensive and defensive rebounds that a team grabs, more than 100 is good and less is not.
  • Getting to the Line and Keeping off the Line– The fourth and final of the Four Factors, these two ratings measure how well a team draws fouls and gets to the line or, on defense, how well a team is at avoiding fouling and putting the opposing team on the charity stripe. This rating is based off a team’s free throw rate, which is the number of free throw attempts per the number of field goal attempts or the number of opponent free throw attempts per opponent field goal attempts. Like all other ratings, a number above 100 means a team is above average at getting to the free throw line or a defense is good at keeping their opponents off the free throw line. Ratings below 100, obviously, mean the opposite.

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