I was frustrated with sports websites. Sure, all the big media sites have college football statistics. You can find rankings for all 124 bowl subdivision teams in many categories. If you need even more categories, check out cfbstats.com, which has everything from turnover margin to third down conversion against championship subdivision opponents.
But what I really wanted was how a team’s statistics compared with their next opponent. If Stanford has rushed for 3.7 yards per carry this season, I want to see that number next to 2.6, the yards allowed per carry by their next opponent USC. (I just tried to find these numbers on ESPN, and they don’t even have the defensive number for USC. I found it on cfbstats.com.) Of course, if these numbers were adjusted for strength of schedule, that would be even better.
So we started designing team pages that would show these opposing statistics next to each other. My friend Angi Chau had come up with a beautiful interactive visualization for the March Madness bracket in less than a week. How hard could it be to do the same for match up statistics?
Hard. We banged our heads against the wall for months. Finally, we came up with a solution that focuses on simplicity. It’s still not completely satisfying, since there’s a learning curve for the user.
However, we’ve reduced that learning curve to a minute. The front page of our premium college football product explains how and why better defenses appear further to the right in the visualization. Then, you can instantly get a feel for your team’s next game by looking at the team pages. These pages show our rushing and passing numbers that have been adjusted for strength of schedule. The opposing units are next to each other. Click on other teams in the schedule to see different match up statistics.
I love playing with these team pages. I hope you do as well. The front page has a menu for all of the team pages so far, which includes all big conference teams.
Thanks for reading.