For the first time in a while, BN's expectations and predictions matched up rather well prior to the 2014 season. The truth is, we always expect UCLA to be competitive in the conference, but there have been years in the past where we simply knew that was not going to be the case.
This year was different, this year was going to be special, and perhaps very special. As we all found out, UCLA fell short of our expectations. It turns out, we didn't fare very well on our predictions either, after the crazy year in the Pac-12.
Since we don't get paid for our predictions, unlike the rest of the blowhards in the media, it means we can own up to them. So here it is, if you remember from our post back in August.
So what do we take away from this? Well, first, much like everyone else, we got the winner of the South division wrong...obviously. But one quick takeaway is that the South overachieved (+5) and the North underachieved (-4) overall. In general, we were not very accurate this year, and most disappointingly, UCLA was two losses worse than we predicted.
Well let's see:
@ Virginia: Easy - 21-10 at halftime, ended 28-20
Memphis: Easy - 28-21 at halftime, ended 42-35
@ Texas: Hard - 3-10 at halftime, ended 20-17
@ ASU: Medium - 27-17 at halftime, ended 62-27
Utah: Medium - 7-17 at halftime, ended 28-30
Oregon: Hard - 10-21 at halftime, ended 30-42
@ Cal: Easy - 24-14 at halftime, ended 36-34
@ Colorado: Medium - 14-24 at halftime, ended 40-37 2OT
Arizona: Medium - 3-7 at halftime, ended 17-7
@ Washington: Hard - 31-10 at halftime, ended 41-31
Southern Cal: Medium - 24-14 at halftime, ended 38-20
Stanford: Medium - 10-21 at halftime, ended 10-31
Again, we were way off. Games that we had down as Easy ended up being quite difficult, though all wins (3 out of 3). Meanwhile, we won two games that we considered Hard (2 out of 3), but didn't fare very well against what we considered Medium competition (4 out of 6). Of course this goes hand in hand with what we thought the Pac-12 would look like.
Meanwhile, how does this year's team compare to previous teams? There is still one more game to play, but I find this graph telling as I update it every year:
What does this tell us?
Well first, by this measure, this 2014 team actually "overachieved", if you consider the winning percentage that would be predicted by this year's point differential. In case you hadn't noticed, the 2014 team had the worst offense of Mora's tenure as measured by Points Per Game (32.9 ppg), as well as the worst defense by the same measure (28.3 ppg). The offense was roughly 3.2 points worse than the previous two years, but the defense was over 5 points worse than last year. That combination is not exactly what we expected. In year 1, the point differential was 10.1, and last year it was 13.0. This year, the point differential was only 4.6. Just based on history, it seems UCLA won't have an elite type of season without a point differential that is at least 15 ppg.
That's all folks, would love to hear your thoughts.