Zion Curtain: BYU's defense rises to #3 in advanced ratings

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

In this week's release, Football Outsiders advanced S&P+ metrics have BYU's defense at #3 in the country. We add our own simple breakdown in addition to the advanced stats.

BYU's defense continues its dominance on the field and its rise in advanced statistical measurements. Football Outsiders' latest S&P+ numbers show BYU's defense is 3rd-best in the nation, behind only Alabama and Oregon.

This ranking comes on the heels of the Zion Curtain, BYU's defense, holding its 11th-straight opponent under 300 yards of offense.

Football Outsiders uses advanced stats to measure success against opponents played, not just success in a statistical vacuum. Again, visit their Defensive Rankings page for more explanations.

I wanted to add my own perspective on this in the simplest way I can possibly think to do so. S&P+ accounts for much more depth than this, but to think about it simply, I think this helps: How did BYU's opponents do against other teams compared against what they did against BYU.

Here are the results of my simple math project:

TEAM

AVG vs OTHERS

vs BYU

Plus/Minus

YDS

PTS

YDS

PTS

YDS

PTS

WASH ST

418 ypg

29.75 ppg

229 yds

6 pts

-189 yds

-23.75 pts

WEBER ST

329

17.5

254

13

-75

-4.5

UTAH

316

22.67

245

24

-71

+1.33

BOISE ST

440

28

261

7

-179

-21

HAWAII

346

29.33

149

0

-197

-29.33

TOTAL PER-GAME AVERAGE

-142.2

-15.45

Hopefully I've formatted my table clearly, but if not: BYU's defense holds its opponents to 142 yards less and over 15 points less than what those teams average against the rest of their schedule.

This defense is so, so much fun to watch, and I'm excited to see how they do in these next two weeks. Utah State (#53 S&P+) and Oregon State (#17 S&P+) are proving to be pretty strong, offensively. The Aggies are solid at the run and relatively balanced, while the Beavers look like an elite passing team so far (#9 passing offense S&P).

These will be two strong tests for a staunch Cougar defense.

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