A standard result for 6-10 teams in the next year is an 8-8 record. The reason for this is that since 2004 teams that have gone 6-10 the year before have had a winning record 42.9% of the time, a losing record 35.7% of the time, and a dead even record 21.4% of the time.
Teams that hold a 6-10 record the year before average 7.64 wins the next season or, as FiTaT says, about 8 wins the next season. However this does not factor in the whole story.
Win Totals Adjusted for Year Prior Record
I was inspired to do this experiment by an interesting proposition by FoyesBoys in FiTaT's excellent article on what to expect from the 2011 Dallas Cowboys. Does the record from the year before the 6-10 season, in this case our 2009 season, determine at all what we as fans can expect from the year after.
Since 2004 there have been 14 teams, sans the 2010 6-10 teams, that have held a 6-10 record. Of those teams 6 had a winning record the year before, 7 held a losing record the year before, and 1 had an 8-8 record the year before. The actual record varies a great deal between these 3 groups.
If we examine the group that had a winning record the year before we'll notice that this group holds a much higher 67% winning percentage the year after, a 17% losing record, and a 17% 8-8 record. Among these teams the year after, the average win total was about 9.2, which is slightly skewed by the atrocious 1-15 2007 record for the Dolphins. If we extract that 1record, teams the year after average 10.8 wins.
For programs that held a losing record the year before, there's a much poorer 29% winning record rate, 57% losing record rate and 14% 8-8 record rate. These teams average a much lower 6.71 win total average the year after with no real statistical abnormalities to skew the data.
Finally for the lone 8-8 record the year before, the team had an 8-8 record the year after.
Win Totals Based upon 1st Half to 2nd Half Performance
No one doubts that the Cowboys second half performance was much better than anyone truly expected it to be. But would you believe that since 2004 the 2010 Cowboys are the only 6-10 team to boast a winning record in the second half of the NFL season? It's true:
|1st Half Record||2nd Half Record||Next Year Record|
Unfortunately this does present a problem in how to predict future results based solely upon this fact. So what I shall do is to classify all these teams into 3 groups: Teams with more wins in the first half, Teams with more wins in the second half, and teams with equal wins in both.
Since 2004, again not including 2010 teams: 5 teams have held an equal record, 6 have held more wins in the first half, and 3 have held more wins in the second half.
The equal teams held 3 losing records and 2 winning records. The average number of wins for a team a year after is a very meager 4.6.
For teams that held more wins in the first half of the season, there were 3 winning records 2 8-8 records and 1 losing record. The average number of wins was 8.8.
For teams with more wins in the second half there was 1 winning record 1 losing record and 1 8-8 season. These teams averaged 7.3 wins the season after. The 2 caveats with this group are that the 1-15 dolphins and the 13-3 ravens are included in it, which significantly skews the data for average wins the next season, and the fact that 3 teams is a significantly small sample size to judge teams by.
Regardless the Dallas Cowboys most closely resemble the 3 teams with more wins in the second half than the first half. My 2 theories have provided one 9.2-10.8 win record, depending on how one weighs the Dolphins season, and a much more meager 7.3 win record. I tend to prefer the prior rather than the former, just because of the ridiculously small sample size and extremely skewed records of both the Dolphins and the Ravens, but maybe that's just because I like the bigger number rather than the smaller number. What do you guys think about the two metrics, which one do you think is more accurate?
Leave a comment below.