Let's have some fun with small sample sizes

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Never trust data from a small sample size ... unless the numbers are really awesome in your favor.

With CougCenter's lean toward statistical analysis, you've probably heard Craig, Brian, BA, Jeff or myself caution the use of data in a small sample. When there isn't much data to go on, the numbers can often be misleading. Over time they will regress towards the mean and you'll have more reliable data.

That said, sometimes small samples can be really fun.

Case in point, WSU's current SRS ranking. Sports Reference has a statistic called SRS or simple rating system. It's a simple metric which combines point differential and strength of schedule. Zero is average, anything above is good and negatives are bad. WSU has been in the negatives each of the last five seasons, with 2008 and 2009 being historically bad.

Through three games this season, WSU's SRS is not only improved, it's well above average. Games against USC and Auburn give the Cougars a nice strength of schedule boost while the blowout win against Southern Utah is great for the point differential. The result is a SRS of 16.04 which would be the highest in school history.

That number is also impressive when compared to the rest of the country. If we were going strictly off SRS, WSU would be the 21st best team in the country. Take that, 104 teams worse than WSU.

So, as long as we ignore the upcoming strength of schedule hit from playing Idaho and the fact WSU's point differential is almost entirely due to a 38-point win against Southern Utah, it's obvious this WSU team is the best in Cougar history and one of the best teams in the country. Facts are facts.

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