You go a little deeper and add in runs scored, walks and strikeouts by MSU hitters, the 2011 team is also better in two of the three.
Pitching-wise, the 2011 team is also better.
Fielding-wise, the 2011 is also better. We already know about the percentages but what about unearned runs allowed? Unearned runs are runs scored due to errors.
When you add in the runs differences for the 2011 MSU team's offense, pitching and defense compared to the 2010 team, it is a positive of 40 for the 2011 team, or 4.4 runs per game if you want to average it out per game.
Before we go any further, I want to compare the first nine game opponents in each year since who you play is also very, very important. I'll use RPIs (Boyds World for 2010 and Warren Nolan for 2011) from last year for last year's teams and this year for this year's teams.
The 2010 team played 3 of their games against Rhode Island (174), 1 against UAB (111), 3 against Southeastern Louisiana (51), 1 against Southeast Missouri State (175) and 1 against Michigan State (80), while the 2011 team played 2 against Akron (160), 2 against Lamar (214), 1 against Northwestern State (76), 3 against Belmont (84) and 1 against Alcorn State (261). Based on that, the 2010 schedule was about 40% stronger RPI-wise than the 2011 schedule.
Once again, I want to point out one interesting stat, the fact that this year's team is averaging 4.4 more runs per game than last season's team after nine games when you factor in the improvement in hitting, pitching and defense. And of the 33 losses last season, 21 were by three runs or less and 12 were by 2 runs or less. Let's say this year's team played last year's schedule and simply improved 2+ runs per game. That would have meant that team would have won 12 more games, including 8 more in SEC. The end result would have been an overall record of 35-21 and 14-16 in SEC play. That record would have gotten MSU into the SEC Tournament and with a win or two in the SEC Tourney into an NCAA Regional as well.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.