Daily Archives: January 21, 2008

Seeing stars and snake oil

Sunday Morning Quarterback has a post up about the relationship between recruiting rankings and winning percentage that is a flat out tour de force. Highly recommended if you have any interest in the subject (and if you’re reading blogs like mine, you probably do).

I’ll give you just a taste, because you should go there and read the whole thing, given the work he put into it:

So: Rivals was very, very good at picking the top teams – of the top 25 winningest teams of the last six years, all were either pegged in or very near their respective positions by the recruiting rankings or achieved them by winning against overwhelmingly lower-ranked opposition; of the top 25 teams according to the recruiting rankings, 18 are in the top 30 in winning percentage. This is to be expected when you spend most of your time distinguishing between a small number of high-profile, four and five-star guys but can’t possibly make the same level of distinction among a much larger number of two and three-star prospects with more variability among them than the star-based rankings are designed to show. If Rivals indicates a team’s talent is good, it’s probably right; if it indicates it’s just average, or below average, that team probably still has a shot – but only to an extent. You’d be wrong if you cast your lot with the gurus completely, and wronger if you ignored them.

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Filed under Recruiting, The Blogosphere

“No self-respecting Bruin should ever have to put on a Trojan…”

True dat.

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Filed under College Football, Science Marches Onward

Hey, the other team was worse.

The Wizard of Odds has reprised one of his best features from last year with this post on the cheapest shots of the 2007 season.  Take a look and go vote.

Although I’m not sure it’s the cheapest of the year – I’m leaning towards voting for one of the Auburn chop blocks, mainly because Tubs was so sanctimonious about the first one – Clint McMillan’s leveling of Stafford after MS had taken a knee is there.  (Don’t forget it was the Dawgs who were classless in that game.  Riiight.)

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Filed under College Football, The Blogosphere

“What sport do you think I play?”

I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t laugh at this stuff – and I know that Mark Richt doesn’t – but the details of Fred Munzenmaier’s arrest this weekend are somewhat comical:

… Munzenmaier was arrested after an officer patrolling Milledge Avenue near its intersection with Dearing Street about 3 a.m. noticed him stepping into the street waving his arms. The officer slammed on his brakes to avoid running over him, according to the incident report, and asked for his ID.

The officer noticed a strong smell of alcohol.

Munzenmaier told the officer he thought the police car was a taxi.

After the comment about losing two games, the officer asked Munzenmaier what sport he played.

“Look at me,” the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Duluth native said, according the report. “What sport do you think I play?”

Munzenmaier told the officer it was obvious that “we” have it “out for them,” according to the report, and that police have a point system for athletes. The officer told Munzenmaier he had no idea that he was an athlete when he stopped his vehicle, nor did he care. Munzenmaier later used an expletive to tell the officer to shut his mouth because he didn’t want to make small talk, according to the report.

No doubt it could have been worse. Sarcasm is usually not the best strategy with an arresting cop in the wee small hours of the morning.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

It’s a fair cop.

I’m looking forward to hearing from the “playoffs at any cost” advocates – you know, the ones who hope for a train wreck to bring the college world to its senses – about the wonderful matchup the NFL playoffs have produced for this year’s Super Bowl.

And this is why I respect Sunday Morning Quarterback so much. He’s a playoff advocate who admits this time this didn’t work too well:

… Under no criteria can New York’s season, one that ended with NY three full games behind the winner of its own division, with six reglar season losses – the last of those defeats to New England – be described as “better” than the Patriots’. New York beat three NFC division champions on the road, including both of the top two seeds, but the argument about the “best team,” if it wasn’t over a month ago, is certainly finished now. This is not like Pittsburgh’s wild card run in 2005, when the Steelers finished the playoffs with the same number of wins as every team ranked in front of them at their start; ditto the Broncos in 1997. The Patriots have been something else, which can’t be accounted for. If the NFL decided anything by polls, New England right now would take first, second and third place, just to accurately represent the distance. But it still has a chance, after clearly the greatest single season performance in league history, to not be the champion.

This is what we nervous folks refer to as “devaluing the regular season”.

SMQ thinks this Super Bowl pairing should serve as a cautionary tale for college football to create a postseason format that gets things right.

For those who argue playoffs undermine the regular season, though, they’ve won this round. I don’t take a step back in my advocacy (a six-loss champion that won its way through the league’s best is still preferable to opinion polls), but the upcoming Super Bowl is the worst-case cross to bear with a playoff format, and it must be faced. As a cautionary tale, this is more proof the coming college football playoff needs to set the bar as high as reasonably possible to keep out the riffraff – no two teams as far apart in accomplishment as the Giants and Patriots should be competing for the same trophy. New York finished tied with a half dozen other outfits for the seventh-best record out of 32 teams, meaning roughly 18.75 percent of the league had a better regular season; compared to Division I-A, that’s the equivalent of the No. 22 or 23 team in the nation making the championship (last year, according to the BCS standings that would have been 9-3 Cincinnati or 8-4 Auburn).

If he were calling the shots, I’d sleep just fine. The problem for me is, though, he ain’t.

He can’t even make Miles Brand happy. What makes you think he’ll make us happy? (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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UPDATE:  CFN’s Pete Fiutak adds some more thoughts along the same line as SMQ’s.   Money quote:

What’s the point of having a playoff system? Is it to determine who the best team is? Well, not really (the correct answer is money), because if that’s true the NFL would take all 32 teams, hold one big tournament, and everyone would be satisfied. As it stands now, an end of the year playoff forces battered and beaten teams to play in the biggest games, and it takes the luster and importance away from the previous 16 battles.

So now we’re all supposed to ignore the classic New England 38-35 win over the Giants, in the Meadowlands no less, and do this again because now it matters. No, New England didn’t give its full effort trying to go 16-0 and now it has to prove it’s the better team. No, the Giants didn’t give everything it hand in an attempt to ruin a dream season, and now it’s going to actually try.

In 1985, Villanova lost twice to Georgetown in the college basketball regular season, and then won the final game of the year when everything went right for one shining moment. So who was the better team? On the overall scoreboard it was Georgetown 2, Villanova 1, just like if New York wins the Super Bowl then the two teams are 1-1, with one team winning on a neutral site and the other winning in the other team’s park. What would it prove?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Urban’s greatest hits

A nice, succinct post about the master recruiter in action. Feel the love.

(h/t EDSBS)

Honey, I want you… so bad.

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UPDATE: Oops.

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UPDATE #2: No worries, mon.

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Filed under Recruiting, Urban Meyer Points and Stares