Here’s a piece from a post by Afghan Dawg over at Dawg Sports that caught my eye (for obvious reasons):
It is no secret that Senator Blutarsky is a fan of a metric known as “Regression to the Mean”. Regression to the mean is the statistical way of saying that everything averages out overtime. Things are never as good as they seem and they are never as bad as they seem. If a variable is extreme on its first measurement, then it will be closer to its average on its second measurement. It is likely that the first five years of Mark Richt’s tenure at UGA were one extreme, and the past five years have been the opposite extreme bringing us closer to our average. Assuming we finish the season at 6-6, our mean with Mark Richt is 9 wins per season.
That’s not exactly right. Here’s a wonky definition of the term, first of all:
It’s the “free to fluctuate” part that’s key. Regression to the mean is applicable to turnover margin because so much of that is dependent on random occurrences, such as fumble recoveries. Sure, there’s some skill involved, but luck, for want of a better term, plays a more prominent role.
That’s not the case with a football program. That’s not to say there isn’t a random element in play – what in life doesn’t have some randomness? – but there are many more controllable factors that work into the success of a program, such as resources, recruiting, scheduling, coaching quality, etc. Indeed, that’s implicit in Afghan’s call for a new coach who can improve upon Richt’s record. If wins were as random as turnover margin (and compare the fluctuation of the two in the Richt era to get a quick picture of that), wouldn’t changing coaches be little more than a crap shoot?