Daily Archives: February 11, 2011

Some further third down-y thoughts

Brian Cook posted this in response to that Dave Curtis piece on third down conversion rates I linked to yesterday:

… Just looking at third down rates is goofy because first and second down contribute to the distance you have to go—you’re really looking at “first and second and third down conversion rate,” which is fine if you want to look at that. Just don’t make it seem like third down is really really important when your number doesn’t control for the effects of first and second.

Well… yeah, pretty much.  I mean, it’s hard to argue with Brian’s overall point, but I ‘m not sure that explains everything about Curtis’ numbers.  What if a defense is bad about preventing conversions on third down and seven or more yards, or if an offense has trouble picking up first downs on third and short yardage situations?  Those are both cases where the contributions on first and second downs Brian contemplates don’t have as much of an impact on drives.

There’s no way I’ve got the time to run down an analysis of every team Curtis referenced, but I was curious how much the 2010 Georgia results are in line with Brian’s observation.

A look at Georgia’s stats at cfbstats.com discloses plenty of third down information.  First, the big picture:

Next, here are the conversion rates for various distances.

  • rushing offense:  3 yards or less, 18-30; 4-6 yards, 2-14; 7-9 yards, 1-14; 10 yards or more, 1-6
  • rushing defense:  3 yards or less, 21-35; 4-6 yards, 6-13; 7-9 yards, 3-11; 10 yards or more, 2-15
  • passing offense:  3 yards or less, 10-18; 4-6 yards, 13-32; 7-9 yards, 7-26; 10 yards or more, 5-23
  • passing defense:  3 yards or less, 6-10; 4-6 yards, 8-27; 7-9 yards, 12-29; 10 yards or more, 11-32

Did you catch the anomaly?  If not, let me repeat the data with emphasis.

  • rushing offense:  3 yards or less, 18-30; 4-6 yards, 2-14; 7-9 yards, 1-14; 10 yards or more, 1-6
  • rushing defense:  3 yards or less, 21-35; 4-6 yards, 6-13; 7-9 yards, 3-11; 10 yards or more, 2-15
  • passing offense:  3 yards or less, 10-18; 4-6 yards, 13-32; 7-9 yards, 7-26; 10 yards or more, 5-23
  • passing defense:  3 yards or less, 6-10; 4-6 yards, 8-27; 7-9 yards, 12-29; 10 yards or more, 11-32

In other words, if you were an offense facing last year’s Georgia defense, you stood a much better chance of converting on third and long passing plays (37.7%) than you did on third and medium ones (29.63%).  Some of that is the result of Georgia playing some truly exceptional defense in third down and medium distance situations (opposing passer rating:  53.42!), but, still there’s something going on with the longer distances (note that Georgia’s conversion rate on offense in those circumstances was under 25%).  Any ideas about what the cause(s) for that might have been?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

A match made in Heaven

Coaches, you’ll want to make sure you sign up for this early:

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino will be a guest lecturer at the USC/NIKE Coach of the Year Clinic (better known as Camp Kiffin) later this month in Los Angeles.

You won’t want to miss the panel discussion on how to negotiate a favorable buyout provision.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Who will be the subject of this year’s Verne crush?

Verne crush(n.) – a form of extreme admiration for another man expressed ad nauseam by the CBS football broadcast team.

GTP Lexicon

We haven’t had a reader poll in a while, and this seems like a good topic for a cold February morning.  Who do you think will be this year’s heir to the throne of Verne’s and Gary’s unnatural fixation, following in the (giant) footsteps of players like The Two Davids, the GPOOE™ and Spawn of Cecil?

As always, your comments are welcomed.

31 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Friday morning buffet

Grab a plate and go, folks.

  • Jalen Fields, keeping his red and black dreams alive.
  • Depressing Lede of the Day“College football could be taking a few pages right out of the NFL’s rulebook.” Nice spin, Mr. Redding.
  • Depressing Header of the Day“Youth football steadily evolving into mirror image of AAU hoops.” Ugh.
  • Smart Football responds to the musical question “How can a pass-first team score more touchdowns in the red zone?” with a few thoughts.
  • DawgPost grades the 2011 class.
  • If Jay Paterno truly believes that “The pursuit of recruiting rankings has led to over-signing—the more you sign, the more points you get”, he’s an idiot.
  • The Nuttster culls his roster.  (Jay Paterno rushes off to see where Ole Miss finished in the recruiting rankings.)

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA