Daily Archives: August 12, 2013

Anatomy of a catch

If you want to see and hear a breakdown of Keith Marshall’s amazing touchdown catch against Nebraska in the Cap One Bowl by Aaron Murray, here you go.

The first version of that play on the clip – a ground-eye view – is really fun to watch.

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15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

You can’t stop ESPN’s narrative. You can only hope to contain it.

They’ve met a total of five times, only once as conference mates, but ESPN’s already labeling Alabama-Texas A&M a “rising rivalry”.

Oh, and what a coincidence there’s no mention of Alabama-Tennessee or Auburn-Georgia on that list.

34 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Book review: Bill Connelly’s Study Hall

When you boil it down, there are three reasons I can think of that people look at college football stats.  If you’re a casual fan, you’ll look at box scores and seasonal stats to get a general feel for how a game played out and why somebody’s name might be in the mix for the Heisman.  If you’re someone like a Georgia Tech fan, you do what Tech fans do with stats when reality comes up short.

But if you’re obsessed with this sport – and I’d say that blogging about college football and commenting about a college football blogger’s posts qualifies – then you’re looking at stats in the hope that they can shine some bright light on why and how teams win and lose.  (That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it right.)

Which brings me to Bill Connelly, who’s written a thoroughly enjoyable book that’s in part an expansion of much that he’s written at two stats-oriented blogs, Football Outsiders and Football Study HallThe book is entitled Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories, and it’s well worth your time to read.

If you’re a regular reader here, then you already know I’m a big fan of Bill’s work.  Compared to, say, the level of information to be gleaned from the current state of baseball stats, college football statistics are still a work in progress for several reasons.  But it’s been both informative and rewarding for me to read what people like Bill and Matt Hinton have done over the past few years to bring some meaning to what really matters in evaluating a program’s performance on the field.  (Given the way college football goes about making its selections for the national title game, that matters a helluva lot more, or, perhaps more accurately, should matter, than it does for other sports.)

But that’s not why I enjoyed Bill’s book so much.  After all, you’ll be a third of the way into the book before Bill starts getting into the statistical weeds, so to speak.  The book begins with an explanation of why he and we obsess about this wonderful sport – the first chapter is entitled “It’s Personal” – and then spends the last significant part exploring one of my favorite topics, the diverse strategies that coaches use to win.  If you believe this sport is special, Bill does a great job of getting to some of the reasons for that.

And if I can mention a couple of other quick points that I may find more interesting than perhaps you may… one, I’m not sure this book could have been written in the way Bill has ten or fifteen years ago.  Not because of the progress that’s been made with the research, but because the book has such a new media flavor to it.  There are plenty of quotes and observations from bloggers and from journalists who have adapted to the blogosphere, all given the same level of respect.  I recognized every name there, and indeed know several of them purely through electronic correspondence.  Bill’s higher profile makes for greater familiarity and it’s pretty cool to see how naturally it all comes off in the book.

Second… well, Jesus, I’m getting old.  As you know, Bill interviewed me to get a list of games that have had the greatest impact on my fandom and the fact is that I’m a generation ahead (behind?) every other party who furnished such a list.  (Bill was six when he watched the iconic Flutie pass that beat Miami in 1984.)  It’s not just that, though.  There’s a description of the early period when Sabermetrics took off, led by Bill James’ groundbreaking work.  Bill kinda looks back at James.  Me? I remember buying the Baseball Abstract in its infancy.  Sigh.  Anyway, if there are any college football bloggers out there who are older than fifty-seven, feel free to drop in here and cheer me up.

In the meantime, the rest of you should go get Bill’s book.

23 Comments

Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!

Things that made me chuckle this morning, part two.

This USA Today story about what Finebaum’s audience has been doing with itself while he’s been off the air is every bit the classic you might expect, but this quote is the topper:

“Paul has got the best persona out of anyone I’ve ever seen, including Rush Limbaugh, and you can quote me on that,” said Jim from Tuscaloosa, a longtime Finebaum caller who asked that his last name not be used because of past run-ins with other listeners. “He’s outstanding. Has gravitas.”

Gravitas?  Jim from Tuscaloosa, that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.  But thanks for the knee-slapper!

26 Comments

Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!

Things that made me chuckle this morning, part one.

Mark Richt, you card, you.

Richt actually knows this, but he is playing coy with the media. Richt believes the uncertainty over whether Marshall Morgan is suspended or not provides a strategic advantage for the Clemson game.

If uncertainty over Marshall Morgan’s kicking provides a strategic advantage, based on last year’s performance, that’ll be good news for Georgia for longer than just the opener.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Monday morning buffet

Let’s get the week rolling with a fully stocked buffet.

  • Tramel Terry is using something Dabo Swinney said to him during recruiting as a motivation stone.
  • Jay Bilas on the NCAA:  “NCAA people are terrific. They are in a bind because they are put in a position of trying to justify these bad policies, and they can’t.”
  • Speaking of the NCAA, it has interviewed Mississippi State freshman Chris Jones about Ole Miss’ recruitment of the five-star defensive end.
  • Alabama’s expected pounding of Virginia Tech is looking less and less impressive.
  • Stirling Bailey’s response to playing against Clemson?  “’Jesus, help me,’ Bailey said with a laugh last week.
  • David Ching takes a detailed look at what Daryl Jones is up to in the wake of Rodney Garner’s departure.
  • He also gives us a breakdown on what Georgia spends its $600,000 recruiting budget.
  • If you think the trials and tribulations of Johnny Football are going to be a distraction for Texas A&M this year, what kind of distraction do you think having five players, including the starting quarterback, listed as witnesses for the prosecution in the sexual assault trial of those former Vanderbilt players will be?
  • David Hale (remember him?) writes about FSU trying to keep up with the SEC Joneses.

16 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA