Category Archives: Stats Geek!

Trolling a troll

Bill Connelly provides a little context for the performance of the man Michael Cunningham is extremely impressed with.

S&P+ is typically quite volatile at this time of year (my own ratings are why Ole Miss is so damn high, too) and one team benefiting from that is Louisville, which has had, from a raw data standpoint, one of the most successful defenses in the country so far. The Cardinals rank fourth in Defensive S&P+, and while that wouldn’t be the biggest reach in the world — they ranked 10th in Defensive F/+ last year, after all, and new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham did have some success at Georgia before a 2013 fade — they have gotten what are probably a couple of artificial boosts.

First, Louisville has played Wake Forest. As long as raw data plays any role, even a minor one, in the ratings, playing Wake Forest is going to be good for you. The Ville held the Deacs to 100 total yards (1.8 per play) last Saturday, and while that’s certainly not bad … well, UL-Monroe held Wake to 94 yards (1.9 per play) in the season opener.

Maybe that just means Richt should have hired UL-Monroe’s defensive coordinator instead of Pruitt.

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Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Stats Geek!

Um… maybe this Pruitt guy’s not so bad, after all.

David Hale has a few interesting stats about FSU’s defense worth sharing with you.

Now, the ‘Noles lost a goodly chunk of talent to the NFL, so that’s a factor.  But they also lost a certain defensive coordinator.  I gotta think that’s a factor, too.


Filed under ACC Football, Stats Geek!

The SEC is crazy, man.

Just ask Bill Connelly.

The way things currently stand, we could have an incredible SEC race on our hands.

East F/+ Ranking Proj. conf. wins
Missouri (1-0, 4-1) 29 5.17
Georgia (1-1, 3-1) 16 4.66
South Carolina (2-2, 3-2) 26 4.12
Florida (1-1, 2-1) 37 3.86
Tennessee (0-1, 2-2) 47 3.11
Kentucky (1-1, 3-1) 76 2.22
Vanderbilt (0-3, 1-4) 98 0.74
West F/+ Ranking Proj. conf. wins
Mississippi State (1-0, 4-0) 7 5.54
Alabama (1-0, 4-0) 1 5.38
Ole Miss (1-0, 4-0) 5 5.23
Texas A&M (2-0, 5-0) 11 4.88
Auburn (1-0, 4-0) 8 4.73
LSU (0-1, 4-1) 10 4.08
Arkansas (0-2, 3-2) 24 2.27

Those are three East teams projected within 1.05 wins of the top spot … and those are five West teams projected within 0.8. That’s incredible. This is something you tend to see when projecting lower-caliber conferences without standout teams. This isn’t what you expect from the best conference in the country (and while the SEC is not the best every year, it absolutely is this year).

That is about as up for grabs as you can get.  That’s also why this is a huge, huge weekend in the SEC West.

Yeah, it’s been easy putting my Power Poll ballot together.


Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

This one’s for the optimists.

Brian Fremeau pegs Georgia’s chance to win today at 97.1%, calls for a final score of 36-12.


Filed under Stats Geek!

Mastering the art of field position

Bill Connelly unearths a stat that makes me happy and probably would make Mark Richt ecstatic.

First, field position. My work at Football Study Hall basically boiled the field position battle down to turnovers, team efficiency, kicks, and punts. Turnovers tend to flip field position, sometimes drastically; efficiency tells us how far teams advance the ball before giving it to opponents; and kicks and punts obviously finish the field position job. And as was the case last year, Stanford is once again mastering the art of field position in 2014.

The reason I’m happy?  Check out who’s second.

Team Avg. Starting FP (Off.) Rk Avg. Starting FP (Def.) Rk FP Margin Rk
Stanford 41.6 1 18.9 1 22.7 1
Georgia 38.1 3 22.6 4 15.5 2
Memphis 36.7 8 21.3 2 15.4 3
Temple 37.7 4 23.9 9 13.8 4
Ohio State 36.2 11 23.4 6 12.8 5
TCU 36.9 6 24.2 11 12.7 6
Duke 35.3 17 22.7 5 12.6 7
Baylor 39.8 2 28.0 51 11.8 8
Michigan State 37.6 5 26.2 31 11.4 9
Utah 33.7 29 22.5 3 11.2 10

I can’t even begin to guess the last time Georgia would have dominated a statistical category like that.  It takes a combination of so many things – favorable turnover margin, solid third-down work on defense and competent special teams play, for starters – that the Dawgs have come up short in one way or another over the past few seasons.

Yes, the small sample size warning certainly applies here.  But keep in mind that Georgia’s played two ranked football teams over that period, so it’s a stat with some traction to it.

As Bill puts it, “You don’t see many bad teams near the top of this list or good teams near the bottom.”  Me happy.


UPDATE:  ESPN has some stats of interest here.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Fun with Week 4 numbers

Sure, the sample size could be bigger, but there’s still interesting stuff to glean out there.

Also interesting is that the power rating stats in several different places seem to put a higher value on Georgia than the pollsters do right now.

The computers don’t matter any more, of course, so you have to wonder how much the selection committee is going to rely on the human polls in making its calls.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Bill Connelly’s measuring hell raisin’.

This is a pretty cool concept.

Havoc rate is a pretty simple method for looking at how much hell a defense is raising. Add up tackles for loss (which includes sacks), forced fumbles, and defensed passes (picks and break-ups), divide it by total plays, and voila: havoc rate. The national havoc average in 2013 was 15.9 percent.

The school currently last in havoc rate?  That would be South Carolina.  Nevertheless,

Against Georgia, South Carolina’s was a paltry 11.7: four tackles for loss (two sacks) and three pass break-ups in 60 snaps. Not very good. However…

A) It represented significant improvement from South Carolina’s first two games, in which the Gamecocks averaged a woeful 6 percent against Texas A&M and East Carolina: five tackles for loss, five passes defensed in 166 snaps. (Further frame of reference: Navy was dead last in havoc last year at 9.3 percent.)

B) South Carolina’s second “sack” saved the game. Georgia trailed 38-35 with 5:24 left, and Damian Swann had just picked off S.C. quarterback Dylan Thompson and returned the ball to the Gamecocks’ 4. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had called seven consecutive run plays (three for Todd Gurley, one for Sony Michel, three for fullback Quayvon Hicks) to finish Georgia’s last scoring drive, and he decided it was time for the play-action bootleg that tends to work pretty easily in those situations. Only, when [quarterback Hutson] Mason turned to run to his right after faking the handoff, [Gerald] Dixon was charging at him. Mason attempted to throw the ball at a back’s feet (a “grounding” that doesn’t tend to draw a penalty), but the ball deflected off of Dixon, and Mason was penalized.

It was a pretty tenuous call, and if the ball doesn’t hit Dixon, it doesn’t get called at all — but it set into motion the chain of events that won South Carolina the game. Facing second-and-goal from the 14, Georgia quickly went three-and-out (thanks in part to a pass broken up by J.T. Surratt), and previously automatic place-kicker Marshall Morgan missed a 28-yard field goal off of the right hash. South Carolina moved the chains a couple of times, converted a fourth-and-1 by a literal millimeter, and ran out the clock for the win.

So while South Carolina didn’t generate much havoc, it generated clutch havoc. That’s something.

Maybe it’s not so much that Georgia coaches are intimidated by Spurrier as it is they refuse to accept the simple premise that they’re always going to get his best shot.  But they always will.  No matter how you measure it.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, The Evil Genius