Monthly Archives: April 2007

Insert your own punchline.

Per today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  “Reggie Ball spent the past three seasons throwing to Calvin Johnson. Now the ex-Tech QB hopes to join Johnson with the Detroit Lions.”

(photos courtesy AJC)


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Filed under Georgia Tech Football

More obsessing about turnover margin

I’ve mentioned previously that this is a somewhat overlooked statistical area. Georgia’s turnover margin fell from +11 in 2005 to -1 in 2006. Georgia’s win total fell from 10 in 2005 to 9 in 2006; in the same time period, the Dawgs went from winning the SECCG to finishing 4-4 in the conference. I don’t think those matters are completely unrelated.

Over at USC Trojan Football Analysis, he’s got more to say on this topic, certainly with a good bit more detail than I can muster. Writing about the fallout from a decline in turnover margin at Southern Cal that’s similar to Georgia’s, he notes the following:

The 2003 squad was among the nation’s leaders in turnover margin at +20 for the season. This give the Trojans an additional 20 drives on offense and took away 20 drives from the opposition which is a huge total. The 2006 squad was a good defensive team but produced no where near the same level of turnovers. In fact the team was a mere +4 for the season in this category.

Head coach Pete Carroll always comments on the importance of this key category in football and yet I doubt most fans or commentators really grasp its significance. What is the value of a +20 turnover margin? I can extrapolate using some historic data. For starters the average field position for USC after forcing a turnover the past few years has been the opponents 40 yard line. From inside the 40 yard line the USC offense is very aggressive and tends to score about 70% of the time with three quarters of those scores being touchdowns and the rest being field goals. 70% x 20 extra drives results in 14 more scores per season. Converting this to points (.75 x 7 x 14) + (.25 x 3 x 14) = 84 points per season. Turning this into a per game number requires simply dividing 84/13 = 6.5 points per game. Tacking this onto the 30.5 points per game in 2006 results in an average of 37.0 points per game. The average points scored for USC since 2001 is 37 points per game since Pete Carroll arrived. Fix the turnover shortfall in 2007 and the offense will produce the average number of points in past seasons.

The fans will always clamor for more big plays especially in the passing department but my guess is that the coaches are far more interested in instructing proper technique and forcing more turnovers in 2007 than last year… [Emphasis added.]

Let’s hope that’s the mantra this year in Athens, too.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Pac-12 Football, Stats Geek!

“He’s certainly experienced.”

Let’s see – Houston Nutt is exchanging text messages with a female TV reporter like they were lust-struck teenagers and Dennis Dodd thinks he has the perfect suggestion for the replacement for Frank Broyles.

Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton. I kid you not:

Suggestion for Arkansas’ next athletic director: Bill Clinton.

I’m serious. He’s a native son. He’s certainly experienced and he’s a lawyer. That should come in handy with the school’s president and chancellor being sued by a fan this week.

There are worse candidates for an athletic department in total turmoil.

Now that’s a list from Dodd I’d like to see.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Media Punditry/Foibles

Not the weekend to get married…

From Tony Barnhart’s article today:


Last spring the SEC mandated that all of its teams must finish the regular season on Thanksgiving weekend. That means that a couple of big rivalries – Alabama vs. Auburn and Clemson vs. South Carolina – will be played a week later than normal.

As a result, Saturday, Nov. 24 became pretty crowded with Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina and Auburn-Alabama. So the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game in Starkville will move to Friday where it will be televised regionally at 1 p.m. CBS will televise the Friday Arkansas-LSU game in Baton Rouge.

CBS is considering a double header of Alabama-Auburn and Florida-Florida State on Nov. 24, starting at noon.


Friday, Nov. 23

Ole Miss at Miss. State

Arkansas at LSU

Saturday, Nov. 24

Florida State at Florida

Georgia at Georgia Tech

Alabama at Auburn

Clemson at South Carolina

Tennessee at Kentucky

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Filed under SEC Football

Rapture’s coming!

As much as it pains me to say it, I think that proponents of a playoff for D-1 football have good reason to be optimistic that it’s coming. The BCS powers that be didn’t make any moves this year, but it’s becoming apparent that there is some general sentiment building towards the implementation of a “plus-one” playoff formula.

The Fiesta Bowl president thinks so.

Mike Slive says they’ll talk about it next year.

Probably most important – the networks want it and are willing to pony up to get it.

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of issues to address.

Sure, it settles the 2003 and 2004 BCS “problems”. But it creates others. For example, check out Dennis Dodd’s playoff matchups from last season, using the “plus-one” set up:

Rose: USC vs. Ohio State
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Boise State
Orange: Wake Forest vs. Louisville
Chick-Fil-A in Atlanta (previously Sugar Bowl): Florida vs. Michigan
Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Notre Dame

For the sake of argument, let’s say that Ohio State, Boise State and Florida all emerged victorious from their games. Is there any combination of two schools that would be selected for the national title game that wouldn’t prove controversial? So what’s been gained here with a “plus-one”, other than a different dispute?

I suspect that with a pool of ten that isn’t seeded and from which only one game emerges afterwards this wouldn’t be an infrequent occurrence. Which means that the “plus-one” won’t be stable enough to be a final solution.

Which means we’ll wind up with an extended playoff when the dust settles.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Random notes from the dawgosphere

Paul Westerdawg and Ching link to an interview Mark Richt did with the Thomasville Times-Enterprise in which the coach freely discusses the link between his faith in God and the way he conducts the management of the program. I can’t help but be impressed by his sincerity, but I’d sure like to have seen Mike Bobo’s reaction to being told he was calling plays before the Tech game last year:

I called Mike in on the Thursday of the game and he had to call the game on Saturday. I told him, ‘I don’t care what happens in the game, but all I know is if I don’t have you take over, I’m in direct disobedience to the Lord.’

Speaking of Mr. Ching, he’s posted the story that Akeem Hebron was arrested for underage possession of alcohol. Again. No word about Hebron’s choice of bonding companies this time, though.

Back to Westerdawg: it looks like he’s come across two prime candidates for T. Boone Pickens’ master plan for revenue generation at Oklahoma State.

And Dawgbone links to a new board that has a target audience clearly in mind. Georgia football and porn. It doesn’t get any more red-blooded than that.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Dienhart’s List

If there’s a rhyme or reason to this list, I wish someone would clue me in.

I am amused to see who’s at #42, though.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

Smart people ♥ college football.

College Football Resource linked to this Harris Interactive poll that asked people what their favorite sport is.

No surprise to find that the NFL is king. Or that baseball continues to decline in popularity.

Most interesting to me are some of the demographics behind the interest in different sports. Here are some conclusions drawn about the top four (college football is number 3 with a bullet and looks to supplant baseball soon):

The survey also finds some sizable differences between different segments of the population. Pro football is most popular among African Americans (47%), those with household incomes of $50,000 to under $75,000 (41%) and $35,000 to under $50,000 (40%), and among Generation X (those aged 28 to 39) (39%). Those with a post graduate education are least likely (23%) to call professional football their favorite sport.

Baseball does best among Hispanics (20%) and Echo Boomers (those aged 18–27) (21%). African Americans are least likely to say baseball is their favorite sport (6%).

College football is particularly popular among Republicans and those with post graduate degrees (both 20%). Five percent of those with household incomes of less than $15,000 cite professional football as their favorite sport.

Auto racing (which includes NASCAR) is most popular among those with a high school education or less (19%) and Baby Boomers (15%), while it fares worst among those with a post graduate degree (2%) and Generation X (4%).

The top four groups that like college football are post-graduates, Republicans, people making more than $75,000.00 a year and Southern.  Sounds like they conducted the survey in the luxury boxes at Sanford Stadium…


Filed under College Football

I hate those guys.

Sunday Morning Quarterback has his preseason analysis of Southern Cal up. Gawd, is it depressing.

A couple of tidbits that caught my eye:

If Phil Steele is to be believed (which he is, about everything) every starter on USC’s front seven by the end of last year was ranked in the top ten in the nation at his position coming out of high school.

You already know all this, but the accumulation of talent here cannot be overstated. Well, it can, but only by the most deliberate, extreme exaggeration, and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch even then. They couldn’t beat the Raiders or anything. But when Mitch Mustain arrives in the fall – if Mitch Mustain arrives in the fall, since no one involved has yet confirmed his plans on the record – he’ll only be the third guy on the roster rated as the best quarterback in the country out of high school.

That is silly loaded.

The scary thing is what this team does when it’s facing a major opponent.  Check out the chart SMQ compiled in the middle of his post.  USC played five teams last year ranked 27th or higher and beat them by an average margin greater than 20 points.

That’s dominance. How these guys lost two games last year, I don’t know. (I’ve posted before that the bowl matchup I really wanted to see last season was the Underachievers’ Bowl: USC vs. LSU.) But they’re going to roll into this season as the undisputed #1 team in the country and it will be interesting to see if anyone can knock them off.

Yeah, it’ll probably be more USC on ESPN than we can stand, but even that may have a silver lining if it causes the World Wide Leader to cut back on its seemingly around the clock coverage of Yankees-Red Sox.

Right now, everybody else is playing for the second slot in the BCS Championship game.


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Filed under Pac-12 Football, The Blogosphere

Laissez les bon temps roulet!

To nobody’s surprise, BCS officials concluded three days of meetings in New Orleans Wednesday with no major changes being made to the system used to crown a college football champion. I hope they at least got some gumbo and beignets in their systems.

Mmm… beignets…

I’m sure Dr. Machen will march onward, in any event.

I’ve got a question about Bret Bielema’s quest to have the BCS drop the two-team conference cap on BCS participation. Wouldn’t dropping the cap favor a conference like the Big 10, which doesn’t offer round robin play (like the PAC 10) or have a conference championship game (like the ACC, SEC and Big XII)?

It seems like in the right year – like 2006 – it wouldn’t be hard for the Big 10 to have three teams in the mix. In the absence of an upset, the losing team in a conference championship game is usually going to be knocked out of a high ranking. And with a round robin schedule a team wouldn’t be able to avoid the conference heavyweights. Like Wisconsin did.


UPDATE: Here’s a little analysis about the meetings from the Los Angeles Times.


UPDATE #2:  And here’s the research challenged Dennis Dodd’s take on the meetings.   Short version:  yeah, they didn’t do anything, but we’ll always have Auburn.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs