It started with this post by Huntsville Times writer Phillip Marshall that tracked which SEC coaches who met certain criteria – 5 years on the job, not at a school located in Mississippi, etc. – were on the receiving end of blow out games (defined as losses where the point spread exceeded 14 points) the most.
It’s a fun read, but I’m not sure it proved anything about the abilities of the coaches listed. Although Mark Richt is adept at avoiding getting smoked.
Well, that post begat this one, where the author makes an attempt to draw a few conclusions from the list. It’s none too convincing, as the comments indicate.
That, in turn, led to this post, which takes a much broader look at giving and receiving blow outs (defined as 21+ point speads), as well as shut outs (just because, it sounds like). Again, it’s a fun read, but other than showing a rough correlation between the facts that the better programs tend to get blown out less and blow other teams out more, there isn’t really much else you can take from it.
All of which brings us to this post, which introduces us to a newly invented statistic, the “Valuable Ass Kicking”. VAKs are defined as wins in road conference games, bowl games, or games against a ranked opponent by 17 points or more. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s an enjoyable exercise, but in the end it, too, doesn’t really bring anything new to the table about coaching ability.
One thing to consider about blow outs is that you’d think a team that’s been generally successful about avoiding them would have a certain psychological toughness about it, because it would tend to believe that it could compete in any game. Of course, that hasn’t exactly been the case in Jacksonville, where Georgia has been competitive in every game it’s played there under Richt (even in ’01 the spread was only 14 points), but has still wound up on the short end of the stick five out of six times.
Bottom line, I have no idea what conclusions can be drawn from this, other than the realization that if I’m ever offered a bet to take Georgia and 17 or more points in a game, I’ll take it.