He blinded me with science.

Tater Tot popped out a piece that gives new meaning to my pet phrase “stats geek”. In it, he attempts to engage in a study of the relationship between the amount of talent college programs lost to the NFL in last week’s draft and the final rankings from the ’07-’08 season.

Charitably speaking, it’s a waste of time.

Here’s his “analysis”:

… In the annual collegiate competition to determine who has the best football players, also known as the NFL draft, USC stole the show with 10 players taken, including four in the first round and three in the second. Virginia Tech came in a distant second with eight players taken. How did your team fare? The easy thing to do would be just to add up the number of players you had drafted and compare it to every other school. There were 11 schools with five or more players drafted and you ought to be able to get a pretty good top-10 list from there.

However, you have to give each draft choice a value based on the round in which it was drafted to get a more realistic picture of who actually had the best draft class. Because having a player drafted in the first round is more valuable than having a player drafted in the seventh round, I have given each round a relative value. A first-rounder gets a value of seven points, a second-rounder six, all the way down to a seventh-rounder, which gets a value of one. I call these power points. I also add one power point if a quarterback is drafted because I consider having a talented veteran at this position to be valuable to a college football team. When they are added together, it should give us a better picture of which team had the best draft class based on the quality of those players drafted.

After matching up his talent list against the top 10 ranked teams, here’s his conclusion:

The most glaring statistic from these two lists is that having a top-10 finish in the NFL draft does not guarantee that you will have a top-10 season, and having a top-10 season will not guarantee that you will have a top-10 day in the draft.

Now that’s helpful.  So what’s the point to this exercise? Beats me – except he tosses out this little tidbit at the end:

Therefore, contrary to the commonly held belief that the SEC is the most talented conference, if the NFL draft is the best true indicator of talent, the Pac-10 was the most talented conference last season.

Fascinating. Clueless, but fascinating. I guess it never dawned on Tot that, as one cheap example, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner wasn’t eligible for the 2008 NFL draft. Or that colleges allow their underclassmen to suit up and play. Some of those kids even start.

With insight like this, it’s hard to believe TB can’t get back into the head coaching ranks.

I can’t wait to see his top 25 players in college football list.


Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

4 responses to “He blinded me with science.

  1. So basically he’s saying, “The NFL draft has absolutely no bearing on a team’s talent at the college level, but if it did, the Pac-10 would be teh aw3som3.”

    And if I looked like Brad Pitt and had appeared in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” I’d have woken up next to Angelina Jolie this morning.



    I suppose you saw this about the expansion of the D1-AA playoff system from 16 to 20 teams in 2010.

    That’s the worst nightmare of playoff proponents, in my opinion. No longer can they say that playoff creep won’t happen, when it is happening in the one system they point to and say, “Hey, look. It works for these guys.”


  3. It’s worse than that. Ultimately, they hope to expand to 24 schools.


  4. JasonC

    If you did put any credence to what he proposes, I guess you could make the argument that Notre Dame and Louisville’s coaching staff did an abysmal job and caused their talent to underproduce… wait, maybe he isn’t such an idiot after all.

    Or maybe, numbers were made to be spun and talent has nothing to do with being employed by Yahoo!’s sports division.