Hope in numbers

Bill Connelly, who writes at Football Outsiders and Rock M Nation, is one of the more intimidating bloggers I read.  I don’t mean that in a bad way – it’s just that when Chris Brown refers to Connelly as “brilliant”, it’s like the same way I took that smart kid who sat in the back of my advanced calc class in high school.  All of which is my long way of saying that Connelly knows what he’s talking about when he digs into the statistical side of college football.

Which leads me to this post of his over at Rock M Nation, where he factors Phil Steele’s turnover margin theory into his projected national rankings.  Why should you care?  Because he’s got Georgia at number seven.  And says this about the Dawgs:

I think Georgia could be in for a better-than-expected season. It will basically depend on five games: Oklahoma State (projected: lose by 0.7), Arkansas (win by 1.0), LSU (win by 1.9), Tennessee (win by 5.3) and Florida (lose by 10.0).  If they get through those games at 3-2, then ten wins should be in the cards.  If they beat OSU, however, then suddenly the Former World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (what are they calling it now?) goes from huge to gigantic.

(If you’re wondering about what ” S&P+” is, dig in to the glossary at Football Outsiders for all of that.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Just as a reminder, Georgia finished -3 in turnover margin in 2008.



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

10 responses to “Hope in numbers

  1. Jax Dawg

    -3 is awful. And it’s not just the absolute #, it’s the timing in which many of those turnovers occured – ie, Joe Haden int returned to our 2 and Morgan Burnett int returned for a TD. Both of those were major momentum shifters and game changing plays.

    Cut out the ill-timed turnovers and penalties and this team could go far.


  2. I’ve got something coming up later today on TSK regarding how scoring defense can be affected by opponents’ non-offensive scores and short drives.

    If you take out opponent defensive scores, opponent return scores, safeties, and scores from drives that began in Georgia’s territory (since those aren’t entirely the defense’s fault), UGA’s scoring defense from last year falls over nine points a game. Since returns and safeties weren’t that big an issue, it means those nine points a game were mostly due to turnovers. Of the eight SEC teams I looked at, only LSU with Jarrett “Pick Six” Lee had a larger fall in scoring defense when adjusted for the things I mentioned above.


  3. That’s the first time anybody’s ever called me intimidating. Might have to print this out and frame it. 🙂

    And yeah, Georgia looks good, not necessarily because they should BENEFIT from a turnaround in turnovers–they were +0.14points per game in turnover points margin (defined in the esteemed Senator’s link above) last year–but because all of the other top teams benefited significantly from t/o’s (pretty sure that’s the case about every year) and might therefore slide a bit in 2009. And as mentioned in comments above, LSU’s #6 because they were -4.4 points/game last year (hello, Jarrett Lee), and that will almost certainly turn around this year. Even if Lee were still the QB, his pick six disease last year was so rare that it would almost certainly turn around a bit anyway, but with Jefferson behind center it might turn around more.

    For fun, here were the turnover points margins for the SEC last year…

    Florida +7.8 (-0.2 in 2007)
    Alabama +5.7 (+2.1 in 2007)
    Kentucky +1.8 (-2.4 in 2007)
    Vanderbilt +1.8 (+2.0 in 2007)
    Tennessee +0.6 (+2.1 in 2007)
    Georgia +0.1 (+2.2 in 2007)
    Ole Miss -0.0 (-4.7 in 2007)
    Mississippi State -1.2 (+1.9 in 2007)
    Auburn -1.6 (-1.0 in 2007)
    South Carolina -3.5 (-4.0 in 2007)
    LSU -4.4 (+10.3 in 2007…WOW)
    Arkansas -5.4 (+5.4 in 2007)

    As you see, most of the teams that were outside the +/- 2.0/game range turned around pretty strongly from one year to another (none more than LSU, which lost a full two touchdowns a game due to turnovers as compared to ’07). This is also how Arkansas ends up ranked 12th in my list.


  4. With 10 wins this senior class could make it 7 consecutive years that an outgoing class has notched 40 wins in their careers. That says a lot for our program, but we always want more!