So how much did Green’s suspension hurt?

Obviously, that’s a question to which we’ll never get a definitive answer, but based on some data Bill Connelly posted yesterday, I’d say significantly.

Bill employs a performance metric he calls S&P+.  Here’s how he compiles it:

The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play data of all 800+ of a season’s FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays). There are three key components to the S&P+:

  • Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.
  • EqPts Per Play (PPP): An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game.
  • Opponent adjustments: Success Rate and PPP combine to form S&P, an OPS-like measure for football. Then each team’s S&P output for a given category (Rushing/Passing on either Standard Downs or Passing Downs) is compared to the expected output based upon their opponents and their opponents’ opponents. This is a schedule-based adjustment designed to reward tougher schedules and punish weaker ones.

You might notice that Georgia is one of two schools with losing records that still shows up in his top 30 S&P+ rankings.  But what’s especially interesting is the weighted version (he breaks it down on a single-game by single-game basis) he analyzes in that first linked post.  Using that approach, Georgia jumps to sixth.  By explanation,

Georgia (Weighted Rk: sixth, Actual Rk: 29th). The Bulldogs still have to beat Georgia Tech if they want to become bowl eligible, but they have looked good to very good in five of their last six games. They dug themselves such a hole in September and early October (needless to say, the lifeless loss to Colorado does not look too good right now), but they are a handful at the moment.

You might also note that Bill lists Georgia’s results in the Kentucky game as the fourth best performance of the season by any school in the country.  Clearly, this bunch got things in a higher gear after A.J.’s return.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

86 responses to “So how much did Green’s suspension hurt?

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    So does this mean that next year, with AJ almost certainly gone to work in the NFL Business, that we will be more like the team “before AJ?” at least offensively. There could be some improvement on defense, but still…..

    • Raleigh Dawg

      You expressed my thoughts exactly. I know cmr loves throwing the 30 point scoring streak out there, and I have never been in the arena, but the offense was pedestrian outside of #11 in games 2-4. How will our offense be any better next year without aj? I am not convinced that bobo can put the offense in the right plays without having legit NFL first round draft picks. I hope that if a change is made that cmr is much more proactive than he was with firing Willie.

      • Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get why so many brush off the 6-game 30+points streak. If it’s no big deal, how come it’s never happened before in the history of the program?

        By the way, do you know how many other SEC programs can boast of a similar streak this season? None.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Football is offense, defense and special teams. The offense is pretty damn good with AJ playing, not so good without him. The defense was is getting better. Pecial teams, too, although some bonehead kickoff return decisions really hurt the Dawgs in the Auburn game. SJ and RD are making the point that, 30+ point streak aside, without AJ in there the offense has been anemic. The concern is that when (if) AJ leaves the offense will return to its moribund ways and UGA will once again look like the UGA of the first half of the 2010 season and the defense (and also special teams) will not have improved THAT much so as to take up the slack. That is a legitimate concern. If the offensive production streak was because of AJ’s presence and AJ is gone, the streak becomes meaningless regarding the future. That is the point they appear to be making.

          • HackerDog

            I think part of the malaise without AJ was that we were missing him. We spent spring and fall practices designing our offense around AJ. When he suddenly goes out, you’re scrambling to adjust.

            Once he leaves, we will start from scratch knowing we don’t have him. Obviously we’ll miss him, but good players leave teams all the time. I don’t expect another streak of 30+ point games, but I also don’t expect to go scoreless like some of the pessimists.

          • Puffdawg

            YHow will we ever score points after Herschel I mean Zeier I mean Garrison I mean Stafford I mean Knowshon…

            Come on guys, we’ve lost great O players before and managed to survive.

            You’re talking about next season. What’s to say Marlon doesn’t have a Reggie Brown epiphany?

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              We didn’t score points before Herschel (6-5 in ’79). We didn’t score points before Zeier and Hearst (4-7 in ’90). We did score points before Stafford and Knowshon because we had Greene, DJ and a D that got the ball back, forced turnovers deep in the other team’s territory and sometimes scored on its own a la Pollack. Just sayin’.

        • Russ

          Yeah, but when we played those teams, they sucked. When everyone else played them, they were decent teams.

          Come on, Senator. Don’t you get it that everyone wants to bitch about the coaches, the schedule, the players, the sun in their face, the music at the game, the starting time, the tailgating, and the uniforms. Did I miss anything?

    • gastr1

      I think that the offense was also playing it closer to the vest because of Murray’s untested status. Next year Murray alone will be able to stretch the defense even if the receivers don’t get to AJ status, in my opinion, and he will have the whole playbook from the start. I don’t see a return to the form of the first four games of this year for a while.

      Now, not being able to stop the other team on late drives and terrible pass defense, that’s another story–ESPECIALLY if Boykin goes pro.

  2. JBJ

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda… Who cares? We had AJ against a HORRIBLE Colorado team and we lost. So sick of excuses. All the Dawg fans I talk to are assuming GT will be an easy win for us. I guess they have short-term memory loss regarding our 5-6 season. We are just not a good team so anyone we play has a great chance to beat us. Last year we could blame it on the turnovers and rebuilding and this excuse and that excuse…

    We have become South Carolina…

    • Who said a damned thing about excuses? All I wanted to point out was the level of impact Green had on the team’s performance when he returned. Sorry if that offends you.

      • JBJ

        Actually I’m making a general observation about the state of Georgia football. Everyone says, “Oh, if we would have done this..”. Yea well all that really matters is that a loss is a loss is a loss. We try to make ourselves feel better by pointing out statistics and playing the what if game.

        • HackerDog

          I agree. We have lost several games and it’s all Richt’s fault. He should be fired. Actually, he should be fired, then rehired, and then our new coach can fire him again, just like our next coach should do with Martinez, Jancek, and Fabris. Firing people only once is for losers.

          I mean, sure. We’ve improved over last year’s team. We have been competitive over in every game we’ve played. A lucky break her or there and we could be first in the East, but don’t confuse me with analysis. Analysis is for losers.

          Our best player sold a jersey on eBay. Richt’s fault. Our starting running back didn’t pay a speeding ticket. Richt’s fault. Our running backs fumbled on two key plays that sealed our fate in two losses. Richt’s fault. Our team has a history of wetting our pants against Florida going all the way back to 1990. Richt’s fault. Auburn paid the best player in the country to run all over everybody. Richt’s fault.

          I join with JBJ in calling for David Pollack to be our head coach in 2011!

          • Puffdawg

            Al Golden

          • AthensHomerDawg

            I heard that Mack Brown may be available soon.

          • JBJ

            Wow, way to take my statement and infer many things. I guess you are happy with the state of Georgia football. Nah, CMR couldn’t coach these kids to carry the ball in the proper hand. He can’t be expected to build a team that can live without one player for four games. He shouldn’t be expected to win against Florida on a consistent basis. You people are unreal.

            • HackerDog

              You’ve got me all wrong. I’m with you 100%. I’m not happy with 5-6, and firing Richt can only help.

              Unfortunately, you and I are the only ones who actually believe that Richt (and assistants) don’t coach the running backs to carry the ball in the proper hand. In other words, we believe that Richt isn’t even qualified to coach Pop Warner football. Why doesn’t everyone else believe that as well? Just because he’s won a couple of SEC championships? Whatever.

              And while we’re on the topic of incompetent coaches, we should look at Urban Meyer and how much his team has missed one player. And Meyer knew Tebow was gone during the entire off season. AJ’s suspension was a surprise to us. Obviously, UF should fire Meyer for incompetence as well.

              I would like to see UGA be competitive against UF. And I know some people will argue that our problems against UF date back to the 90s, but I say that was Richt’s fault too.

              In fact, I join you whole heartedly in ignoring the improvement this year and attributing every single action and consequence that occurs in and around the football program to the head coach. Who else is with us?

        • So if I find an interesting statistical story that doesn’t fit in with your overall world view of “Georgia sucks this season and the rest is irrelevant”, I should keep it to myself? That’s gonna make for a pretty boring offseason at GTP.

  3. Will Trane

    Great stuff.
    2011 now becomes a winners / difficult / national champion caliber schedule.
    But I ask this question.
    If A. J. Green was to return, would he start 2011 as the front runner for the Heisman? For sure he would start in the top three and would bet serious national consideration. I think he could be UGA’s next Heisman. I, for one, would like to see him win it more than any player in NCAA D1.

    • gastr1

      He would for sure be a candidate, but I don’t think we will ever have a real Heisman candidate with the current coaching staff, and I do not mean that as a negative, necessarily. There is too much emphasis on balance and checkdowns and stretching the defense–which is just good strategy, really–to get the ball to one guy enough for him to rack up the stats necessary to be a serious candidate. AJ has never had even one 200-yard receiving game, which is of course a tremendous feat, but I would think as a WR candidate you’d have to be averaging 10-12 cpg and 150 ypg, with a couple of real monster games, to even compete with the QBs and the RBs.

      Maybe if AJ ran back punts and kickoffs too.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Nailed it. This coaching staff certainly doesn’t get the most out of the available talent. Other exceptional talents like AJ, players like Harvin or McFadden, were utilized to a much greater extent by their coaches. CMR and CMB use AJ exactly the same as they would any other WR. The only difference is AJ makes more out of his opportunities than Durham, T.King, Troupe, etc. because he has vastly greater talent. The idea that we have specific plays to better utilize AJ’s talents is a myth. If we did, he’d have 80 catches, over 1,000 yards and 20 tds.

        • Wouldn’t he have to play a whole season to do that?

          • gastr1

            It’s not far off. 80 catches in 7 games is only 11+ per game; he’s currently averaging 6 and about 100 yards. I think he’s good enough to get 11 per game for 125 ypg.

            20 tds, that’s stretching even in a full great year, though he does already have 8 or something close.

    • As a general rule, receivers don’t win Heismans.

  4. Greg

    If this 6 straight games of 31+ points isn’t a great examples of why “stat’s are for loser’s”, I don’t know what would be. Let’s go back 7 games to Colorado since that’s when AJ came back(even though we only scored 27 points in that game). We’ve won 4 and lost 3 over that span, losing to the only two good teams we played(if you want to stretch and consider UF good this year), beating 4 teams that suck and losing to 1 team that sucks. I realize the D had a lot to do with that, but the bottomline is we scored a bunch of points against teams we should have scored a bunch of points against in 5 of those 7 games. The combined record of CU, Vandy, UT, UK and Idaho State is atrocious. In our biggest win of the entire year over UK(yippee…the only reason they are going to finish above .500 is because they played Louisville and 3 high school teams in the non-conference), our offensive production was helped tremendously by their mistakes/turnovers. In the UF game, our O scored 10 points in the first 3 quarters. In the Auburn game, our O scored 10 points over the last 3 quarters. Our offense did virtually nothing in 3/4 of the games vs Auburn and UF. One good quarter isn’t going to beat any decent opponent, but let’s give Bobo a raise because the stats look good….on the surface.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The offensive scoring is also aided when the defense gives up a lot of points because that gives the offense more opportunities. I can remember Duke teams in the 70s and 80s that scored LOTS of points but would only win 2 or 3 games in a season if that many.

      • gastr1

        Huh? So stopping them and getting the ball back leads to fewer scoring opportunities?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Having a lousy defense and letting the other team score means they have to kick-off to you. If you have a high scoring offense and score quickly yourself then each side will get a lot more possessions and scoring opportunities. See Michigan vs. Illinois this season. Each side had more than 500 yards offense. But Illinois lost the game despite scoring 63 points.

          • Puffdawg

            I thought this whole discussion was because we don’t have a “high scoring offense.”

            Game. Set. Match.

            How’s your foot taste?

            Boom MFer!

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              The same is true if the other team’s defense is bad. It inflates the offensive stats. And if our defense is bad and the other team scores we get the ball back again. Another scoring opportunity. That is how you have lots of yards and points and still lose the game. This is not that hard to understand. To answer your question, I don’t know. You tell me how my foot tastes. You’re the one tasting it.

    • JBJ

      Tell it brother.


  5. CDawg

    There’s no question the Dawgs are the best 5-6 team in football and this season could have been much different. Heck, they were only a field goal away from playing in Atlanta in a couple of weeks for the SEC championship with the loss of A.J.

    But we owe it as fans to Boling, Dobbs and the rest of the seniors to not forget the year isn’t over.

    A game with the bugs looms; we still have the chance to play in a bowl game; and hopefully we can close in recruiting.

    Add to that the announcement that we get to play Boise State to open the season next year, and I honestly don’t get all of the negativity going around the boards the past couple of days. Especially, given the fact that the Dawgs cannot possibly lose a football game this weekend.

    With back to back games against Boise St (still in contention for this year’s N.C.) and USC (perhaps a dark horse pick for next year) to open 2011, we will all know where the program stands next year. (p.s. my money is on Richt, Murray and company).

    But until then, we should focus our thoughts on the this year’s class and BEATING THE BUGS!.

    • JBJ

      There’s no question the Dawgs are the best 5-6 team in football…

      Please help me have the strength. Hard to believe we are at this point with our fans.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Tell it brother, same as saying dog doo smells worse than cat doo.

        And the converse is also true, we might be the worst 5-6 team in the country….Colorado, remember?….and that cat stuff is, actually, pretty vile.

    • austintwo

      We were never within a FG of Atlanta, Bro – when USCe kicked FU’s ass they would have eliminated us even if we’d beaten FU.

  6. Norcross Dawg

    Man, this site will try anything including skewd stats to apologize for CMR.
    Maybe you should change the name of this site to:


    • AthensHomerDawg


    • dudetheplayer

      LOL, yeah right.

      GTP is nothing compared to Dawgsports. The Senator is pretty damn level-headed.

    • First trip here, I take it.

      Maybe you should read a few of my other posts before jumping to conclusions.

    • ACM

      I don’t see why you think this post is necessarily an apology for Mark Richt and the Dawgs this season. The Senator is highlighting data from an outside source and looking at how the season might have been different had we had AJ for the first four games, which it very well might have been — not a national championship caliber season but possibly an SEC East championship season and probably an improvement over last season’s win total. The fact remains that, even without AJ, UGA should be better than playing GT for a bowl berth, but this data points out something interesting — we’ve been competitive into the fourth quarter in each game we’ve lost, which I don’t believe has been true since, what, 2005.
      If anything, since the Senator made no reference to Richt, you could just as easily read this post as an endictment against Richt for being so close to winning these games but failing to finish the drill and for being so reliant on one player on one side of the ball.

  7. Russ

    Two mitigating factors with AJ’s suspension – first, everyone figured if AJ was suspended at all, it might be a game or so. So I don’t think the coaches spent time reworking the offense to account for AJ’s absence. Obviously that was a wrong approach by the coaches, but it doesn’t mean they can’t design an offense without AJ. Secondly, the offense was pretty conservative since we were starting a new QB and we didn’t know how Murray would handle it.

    I still think the offense will be fine next year, and the offense will be much improved. Whether or not we’ll be ready for Boise St., I don’t know.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      The offense will be fine IF:
      We find somebody to run the football like an SEC running back.
      Murray does not get hurt.
      The offensive line gels before the sixth game.
      We find somebody to run the football like an SEC running back.
      We find somebody to run the football like an SEC running back.
      And, we find somebody to run the football like an SEC running back.

      • HackerDog

        Good thing Caleb King (averaging 5.24 ypc) will be back next year. Hopefully, someone better emerges, but King will be a nice fall back option to have.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        SJ you left of something: “We find somebody to run the football like an SEC running back WITHOUT FUMBLING AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME.”

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Well, I kinda assumed that not dropping the fucking football was part of the whole SEC runningback thingy.

          And let me say something here. I think both King and Ealey are GOOD backs, just not game breakers, and not great tackle breaking, yards after contact backs. Neither appears to have real speed, compared to Ingram, Lattimore, maybe even Dyer and Tauren Poole, or even Bolden at Ole Miss.

          Ok, I have a runningback fixation, I admit it. But see, I have seen great runningbacks wearing “G’s” on their hats, and I ain’t seen a great one in a while….a while.

          If this starts an argument, fine, but it has been a while.

          I just don’t understand what the freaking deal is.

          • gastr1

            Knowshon was pretty good. And he could catch the ball (looking at you, Washaun).

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Sorry SJ. I wasn’t clear. I agree with you, but am just trying (unsuccessfully it appears) to be humorous about it.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Naw, I got the humor, I should not have used the emphatic modifier on football. The emphatic was really meant to show the importance of your post.

              (This stuff is kinda like writing yo momma from camp….you gotta be very careful what you write about the cookies.)

          • I agree with you about King and Ealey… good, but not special.

            But as for great running backs who you haven’t seen in a while, what about Knowshon?

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Like I said, I have not seen a great running back at Georgia in a long, long time.

              Knowshon was better than Ealey and King.

              Granted, my frame of reference includes times when running backs were not expected to be part time guards.

              To me a great runningback can break two or three tackles and score from any place on the field…any place on the field. Which would indicate said runningback was able to outrun the opposition when given the opportunity.

              I have not seen a great runningback at Georgia in a long, long time and I don’t understand why.

              • HackerDog

                If you don’t consider Knowshon to be a great running back, then your standards are obviously too high.

              • If that’s your standard, I don’t see how you have Poole on your list.

                And it’s uncanny how much Lattimore’s game reminds me of Moreno’s. Lattimore’s longest run this season is 58 yards, against Troy.

                I think you’re being a little tough on Knowshon.

                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  Ok, maybe Moreno gets a pass, (maybe…he left me at the altar, too.) I think it is a speed thing, although Rodney Hampton probably was no faster than Moreno….

                  Maybe, the truth is I am just never going to get over Herschel and Hearst and Worley and Henderson and Bob Edwards and Hampton and so forth.

                  Guys who could blow up a close game on one snap from anywhere on the field.

                  And did.

                  Maybe runningbacks are a lost art form at Georgia.

      • I want to add:

        1) We get a true elite OC.

        2) We find somebody to run the football like an SEC running back.

  8. dan

    Well, we lost 3 games with him and 3 games without him. What’s is sad is that the Auburn game was his career high and he probably could have had about 50 or 100 more yards in that one. Also sad that one of the greatest players we’ve had was wasted over these three seasons.
    I feel the same way about him coming back that I felt about the possibility of Kirby Smart coming to Athens (not that I think KS as DC compares to AJ as a receiver).
    But the feeling is, if his decision making process is that bad, I’m not sure I’d want him.

  9. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Did anybody watch the Ole Miss-LSU game? Talk about the fix being in! This was maybe even worse than LSU-UGA 2009. Less than 5 minutes to go in the game and Ole Miss trailing by5, an Ole Miss player scores a TD to take a 1 point lead, In doing he so leaps into the endzone extending the ball in front of him (an LSU player was closing on him) and does a gymnastics type summersault rolling onto his feet. The ref throws a flag for celebration! I thought that was supposed to be dead in the SEC because of what happened at the LSU-UGA game last year. Sure haven’t seen any this year. Rogers Redding even said in an interview about the UT-LSU game that the refs were going to be slack about the literal interpretation of rules in emotional situations. So Ole Miss kicks off from the 15 and LSU runs it back to the 50. Run clock, run clock, gonna kick a game winning field goal. LSU back runs it in for a TD with 45 seconds left in the game to win. SPIKES THE BALL AND POINTS AT THE CROWD! Same ref. No call. FIX! FIX! FIX! And I don’t even like Ole Miss. What a crooked conference the SEC has become since Mike Slime showed up!!!

    • Puffdawg

      Well I busted your chops above so I might as well point out when I agree with you. That was pretty bad and I am embarrassed the SEC has come to this.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      P.S. A Va Tech back did almost exactly the same thing in the Va Tech-Miami game today. Saw it on replay. No flag. The NCAA or somebody–anybody– has got to do something about this.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I just saw a replay of the score by the LSU back that won the Ole Miss-LSUgame. He did not spike the ball. (My mistake, sorry.) He threw the ball upward and then pointed at the crowd.

        • Hate to say it, but I thought the unsportsmanlike call on the leap was right.

          But I bet the new rule next year will make it harder for refs to throw that flag and take points off the board.

          • Russ

            I agree. It was showboating, and should’ve been called under the rules. Pretty cut and dried to me. And I was pulling for Ole Miss.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              What I find silly and stupid is that the leap, right or wrong is called, and the late hit is left open to question on a regular basis.

              Makes you wonder about the mentality of the folks who thought up and legislated these “behavioral” football rules….and, yea, I am thinking about you, Vincent.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            The SEC will use the new rule as a device to determine the outcome of games. Just wait and see.

    • Wow. Really?

      Can someone please post links to the two plays with the “celebrations”?

      This kind of fix is the inevitable result of the BCS system. The money from having 2 teams in is just too huge.

  10. NRBQ

    The Ole Miss player was showboating. He was in no danger of being tackled before he reached the end zone.

    Next year, that will result in the loss of the play and the score.

  11. dboy

    1) if AJ stays in school, he is crazy.
    2) Bobo may make us crazy but who is in charge of our O-line? They need to go! What an underperforming season from a group of veterans. They have been dominated more that they have dominated this year. No consistent holes for RBs. Average pass protection. I would hate to see our record if A Murray wasn’t such a pleasant surprise at QB. Searles should go, for sure.