Monthly Archives: January 2015

Turnover luck

Here’s how Bill Connelly defines it:

The concepts are pretty simple: Over time, you’re going to recover about 50 percent of all fumbles, but in a given year, you might recover 70 percent, or you might recover 30. The same goes with passes defensed; on average, you can expect to intercept about 22 percent of the passes you defense. (Passes defensed = interceptions + break-ups.) This is a bit mushier a concept … but over time a particularly butter-fingered year will be balanced by a sticky one.

The way I measure turnovers luck is pretty simple: how far were you from 50% with your fumble recoveries? How far were you from ~21-22% in your interceptions-to-breakups, offensively and defensively? By looking at broader numbers, we can basically create an expected turnover margin (called Adj. TO Margin below) and compare it to the real margin. The difference becomes your Turnovers Luck for the season. On average, a turnover is worth about five points in terms of field position value, so I take the difference between turnovers and expected turnovers, multiply it by five, divide it by games played, and voila: Turnovers Luck Per Game.

Georgia finishes as one of his top teams from last season, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s familiar with Georgia’s 2014 turnover margin.  Similarly, there’s a huge swing from the 2013 luck tally. What you wonder about in the Dawgs’ case is how much of that luck came from changes in the defensive approach to turnovers and the emphasis on offense in avoiding turnovers at the quarterback position and how much was randomly generated.  Sample size can be a bitch, you know.

40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Gap this.

Amid the tongue bath Dennis Dodd lavishes on college football in this ridiculous piece (“Off the field, [the NFL] was a swirling disappointment.” –  Seriously, college football, you want to throw those kind of rocks?) you’ll find this rather depressing comment from Arizona State’s AD:

“I think it’s reasonable when you have the College Football Playoff and results from the first year,” said Ray Anderson, Arizona State’s AD. “We can at least reduce the gap between us and the NFL. In the long term who knows which product may be more appealing to the consumer?”

Anderson comes from the ranks of the NFL (he used to be employed by the Falcons), so he knows from where he speaks.  Except who gives a shit about college football closing the gap with the NFL?

Sadly, I think we all know who does.

34 Comments

Filed under College Football

“You can only be successful if you ask.”

Dialing for dollars – it’s not just for reserve funds anymore.

Wealthy donors are fueling a boom in gifts to major-college sports programs, with the biggest athletics departments reporting a total of more than $1-billion in donations last year, according to a survey released this week by the Council for Aid to Education. It’s the third time in the past four years that sports gifts have topped $1-billion…

During 2014 those colleges raised a collective $1.26-billion for sports, the largest one-year haul in the past 10 years of the survey. Texas A&M’s share was the second-biggest one-year total in the survey’s recent history. In 2013 the University of Oregon brought in nearly $133-million for sports.

The wealthiest programs accounted for the vast majority of contributions. Last year the top 20 athletics departments reported collective donations of more than $700-million—more than half of the $1.26-billion raised.

That money will help cover large capital expenditures and fast-rising coaching salaries, say athletic directors at several big colleges. In some programs the dollars will go toward endowments to offset increasing scholarship costs.

“A lot of the facilities we compete in were built with state dollars, and that will rarely happen anymore,” said Greg Byrne, vice president for athletics at the University of Arizona. “Many of us have had to look ourselves in the mirror as our infrastructure has needed replacing, and realize that philanthropic gifts are going to be the only way to solve that issue.”

Don’t forget more TV money.

Seriously, if you want to know what’s driving college athletics to care less about the average fan who attends games and more about, well, just about everyone else it caters to, look no further than a decline in state funding support.  Reasonable minds can differ on whether that’s good or bad, but it’s clear that it has consequences.  Because big schools want big money.

3 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

Saturday morning buffet

Start your weekend off with a little something.

26 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas, You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy

Name that caption, chillaxing on the recruiting trail edition

Mark Richt, looking snappy in repose:

Have at it in the comments.

40 Comments

Filed under Name That Caption

Butts-Mehre thanks you for your support.

Whether you’re someone like me who thinks the infrastructure upgrades for the fans’ benefit are long past due, or you’re someone who’s frustrated about an apparent lack of demand for accountability on the football program side, this is why we can’t have nice things.

Bill King calls us a “not-so-secret weapon”.  I’d say one man’s weapon is another’s source for complacency.

Face it, folks.  We get the athletic administration we deserve.

And, no, this isn’t a call to arms.  I’m not asking the peasants to storm the castle.  Just realize we aren’t exactly agents for change.  And hope that those who are agents for change occasionally share our agendas.

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in amateurism

Nice turn of phrase“College football’s free-agent market is open…”  Hey, it’s just like the pros do it!  Except for that player payment part, of course.

Meanwhile, Richard Sherman’s got something to say to the “student-athletes are, too, being fairly compensated” crowd:

Sherman also talked about the resentment “people” harbor toward college athletes asking for money.

“They are upset when a student-athlete says they need a little cash,” he said. “Well, I can tell you from experience, I had negative-40 bucks in my account. Usually my account was in the negative more time than it was in the positive. You’ve got to make decisions on whether you get gas for your car or whether you get a meal for the day. You’ve got one of the two choices. People think, ‘Oh, you’re on scholarship.’ They pay for your room and board, they pay for your education, but to their knowledge, you’re there to play football. You’re not on scholarship for school and it sounds crazy when a student-athlete says that, but that’s those are the things coaches tell them every day: ‘You’re not on scholarship for school.’”

Sherman, in case you can’t recall, attended Stanford, a place with a pretty prestigious academic reputation.  If coaches will say ‘You’re not on scholarship for school.’ there, at what P5 school won’t they say it?  (At least after the kid’s no longer being recruited, that is.)

18 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family again.

Alabama state Rep. Jack Williams, time will tell whether you’re brave or foolish.

8 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Political Wankery, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Grading on the curve, part deux

I asked a couple of days ago how the ESPN pundits would grade Georgia’s 2014 season.  Well, the grades have been posted.

Overall: B. Considering they were without one of the nation’s best players for seven games, it’s impressive that the Bulldogs didn’t fold when Gurley left the lineup. In fact, things looked great when the Bulldogs routed Missouri and Arkansas on the road immediately after Gurley’s suspension. But Georgia was unable to keep it together down the stretch, and its overtime loss to Georgia Tech only added insult to injury when the Bulldogs were unable to win the East. It was a solid overall season at Georgia, but it still ended in disappointment.

That seems a fair assessment. 10-3 is about what most expected going into the season, but a team that not only survived a period of Gurley’s absence, but started out thriving in it, should have done more.

Ching gave the lowest individual grade to coaching (read: Richt), with a C.  That, too, feels about right.  Richt did a lot of good things last season, but the coaching mistakes that cost Georgia in each of its losses undid a lot of that work.

50 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Another fight over tradition

And this one’s a doozy.

The College Football Playoff’s management committee will discuss Navy’s eligibility for this season’s New Year’s Six bowls because of the academy’s new conference affiliation and the timing of its annual game against Army.

Navy will join the American Athletic Conference in the fall.

The commissioners’ concern is if the Midshipmen are ranked high enough to earn one of the New Year’s Six bowl bids — and then lose the following week to Army. That loss would not count toward Navy’s final ranking, penalizing other teams that would have earned a New Year’s Six bowl bid if the loss was factored in.

When money and college football are involved, it’s a no-brainer to follow the money, but in this case, the PR optics are horrendous.  And don’t think the grand poobahs of the sport aren’t aware of that.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby best described the delicate matter facing the management committee.

“Given the rich history of the Army-Navy game, its patriotic significance and pageantry, I can appreciate the desire of the academies to play on a stand-alone date with the eyes of the nation able to watch,” Bowlsby said. “However at this juncture, I’m not sure how best to address the impact of the game’s outcome on the CFP given Navy’s move into the American Athletic Conference, and the potential for it to secure a spot in the structure as a conference champion, or highly ranked non-champion.

“I will want to discuss this possibility and viable options with my FBS commissioner colleagues before formulating a recommended course.”

Translation: oh, shit, do I have to make a decision?

Unfortunately, that’s what they pay you the big bucks for, Bob.

The problem for these guys is that crapping on the military is a spectacularly bad idea for a group that is already making mouth noises about needing Congressional help on the antitrust front.  But the other mid-major conferences aren’t going to let the CFP folks off the hook, because, money.

The likely solution?  Deflect the debate away from Army and Navy and make it a it’s-the-principle-of-the-thing call.

MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and Benson also indicated the policy needs to be reviewed. Besides Navy and Army, another possibility, a commissioner suggested, is what if other schools opt to play the week after the final rankings are released and, win or lose, would remain eligible for the New Year’s Six bowls? Also, what would keep independents Notre Dame and BYU from trying to schedule a 13th game the week after the final rankings?

Yeah, what if, bitchez?

Here’s the thing – no other schools besides those two are playing after the final rankings.  How hard would it be to prohibit any other schools from doing so?  Not very, except that’s not really the issue here.

Swarbrick said it’s important to maintain college football’s traditions.

“You want to try and honor and preserve traditions — look at how we protected the bowls,” another commissioner said. “Army-Navy is one of the more significant traditions in college football. How do you preserve that tradition without unsettling the basic elements of the playoff structure?”

One commissioner said 126 of the 128 FBS teams are conforming because of the College Football Playoff — except for Army and Navy, who play the only game after the rankings are released.

“That,” the commissioner said, “is the fundamental tension.”

I’m afraid this is a war the service academies aren’t gonna win.  College football’s most important tradition is undefeated.

40 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness