Welcome to the preseason expectations

Brian Fremeau is one of those advanced stat gurus I follow.  His particular metric, FEI, rates teams on the basis of opponent-adjusted drive efficiency.  He generates preseason rankings that are derived from “five-year program ratings, recent recruiting success, and returning offensive and defensive experience”.

All that adds up to the highest preseason projection I’ve seen yet for Georgia’s 2017 season:  seventh.  FEI has the Dawgs most likely to lose no more than two or three games.  That’s not cheaply given, either, as FEI has six of their opponents in the preseason top thirty and ten in the top fifty.

If you look at what Fremeau weights in the preseason, there’s a certain logic to Georgia’s FEI ranking:  lots of returning experience, particularly on defense and in the offensive backfield; highly ranked recruiting classes in Smart’s first two tries; and a respectable, if not spectacular, five-year run for the program.

That, of course, is no guarantee of success for the upcoming season.  The question is whether it’s a window into what Georgia is capable of doing in 2017.  It won’t be too much longer before we start getting answers about that.

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31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

31 responses to “Welcome to the preseason expectations

  1. reality check here

    It is an objective analysis of numbers. Recovering CPA’s usually have at least some appreciation of that and I am no exception.

    However, coaching does not appear to be part of the analysis. Like many I was not the least impressed with coaching on the offensive side of the ball last year. There was no ability demonstrated to make adjustments during the game. The offense ignored the old adage to take what the defense is giving you. And there was no progression during the year. All in all there seemed to be one attempt after the other to force square pegs into round holes.

    The questions I have are not about talent and experience of the athletes. This guy concludes that Georgia has talented and experienced athletes and I agree. We’ll see what happens, but an objective analysis of talent on hand lends itself to a high ranking this year and anything less is underachievement.

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    • Dave

      Coaching is taken into account by way of previous seasons and overall production. You can’t just say, “Georgia gets 1 point out of a possible 5 for coaching because I don’t think they were very good,” with this analysis. That’s the whole point.

      Granted, last season was Kirby & Staff’s first, but then, if you’re looking for further trends, the one that’s been beaten into the ground is that if coaches are going to be worth a damn, you see a major, major step up from their first years.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        Correct — I believe it was Jimmy Johnson who once said you will know what kind of coach you have midway through their second year (at college level). If he is a solid coach, the team will reflect that; if not, they will reflect that too. And if things still aren’t looking good towards end of year 2, most likely that coach won’t succeed and you should start planning for his replacement in the next year or so.

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      • reality check here

        Dave, I hadn’t thought about coaching being taken into account by that guy’s formula. I admit I am confused.

        Are you saying that this formula overrates Georgia because of Richt’s 10 average wins a year in his last 4 years and his final ratings in the top 10 in 2014 (9) and 2012 (5)? Does it also include his final rating last year at Miami (20)?

        I have been on record in this blog for being hopeful that Smart will replicate Richt’s second year at Georgia. Their records the first year are identical.

        Incidentally your quote has to be from somebody else.

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        • Dave

          It includes Kirby’s one 8-win year, along with one of Richt’s from a few years ago, and then a couple of better seasons. It’s not just about records, though. It’s about returning production and experience.

          It’s not that complicated. The point is that there is no objectivity in saying a coach is good, bad, better or worse. But, if you have a lot of production returning, and recent recruiting success, then you are more highly ranked. This would be, in part, due to the coaching. I get that a majority of the sample “belongs” to Richt. Cannot tell if your sassing me or genuinely confused.

          Of course, that was nobody’s actual quote. Simple way of indicating that, again, this formula leaves subjectivity out of the equation.

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    • Otto

      I disagree that the offense did not take what the defense gave them as Mizzou was won on Eason’s arm. The offense was a year in transition blocking schemes were being changed and a QB who had not played under center was playing under center.

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      • reality check here

        You weren’t watching the same game I saw. Facts: Eason was 29 of 55 for less than 6 yards a pass. Not very good, even if the late drive let us win.

        He did that against the worst defense we faced. Missouri had a terrible defense last year. Middle Tennessee scored 51 and Tennessee scored 63. In fact, the only team they played that didn’t outgain us was Delaware State.

        The reason Georgia won was we got 4 turnovers and they didn’t.

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        • Otto

          Yes without great D UGA doesn’t win

          Forward progress was off Eason’s arm. 308 yards through the air vs 101 on the ground, Chubb 19 carriers 63 yards. The OC went with what was most successful which is to say he used what the defense was giving.

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    • Jared S.

      This!!! I have worried about Chaney from the start. And last year compounded those early fears.

      If I wasn’t worried about the OC then I’d be more comfortable betting that we win the East this year. But I am worried about Chaney. Very worried.

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    • Captain Obvious

      the author went to ND. He knows nothing about SEC football. Next…

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  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    I agree with the logic. It’s the subjective factors and experience that makes us grit our teeth.

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  3. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    15-0!!!!! 😉

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  4. PTC DAWG

    Lots of folks are talking about our weak schedule, no excuse to not win the East, etc…I don’t see it. Schedule is tough, especially games away from Sanford.

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    • Mayor

      ^This. ND, UT, Auburn all away. Florida in JAX (same as an away game). Tech at Grant Field (and Tech has beaten the Dawgs 2 out of the last 3 games). This is NOT an easy schedule.

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      • Jared S.

        The sad thing is…would any of us really be surprised if we beat ND, UT, Auburn, UF and Tech convincingly, but struggled against Miss State, Vandy, and Mizzou….and Kentucky?

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  5. MGW

    Lets presume these projections are the gospel for a second: With us at 7, UF at 14, AU at 13, and Bama at a distant No. 1, we should win close ones against very good Auburn and Florida teams, then lose in the SEC championship, but not get embarrassed like UF has the last two years (maybe a close game till the early 4th quarter ending in a 2td defeat? too specific?). Anyhow, unlike 2012, that would put us in the Sugar Bowl because we would have beaten the other good team from the East, and the second best from the West.

    That would be deserving of a national coach of the year award for Smart. I pretty much look at a Sugar Bowl as our ceiling this year; anything more than that would take either a miracle or two, or Eason or Chubb winning a Heisman, probably both.

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    • JCDAWG83

      Loser of the SEC championship game usually does not go to the Sugar Bowl. I think it’s unfair but that’s usually how it works out.

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      • PTC DAWG

        The 12 team deserved better, no doubt

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        • MGW

          So did the 07 team. Sure we got the Sugar Bowl, but we should have gotten USC. That would have been a hell of a game. Instead Illinois and Hawaii were both, predictably, utterly outclassed.

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      • MGW

        Pretty much – frustrating. We beat UF in 12 but they still got it. But we were their only loss.

        Since then its been either Mizzou or UF getting blasted in the SEC, and they really had no business in the Sugar Bowl anyhow. Just depends on how many losses we have and how many the other west teams have. If its our first loss (it won’t be), it would take LSU having only one loss to keep us out.

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  6. Biggus Rickus

    If everything breaks right, this team can win every game on its schedule up to the game with Alabama for the SEC title. They really shouldn’t go any worse than 9-3 with the amount of talent on defense and at skill positions. Maybe a subpar offensive line will end up costing them the East, or maybe it will gel and turn into a strength. The point is, this should be a pretty good team, and if they aren’t, there’s real cause to wonder about Smart’s future in Athens.

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    • Macallanlover

      Pretty much where I am, I feel we could be everything from 11-1 if things break right on offense, to 9-3 if we struggle on the OL and QB. Anything below that is a big fail. I don’t think it will cost KS his job but it could really slow momentum and take away a chance for us to succeed any higher than we have been. I think it is a critical year that could impact how quickly we are able to be as competitive as before, don’t want to pull a TN and go backwards, then try to move back to where we were. My pick is 10-2.

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  7. 81Dog

    what’s wrong with expecting to win the East? It’s kind of a shambles, isn’t it? If we cant win it at a time when no other program in the division seems very strong, after two excellent recruiting classes with a solid core of senior leadership and talent, and 18 months plus worth of “learning to win” under Coach Smart, when will we be able to expect it? Did we bring him in hoping to win 5 or 6 years from now? Expectations may have to be adjusted as the season plays out, but why would anyone associated with UGA not be expecting us to be solid contenders and in position to win the East at this point?

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  8. TMC DAWG

    With the incoming freshman, the east is ours for the taking. I am wondering though, in crunch time will Kirby get into Chaneys ear?

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