Category Archives: Big 12 Football

“… and then the stars are plucked from the ranks of losers in the great game of blue blood football.”

I don’t know that I always agree with everything Ian Boyd writes, but he’s good at being thought-provoking.  As an example, here’s a piece on how West Virginia’s reliance on transfers to flesh out its roster with higher-rated talent may soon become a model for much of the Big 12.

The spread offense in college creates a similar effect. If you’re a blue chip wideout in the SEC who’s tired of playing second/third string behind other guys while coach yells at you to block more on run plays in the hopes that as a senior you’ll be the single wideout that actually gets the ball…you should transfer to the Big 12. Your chances of playing shoot up, your role simplifies to running routes all the time on RPOs or deep shots, and the offense is set up to allow you to put up huge numbers running choice routes on isolated DBs or quick hitters on conflicted LBs.

If you’re a QB? The West Virginia Air Raid is installed in three days and then the rest of practice is about repping everything and learning to execute the base offense by muscle memory so that you can advance to learning defenses and calling the plays from the line of scrimmage. That’s arguably a better audition AND a better prep for running an NFL offense than even executing a more pro-style approach in terms of the throws but doing so in a more limited fashion and with less autonomy.

What happens, I wonder, to the transfer debate if an entire P5 conference embraces transfers as a means of roster enhancement?

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Filed under Big 12 Football

Holding on for dear life

This Ian Boyd article is an excellent reminder of how Georgia’s defense had its hands full with Baker Mayfield in the Rose Bowl.  Whatever you think of the guy personally, he was astonishing to watch in that game, both early when it seemed he could do nothing wrong, and then later in the fourth quarter, when his team was reeling a bit and he drove the team for the score to tie it at 38.  (Check out that back shoulder fade he threw to Lamb in the face of good coverage that Boyd shows.  That is one helluva throw, friends.)

Statistically, though, he had an interesting day.  In terms of Georgia’s defense, it wasn’t their worst performance of the year in terms of passer rating, as both Lock and Stidham had better days.  But from Mayfield’s perspective, it was his worst of the season.  Yeah, he still managed a 147.74, which isn’t exactly bad, but considering that he cleared a 200 passer rating in half of his starts, by his standards it was definitely an off day.

In fact, before the Rose Bowl, Mayfield was on track to set a passer rating record by averaging 200 for a season, something no starting quarterback had ever accomplished.  He finished at 198.92.

I can’t say that Smart and Tucker painted their masterpiece in a game in which the opponent scored 48 points, but considering whom they were up against, it wasn’t too shabby, either.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

This monetary aggression will not stand, man.

With the Big 12’s release of its tax return, here’s a summary of where the P5 conferences stand in terms of financial distributions to their members:

  • Big 12:  “The conference reported nearly $371 million in revenue for a fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017… the per-school payouts to roughly $34.3 million…”
  • SEC:  “… the 14-team Southeastern Conference’s returns showed $650 million in revenue, or an average of about $41 million per school.”
  • ACC:  “… $373 million for fiscal 2016, distributing that money among 14 full members and Notre Dame…”
  • Pac-12:  “The Pac-12 reported that it distributed an average of $28.7 million per school in fiscal 2016.”
  • Big Ten:  “Citing a document from the University of Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported in June that it was projecting revenue from the Big Ten of $51.1 million for the 2018 fiscal year (the one that’s ongoing), up from $36.3 million for 2017.”

As the cliché goes, one of those numbers is not like the others.

A $10 million a year revenue gap between the SEC and Big Ten?  I’m sure Greg Sankey’s bosses will shrug that off, just like they did before… oh, wait.

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Filed under ACC Football, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Georgia’s advanced stats ain’t played ‘Bama, PAWWWLLL.

S&P+ says Alabama by 2.3 points in the title game, but I’ll worry about that later.

In the meantime, check out Bill’s percentile performances from the Rose Bowl:

  • Overall:  UGA, 85%; OK 17%
  • Offense:  UGA, 93%; OK 71%
  • Defense:  UGA, 29%; OK 7%

That was the worst performance of the year for the Sooners defense… and here we’ve bragged about SEC defenses, when maybe we should be pumping our chests about SEC offenses. (I keed, I keed.  Sort of.)

Speaking of offense, there’s one note from Bill’s five factors worth a mention.  Remember how so many were talking about Georgia using its running attack to slow the pace of the game down to keep the ball out of Mayfield’s hands?  My response was that given the weaknesses in the Oklahoma defense and Georgia’s own propensity for the big play, that might not be as much a thing as people hoped.

In the end, that turned out to be the case.  Georgia averaged only 3.5 plays per possession, compared to Oklahoma’s five.  That’s what happens when your rushing IsoPPP, which measures explosive plays, winds up more than tripling the national average.  Wowzer.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“… For him, I think the sky’s the limit.”

Say what you will about Baker Mayfield, he sure was gracious in defeat.

Baker Mayfield was incredibly complimentary of Georgia QB Jake Fromm after the Rose Bowl: “A true freshman that led his team to a playoff victory. You don’t typically see that. He’s an incredible player. You can tell he commands his offense and he has the respect of his teammates. For me, that’s about the greatest character trait you could have.

I’m glad he had the opportunity, because somewhere in the second quarter, I thought he was going to run Georgia out of Pasadena all by himself.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football

The Rose Bowl, a study in contrasts

It’s not just the epic great offense versus great defense aspect — it’s balanced versus unbalanced.

Among this year’s four playoff teams, three are extraordinarily balanced: Alabama, Georgia and Clemson each rank among the nation’s top 10 in efficiency on both offense and defense.1

Oklahoma, on the other hand, is a study in imbalance.

Not only do the Sooners have the best offense of 2017, but the difference between their offensive efficiency and the second-ranked offenses (Alabama and Oklahoma State) is about the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 10 Central Florida’s. Since the playoff started four seasons ago, the only offense remotely close to being as efficient as Oklahoma’s belonged to Oregon in 2014 — and the Ducks weren’t really that close to the Sooners.

At the same time, the Oklahoma defense is easily the worst of any playoff team. The Sooners allowed 25 points and nearly 385 yards of total offense per game this season. They rank 59th in the country in defensive efficiency. It’s safe to say that Oklahoma has the most one-dimensional profile of any team to ever make the College Football Playoff.

Does that matter?  Well, maybe.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Sooners are primed for a playoff letdown. Oklahoma has the best quarterback in the country (Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield) and a host of other weapons that can make opposing defenses pay. Their stat sheet could give any defensive coordinator a heart attack. (This is, after all, a team that surpassed 600 yards of total offense in more than half of its games!)

But it’s also worth noting that in three years of playoff action, the more efficient defense won 67 percent of its games, while the superior offense won only 56 percent. Even if those numbers are skewed by Alabama’s success as a defensive juggernaut, the Tide have won with defense for a reason. Oklahoma will have to buck that trend if they want to prove that a great offense can win, too.

I think the conclusion hits directly at what Oklahoma wants to happen and what Georgia wants to avoid.

… But perhaps Oklahoma’s best chance against the Bulldogs is to use its dominating offense to jump out to an early lead, then hope its defense can force Fromm into freshman mistakes while playing from behind. Between Georgia’s impressive balance and Oklahoma’s shaky defense, however, that might be a task easier said than done.

From your lips, brother.  From your lips…

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“That’s up to Lincoln.”

Finally, some Rose Bowl drama.

But that changed here Friday morning when Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did not attend a previously scheduled media availability for Sooners’ offensive players, an absence attributed to an illness by a school spokesman.

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and a player who typically relishes the spotlight, has now missed every public appearance, including an arrival news conference Wednesday at Disneyland. While there’s no reason to suspect that Mayfield’s status for the semifinals is in doubt — he has continued to practice this week and was seen on the field during the team’s media viewing window Thursday — the vague nature of the illness, the fact it has now gone on for three days and the preprogrammed answers about it from Oklahoma coaches and players have left enough of a void to be filled with inference and speculation.

He’s playing.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, The Body Is A Temple