Category Archives: Science Marches Onward

“If you really want to see where someone is committing, you shouldn’t overlook [social media] data.”

How long do you figure it’ll take for Nick Saban to hire Kristina Bigbsy?

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Filed under Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

Kirby blinded me with science.

It sounds like Georgia is leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of a national title.  (h/t)

SEC champion and College Football Playoff entrant Georgia has been using MuscleSound for assessments of players’ game readiness this season.

MuscleSound is a Colorado-based company that uses ultrasound imagery to measure glycogen and determine muscle fuel by sending photos to its cloud for computation with its proprietary algorithms. Low readings can be a precursor to soft-tissue injuries. Nutrition and training recommendations can be catered to each athlete.

The ultrasound company is relatively new to college football, having worked with Colorado since last year and starting its collaboration with Georgia this fall.

Data provided by MuscleSound showed a sampling of up to eight Georgia players each week to provide a snapshot of the team’s physical preparedness. The Bulldogs received their highest score prior to its second game of the season, a come-from-behind road victory at Notre Dame that not only showed team stamina but also proved decisive in propelling the school toward its eventual No. 3 national ranking and matchup with Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

One of Georgia’s two other highest marks came before its 42-7 thrashing of Florida in the rivalry game formerly dubbed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” That game was preceded by the Bulldogs’ bye week, likely explaining the energy boost.

Dayum.  I’ll have to take their word on much of that, but I got that the two highest scores came in the face of two of Georgia’s biggest wins this season.  (Although it looks like the Dawgs did just fine as their scores declined during the Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Tennessee trifecta.)

In any event, it’s noteworthy what kind of data this staff is receptive to analyzing.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Science Marches Onward, The Body Is A Temple

Inside the minds of recruits?

So, it turns out there’s this thing out there that purports to help a school analyze which recruits it’s pursuing are likely to sign and which are likely to spurn.

The company founded by the four Northwestern undergraduates, called Zcruit, essentially borrows that same mentality, one of putting numbers behind what have long been gut-based decisions, and applies it to the recruiting landscape.

Think of this way: Every program in the Football Bowl Subdivision is chasing after the same pool of recruits; most programs recruit the same region as countless others; some programs offer hundreds of recruits to sign just 25 future student-athletes.

Boiled down, Zcruit’s goal is to assist a program’s efforts by streamlining the process — by taking all the streams of data at their disposal and creating a formula for recruiting success, in the same way a university’s admissions office attempts to pinpoint the best and most likely fits for the student body at large.

Three baseline factors are taken into account. The first is demographic information: background information, such as where a recruit is from. The second is a prospect’s interactions with the school, such as how many visits he has made on campus, whether he attended any camps or when the scholarship offer was tendered.

The third is the prospect’s interactions with other schools. Is he showing any interest? When was he offered by another school, when did he visit, how many times did he visit? In the end, the data compiled by Zcruit creates a threshold, for lack of a better word, between whether a program should recruit a player — if the data suggests he’s gettable — or whether it should move on to another prospect.

Zcruit claims a pretty good success rate, too.

Zcruit worked alongside Bowers and the coaching staff during this current recruiting cycle, helping the Wildcats identify and evaluate a number of recruits at positions of need. With one week until national signing day, the algorithms created by Zcruit have predicated which recruits would not sign with Northwestern with 94% accuracy; the same algorithms predicted which recruits would sign with the Wildcats with 80% accuracy.

Man, a program that could have predicted what my teenage daughters wouldn’t do over 90% of the time sure would have come in handy back then.  Just sayin’.

More power to you, guys.

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Filed under Recruiting, Science Marches Onward

Wednesday morning buffet

Plenty to nosh on this morning…

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, College Football, Georgia Football, Mike Leach. Yar!, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, The NCAA, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

He read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

Now this is what I call cutting edge preparation.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn played the role of mad scientist Saturday, sending out myriad personnel groupings in hopes of confounding Clemson’s defense. He employed three different quarterbacks, switching with reckless abandon and, at times, having all of them on the field at once. Auburn threw deep balls and ran the option. It played in spread formations and, believe it or not, ran a bit of old-school wing-T.

Clemson had answers for everything — even if some of those answers came in an unlikely way.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables had been “tipped off” — that was the extent of his explanation — that Auburn might run some Wing-T, and he hadn’t the slightest clue on how best to defend an offense rarely employed beyond the high school level. So, a day before the game, Venables sat down at his computer and did what we all might do in such situations.

“I literally Googled, ‘How to stop the wing-T,’” Venables admitted afterward.

Hey, whatever works.  And it must have, as Auburn’s running game was limited to 87 yards on 41 carries.

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Filed under Science Marches Onward, Strategery And Mechanics

“Being connected through their device is their expectation whether it’s music or sports.”

The NFL embraces Wi-Fi connectivity at stadiums.  Of course, when you’re shaking down the taxpayers for new stadiums every few years, it’s a lot easier to integrate the newest technology into your infrastructure.  So it’s not clear if this is a trend that will trickle down to the next level quickly.

But don’t tell me this won’t resonate with colleges sooner or later.

More teams are monetizing their apps by selling merchandise, food and drinks to fans, as well as tickets for future games. This is another reason it’s important to have a strong Wi-Fi connection and plenty of beacons in place. The beacons pinpoint where a fan is located within the stadium. By knowing this, the team can send messages about discounts, whether on merchandise or hot dogs at that moment in the stadium. The beacons also allow the stadium to give helpful information to fans such as how long the nearest bathroom wait is going to be.

VenueNext and YinzCam are two mobile platform developers used by many professional teams and arenas to boost profits through additional sales and advertising. All of these options make it easier for fans to spend money, and for stadiums and teams to make money.

It would be so Georgia to charge fans for an app to let them know which bathrooms had the shortest wait.  Greg McGarity’s probably already on that mother.

(h/t Raleighwood Dawg)

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Science Marches Onward

Thursday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are tanned, rested and ready.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football