Category Archives: Stats Geek!

Let’s give them a fair trial, then hang ’em.

I get the angst and overreaction to Saturday.  I really do.  But in response to the deeply analytical suggestions of “Schottenheimer is pathetic!!!” and “why not play Bauta?” many of you have offered, you might want to consider something.

Greyson Lambert’s 2015 game log.

Lambert has started five games at Georgia.  In three of those, he has generated passer ratings of 220.37, 245.48 and 278.64.  The technical term for that level of performance is effing great.

I know that the opposition in those three games was anything but stellar.  But if it’s so easy to pull that off against crappy defenses and Lambert is hopeless, then we should expect his predecessors to have done better.  To the stat cave, Batman!

Gosh, maybe clearing 200 isn’t as easy as we thought.  And remember, Lambert’s done what he’s done in only five total starts, after showing up less than two months before the beginning of the season.  (Also remember that Lambert’s best showing as Virginia’s starter was a 165.79 he posted against Richmond.)

Yes, he wilted under the bright lights Saturday.  True, it wasn’t Schottenheimer’s finest hour.  However, it’s amazing to see so many people write both of them off after one poor day.  Bobo and Murray – note that 2012 performance there, peeps – got years to build resumes much of the fan base came to dislike.

I don’t know if resurrection is in the future of either, but it’s a little early to bring out the tar and feathers.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The advanced stats’ tale of the tape…

won’t tell you much you didn’t already know from watching the game – namely, Georgia’s run defense wasn’t bad and every thing else was putrid.

David does add one thing that’s a pretty good summary of this team’s structural flaw.

Georgia just seems to be out of sync with itself since winning the conference in 2005.  Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and A.J. Green made the offense great, but that coincided with a great defensive decline. Then came the Aaron Murray era, which was great and had an improving defense but only had 2012 as a pinnacle year thanks to 2013’s injury plague. The defense seems to be in good hands with Jeremy Pruitt, but as he works on it the best he can—the secondary is a bit young, and it showed on Saturday—the offense suddenly is out of playmakers at quarterback and receiver. UGA has had the whole package together at once twice in the last decade, in 2007 and 2012.

That is not excuse making for Mark Richt.  Quite the contrary, it’s a mild condemnation of his roster management practices before Pruitt’s arrival.  As good as the last recruiting class appears to be and as fast as they’re shoveling true freshmen into games, you don’t fix roster problems overnight.  Especially when you have quarterback issues.

I’ve mentioned the balancing act Richt is trying to pull off this season, between getting a ton of green players game experience while still trying to win the East.  It ain’t easy, as we’re seeing.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

A model of consistency

What do these numbers have in common?

  • 220.37
  • 98.78
  • 246.48
  • 278.64
  • 63.44

Why, they’re Greyson Lambert’s 2015 game by game passer ratings.

A couple of quick notes in passing… first, yesterday’s number is worse than any number Lambert posted as the Virginia starter last season.  So, again, maybe everything about his performance can’t be explained by context.

Second, those wild swings aren’t totally unprecedented.  Aaron Murray and Joe Cox both had seasons where they posted two sub-100 passer ratings.  That being said, Murray and Cox didn’t have more than two of those clunkers in a year.  I’m not so sure Lambert’s used up his quota.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Throw the damned ball, Junior.

Every time Alabama doesn’t give the ball to Derrick Henry, it’s a win.

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has called passes on 53% of plays this season, well above the 46% from the last two seasons.

Some of this increase in passing come from situational football, as Alabama trailed Ole Miss for the entire second half. However, this increased tendency to throw even with questions at quarterback marks a shift for this program.

It’s not a good idea to throw that much against Georgia. In my rankings based on yards per play adjusted for schedule, Georgia has the 4th best pass defense but the 50th ranked rush defense.

Kiffin seems stubborn about throwing the ball. In last year’s playoff semi-final, Ohio State also had a better pass than rush defense. However, Kiffin still called more passes than runs despite racking up over 6 yards per carry.

Stubborn?  Stubborn is good.  I wonder if the Laner is sitting in staff meetings telling Saban he handled Georgia’s defense just fine the last time he coached against the Dawgs.

Also, more passing means more of this.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Because you can never have enough numbers to digest for Saturday…

Hey, if you can’t trust an Auburn man to give you an unbiased look at a Georgia-Alabama game, who can you trust?

Along those lines, Jerry Hinnen contributes a couple of interesting data points.  The first is an advanced stat.

Advantage Georgia — explosive plays: So if the Bulldogs allowed 3.4 yards more per play to ULM than Alabama did, surely their net per-play advantage vs. the Warhawks wouldn’t have been close to the Tide’s, right? Nope: while the Tide trudged along to just 4.5 yards per play vs. ULM, Georgia went for 8.4 — meaning their net per-play number against the Warhawks finished at plus-3.8 to Alabama’s plus-3.3. And led by Chubb’s ridiculous per-carry numbers — 8.44 yards across 71 attempts — the Bulldogs’ explosiveness didn’t end there; for the season, Georgia’s second in FBS yards per play, tied for first in points per-play, and — of you’re the advanced-stats type — 13th in Bill Connelly’s IsoPPP, an explosiveness measure. Alabama? They’re 67th in IsoPPP, 62nd in yards-per-play.

And on defense, though the advanced stats suggest Georgia might be vulnerable to giving up the occasional big running play, the struggling Tide aerial attack seems as likely to yield a big play for the Bulldogs as for Lane Kiffin’s offense. Jeremy Pruitt’s secondary has allowed just one touchdown pass in its last three games, and none longer than 29 yards all season; meanwhile, the six interceptions thrown by Alabama quarterbacks ties for the 11th-most nationally.

And he’s got a counter to that Vegas take on the two schools’ records against P5 teams.

… recently, Georgia’s been just fine in the biggest games on its schedule, going 15-7-1 against the spread since 2011 as a favorite of fewer than 10 points. Meanwhile, Alabama’s just 6-10 ATS in its last 16 games vs. Power Five opponents, and a poor-by-its-lofty-standards 11-5 straight-up.

I’m beginning to think there’s a piece of information out there to support just about any take someone has on the game.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Advanced stats fight!

In one corner, we have Dave Bartoo.

If the numbers play out as expected, No. 8 Georgia will beat No. 13 Alabama, 33-24, on Saturday.

That’s what Dave Bartoo’s scoring efficiency model projects for the critical Southeastern Conference game at Sanford Stadium. Bartoo, the founder of the terrific, pushes aside statistics like yards and instead zeroes in on just the scoreboard.

Entering Saturday’s game, Georgia is No. 1 in Bartoo’s overall team scoring efficiency rankings. Why does that matter? The winners of the last 10 national championships all ranked in the top three in either offense or defense scoring efficiency…

“Even though there is a difference in almost 18 plays per game, Georgia’s points per play — their efficiency — is 41 percent higher than Alabama,” Bartoo said. “People like to look at the yards and these points per game by Alabama versus Georgia, but when it comes right down to it, every time the ball is snapped Georgia, scoring-wise, is 41 percent more efficient than Alabama.”

And in the other, Bill Connelly.

Bartoo also points to Georgia head coach Mark Richt struggling over the years in big home games. Other advanced statistics models, like Bill Connelly’s S&P+, project a 32.3 to 20.4 Alabama win on Saturday. Connelly’s model, which factors in efficiency, explosiveness, field position and finishing drives, puts a 75 percent probability of it happening.

They both can’t be right.

Bartoo’s final take is interesting.

The keys in this game, per Bartoo, will be third-down conversion and first-half scoring. Alabama’s offense has been awful converting third downs through four games, but its defense ranks 23rd in the country. Georgia is averaging .8 points per play and will likely run about 30 plays in the first half if one goes off the averages headed into the game. If Georgia meets those averages in the first half, Bartoo says Alabama will lose.

“If they are over 24 points, the game is over, and they are smoking Alabama,” he said. “I think for Alabama defensively, I think you need to see UGA’s efficiency cut in half. The early first-half number is 14 or less to see if they are really chopping at Georgia’s offense.”

If Georgia scores 24 points in the first half, I will be one happy camper, that’s for sure.


Filed under Stats Geek!

College football has the runs.

Good Jon Solomon piece on how college football is trending on offense so far this season here.  A few highlights:

  • FBS teams are averaging 186.6 rushing yards per game, up from 182.5 through four weeks in 2014. Yards per carry are at 4.67 in 2015, up from 4.59 last season at this time.

  • Passing yards per game have declined three straight years since a record 238.3 yards in 2012. FBS teams have thrown for 239.3 yards per game in the first month of 2015, down from 243.4 in the first four weeks of 2014. However, passing yards per attempt are up 2 percent this season to 7.51.

  • Yards per play — arguably the most pivotal offensive statistic — are up 2 percent to 5.93 compared to the opening month of 2014.

  • Scoring in FBS through the first month is up 1 percent to 31.8 points per game… The SEC was the highest-scoring conference in the opening month of 2014 (39.5 points). But perhaps due to so many teams starting new quarterbacks, the SEC ranks fourth through the first month of 2015 at 32.6 points.

On that last point, Georgia may be bucking a trend.  Through the first four games of 2014, the Dawgs averaged 45.25 ppg.  This year, there’s an ever so slight increase in that average to 45.5.

But the overall story there is one of more scoring, more offensive efficiency and less throwing to do so.  I wonder how much of that can be chalked up to personnel and how much to deliberate strategy.


Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics