Category Archives: Stats Geek!

Holmes, I believe you may have cracked the case.

Bill Connelly looks at three-and-outs.

As I put it in the Illini piece, creating and avoiding three-and-outs is merely step one toward having a good offense or defense. Purdue, for instance, was pretty good at moving the chains once and pretty iffy at everything else. Still, it’s something we draw reference to here and there, but it’s not a list I share frequently enough.

We’ll start with offense. Here’s a list of FBS teams and their three-and-out rates for 2016. I’m also including what I call three-and-out-plus, which features all possessions that ended in three or fewer plays and didn’t include points. That means a few end-of-half possessions for everybody, but more importantly, it includes quick turnovers, maybe the most deadly kind of possession in existence (and something Illinois was particularly bad at avoiding last year).

If you want the tl;dr version, skip straight to the end.

Best three-and-out margins in the country:

(As in, defensive percentage minus offensive percentage.)

  1. Clemson +19.7%
  2. Southern Miss +18.4%
  3. Alabama +15.9%
  4. Tulsa +14.9%
  5. Michigan +14.6%
  6. Temple +13.9%
  7. Appalachian State +13.8%
  8. Virginia Tech +12.4%
  9. Oklahoma +12.4%
  10. Toledo +12.3%

Worst three-and-out margins:

  1. North Texas -16.8%
  2. Rutgers -14.4%
  3. Illinois -13.1%
  4. Fresno State -11.9%
  5. UConn -11.6%
  6. Charlotte -10.3%
  7. Buffalo -10.1%
  8. UNLV -9.8%
  9. Arizona -9.6%
  10. Marshall -9.1%
Combined record of the top 10 teams: 111-31, with five conference titles and both spots in the CFP final.
Combined record of the bottom 10 teams: 30-89.

I believe there might be a correlation there.

Hmmm… he may be on to something there.

Georgia, in case you’re wondering, finished a tick under plus-two percent, mainly because of the offense.

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Filed under Stats Geek!

The early coach catches the recruit.

There’s some fascinating stuff in this statistical analysis of recruiting tempo among SEC schools over the past ten classes.  You can read it all, or, if you want the tl;dr version, it’s this:

Teams that get the majority of their final signing class committed before Sept. 1 have a better chance of pulling in a more impressive class in the SEC.

Don’t know when that means it’s panic time in Athens over the state of the 2018 class, but it’s at least food for thought.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Thursday morning buffet

Back to the chafing dishes, folks.

  • The NCAA refused to let Ed Orgeron speak at a charity event because… education.
  • Another day, another concussion lawsuit.
  • Latest national title odds have Georgia at 25-1.
  • Dan Wolken asks, “Why is Ole Miss going to these incredible lengths to protect Hugh Freeze?”  It’s a fair question.
  • Here’s al.com’s latest SEC hot seat ratings.
  • Can you name the five college programs that have appeared in every AP preseason Top 25 poll since 2005?  (I bet you can name the only one of those five that hasn’t played for a national title during that stretch.)
  • The NBA commissioner is struggling with the one-and-done issue.  Here’s an opinion piece that argues one-and-done hasn’t been that bad for colleges.

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Filed under Freeze!, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, See You In Court, Stats Geek!, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

When regression to the mean isn’t your friend

Bill Connelly, in looking at coaching underachievers and overachievers, notes this disquieting (if you’re a Georgia fan, anyway) information:

For preview purposes, I note when teams strayed pretty far from their win expectations, one way or the other, and in 2016 two teams strayed really far from expectations: Idaho overachieved by 2.3 wins, and Notre Dame underachieved by 3.2 wins, the fourth-highest (lowest?) in 12 years.

From year to year, this is a sign of randomness. The teams on the extreme ends are all but guaranteed to regress (or progress) toward the mean the next year. Notre Dame was the fourth team to underachieve its second-order win total by at least three games; the other Power 5 team on that list: 2013 TCU, which improved from 4-8 to 12-1 the next season.

12-1?  Dayum, Bill, I really didn’t need to see that.

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Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Stats Geek!

“It’s not just about passing yards, either.”

I guess we’re all supposed to get excited about Mike Huguenin’s discovery that SEC quarterbacks amassed some yardage last season.

The SEC leads all Power Five conferences with eight returning quarterbacks who threw for at least 2,000 yards last season.

Except, as Bud Elliott points out, throwing for 2000 yards in a season isn’t exactly a major accomplishment in the spread era.

If take a look at the national rankings for 2016 passer ratings, the excitement cools.   Among quarterbacks who started at least three-quarters of their teams’s games, the SEC’s top performer was Josh Dobbs, the only conference starting quarterback to rank in the top twenty.  (Bentley and Patterson, whom Huguenin also push, clocked in with 139.99 and 121.00 passer ratings.)

That’s not to say this isn’t a talented bunch, or that things aren’t looking up.  It’s just that overall we’re still a ways away from proven.

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Georgia football is like a box of chocolates.

At least, writes Patrick Garbin, that’s the case when it comes to meeting preseason expectations.

… I decided to see how strong of a positive relationship—if positive at all—there has been between the preseason AP poll and the final AP rankings in regard to Georgia, and several neighboring schools of interest. Beginning in 1950, the initial year of the preseason AP poll, through 2016, the preseason and final rankings of Georgia and eight other often nationally-ranked teams from the South were correlated annually to reveal their correlation coefficient, or r. Simply, think of “r” as how efficient the Associated Press has been at preseason ranking each team in association to where it finishes in the AP’s final poll (whereby if r is between 0 and .200, there is a very weak positive relationship between the AP’s preseason and final polls; .200 and .400 is weak; .400 and .600 is moderate; .600 and .800 is strong; and .800 and 1 is very strong).

Ranked according to r, each team is also listed with the number of 67 seasons (63 seasons for Florida State) whereby it appeared in the AP’s preseason poll (followed by, of those appearances, the number of seasons ranked and not ranked in final poll), and number of seasons appearing in the AP’s final poll (followed by, of those, number of seasons ranked and not ranked in preseason poll).

(For example, Georgia, although borderline moderate, has had a weak relationship at .395 since 1950 in regards to what the AP ranks the Bulldogs in the preseason as it relates to where they finish in the final poll. In the last 67 years, Georgia has been preseason ranked on 35 occasions: 22 times it finished in the final poll, 13 times it finished unranked. In the last 67 years, the Bulldogs finished ranked on 30 occasions: 22 times they had been preseason ranked, 8 times they had not.

Of the nine schools he looked at, only Auburn had a worse correlation than Georgia’s, which, when you think about it, makes a lot of sense.  In fact, if you shorten the term under analysis to the last ten seasons, the effect is consistent, and, with regard to Auburn, even more intensified.

I next figured the exact same as above, but for just the last 10 seasons (2007-2016) and, interestingly, found somewhat similar results with Clemson, Alabama, and Florida State all having strong relationships, Tennessee at nearly strong (.587), and Georgia (.313) and Auburn (minus-.263) again in the weak zone. This should be no surprise considering the Bulldogs were preseason ranked each of the last eight years (with an average ranking of approximately No. 13), yet finished ranked in the final poll just three times.

In Georgia’s case, I’m not too sure what that says about 2017.  The Dawgs are ranked in most preseason discussions I’ve seen, but the consensus seems to relegate Georgia to somewhere in the high teens to low twenties, which is lower than the average from the past ten years, but still means the Dawgs are ranked.  It’s not exactly a traditional vote of confidence, so you can draw all sorts of conclusions about what sort of omen that might be for how things turn out this season.  On the other hand, we’ve seen that Vegas has shown a stronger degree of confidence in Georgia’s chances than the pundits have, so who knows where the AP goes?  Take your chances, in other words.

Now that I think about it, that randomness is pretty much Patrick’s point.

(Now what that says about Auburn’s chances this season… well…)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

A little more GATA is needed.

Not sure how I missed Pete Fiutak’s Georgia 2017 preview, but digging back through the CFN site, I saw he posted it a week or so ago.  While it’s hard to argue with his conclusion…

The Georgia Season Will Be A Success If …

It wins the East. There’s absolutely no excuse. There’s too much talent, too much depth, and too much upside and potential not to get to the SEC title game. Whether or not the Dawgs are good enough beat Alabama – or whoever gets by the Crimson Tide to get to Atlanta – is going to be up in the air, but the East isn’t going to be that great. Don’t win it, and the season is a disaster.

… I’d rather focus on something else he wrote.  Fiutak dug up one stat from last season that maybe hasn’t gotten as much attention as it should:  “they came up with just 62 tackles for loss, by far the lowest total in a long, long time”cfbstats.com confirms his observation.

  • 2016:  62
  • 2015:  76
  • 2014:  71
  • 2013:  81
  • 2012:  91
  • 2011:  100
  • 2010:  79
  • 2009:  90
  • 2008:  74

That’s beyond anemic.  When you can’t even meet Willie Martinez’ standards, you’ve got a serious problem.

Now, we all know that Smart, like any other defense-minded coach, wants players on that side of the ball who are disruptive.  As I discussed in this post from last year, Smart comes straight out of the Saban school of dominant run defense.  A nine-year low mark in tackles for loss isn’t something he wanted, but it may have been the inevitable result of a very green defensive line and installing a new system (Smart and Pruitt may both come out of the Saban system, but that doesn’t mean they share identical approaches on defense.)

Then again, it may have simply been the result of shitty coaching.  (If you think I’m kind of blown away comparing 2016 to 2008 and 2009, well… you’re right.)

In any event, the youth and transitional excuses are gone for 2017.  It’s the second year in the system for everyone and the defense returns every starter from the front seven, plus a bunch of the two deep.  Coming back to one of yesterday’s posts, this is an area where you hope Bellamy and Carter can elevate their games.  All told, if the Georgia defense can’t return to its traditional level of TFLs this season, that would raise some real questions about how it’s being directed.

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UPDATE:  For those of you in the comments writing off Lorenzo Carter, have a look at something from the bowl game.

No, that wasn’t a tackle for loss, but it was one helluva play.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!