Category Archives: Stats Geek!

Catch the damned ball, Godwin.

Interesting post about SEC superlatives at Pro Football Focus based on analytics of conference players, with one Georgia player making the list:

Best hands: Terry Godwin, Georgia

Seven players in the SEC had a perfect drop rate last year, but none saw more targets than the 35 catchable passes thrown Godwin’s way in 2015. The Bulldogs will be hoping he can follow that up with another solid season in 2016.

A perfect drop rate?  Gotta admit I don’t remember Godwin being that accomplished last season.  But I bet Greyson Lambert does.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Never could win the big one.

Bill Connelly updates his look at how coaches did in actual wins versus expected wins…

Last offseason, I tinkered with a measure called second-order wins. It is basically my version of the Pythagorean Wins concept, where you look at a certain component (usually points or runs scored and allowed) and determine what a team’s record probably should be as opposed to what it actually is. If you’re losing a ton of close games but winning a bunch of blowouts, that’s probably a sign that, on average, you would be faring better than you are.

My second-order wins concept looks at the single-game win expectancy figures you see in the 2015 Schedule & Results chart below. The idea behind win expectancy is simple: It takes the key stats from a given game (success rates, explosiveness, field position factors, and other factors that end up going into the S&P+ ratings), mashes them together, and says, “With these stats, you probably could have expected to win this game X percent of the time.” Add those figures up over the course of a season, and you get a glimpse of what a given team probably could have expected its record to be.

… and finds that Mark Richt finished right about in the middle, along with the likes of Steve Spurrier.  Surprised, or not?


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Sometimes, experience isn’t a compliment.

Check out Phil Steele’s ranking of experienced Conferences for 2016 based on the average rank of their teams in his Experience Chart:

1. ACC 46.2
2. Mountain West 55.1
3. CUSA 56.0
4. MAC 57.25
5. American 67.5
6. SEC 70.7
7. Pac 12 71.3
8. Big 12 73.2
9. Big 10 73.3
10. Sun Belt 73.8

The gap between the ACC and the rest of the P5 is eye-popping.  But not necessarily in a good way.

… The ACC had an average rank of 46.2 while the other four power five teams were in the 70’s. I took it a step further and did the group of five conferences. Their experience rankings were better by conference than the Power 5. I guess the reason for that is fewer players leave early for the draft so they have more seniors.

I suppose you can argue this both ways.  The loaded programs lose more players early because they’re loaded, which means they have to regroup, while programs with less highly rated talent keep their players together longer.  On the other hand, those loaded programs are more likely to have equally talented players who can step up and fill the openings, while the programs with more returning players are… well, still relying on players who weren’t seen as being as attractive to the NFL, talentwise.

It’s the old question:  would you rather play with Alabama’s level of experience or Vanderbilt’s?


Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!

As luck would have it

If regression to the mean comes into play this season with regard to turnover luck, it’s gonna be an even longer year for Boom than I already thought.


Filed under Stats Geek!

One more thing about Auburn

It’s possible that I’m overrating Carl Lawson.

The SEC is loaded with top pass-rushing talent heading into the 2016 season — from Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett to Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, to Missouri’s Charles Harris, and not forgetting the formidable Alabama duo of Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. Simply put, there isn’t another position within a conference in all of college football that is so loaded with talent.

That opening list doesn’t even do the conference justice, with several other talented players trying to crack the break into the top players at the position. One such player is Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson. It might come as a surprise to not see him quite mentioned with the best of the best when it comes to SEC pass rushers, but the truth is that Lawson isn’t quite there yet, and he must improve in a couple of ways if he is to challenge the likes of Garrett and Barnett.

As a pass rusher, he’s inconsistent.  He’s been injury prone, which hasn’t helped, but still,

… In three of the seven games he played in last season, Lawson was held to two pressures or fewer, being held in check by Texas A&M, Georgia and Idaho. His pass-rushing productivity rating was impressive in the season-opener and the bowl game, but his inconsistency saw the pass-rushers mentioned earlier (along with LSU’s Arden Key) all finish with better pass-rushing productivity ratings than him.

If last year’s Georgia offensive line was capable of holding you in check, then, yeah, you’ve still got some way to go before you’re a dominant pass rusher.

When it comes to run defense, Lawson doesn’t even merit being called inconsistent.

At +2.1, Lawson’s run defense grade isn’t a problem in the sense that he grades negatively in that aspect of his game, but when compared to the other top edge defenders in the conference, there is a pretty clear gap.


The really telling player name above Lawson is Alabama’s Tim Williams. A pass-rush specialist who played just 36 snaps against the run last year, he was able to make more of an impact against the run than Lawson who, despite injury, played 207 snaps against the run. Lawson made 10 tackles resulting in a defensive stop against the run, compared with five from Williams. The difference was Williams did it on almost a sixth of the run defense snaps.

So where does he struggle against the run? In a number of ways. Lawson is athletic enough to get the better of most of the offensive tackles he’ll face as a pass rusher, but can often get caught over-pursuing at times against the run. At other times he was overpowered by opposing offensive linemen, being shoved too far inside at times.

Tell me that last paragraph doesn’t sound like any number of players Rodney Garner coached at Georgia.

Health isn’t the only thing Lawson may need to overcome this season.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Stats Geek!

What those preseason point spreads are telling us.

Chase Stuart does this exercise every preseason now – generates a set of team power rankings from the early betting lines.  I find it useful, because it provides some real insight into how Vegas sets up the season before it’s underway.  It you need a reminder of his methodology, here you go:

You may be wondering, how do we know how good Alabama’s opponents are? Well, we can imply the ratings of each team in college football based on these points spreads.  I explained how to do this last year, but here is the refresher:

The system is pretty simple: I took the point spread for each game and turned it into a margin of victory, after assigning 3 points to the road team in each game. Do this for every game, iterate the results hundreds of times ala the Simple Rating System, and you end up with a set of power ratings.

Two quick notes about the rankings.

1) These are not intended to be surprise. The methodology may be somewhat complicated, but all these ratings are intended to do is quantify public perception.

2) These are not “my” ratings. These are simply the implied ratings based on the Vegas (or, more specifically, the Golden Nugget) points spreads; nothing more, nothing less.

And here’s his top twenty.


As he notes, he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with this.  As a matter of fact, there’s a remarkable consistency at the top with others.

The top five teams based on implied vegas ratings are, in order, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Clemson, Florida State. In Phil Steele’s top 10 rankings, he has Alabama at 1, Oklahoma at 3, at 5, Clemson at 2, and FSU at 4; in other words, that’s the same top five, just in a different order. ESPN’s FPI’s top six teams are FSU-LSU-Oklahoma-Clemson-Tennessee-Alabama. That, of course, is the same top six as these implied ratings. Bill Connelly at SB Nation? His top five was, as of February, also Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State.

Along those lines, Georgia at 12 doesn’t seem that out of line.  Also worth noting is that Georgia faces five of the top 22 teams in that set of ratings.  Add in Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Vanderbilt and that’s eight of the top 48 there.  There may be more meat on those scheduling bones than we’ve admitted.

Nothing definitive, of course, but it does shed some more light on the preseason perceptions of Georgia.


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

The case for not-Lambert

Greyson Lambert finished the 2015 season with the SEC’s fifth highest passer rating among starters, which makes this list kinda cold, don’t you think?


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!