Category Archives: 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!

Today, in I blame Bobo.

Chip Towers makes a factual point about why we need Jacob Eason on that line.

But if the Bulldogs are to get back to where they traditionally have been offensively — that is, atop the SEC in points scored and total yardage — they have to resurrect the passing game. And Eason represents the best option for doing that.

When Georgia was annually among the leaders in scoring in the SEC, they always had a dynamic passing game. From 2007 to 2014, the Bulldogs always put up at least 2,500 yards passing, and usually well over 3,000 yards. Even when Georgia was rolling with its run game behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall in 2013, the offense threw for 4,085 yards.

Last year that slipped to 2,406 yards. So did scoring, to 26.3 points per game.

Yeah, last year was definitely anemic.  But even over the time Towers reviews, there were ups and downs to Georgia’s offense as a whole.  Look at Georgia’s conference ranking over the last eight seasons in yards per play.

  • 2008:  2nd (6.70)
  • 2009:  6th (5.94)
  • 2010:  4th (6.15)
  • 2011:  4th (5.63)
  • 2012:  1st (7.09)
  • 2013:  5th (6.66)
  • 2014:  1st (6.79)
  • 2015:  5th (6.03)

The worst average comes from the year of no running game, 2011.  The lowest ranking comes as a result of a Coxian turnover margin.  The three best years all came when the offense combined solid running games with experienced quarterbacks.  (And 2013 would have been right up there had it not been for the run of injuries.)

So you tell me — assuming Georgia’s running game is great again, is Eason special enough to match what Stafford, Murray and Mason brought to the table as experienced starters?


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Analytics and Trent Thompson

From Pro Football Focus’ top 10 true sophomores list:

8. Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia

+11.3 overall; No. 63 among returning FBS defensive interior linemen

Thompson only played 264 snaps in 2015 due to a lingering ankle injury but he had some dominant performances as a run defender when he was healthy. Thompson had 20 tackles, four assists and a +10.5 run grade. His 11.5 run stop percentage ranks No. 5 among returning FBS defensive tackles. As a pass rusher Thompson had one sack, one hit, 3 hurries and a +0.1 pass rush grade. Thompson should have a very productive 2016 as a run stopper and could emerge as one of the better defensive tackles in the country if he can improve his pass rush ability.

The timing of the injury last year was frustrating, as you began to sense he was starting to come into his own; he was clearly as talented, if not more so, than any other defensive lineman Georgia played in 2015.  Let’s hope he can stay on the field all season.  That d-line’s gonna need all the help it can get.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Gus’ Grand Illusion

He doesn’t want much.

Gus Malzahn’s No. 1 goal this upcoming season is to field a top-10 defense. Yes, you heard that correctly.

“It’s not offense. It’s not ‘this or that.’ It’s for us to play top 10 defense,” Malzahn said this spring, according to Auburn’s official website.

To give you an idea of how off the charts this is, here’s Auburn’s national ranking in total defense over the last six seasons:

  • 2015 — 71st
  • 2014 — 66th
  • 2013 — 87th
  • 2012 — 81st
  • 2011 — 80th
  • 2010 — 60th

I’m sensing a pattern here, and it ain’t top ten.  And that’s with defensive stalwarts like Boom, Ellis Johnson, VanGorder and Chizik having their fingers in the mix.

Good luck with all that, Kevin Steele.


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

At least they got one.

Pro Football Focus lists its top 101 players in college football here.  It’s an interesting list, in that the site goes into extensive use of analytics to justify the selections.

If you take it seriously, then it’s a little depressing to see only one Georgia player there — Nick Chubb at No. 12.  For comparison’s sake, there are six SEC teams with more than one player.  And in terms of the schedule, note that Florida shows up with four players, while Tennessee and North Carolina each have three.

No, it’s not a be all and end all comparison.  Depth matters, obviously.  But if you’re a top tier SEC program that’s been chasing elite talent, it’s hard not to think it should show a little better on a list like this.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Today’s random stat

I came across something Paul Myerberg wrote about Georgia before the 2013 season…

Georgia is 18-3 since the start of the 2007 season when intercepting two or more passes, including a 3-0 mark in such games a year ago. In fact, this record improves to 18-1 when counting only regular-season games; two of these losses came in bowl play, to Michigan State in the 2012 Outback Bowl and UCF in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.

… and decided to rummage around to see how the Dawgs fared since Myerberg posted that.

  • 2013:  1-1
  • 2014:  3-0
  • 2015:  3-0

All told, 7-1, which adds up to a 25-4 mark over the last nine seasons.  That’s not too shabby there.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!