Point spreads and power ratings

Chase Stuart goes through a little exercise each preseason that I find useful in terms of evaluating opening betting lines.  He takes the Golden Nugget point spreads and runs them though his Simple Rating System (SRS) to rank the teams by the results.

The 2015 preseason SRS rankings are here.  And you can see Vegas ain’t buying the “SEC is dead” talk.  Five of the top ten teams, seven of the top fourteen, eight of the top eighteen and ten of the top twenty five are from the SEC.

There are seventy teams that had enough lines published to make the rankings.  Georgia plays nine of those, five being in the top twenty.

Don’t read too much into this.  As he notes, “The methodology may be somewhat complicated, but all these ratings are intended to do is quantify public perception.”  It matters as much as you think the Golden Nugget knows what it’s doing.

Besides, it’s still July.

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

Like the sun rising in the east…

Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s got the SEC’s back.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

“… Everybody has certain things they’re better at than others.”

Remember back in the day when a constant line of criticism about the way Mark Richt ran his program was that he was handling both head coach and offensive coordinator duties?  “Too much on his plate,” the grumbling went.  “Almost no other school does it,” the wise heads allowed.

Welp, would you believe at present there are thirty-two FBS head coaches who also handle coordinator duties?  Morons. Don’t they know any better?

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Filed under College Football

“Who doesn’t want more money?”

Count me in the “if it walks like a duck…” school of thought camp.  So when I hear folks talk like this

“Any little money will be nice,” said Georgia senior offensive tackle Kolton Houston. “There are spots throughout my college career that you definitely have to be like, ‘Do I go put gas money in my car or do I go eat dinner somewhere?’ That’s definitely going to make things a lot easier.”

… or this…

Bulldogs outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said he’s “happy” to get his stipend.

“I’m hoping it’s a decent amount so I can get some new clothes instead of waiting for the holidays and waiting for mom and dad to get me some new outfits,” he said.

… or this…

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema thinks his staff needs to keep an eye out on of how players handle their money.

“You give a young man 18, 19, 20, 21 with a little bit of pocket change, with a lot of money to make bad decisions, things can go sideways in a New York minute,” he said. “So you got a kid that’s never had $1,000 in his pocket, and all of a sudden he’s got $2,000, that’s dangerous. That leads to dumb decisions. I think we have to monitor that as coaches and be aware of that.”

… or this

“As a freshman, if you start saving, you can have a large sum of money saved,” Theus said. “Some guys like to spend their money. Some guys have the things they like, watches or whatever it may be. They might to choose to spend it on that. But coach Richt is going to educate the guys and try to make them realize this is money they can save.”

… as far as I’m concerned, they can skip the euphemisms.  Student-athletes are getting paid, period.  And plenty of schools are falling all over themselves to pay the kids as much as they can.

Surprisingly, the world as we know it isn’t ending.  We haven’t heard so much as a peep lately out of Jim Delany about his plans to take the Big Ten to Division III.

So as amateurism is getting nibbled around the edges to death, how many of you are giving up on college football now?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

When a regular season feature becomes a bug

Berry Tramel explores ten reasons for the Big 12’s apparent decline in this piece.  From the point of view of somebody who thinks playing a round robin schedule is the best way for a conference to determine its champion, for me, this sucks to read:

… The 10-school format makes for a great regular season, but it comes at a two-fold cost. The nine-game conference schedule makes it difficult for a team to go through the conference unscathed, and no conference championship game puts the Big 12 at a decided disadvantage with its four chief competitors, all of whom play that 13th game.

Playoff expansion will force the regular season to become ever more cookie cutter, as conferences will have little choice but to mold themselves into vehicles that have the best chance of delivering their teams to the postseason.  And given that no matter what they do, there are still only so many slots, it’s pretty obvious where things are headed.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, College Football

Life in the last decade of the SEC

Matt Melton manages to throw a boatload of trivia into one long paragraph.

… And speaking of divisional crowns, in just three seasons of play in the SEC, Missouri has already won twice as many SEC East titles as Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt combined. In the SEC Championship Game itself, the west has reeled off six consecutive victories (with five coming by at least 17 points). Before we close this chapter of Statistically Speaking, I will leave you with what I feel is an extraordinary piece of statistical minutia regarding the SEC. Since 2005, every SEC team (including newbies Missouri and Texas A&M) has had at least one season with at least four conference wins and one season with at least five conference losses (i.e. a .500 conference record and a losing conference record).

As Matt says, make of that what you will.

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Filed under SEC Football

It could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The New York Times has a pretty good story about Nick Saban’s flirtation with Texas from a couple of years ago.  The amazing thing to me is the number of people associated with the Longhorns program who managed to delude themselves into thinking Jimmy Sexton was being something other than Jimmy Sexton.

Enter the biggest dick in college football.

In November, Steve Patterson, the former president and general manager of the N.B.A.’s Portland Trail Blazers, became the university’s athletic director, replacing Dodds. Patterson was tasked with cleaning up the mess at Texas, something he would soon begin to do. Of course, he had come to Texas well after the Sexton call with Tom Hicks and Hall. It wasn’t too long after Patterson had taken the job at Texas that Sexton called him, too.

Patterson says he believes he knew what Sexton was up to. “I’ve known Jimmy for 30 years,” he says. “I told him if he wanted to come here and drink bourbon and eat barbecue and talk about Saban, that’d be fine. But I told him not to come here if he just wanted to get Saban an extension and a raise at Alabama, which I thought was his intention all along.

“Of course, Jimmy took great affront to that, which is fine. He was just doing his job. But that was the end of the conversation. I never talked to Saban and we never made an offer.”

Which is a crying shame, if for no other reason than it would have been a gas to hear Saban’s reaction to being required to pay for his meals.

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Filed under Jimmy Sexton is the Nick Saban of agents and is Nick Saban's agent, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.