Ok, so this has been bouncing around my head while I was cleaning up the fallen branches from the recent snowfall. I'm not going to say anything too wild and crazy here (down with the BCS), but maybe I'll say it in a different way.
Conference championship games: EPIC FAIL
First of all, conference championship games are highly overrated, especially when they are rematches. Ideally, the conf champ game should decide who the champ is for the conference (regardless of which team wins). However, this is rarely the case, and when there is a rematch, this game will often muddy the waters even more. As an example, let's take a look at the championship games this season to see if this ever happens:
MAC: NIU vs. the Bobcats. Both teams were 9-3, but NIU was 7-1 in the league, while the Bobcats were 6-2. Toledo muddies the situation because they were also 7-1 in the league (but 8-4 overall). It seems like Toledo could have an argument for being the "best" in the conference if the Bobcats had won. Championship game FAIL.
Pac 10: Oregon vs. UCLA. What a joke! Obviously this FAILs. But let's pretend that USC was bowl elgible, an Oregon vs. USC game still doesn't work because of Stanford. Championship game FAIL.
Conference USA: Houston (12-0, 8-0) vs. Southern Miss (10-2, 6-2). Here, they had a clear cut champion, who ended up losing. And let's also note that Tulsa was 8-4 (7-1)...so in effect they played a game between the #1 and #3 teams for this one...and the #3 team won. Championship game FAIL.
SEC: The well known case of LSU (12-0, 8-0) vs Georgia (10-2, 7-1). Raise your hand if you think that Georgia winning that game meant that they were the best team in the SEC...anyone...Bueller? Right, me neither. So why did they play this sham of a game? Because they couldn't play...
SEC championship (part 2): This will be LSU vs Alabama in a game that should be televised on Jefferson Pilot. Alabama LOST. At HOME. They couldn't even win their DIVISION, much less their CONFERENCE. The result should be different in the superdome? Even if Alabama wins, who should the champ be? 13-1 LSU or 12-1 Alabama? The word of the day is specious (link provided for any SEC fans who got lost here). SEC championship DOUBLE FAIL.
ACC championship: Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-1) vs. Clemson (9-3, 6-2). At least they got the best two teams in the league for this one. But, in my opinion, this league again had a clear cut champion. For this one, it could be argued both ways: VT still has a better overall record, but Clemson beat VT twice, and these two teams were the class of the league. I'll give this one a PUSH
BIG championship: Sparty (10-2, 7-1) vs. Bucky (10-2, 6-2). Here we had a clear cut champ. And if Sparty had pulled it off, I wouldn't have any qualms about calling little bro the conference champ. But they didn't. And now, who should be the champ? Should Sparty? I mean they split the season series, and both games were competitive. And let's not ignore Michigan and Penn State--both 6-2 in the league and having an equal number of losses as MSU and UW. Championship game FAIL.
So by my estimation, championship games are 0-6-1 this season. (The SEC gets the -2 because of the double fail...no relevant championship game, and forcing a MNC game that means nothing!) Conference championships: Defend your existance
Fixing the BCS:
Moreover, we have another problem. Oftentimes, the conference championship game loser gets punished because they played an extra game against a high quality opponent. In all of the AQ conferences the championship game loser could have easily been bumped from a BCS game. Join me in "maximum chaos world."
Oregon loses to UCLA. UCLA goes to the Rose Bowl and Stanford still gets a BCS bid. Oregon plays in the nobodycares.com bowl.
Georgia beats LSU. Georgia and Alabama get BCS games. LSU gets the Capital One Bowl.
UW beats MSU...MSU gets Outback Bowl (not even the Citrus...)
MSU beats UW...we can probably assume the same. (or maybe UW gets the citrus over Nebraska, who they pummeled).
VT beats Clemson...Clemson joins Oregon in the nobodycares.com bowl.
Clemson beats VT...If Boise State and/or Houston had stayed undefeated VT probably doesn't make it because of the autobids.
We replay the 2006 season in 2011. UM and OSU both get to the game undefeated. This also sets the schedule for the championship. OSU wins game 1 at home, Michigan wins game 2 in Indy. IIRC, Wisconsin was ~#5 in the polls that year. OSU falls below UW and UM and UW go to a BCS game.
Flip that scenario (UM wins game 1, OSU wins game 2, UW/PSU/Neb/MSU/Iowa is sitting at 4 or 5 right behind #1/2 UM/OSU). Now Michigan gets the Capital One Bowl.
To make the BCS have some semblance of logic, and to be consistent with their own mantra (each game matters), they need three rules.
- The national championship must be between two teams who won their conference. [Otherwise LSU v. Alabama part 1 didn't matter]
- In order to qualify for the BCS from a conference with a championship game, you must play in the championship game (i.e. you must win your division). In order to make it from an AQ conference with no championship game, you must be #1 or #2 in your league. (Less important because of ties and other clusterf-y things at the top of some conferences.) [Otherwise winning your division/finishing ahead of someone in your conference standings doesn't matter]
- Any championship game loser must not be punished in the BCS standings by playing a CG. If they qualified before the CG (from an AQ conference), they should stay qualified. [Otherwise you get punished for playing a game rather than a tomato can.]
I realize that these rules put a torch to the BCS games that they've got, and it would leave out a number of heavy hitters from this season's BCS (Michigan, Alabama, Stanford)--but then Boise State likes this just fine thanks. I know it's not perfect, but the BCS is inherently flawed. That is why we need:
A playoff system
First off, I don't care about the bowl system, as it is so lovingly called right now. We have way too many bowl games, and too many of them already are untenable, especially for teams that don't travel well. Colleges need to learn to say "no" to ticket guarantees and force these games to justify their own existence. If the whodafcares.com bowl was no longer in existence it would be just one less game that I don't watch.
Secondly, as Brian said:
Let's go back to first principles. What is the point of a playoff? Most soccer leagues across the globe play a balanced schedule and eschew the playoffs entirely. The season determines the champion. To them, the American way of doing things is stupid. And when you've set up your league such that everyone plays everyone else home and away, it is. Around here, however, there are very big leagues where balanced schedules are impossible and at the end of the regular season you're not quite sure who the best team is. So it makes sense to have the teams that you think might be the best team play each other.
All I've really done so far is extend this same argument:
Playoffs are assets when both of the following criteria are met:
- The regular season is insufficient to determine a best team.
- The winner of the playoff can reasonably claim to be the best team.
to conference championship games. I'm not going to make another bracket here, but I think if we eliminate conference championship games, we could add one more round to Brian's playoff proposal since we have one more week to play with. At this point, any idea is better than the BCS, right?
Michigan gets a commit as I'm writing this, which is always pretty cool. There's a fair amount of movement this week (OK, two weeks, as I was foolish enough to think I'd do mid-week rankings after Rivals finished their re-ranks) thanks to a few decommits and Rivals coming out with new rankings. Action since last rankings:
11-20-11: Pharaoh Brown removed from Michigan commit list.
11-22-11: Ohio State picks up Adolphus Washington.
11-24-11: Illinois picks up Dami Ayoola.
11-27-11: Ohio State picks up Ricquan Southward.
11-29-11: Minnesota picks up Alex Keith.
12-1-11: J.P. Holtz decommits from Penn State.
12-2-11: Deion Jones decommits from Nebraska.
12-4-11: Michigan picks up Amara Darboh.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so they are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.
It’s not quite the fourth quarter against Notre Dame, but Saturday had as many ups and downs on the Win Chart as any we’ve seen this year.
We’ll go with 5 plays each this week to mark the occasion.
1. Play 112, 14.2%, Robinson to Odoms on 3rd and 11 to give Michigan the lead back for good while the OL gave Denard all day.
2. Play 163, 11.2%, Robinson to Dileo for 28 yards on Michigan’s final drive.
3. Play 22, 11.1%, Robinson runs for 41 yards to tie it up early.
4. Play 165, 9.5%, Robinson runs for 14 yards to keep the clock moving and the drive going late.
5. Play 137, 9.3%, the defense gets in the mix, stopping Miller on 3rd and Goal from the 2, leading to the FG instead of a touchdown.
1. Play 7, –12.8%, Miller goes deep for the first score of the game.
2. Play 95, –12.0%, Miller goes deep a second time to give Ohio a halftime lead.
3. Play 172, –8.8%, Steve Watson’s personal foul pushed 3rd and Goal from difficult to impossible and increases the degree of difficulty on an impending field goal.
4. Play 134, –8.6%, Miller goes for 23 yards to give Ohio 1st and Goal at the 5 late in the third quarter.
5. Play 74, –7.1%, Miller uses my favorite NCAA Football play with an athletic QB, the wrong way speed option for a TD.
Ohio Game Scores
Rushing: +12, tops in Big Ten play and behind only SD St and E Michigan on the year
Passing: +11, second only to Northwestern on the season
Rush Defense: –9, worst score of the season
Pass Defense: –7, only Notre Dame was worse
Special Teams: +3, the late field goal pushed this to the top of the list for this year
Denard: As I tweeted earlier this week, Denard had the 5th best game of any QB this year at +24. It was both his best passing (+13) and best rushing (+11) game of the season. It was only the 7th +10 rushing performance by any QB this year and the first to pair it with a passing number higher then +3!
Toussaint: +1, a solid but not spectacular day.
Miller: Braxton Miller is going to be a force. His +15 (+6/+9) was his best game of the year by 6 points. His three games have been his three best. Had Ohio gone with him from the start Ohio is probably has at least 8 wins now.
Saturday’s +23 was the 9th best opponent adjusted offensive game of the year for any team and the best game in BCS conference play.
Fired Coach Dumb Punt of the Week
Several good candidates this week. Clemson punting from the 35 late in the third trailing by two touchdowns. Ohio punting from the 36 trailing by 6 in the third. This week’s award goes to the $8 Million Dollar Man Mike Sherman who punted from the 41 twice in the second half, going on to blow their
42nd 6th lead of the season and losing the final chapter of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry on a last second field goal.
Big Ten Projection Recap
Team: Pred W, Pred B1G W
Illinois: 8.0, 4.5
Indiana: 2.9, 0.6
Iowa: 7.8, 4.6
Michigan: 8.0, 4.8
Michigan St: 8.0, 4.7
Minnesota: 3.9, 1.2
Nebraska: 10.1, 6.1
Northwestern: 3.9, 1.7
Ohio: 9.3, 5.8
Penn St: 8.5, 5.2
Purdue: 5.7, 2.7
Wisconsin: 10.3, 6.3
That’s an average error of 1.4 games/team in total and 1.3 in conference play. Ohio was clearly my biggest miss, missing both numbers by about 3 games. Wisconsin was dead on and Iowa, Minnesota, Penn St and Purdue were all pretty close. I had the top and bottom of the Woody division correctly ranked but the middle was a mess. For the Bo division I swapped Nebraska and Sparty both nailed the other 4.
Nationally, picking conference winners went decently. Virginia Tech is favored in the ACC title game, along with other picks of mine like Wisconsin and Oregon. West Virginia is right in the middle of the Big East mess. If Alabama could make a field goal they would be playing for the SEC title and Oklahoma is playing for the Big XII’s BCS berth at bedlam.
In the smaller conferences, Tulsa, Toledo, Boise and Nevada all had shots but fell just short of championships while Troy wasn’t even close in the Sun Belt.
Advanced Metrics All-B1G
Offensive players are listed as PAN (per game)/WPA (total). OL is excluded because I have no stats specific to players. TE are evaluated solely on receiving. Defensive players are listed as Plays/Value (count and magnitude of plays made negative to the offense). Kickers and punters are cumulative for the season.
This is not meant to be absolute, but it is a ranking based solely on the advanced metrics, no judgment calls on my part.
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin +13/+3.4
Montee Ball, Wisconsin +5/+1.2 & Marcus Coker, Iowa +1/+0.7
Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern +3/+0.8
Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern +8/+2.1 & Marvin McNutt, Iowa +7/+1.3 & AJ Jenkins, Illinois +7/+1.3
Broderick Binns, Iowa 47/32 & Whitney Mercilus, Illinois 35/36
Devon Still, Penn St 45/28 & Johnathan Hankins, Ohio 50/21
Jonathan Brown, Illinois 75/41 & Lavonte David, Nebraska 59/29 & Gerald Hodges, Penn St 52/28
Josh Johnson, Purdue 33/21 & Bradley Roby, Ohio 21/27
Brian Peters, Northwestern 32/28 & Drew Astorino, Penn St 34/18
Dan Conroy, Michigan St +12.4
Ben Buchanan, Ohio +10
Denard Robinson, Michigan +7/+3.5
Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan +1/+.4 & Rex Burkhead, Nebraska +0/+.3
Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin +2/+0.3
BJ Cunningham, Michigan St +7/+1.1 & Nick Toon, Wisconsin +6/+1.0 & Da’Jon McKnight, Minnesota +4/+0.8
John Simon, Ohio 40/25 & Michael Buchanan, Illinois 38/18
Mike Daniels, Iowa 40/22 & Akeem Spence, Illinois 40/18
David Nwabuisi, Northwestern 51/21 & Ian Thomas, Illinois 47/20 & Will Compton, Nebraska 49/18
Tavon Wilson, Illinois 28/17 & Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern 25/17
Jordan Kovacs, Michigan 17/27 & CJ Barnett, Ohio 25/18
Brett Maher, Nebraska +11.8
Cody Webster, Purdue +8
Ryan van Bergen, Mike Martin and Kenny Demens all narrowly missed spots on the second team defense.
Don’t know if articles will be coming weekly, but I have a number of articles and ideas in the hopper for the pre and post-bowl season.
A bowl game preview
The promised Game Theory Manifesto
A 4th down redux, a more detailed look at fourth down decision making with an added tool of offensive and defensive strength sliders for dynamic decision making.
A critique of success rates and the concept of “staying ahead of the chains”
A semi-related post on why I think the running back position is overrated
A more detailed looks at the EV and WPA implications tied to UFR.
EV and WPA by coaches and if I can find a good source of history, coordinators, as well.
Some recruiting themed posts around signing day on the back of a massive recruiting database I am building on the back of my play by play database. I think there is a lot of potential here, just don’t know if I can pull it off.
Any user submitted ideas that are sure to be better than what I have listed so far.
Denard B10 Passing (8 Games)
Compare this to Denard's Overall Passing Season:
Brian mentioned a few times that Denard's B10 Season was much better than his overall season so I wanted to look at the numbers. He was able to retain his yards/attempt while completing a higher percentage of passes. The improvements he made are impressive considering it was against B10 defenses (Minnesota not withstanding) and speaks to his better understanding of the passing scheme. Denard improved immensely in 2010 and in 2011 had to learn a new system. Its reasonable to expect continuity and increased understanding, not to mention his hard-work we all know will happen. Throw in the rushing yards and Denard in 2012 could produce a year we have never seen before.
|Michigan Hockey: Alaska Preview|
|Michigan (7-7-2) at Alaska (6-8-2)|
|12/2-12/3 7:05pm Alaska Time|
Something occurred to me while I was looking at the Nanooks stats, they are exactly are same as we are. Talented playmakers on offense; a good goalie who has to work way to hard, and a defense who is totally clueless. They also spend most of the game in the box, so it's an exact replica of our team without the draft picks.
Carlo Finucci is the leader of the team and is probably the most talented player they have, and his +7 leads all forwards. On paper this offense isn't anything special, but as we have seen all of this season you don't need to be in the Top 40 to score on us.
Another bad defensive unit, the stats tell all. The Nanooks blueliners don't score, they are just as lost as we are, and they sit in the box. Does this matter? No it doesn't, because on Fridays hockey god says “Thou shall not score more than one goal.” One thing they do very well is block shots, Aaron Gens leads the team with 42. He probably doesn't walk much, and his dark red shins may or may not be mistaken for Brian Kelly's face. But seriously, that could be a huge problem for us because all season long our team has struggled to defend the other teams rush. Blocked shots can easily lead to transition opportunities for the other team, so they need to control the puck.
Does this look familiar?
Not a bad goaltender but he has to works way too hard. He comes into this series at 20th Nationally, but with the way his defense has played for him it's amazing that he has preformed so well. The NCAA stats are skewed because players who have only played a few games still count, so he could be much higher than 20th. If he is on his game this series is going to be very difficult.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||7-5-12||42||+8||12|
It's hard to figure out what is going on with this offense. Somehow they are 4th Nationally in scoring, but something is just not right. There are many factors that could help us understand what is wrong, but I can't put my finger on it. I firmly believe that Lindsay Sparks is hurting more then helping, his offense is outstanding but on defense he is killing us. It's hard to tell what line he is on without seeing an entire game, but at this point Red needs to consider moving him down. He just doesn't possess the skills to defend a 1st or 2nd line college player.
Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself on this idea, but I also feel that Phil Di Giuseppe has become one of the most important players on this team. Just looking through the box scores Michigan is 5-1-1 when he records a point, and just 2-6-1 when he does not. This team has scorers but he is a playmaker, and that is what we are lacking. Just a thought, but it is something to consider.
I don't even no where to start. It's so bad even the sound of Al Randall's voice can't make it better. Just watching highlights Northeastern should have had at least 6 goals. Seriously? One of the worst offensive teams in the Nation took us to the woodshed on our own ice. This picture doesn't look like much but it summarizes everything that is going wrong, that's Greg Pateryn skating about 20 feet to far forward. WTF man?
I think a part of me died inside when I watched a NE player throw the puck from the offensive zone faceoff circle, over a Michigan defenders head to someone standing all alone in bolivia for a breakaway. Ughh.
It was expected that the workload would catch up to him and it has. Hunwick has played outstanding in the net and his heroics have kept us in most of our losses, but he can't do it all by himself. I haven't gotten on Hunwick for his performance and I won't start now.
This is a hard one. We have the talent to do it, but the factors going into this game make me very pessimistic. It's always hard when we have to play in Alaska; it's a Friday game, we are in free fall, we lost to Northeastern. I have to say a split is the best case, but the season is on the line and im sure Red has them in panic mode. I think we lose the first game and take the second.