UPDATE: Part Two is here. Includes an alrernative to Passing Efficiency.
Today's Stat: Passing Efficiency(Full NCAA Rankings)
Players of note: Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (1st, 210.25); Jimmy Clausen, ND (3rd, 196.31); Kirk Cousins, MSU (6th, 186.71); Tate Forcier, Michigan (21st, 161.69); Terrelle Pryor, OSU (79th, 116.92)
Why it's important:It's pretty much the golden standard for measuring the (wait for it) efficiency of a quarterback. It's not flawless by any means, but overall is a pretty good indication of how good a quarterback is. Once there's a good sample size (at least 100 attempts), it's pretty safe to say that a player in the top 20 of the efficiency ratings is a good quarterback, and a player outside the top 50 isn't quite as high-caliber.
Why it's flawed:Passing Efficiency measures just that -- efficiency. How efficient something or someone is usually boils down to how much of 'x' they can do in 'y' amount of tries. It's no different in the world of college football. The equation for Passing Efficiency in College Football is as follows:
(Completions x 100) + (Yards x 8.4) + (Touchdowns x 330) - (Interceptions x 200)
So while all of that stuff on top is really important, it really boils down to how many passes the quarterback has attempted. For example:
Quarterback A plays basically the whole game and racks up some pretty good numbers, but in the red zone gets bruised up and comes out for a play.
Quarterback B comes in for that one play and throws an eight yard touchdown pass, and is right back on the bench, and remains there for the rest of the game.
Quarterback A's stats: 28/35, 310yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Quarterback B's stats: 1/1, 8yds, 1 TD
Go ahead and take a stab at each quarterback's rating. Or just scroll down a bit and look at the actual answers, you cheater.
Quarterback A's Efficiency Rating: 246.2
Quarterback B's Efficiency Rating: 497.2
Quarterback B, the backup who came in for one play, isn't necessarily a better quarterback than Quarterback A.. there's actually a good chance that he's a good deal worse. His efficiency rating, however, is more than twice that of Quarterback A, who had a damn good day throwing the ball. However because that one pass attempt that he did have was a successful one, his Efficiency Rating is about 287 points higher than the current highest rating in Division 1.
Applying this to current statistics:Ryan Mallett: 17/22, 309yds, 1 TD (210.25)
In the one game he's appeared in so far, Mallett has only attempted 22 passes (remember, the smaller the sample size the more skewed the rating), and completed 17 of them. A 77% completion percentage is second only to Sean Canfield (OSU, NTOSU), who has the 14th highest efficiency rating. He only has the one touchdown and has yet to throw a pick (not as important as you'd think, as you'll see later). Not stellar numbers by any means, but he did pretty well against Missouri State.
Jimmy Clausen: 40/60, 651yds, 7 TDs (196.31)
Not too much to say here, the efficiency rating is pretty well deserved so far. Quite the interesting comparison to Mallett's numbers, however. Clausen's numbers are obviously superior in every way but completion percentage. Clausen is clearly the superior quarterback here, yet because of the small sample size in Mallett's case, he has the higher rating.
Tate Forcier: 36/53, 419yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT (161.69)
Tate's numbers compared to his rating are also pretty interesting. He actually has a higher completion percentage (67.9) than Clausen (66.7), has a respectable touchdown percentage (9.43% of his passes are touchdowns, compared to Clausen's 11.7%), and only has the one interception. However even if we take that interception away (it wasn't even his fault!), Forcier's rating doesn't improve too dramatically. If the pass fell harmlessly to the ground, his rating would be a 165.5, good for 17th. If the pass was completed for a 15 yard gain his rating would be a 169.7, putting him in 16th.
The TakeawayQuarterback Efficiency Rating is an effective way to rank the overall efficiency of quarterbacks, especially later in the season once there is a decent sample size of attempts to go by. Until then, however, it's a stat that's easily skewed by a few attempts going for big yards and touchdowns. We all know Quarterback A in the example above had a better game than Quarterback B, but the formula for efficiency rating doesn't. Quarterback B did complete 100% of his passes, and 100% of his attempts went for touchdowns.. the thing is there was just the one attempt. Therein lies the flaw.
Just for fun, try to guess which stat line would garner the higher efficiency rating. Answers are at the bottom of the post.
Situation 1 Situation 2
A. 25/30, 250yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs l A. 30/40, 300yds, 1 TD
B. 15/17, 140yds, 1 TD l B. 10/12, 100yds, 2 TDs
A. 20/24, 200yds, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
B. 20/40, 250yds, 5 TDs
Behind the Numbers will be back soon with another look at a stat from the world of College Football. Any stats you want to be examined a little closer? Or even just a stat you've been interested in for a long time? Let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to get to it in the next few installments of BtN. Thanks for reading!
Situation 1- A: 162.0 B: 176.8; Situation 2- A: 146.2 B: 208.3;
Situation 3- A: 147.5 B:143.75
My main webpage is http://webpages.charter.net/ultimakhan/ and Brian was gracious enough to post it in one of his posts a few years back -- I just wanted to add a diary entry for those looking for an easier link to the content.
The full topic list on the site is as follows:
Current Poll Summaries (conference -- includes 10-year lookback)
All-time AP Poll Information (several entries)
Average 1-A (FBS) scores for FBS vs. FBS games only (current year)
Bowl Information (10-year records¤t streaks)
Win-Loss Information (current year and 10-year lookback)
Also included at the end are additional stats on the Big Ten records and some Michigan specific records.
I welcome any feedback to improve the content and/or correct mistakes (with your information showing me what was wrong).
During the ND game on Saturday, ESPN used a graphic that showed ND had slipped to #3 in all-time wins, behind U-M and Texas. I had not realized this happened at the end of last season.
Here are the current (up-to-date following 2009 Week 2) rankings for wins and winning percentage. Comments/observations below.
1. MICHIGAN - 874
2. Texas - 834
3. Notre Dame - 832
4. Nebraska - 819
5. Ohio State - 809
6. Penn State - 802
7. Alabama - 801
8. Oklahoma - 792
9. Tennessee - 777
10. Southern Cal - 768
ALL-TIME WINNING PERCENTAGE:
1. MICHIGAN - .740 (874-295-36, 1205 GP)
2. Notre Dame - .736 (832-285-42, 1159 GP)
3. Texas - .718 (834-317-33, 1184 GP)
4. Oklahoma - .716 (792-298-53, 1143 GP)
5. Ohio State - .715 (809-307-53, 1169 GP)
6. Alabama - .709 (801-316-43, 1160 GP)
7. Southern Cal - .707 (768-303-54, 1125 GP)
8. Nebraska - .702 (819-337-40, 1196 GP)
9. Tennessee - .694 (777-328-53, 1158 GP)
10. Penn State - .690 (802-349-42, 1193 GP)
1. In terms of wins, MICHIGAN's got a huge lead over Texas and Notre Dame, followed by another drop-off to schools that have pretty recently cracked 800 wins.
2. In terms of percentage, MICHIGAN and Notre Dame have a tremendous lead.
3. Around the 1200 GP point, a win raises MICHIGAN's percentage by about .0002 (1/5 of a point). A loss drops MICHIGAN's percentage by about .0006 (just over 1/2 of a point); so 2008 was pretty tough on the all-time stats.
4. MICHIGAN's substantial leads in each category I think can be attributed to MICHIGAN's two highly dominant eras as far as number of wins: Yost and Bo. The other schools on those lists have had dominant stretches here and there, but generally only one truly dominant era each.
5. Also, since 1970, MICHIGAN has generally avoided (thus far, fingers crossed) a multi-season dead era of a bad coach or a few bad coaching searches in a row, such as has occurred with every other team on those lists, save for Penn State (though one could argue the late 1990s and early 2000s had the same effect there). 4-5 lousy seasons in a row, or a full decade of mediocrity, really takes a toll on winning percentage.
6. The top ten on each list are the same teams, in slightly different order. So number of wins is generally analogous to winning percentage. Duh. BUT:
7. Just outside of the top ten in percentage, a few precocious upstarts pop up. Florida State sits at #11 with .670 and only 460 wins. Miami (Fla.) is #14 with .634 and only 546 wins. Other than those two notables, the list roughly holds true: more all-time wins roughly equals greater winning percentage. Since the top ten traditional power schools racked up most of their wins and drove their percentages higher in an era with nowhere near the parity we have today or in the past 30 years, I think what Florida State and Miami did in the 1980s and 1990s was pretty darned impressive.
8. Until the late 1990s, MICHIGAN and Notre Dame had each hung around the .745 mark for quite a while, then Notre Dame slipped off, and Michigan followed in 2005-2008.
QUESTIONS AND INVITATION FOR PREDICTIONS:
When will MICHIGAN get to 900 wins?
When will MICHIGAN get back to .745?
Now, part-in-parcel with the "was the penalty justified?" argument must be the statement "the decision in question significantly effected the outcome of the game". For example, if Brandon Minor picks up 15 yards on first-and-ten but the refs only spot him for 14.5 yards, and Michigan later has to punt, nobody's going to argue about the spot because it didn't much matter in the big picture of things. Thus, in arguing that Allen should not have been flagged, ND fans are also arguing that if he hadn't been flagged, the game would have turned out differently. However, this is clearly not the case.
To make this argument we must enter a PARALLEL UNIVERSE! The rules of the PARALLEL UNIVERSE are as follows: Inside the parallel universe, everything happens exactly as it happened in our universe EXCEPT for the one thing that was changed. If we don't make this assumption then the parallel universe is useless for comparative purposes. With that in mind, let's begin.
Our universes diverge at the exact moment Armando Allen crosses the goal line for a successful two point conversion. In our universe, he "shushes" the crowd (and drops some F-bombs?). In the Parallel universe, he hands the ball to the ref, quietly thanks Vishnu (He practices Hinduism in the parallel universe. What?) for giving him the strength to reach the end zone, and returns to the sidelines. Jimmah Clausen's dance is ESPN's top play of the day, and he and his linemen compete in America's Top Dance Crew during the offseason, finishing third.
In our universe, Odoms returns the ensuing kickoff (which was kicked from 15 yards back due to the penalty) 15 yards to the Michigan 41.
In the parallel universe, Odoms returns the ensuing kickoff (which was kicked from the standard spot) 15 yards to the Michigan 26.
After that, in our universe Michigan drives before stalling with a 4th-and-15 at the Michigan 49.
In the parrallel universe Michigan drives before stalling with a 4th-and-15 at the Michigan 34.
In our universe, Michigan takes a deliberate delay-of-game penalty to back up 5 yards, but then Notre Dame jumps offsides moving the line back to the 49. Zoltan Mesko (who, incidentally, can SEE parallel universes. Freaky, huh?) then punts 34 yards to the ND 16. No return. Note the length of the punt - 34 yards would be pretty subpar, but Zoltan is trying to get the ball inside the 20 but not in the end zone, which he does successfully.
In the parallel universe, Michigan does not take the deliberate delay-of-game penalty but Notre Dame still jumps offsides, giving Michigan 4th-and-10 at the Michigan 39. From here, Zoltan is doing a straight-up max distance punt, and he gets it 45 yards (two more than his average from last year) which lands at... the Notre Dame 16. No return.
Look! At this point, the parallel universe and ours have re-converged, and we find Notre Dame with the ball in the same spot with the same about of time on the clock in both universes. We are left to conclude that in the big picture, Armando Allen's unsportsmanlike conduct had no more effect on the final outcome of the game than any of the millions of other minute, insignificant events and that make up a football game.
I was recently looking at Bo's career numbers and just had to marvel anew at his dominance of the B10, and his consistently successful teams. A few things I noticed about Bo's 20-year tenure at Michigan:
*Bo never lost more than one game in the B10 until his 11th season at Michigan
*Bo only lost multiple games in the B10 four times in 20 seasons
*He finished outside the Top 20 only once
*He finished outside the Top 10 only 4 times
*He finished in the Top 5 seven times
*He finished lower than 2nd place in the B10 only 4 times
*Of course, there is the well known and very rare winning record against Woody Hayes
Here is a question though: does anyone know Bo's record against Top Ten teams?
I have tried to find this info via Google and have come up empty. However, I seem to remember that Bo's record against Top Tens was not very good, even apart from his well-known failures in bowl games (5-12 overrall record).
Searching for Bo's record vs. Top Tens, I stumbled across this article regarding OSU's chronic and long-standing difficulties against Top Tens, going all the way back to Woody:
This made me wonder...given that Bo is part of Woody's coaching tree, is there a reason that both men struggled against the best competition? Is it possible that both of them were master recruiters who got the best talent, then prepared and drilled relentlessly, then overwhelmed teams with inferior talent by sheer, brute force?
Hey, no complaints about sheer, brute force here. This is football, after all. However, you can't typically go to the Rose Bowl and overwhelm USC with your superior level of talent. When talent and preparation are equal, creativity, game planning, and adjustments come into play.
If this is true, then perhaps Rich Rod is the perfect man to lead Michigan football over the top, making it into more than a very good and storied program that wins significantly more than it loses. Maybe it is under a coach like him that Michigan becomes feared again, for this simple reason: over time, the challenge of facing Michigan won't be simply that their players are more talented and better prepared. It will be that, plus that fact that opposing D coordinators won't have any idea what Michigan is about to do next.
Imagine facing all that frightening talent, channeled through an unpredictable system with virtually limitless options. Will the QB run? Will he throw short? Will he throw long? Will he hand it to a slot receiver? Who do we double cover? How can I prepare my defense to react effectively to all the deception, counters, reverses, etc.?
This team's offense is frightening right now. Imagine what it will be when Tate has more experience, when true game-breakers are recruited at RB and WR, and when the system is fully, 100% installed. Can you imagine it when all the starters on both sides of the ball are juniors and seniors?
This isn't going to be merely a pretty good team with a storied tradition and cool uniforms. This is going to be an aggressive threshing machine that rips off people's arms and legs. People are going to fear Michigan again, not just respect them--all the way down to Columbus, the lair of the Hideous Minions of Evil and their Supreme Commander, The Sweater-Vested One.
As it should be!