"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
A quick guide to where my numbers come from and how they are calculated.
Where Does The Data Come From?
My sole source is the NCAA website, which hosts the play by play data for every year since 2003. 2004 and forward is nearly all there but 2003 is a bit hit and miss.
Thanks to MCaliber I can pull each week’s games down directly from the site into Excel where I translate the text into a variety of field and calculations that ultimately end up in an Access database. My tools are somewhat crude but they work and I can get what I need from them.
To data I have 992,624 plays in the database.
All games between two FBS teams. Any games against FCS teams don’t exist as far as I’m concerned.
Every play from these games are in the database but not all plays go into calculations. End of half drives are excluded as are any drives in the second half where one team leads by 16 points or more. Only plays under those circumstances are excluded, all other plays from those games are included.
Sacks are counted as pass plays and all fumbles are excluded due to their random nature.
What’s The Baseline?
Based on all of this historical data, each down, distance and line of scrimmage are given an expected value. For example:
1st and 10 from your own 20: 1.53 expected points
1st and goal from the 1: 6.48
Since each situation has a value, the value of any play is the change in value created. A 79-yard pass on 1st and 10 from the 20 to the other 1 is worth 4.95 points (6.48 points – 1.53 points). If the running back then punches it in from the 1, he is awarded .49 points (6.97 – 6.48). Touchdowns are worth 6.97 because they create the opportunity for the PAT which is successful 97% of the time. If the PAT is good, the values for the drive look like this:
QB/WR 3.95 points
RB: .49 points
K: .03 points
Thus the 7 points the offense generated are accounted for between the initial 1.53 from field position and the remaining 5.47 from play.
Even plays that gain yards can yield to negative expected point changes. A two-yard gain on 1st and 10 puts the offense in a worse spot than they began even though it was positive yardage. If a drive ends, all of the initial field position points are “left on the field.”
Let’s say a team hands the ball to their running back three times from the 20 and gains 3 yards each play. A punt on fourth and 1 means that the initial 1.53 expected points is now 0 so the running back now has three plays for –1.53 on the books. Third down plays are typically swing plays and can provide large deviations. Convert a lot of third downs and your value/play will be larger than your yards indicated. Fail on a lot of third downs and it quickly swings in the opposite direction.
What Adjustments Are Made?
We are finally getting to PAN, Points Against Normal. All previous calculations are done independent of opponent. Once several games are on the books in a season, we start to get a picture of who is good and who is not so we can make calibrations to performances.
The baseline as calculated above is adjusted based on the strength of opponents' rush/pass offense/defense. Last year Michigan allowed 0.19 points/rush, which [Ed-M: moment of shock coming] is really bad. So even if the opponent averaged 0.15 points per rush initially, their final tally was negative at –0.04 per play since they performed below what the average team did versus Michigan. A team would have to have an initial average of at least 0.20 to come out positive on the final scoring.
The final scoring is what I will refer to as PAN. It is a measure of actual scoreboard points above the average team you are. PAN can refer to a specific unit such as passing offense, total defense or kick returns, or for a team in total. It is also a good metric for comparing quarterbacks and running backs. It is only somewhat effective for wide receivers since they rarely yield negative plays.
What Does It All Mean?
Zero PAN means you are completely average. For a BCS conference team like Michigan this typically means bottom third of the league. A three-points swing in PAN typically equates to an additional win or loss over the course of a season.
+7 will put you around the Top 25 on the season
+14 is typically Top Ten and potential BCS game
+21 is best in class and probably playing for a national championship
The top rated team I have is Florida 2008. They finished +13 on offense, +7 on defense and +3 in special teams. The top Big Ten team is Ohio 2005 at +19 (7/9/3). The top Michigan team is 2006 at +14 (4/6/4). They come in at 50th overall in the last 8 seasons.
I will try and add relevant updates if more questions come up in the comments.
I found this article on Randy Shannon and Nevin Shapiro interesting.
It basically summarizes how Randy Shannon warned his players about Shapiro by name on multiple occasions, refused to talk to the guy, and threatened any assistant coach who dealt with Shapiro with an instant firing. There are rumors he had people around town who would let him know if they saw his players with Shapiro.
Shapiro responded with racially-charged rants to the AD about Shannon. It appears the AD and Shannon didn't exactly see eye-to-eye over Shannon's refusal to even talk to Shapiro.
And yet he still had 12 players receive illegal benefits.
Question: Is it always the coach's responsibility when this kind of thing happens? I know we all say the head coach is ultimately responsible, and maybe he is. But with a system this bad and not exactly getting full support from the AD, what is he supposed to do? Leave the job in protest?
I ask because some of the first things to come out on this board after the story broke were "thank god we didn't hire Randy Shannon as DC." Reading this article though, is Randy Shannon such a bad guy? Should he be held responsible?
In this practice video produced by Rivals yesterday, it appears that Vincent Smith and Courtney Avery are practicing either kick or punt return catches. It seems to be the impression that Smith may be in even better shape with the knee this year, and I like the idea of putting him back there. Avery played QB very efficiently in high school, so I'd also like to see if he could make some plays back there as well.
Apparently, the rock band, Pop Evil, has recorded a Michigan Football tribute song. The song will be released at the end of the month and they made a 'teaser trailer'/hype video for it. I found it here: http://banana1015.com/pop-evil-teases-2011-michigan-wolverines-football-song-in-the-big-house/ and it is pretty cool. This is my first time starting a topic. Hope the embed works.
Towards the end of Fan Day on Saturday, Brady Hoke and Dan Ferrigno had the kicking unit out on the field kicking field goals for the crowd, presumably to simulate a pressure situation. From what I saw, Broekhuizen and Gibbons were actually more impressive than Wile in terms of leg strength. Wile started looking shaky at about the 25/30 yard line, which, granted, is still a decent range, but not as good as he was hyped to be. Couldn't really judge accuracy too much among the three because they didn't do a whole lot of kicks, but Wile wasn't noticeably better than Broekhuizen or Gibbons. Anyone else there to see this?
Either way, I'm wondering whether we should dial down our expectations for Wile being a fast remedy for our kicking problems. If someone with a more experienced eye can lend some insight regarding the Fan Day kicking performance, that would be good, too.