somehow we're only 124th
Yesterday I got to be part of the Color Guard (those people in military uniform that do stuff with the Us flag before the game). It was at Cal, but I didn't mind it because it was a special opportunity, and I go to school very near there (Sorry, I'm a lifer who didn't even go to the school...Brainwashed? Maybe, but don't you DARE say it!) So, I was able to stand 40 feet from the tunnel when the players came out, hang out pre-game and see those HUGE linemen walk past me, and stand next to the warming up cheerleaders. (It's really hard to stand at attention and not look at the people in front of you when they are cheerleaders stretching.) Then, I ended up going back to my brother's frat for the end of the game because it started raining and I was still in uniform (Oh, and Cal was up by 33-3 if my memory doesn't suck)
The point of this was to observe some things:
1.) Those players at Cal at pretty big
2.) I can actually see why this happened. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5710536 When I walked in no one EVER questioned me. I was just in uniform and after I was on the field I was then able to move to the student section. I will admit, I don't think I should have been allowed there, but I could have gone almost anywhere, and I wanted to meet my brother, who was in the student section. This is more bothersome.
3.) My new dream for life is to get this equivalent of a free field pass at UM. I swear to you all that if I do end up getting to do colors (flag ceremony stuff) at UM then I will.....I will....maybe cry while holding the colors? Just a tear of joy. Oh, yeah, and I will try to BODY SURF! (just kidding, would still be in uniform)
With some spare time before the NCAA tournament this year, I developed a predictive model to pick basketball games for my NCAA bracket pool (figured it was better than me picking) using a descriptive discriminant analysis, which essentially assesses the variables that discriminates between categorical variables (in this case, wins and losses). I experienced success with my NCAA basketball model (predicted 80-85% of the NCAA tournament games correctly), so I thought I would see how applicable it would be to college football. So, for the last few weeks I have been validating the model week to week against the Sagarin rating and have had the exact same predictive accuracy (65-70%...not as great as it could be, but I’m in the process of improving upon the model) in terms of expected outcomes (winners vs. losers). I figured it’s a good time to share with fellow MGoBloggers and I hope to make this as concise and readable as possible. Apologies ahead of time if some of the tables don’t show up right, as I’m not too sure how to embed the tables within the diary as well as others.
After assessing a variety of team statistics from the past few weeks (SOS, win percentage, turnover margin, offensive yards per play, defensive yards per play, having a home game, and so on…you name it I have it and have looked at it) on a national level (Division 1-A - FBS only), the team statistics that best predict weekly winners and losers are, in order of importance:
- Point Differential (avg points scored – avg points given up)
- Offensive Yards Per Play
- Defensive Yards Per Play
- Win Percentage
- Turnover Margin
Notable variables that were not important in determining weekly winners are 1) having a home game and 2) strength of schedule (probably too fluid of a variable right now, but could be predictive for bowl game winners at the end of the season).
Big Ten Rankings:
The Big Ten rankings for Week 9 are below. All of the variables in my model are presented in z-scores (-3 to 3) that were computed on a national level, with the higher the score the better for variables for which positive results are better (offensive yards per play, win percentage, turnover margin, and point differential). For the lone variable (defensive yards per play) that is inversely related to winning, having a lower value is better. The variable PREDSCOR is the output of the model, and the game winner is determined solely by the higher of the score between the two teams.
- My model does have us ranked a little higher, and Penn State a little lower than Sagarin. Sagarin indicates this game should be closer, while my model says there is more separation between Michigan and Penn State
- Illinois is ranked lower
- We’re in the middle of the pack in Big Ten (where we expected we might be)
Predictive Model Results for Week 9:
Michigan (1.21) at Penn State (-.05) = Michigan
Michigan State (3.40) at Iowa (2.65) = Michigan State
Northwestern (.43) at Indiana (-.97) = Northwestern
Purdue (-.88) at Illinois (.26) = Illinois
Ohio State (3.97) at Minnesota (-2.46) = Ohio State
Seems every time I tune in to a Penn State game this year, they're throwing deep passes on 1st down, and completing several for touchdowns. That can't be the norm, of course, but I figured there was something to that.
So, I did some digging and came up with these numbers. FWIW. I have no idea how they compare against any other Penn State team, or any other 2010 team, or any other team that ever has suited up in a football uniform at any level.
With that backdrop, here are Robert Bolden's passing stats so far:
* On first down, Bolden has a 15.4 YPC (and 8.2 YPA), while on other downs combined he has an 11.5 YPC (6.8 YPA).
* McGloin's first playing time of the year came Saturday at Minnesota, in relief of the apparently concussed Bolden. McGloin's positive stats were even more heavily weighted to 1st downs than Bolden's. On 1st downs he was 4/7 for 66 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT, and on other downs combined he was 2/6 for 10 yards and 1 TD and 0 INT. Check out McGloin's long TD pass on the Tube. Very Sheridanian in the throwing effort and motion -- and appeared to be his throwing-distance max. Several of his incompletions were ugly, and the pick was a ridiculously bad decision. Shades of Utah.
* Oh. And Kevin Newsome has played only in garbage time, except Saturday at Minnesota, when he was in for one drive and wasn't asked to throw. On the year he is 2/4 for 15 yards on 1st down, and 3/9 for 34 yards on other downs. He has thrown neither a TD nor a pick. That is, Newsome has not been called on to throw one important pass all year. Smile, M fans.
* By my numbers, 44% of Penn State's passing yards (606 of 1,363) have come on 1st down. As have the majority (4/7) of its passing touchdowns.
* Based on these stats, occasional watching of PSU games, and poring over their play-by-play sheets this year, this Penn State team throws deep almost exclusively on first down, and has found success that way for TDs in three of the past four games (1 vs Temple, 0 vs Iowa, 1 vs Illinois, 2 vs Minn [Bolden and McGloin].
* The last time -- and the only time all season -- Bolden has thrown a TD NOT on 1st down was in the opener against I-AA Youngstown State, when he tossed two.
* Throwing on 1st down gives Penn State the best chance to protect its green QBs. And its best chance to move the ball through the air.
* PSU generally throws only short or very short passes on 2nd down. Hello, Ben Chappell.
* Good things generally don't happen when Penn State passes on 2nd or 3rd down, especially 3rd down: ergo the <40% 3rd-down conversion rate.
* NOTE TO GERG AND STAFF, AND ESPECIALY CAM GORDON: This is just a hunch -- but I suspect they've been passing more on 1st down against those defenses that cheat against the run on 1st down. Iowa doesn't, of course, so it's no surprise Bolden was highly ineffective passing on 1st down against the Hawkeyes (less than 50%). For UM this Saturday night, it might be wisest to either rush only 3 on 1st down, or bring the house occasionally on a suspected 1st-down pass, while always keeping Gordon deep -- eg, after a sudden change, or after two successive 1st downs on the ground, etc. Bolden isn't slow, but he's about as unsavvy/unaware in the pocket as any other true frosh. Sacks are there to be had, especially on long passing downs.
Agree? Disagree? Does this all amount to two-thirds of four-fifths of Eff-all?
... Tennessee, they are going through what we went through in 2008.
And, we even have it better than USC and the dark cloud that hangs over their "average" team; and Texas, and Florida, and Georgia.
And of course, Notre Dame
I recently got in an argument with one of my MSU friends who claims that the spread will not work at BCS-caliber level football... I just can't wait to prove that wrong. I see so many parallels between this offense and ours; both are based on zone-read option, and this year, Oregon returned 19(?) starters... which is about what we return again next year. The only thing missing is a breakout running back, which hopefully Dee Hart will fix.
(not good with embedding... sorry!)
Post your user name and team choice for a PS3 Online Dynasty starting later today. Any teams are available. Non-conference games vs. human opponents.
Michigan is only team taken.
We will forward every 3 days.
My user name is RichRod44. Look for the invite later.