return to glory
Much has been made of the recent UM record. However, whenf statisticians seek a more reliable measure of a team’s quality and the direction of a program, they look at the bigger picture by (1) comparing that season record with records from other schools and (2) considering not a single year, but groups of years (called a moving average).
(1) I looked at the records of the two most recent coaches among our rivals. I found that ND had a 3 win season, OSU had a four win season; and MSU had three four-win seasons. Some of these occurred during coaching transitions, like UM’s. But others had no such excuse.http://cid-4bf9d75c782b05b1.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/notre%20dame%20trends/ND+trends+vs+UM.jpg
(2) As in prior threads (see footnote*), I now report the analysis of the records of the ND coaches, based on the victories averaged over each of 4 successive seasons.**
Results: Under Lou Holz, the trend was positive overall (with an increase of .125 victories per year). Yet, much as occurred during LC’s initial years, the gains were all early, and were followed by a gradual decline. For all the subsequent coaches at ND, the trends were consistently negative (a decrease in average victories of -.25 per season for Davies, -.25 per season for Willingham, -.10 per season for Weiss. However, the trends appear downward at a uniform rate, starting at Holtz’s peak.
1. The ND program is progressively deteriorating.
2. One wonders if the many coaching changes
contributed to this. I have given mixed
shades to the transition years, in which one coach has at least 2 years of the
other one’s players. From this, one
wonders whether Willingham would have continued the upward trend if he was kept
and could play his recruits during what were the first two years of Weiss’
3. Since ND faces massive losses next year, including the OL, RB and probably Clausen and Tate, in addition, with a completely inexperienced backup QB who will be unable to practice and coming off ACL surgery next August, one must seriously wonder when—no, whether—the ND program will get back on track.
If UM uses ND as an example of what might happen to a program, the questions for UM now is whether it will follow the pattern of Holtz, who began with a decline in average wins—similar to what is likely for RR (although Holtz did not have the big immediate dropoff in average wins from his predecessor, since that average was already quite low). The promising thing is that, unlike ND, UM has more, not less, starters coming back for the next two years. Clearly, it’s way too early to tell—as Brian has intimated today—but I can't help worrying that we might end up like ND if we keep getting rid of coaches before they can build their program.
* In two previous threads titled “Reasons for Hope” (for UM), and “reasons for MSU hopelessness.” Another interesting and pertinent link from another poster is: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/what-two-losing-seasons-start-tenure-means**Note that it’s not a simple average. At the beginning of a coach's tenure, his record is shown as an average that includes the prior coach's average--which may be either better or worse than the current record. As, such the first two years of each coach’s tenure are shown as mixed colors, as they reflect the recruits of the previous coach as well as the performance of the current coach. (just ask yourself, if Bo were alive and took over the coaching job of the perennial celler-dweller Northwestern team in the 60's, would he be responsible for the first few years?)