Just when I thought I was I out, they pull me back in!
I don't know why I am such glutton for punishment, but I am finding this topic interesting (and not just in football sense, but statistically as well). I want to contribute one last time.
Many people on the threads have pointed out that just counting the class experience (basically age) is not enough, you need to count the actual games started as well.
I agree, games started should be part of this analysis.
AmazinBlue pointed out that Phil Steele has published a convenient list of all the games started by the players on the roster before the season began (http://www.philsteele.com/Blogs/2013/JUN13/DBJune08.html). Since the data is so handy, I figured I would go ahead and combine both sets of data and make a handy dandy XY Scatter chart. X-axis is the total combined number of Class Experience (i.e. Frosh=1, rs Frosh = 1.5) and Y-axis is the total number of previous games started.
As you can see from above, Michigan is in a better place than at least four teams (Auburn, UCLA, LSU, and Texas Tech), and surprisingly not that far away from Alabama.
Statistically, Michigan is within one standard deviation from the mean on Total Games Previously Started and just .16 away from one standard deviation for Total Class Experience. That, by definition, says Michigan o-line is not an outlier.
Again, the data says Michigan o-line is young, but not "outlier" young. There are other teams in top 25 who are just as inexperienced and a few who are even in a worse position. Blaming all of our woes on o-line experience does not paint the entire picture.
I try to do something nice...
Let's face it. The biggest whine around here outside of Fire Borges! Fire Funk! is moaning about how young our offensive line is. But is our o-line really exceptionally young compare to others? In order to figure out exactly how young our offensive line is against other top programs, I went and created a list of all starting offensive line and their class designation.
Trusting fellow that I am, I went to the most prominent depth chart list online - Rivals. I took the info from their nicely formatted charts and posted it here.
Little did I know, Rivals does not have the journalistic integrity of New York Times. Their depth charts were of varying quality, fact-wise.
So, here I am again, starting from scratch and wasting 3 hours of my free time for all you ingrates. I hope you find it educational and somewhat useful.
This time, I went to every OFFICIAL school websites and got the class and high school graduation information from them. If I still have wrong info, well, thems the breaks.
One more thing, some of you on the other diary pointed out how no one else had as young players as we did between the tackles. I think this is a specious argument. Schofield is going to be a guard in NFL, it would be to his benefit to play guard during his senior year. However, the coaches have determined that it is in our best interest to have him outside. If having experience in the middle is more important, Schofield would be playing guard, not tackle.
One more one more thing. I am not implying that having one Frosh and One Junior is the same as having two Sophs. The average (median is useless with such small samples) is used because it gives the best indication of the overall experience level that you can use to compare. The actual class info is posted so you can determine whether or not ours is young in comparison to others in your own criteria.
I went and looked up bios of all 125 starting offensive linemen for AP top 25 teams. As I was browsing through, I noticed that quite a few of the headshots in the bios featured mad flow. Let me share a few of my favorites.
#3. Best Dreads - Cyril Richardson, Baylor
#2. Most Unlikely Flow - Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
#1. No Explanation Necessary - Max Copeland, Missouri
As before, Freshman = 1, Redshirt Freshman = 1.5, Sophmore = 2, and so on
The average experience for all top 25 teams combined: 3.3
The average experience for the top 10 teams combined: 3.46
The top three teams with OL experience: Ohio (3.9), Oklahoma State (3.9), Oklahoma (3.8)
The teams with average experience of 3.0 or less: Auburn (2.5), South Carolina (2.9), LSU (2.5), Texas A&M (2.8), UCLA (2.2), Notre Dame (3.0), Texas Tech (2.9)
Is Our O-Line Really That Young?
Not really. Yes, they are younger than average at 2.8, but would be 3.3 (exact average of Top 25) if you replace Bosch and Kalis with Bryant and Miller. Even as is, there are about 1/3 of the teams in Top 25 who have equivalent or younger (in a few cases, SIGNIFICANTLY younger) offensive lines. I really don't think lack of experience explains away how Akron and UConn DT's pushed our OL around.
Complete List of Offensive Line Starters in AP Top 25
|Michigan||LT||Taylor Lewan||2009||RS SR||4.5||2.8|
|Michigan||C||Graham Glasgow||2012||RS SO||2.5|
|Michigan||RG||Kyle Kalis||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Michigan||RT||Michael Schofield||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Alabama||LG||Arie Kouandjio||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Alabama||C||Ryan Kelly||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Alabama||RG||Anthony Steen||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Alabama||RT||Austin Shepherd||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|FSU||LT||Cameron Erving||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.4|
|FSU||C||Bryan Stork||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oregon||LT||Tyler Johnstone||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.4|
|Oregon||LG||Mana Greig||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oregon||C||Hroniss Grasu||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oregon||RG||Hamani Stevens||2008||RS JR||3.5|
|Ohio||LT||Jack Mewhort||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.9|
|Ohio||C||Corey Linsley||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Ohio||RG||Marcus Hall||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Stanford||LG||David Yankey||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Stanford||C||Khalil wilkes||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Stanford||RG||Kevin Danser||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Stanford||RT||Cameron Fleming||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Baylor||LT||Spencer Drango||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.7|
|Baylor||LG||Cyril Richardson||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Baylor||C||Stefan Huber||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Baylor||RG||Desmine Hilliard||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Baylor||RT||Kelvin Palmer||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Clemson||LT||Brandon Thomas||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.5|
|Clemson||LG||Kalon Davis||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Clemson||C||Ryan Norton||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Clemson||RG||Tyler Shatley||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Clemson||RT||Shaq Anthony||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Missouri||LT||Justin Britt||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.4|
|Missouri||LG||Mitch Hall||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Missouri||RG||Max Copeland||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Missouri||RT||Mitch Morse||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Auburn||LT||Greg Robinson||2011||RS SO||2.5||2.5|
|Auburn||LG||Alex Kozan||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Auburn||RG||Chad Slade||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma||LT||Tyrus Thompson||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.8|
|Oklahoma||LG||Adam Shead||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma||C||Gabe Ikard||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oklahoma||RT||Daryl Williams||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Miami||LG||Jon Feliciano||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Miami||C||Shane McDermott||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||LT||Corey Robinson||2010||RS JR||3.5||2.9|
|South Carolina||LG||AJ Cann||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||C||Cody Waldrop||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|South Carolina||RG||Ronald Patrick||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|South Carolina||RT||Brandon Shell||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|LSU||C||Elliott Porter||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|LSU||RG||Trai Turner||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|LSU||RT||Jerald Hawkins||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Oklahoma State||LT||Parker Graham||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.9|
|Oklahoma State||LG||Brandon Webb||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Oklahoma State||C||Jake Jenkins||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma State||RG||Chris Grisbhy||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Oklahoma State||RT||Daniel Koenig||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||LT||Jake Matthews||2010||RS JR||3.5||2.8|
|Texas A&M||LG||Jarvis Harrison||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||C||Mike Matthews||2012||SO||2|
|Texas A&M||RG||Germain Ifedi||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Texas A&M||RT||Cedric Ogbuehi||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Fresno State||LT||Austin Wentworth||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.4|
|Fresno State||LG||Alex Fifita||2012||SO||2|
|Fresno State||C||Lars Bramer||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Fresno State||RG||Cody Wichmann||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Fresno State||RT||Justin Northern||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Michigan State||LT||Donovan Clark||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.3|
|Michigan State||LG||Blake Treadwell||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Michigan State||C||Travis Jackson||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Michigan State||RG||Dan France||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Michigan State||RT||Jack Conklin||2012||RS FR||1.5|
|Northern Illinois||LT||Tyler Loos||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.5|
|Northern Illinois||LG||Aidan Conlon||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Northern Illinois||C||Andrew Ness||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Northern Illinois||RG||Jeared Volk||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Northern Illinois||RT||Matt Krempel||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|UCLA||C||Jake Brendel||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|UCLA||RT||Torian White||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Louisville||C||Jake Smith||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Louisville||RG||Kmran Joyer||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Louisville||RT||Ryan Mack||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|UCF||LT||Torrian Wilson||2010||RS JR||3.5||3.7|
|UCF||C||Joey Grant||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|UCF||RT||Chris Martin||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Arizona State||LT||Evan Finkenberg||2009||RS SR||4.5||3.7|
|Arizona State||LG||Jamil Douglas||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Arizona State||C||Kody Koebensky||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Arizona State||RG||Vi Teofilo||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Arizona State||RT||Tyler Sulka||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Notre Dame||LT||Zack Martin||2009||RS SR||4.5||3|
|Notre Dame||LG||Chris Watt||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Notre Dame||C||Nick Martin||2011||JR||3|
|Notre Dame||RG||Steve Elmer||2013||FR||1|
|Notre Dame||RT||Ronnie Stanley||2012||SO||2|
|Wisconsin||LT||Tyler Marz||2011||RS SO||2.5||3.5|
|Wisconsin||LG||Ryan Groy||2009||RS SR||4.5|
|Wisconsin||C||Dallas Lewallen||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Wisconsin||RG||Kyle Costigan||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Wisconsin||RT||Rob Havenstein||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas Tech||LT||Le'Raven Clark||2011||RS SO||2.5||2.9|
|Texas Tech||LG||Alfredo Morales||2011||RS SO||2.5|
|Texas Tech||C||Jared Kaster||2012||SO||2|
|Texas Tech||RG||Beau Carpenter||2010||RS JR||3.5|
|Texas Tech||RT||Rashad Fortenberry||2009||SR||4|
I am going through the seven stages of grief after DEBACLE (not that DEBACLE). I am somewhere between the stage three and four and trying real hard to make sense of it all.
One of the common excuse for our poor performance has been that our offensive line is so young that we should have expected (historically) bad performance out of them.
But is our offensive line REALLY that young? I have yet to see anyone quantify exactly how young our offensive line is compared to other top programs. So, I figured I'd do it myself, thinking that it will help me through my grieving process...
It just ended up making it worse.
I looked at the offensive line depth (from Rival) of every team in AP Top 25 and noted how young/old they are. I then assigned point values - one for frosh, 1.5 for redshirt frosh, 2 for sophomore, 2.5 for redshirt sophomore, and so on. Using this method, Michigan boasts an average line experience of 2.8. How does that compare to other schools?
Here is the complete list of Top 25 schools with 3 or less experience value.
|Texas A&M||OT||Jake Matthews||JR||3||2.7|
|Texas A&M||OT||Cedric Ogbuehi||RJR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||OG||Jarvis Harrison||RJR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||OG||Germain Ifedi||RFR||1.5|
|Texas A&M||C||Mike Matthews||SO||2|
As you can see above, there are 9 teams in top 25 with 3 years or less average experience. A few, including LSU and UCLA have offensive line that is SIGNIFICANTLY younger than Michigan. Amazingly, even with those very young offensive line with freshmen and sophomores, they have managed not to have historically bad offenses with competent rushing attack.
Based on this data, I think blaming our offensive line woes just on experience is not correct. It does not help, but lack of experience does not automatically mean that they will bad. When you have two NFL tackles, you should be able to perform at least average, if not better.
Stop moping around.
I know adding Maryland and Rutgers to B1G was not exactly what you had in mind, but it is happening, so deal with it. Not only that, B1G will most likely add two more teams to make it even 16 before Devin probably graduates, so you better buckle up.
If you are in a fetal position holding on to an old tattered frame with a picture of Bo, let me at least give you some reasons why this is happening so you can make some sense out of this and also show you who is most likely to join B1G next.
There is a gold rush happening right now.
The bluebloods of college sports are pairing up to form 4 super conferences (with at least 16 teams each) that will divide up the country like the market barons of old and extract every cent of TV money they can by creating sports networks to go along with those conferences.
Three of those 4 super conference are already set with B1G and its BTN, PAC and the west coast, and SEC, with its super lineup of football powerhouses, the lord of the southeast. The last open spot will be a battle royale between Big12 and ACC.
But who is going to win that last spot? Most of you just shrug your shoulders and say “who cares?” But Jim Delany certainly cares. He cares because there
are were four seats available at the table and he wants to make sure those seats are filled by the biggest whales who can fill the B1G’s mighty coffer.
But who brings the most money? Whoever has the biggest cable market.
Big Ten Network is the teat that B1G suckles on. What is good for BTN is good for B1G (at least money wise). So, how does BTN make its money? From cable subscribers (more specifically, regional cable networks who offer BTN as part of a low tier package) – and more subscribers there are, more money B1G will make.
So, who has the most subscribers? Here are the top 50 TV markets in US.
Due to logistics and deep seated support, we can eliminate all of west coast (PAC) and south and southeast (SEC). Obviously, we can eliminate most of mid-west that we already own.
Eliminating those, the TV markets that are really in play (for B1G) are as follows:
1 New York
8 Washington DC
21 St Louis
27 Hartford & New Haven
31 Kansas City, Missouri
42 Norfolk–Portsmouth–Newport News
45 Oklahoma City
47 Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem
50 Providence–New Bedford
Obviously, the prettiest girl in the room is the #1 market in the country – New York. The second is Boston and the third is Baltimore/DC area. To say that Delany COVETS those areas would be an understatement. So, who are B1G’s possible opponents for those areas? The most obvious choice – Big East – is in shambles. The only other choice is ACC, especially now with the possibility of adding ND.
From B1G’s point of view, the most ideal scenario for the 4 super conference is for Big 12 to grab that last spot, not ACC. This eliminates the biggest threat to B1G for the biggest markets in US. It also has an added bonus where much of Big 12’s territory will overlap with SEC, and help keep SEC in check for the future (because you never know).
Now, that we have established that it is in B1G’s interest to make sure Big 12 succeeds, the decision by Delany to spurn Missouri makes a ton of sense. But SEC knew what was best for them and tried to break apart Big 12 by getting Texas A&M and Missouri.
This probably surprised Delany and forced his hands to attack ACC more directly. And what is the best way to attack an enemy? Divide and conquer. You attack the heart of your foe and divide their forces, cutting off the supply lines and causing mass confusion.
It just happened to be that a school right in the heart of ACC was desperately in need of help. Due to years of mis-management, Maryland athletic department was seriously running in red. They needed money and fast.
This was all the opening that Delany needed and he pounced. Maryland not only brings #8 and #24 market, it makes ACC that much weaker and makes it more likely for ACC powerhouses like Clemson and FSU to bolt to Big12/SEC, which would seal any possibility of ACC becoming a super conference.
Delany balanced Maryland addition by getting Rutgers to join, which bring the #1 market in play. With PSU, UM, and Rutgers, any existing college football interest in NY area will be squarely on B1G. This was a very, very shrewd move by Delany in many levels. It makes no difference how weak Maryland and Rutgers are in football. Those things are things that can be addressed. Turning #50 TV market into top 10 is significantly harder to achieve.
But now that B1G has 14 teams, it is not likely to stop there for very long. Getting to 16 makes a lot of sense in scheduling and logistics. It is just a matter of when.
But who are the most attractive targets now?
Some are saying Georgia Tech due to their football consistency and academics. But if you look at Delany’s modus operandi, I think this is unlikely. Georgia/Atlanta market already belongs to University of Georgia, Georgia Tech is not going to bring that market to B1G, and Delany is not about to play second fiddle to SEC in that market.
Looking at the list above, it is obvious which markets Delany will try to target; Boston and Raleigh/Charlotte.
The #6 market, Boston, is an interesting case as there are numerous colleges/universities in the area. The most obvious choice is Boston College with their solid football and basketball programs. But their enrollment is small (~15,000), and I am not sure if they really fit B1G’s mold. But if it means getting access to the #6 market, Delany will explore there.
The next largest market is Raleigh/Charlotte. There is a clear option there in UNC, which has almost ideal combination of size and quality (both academic and athletic) that B1G is looking for. I doubt that UNC is looking to move out of ACC right now, but if FSU and Clemson bolt for greener pastures, UNC will certainly be looking for a new home.
However, to convince UNC, it may be necessary to also add NC St or Duke. If Boston College does not work out, this is certainly a possibility, as North Carolina is a market that is growing.
The final area for expansion is Norfolk/Virginia. VT/UVA are obvious options there. But UVA with its profile is probably the best fit for B1G.
There are really no other options that are as attractive as these schools and B1G expansion will certain revolve around these schools barring some other titanic shifts in college sports. Adding any combination of these schools will lock up the NE corridor (and its lucrative TV markets) for B1G for the foreseeable future.
This should be a very interesting couple of years.
Offense and defense rankings based on total numbers and straight averages can be misleading at times. If a team plays opponents with strong rush offense but weak pass offense, the team's pass defense stats might look better than what they really should be. This is something Michigan was being accused of due to the fact that much of our "bad" defensive games came against strong rushing teams (Alabama and Air Force).
One way to mitigate this "effect" would be to not look at the totals and average numbers, but compare the game output against the average output the opponent has produced against all opponents. This produces numbers that show you how good your performance was compared to all other team that your opponent has played. It is more useful comparative method than using just total numbers.
So, exactly how does it work?
Here are the stats for Michigan so far this year:
|Opponents||Rush Net Total||Pass Yds Total||Total Yds||Pts||Avg Rush Total||Avg Pass Total||Avg Total Offense||Avg Scoring Offense|
|Average All Opp||145.1||145.9||291.0||17.3||196.0||194.7||390.7||27.5|
|Opponents||Avg Rush Off Diff||Avg Pass Off Diff||Avg Total Off Diff||Avg Scoring Off Diff|
|Average All Opp||-24%||-24%||-26%||-39%|
The first four columns of stats represent the actual stats from the game played against Michigan. The second set (of four) columns are the average output of that team against all opponents this year. The
last set (of four) columns second table are the differences in percentage of actual game stat versus the total year averages.
As you can see from the table, Alabama produced their average offensive output against Michigan while Purdue and Illinois barely produced about half of their normal offensive output.
By averaging all of the averages, we find that our defense is reducing our opponents' normal offensive output by about 25%, while only allowing only 61% of their normal scoring output.
Sounds pretty good, but how does that compare to rest of NCAA?
I didn't have enough time to calculate the differential averages for every team in NCAA, but I did the analysis for top 10 Pass/Rush/Total defensive teams and all of Big Ten (plus ND). I did not include stats against FCS opponents. Here it is ranked by total offense differential.
Few things that stand out:
- Alabama, LSU, and Florida St defense stand above the rest
- Michigan and Michigan St defenses stand above the rest of B1G
- Michigan is pretty good at both run and pass defense
- Ohio St pass defense is HORRIBLE!
- BYU defense is much better than I thought
- Many of the defenses highly ranked in one (pass or rush) only because they are so horrible at the other (I am looking at you Arizona St, Stanford, Nebraska and Oregon St!)
- Notre Dame is living on borrowed time - their scoring differential is MUCH higher than what rest of the defensive differentials would indicate
I do believe converting straight up numbers to percentages makes it much easier to compare between pass/rush and between different teams. I hope most of you find this useful. If I get enough upvotes, I will do the same analysis for offense as well.