In a previous thread titled “Reasons for Hope” (for UM), I looked at the trends in average victories from LC to RR (based on an average of four consecutive years). The conclusion was: that RR--after a significant hemorrhage that occurred during his first year of surgery on the program--is close to stopping the slow bleeding that actually began after LC's first three years.
One critic objected in a heated manner to the methods I used. A few posters rebutted the critic, pointing out that his tunnel vision of only the worst possible portion of UM’s recent record ignored the bigger picture. I will not speculate on the motivations for this tunnel vision. However, one supportive poster--whom I thank-- suggested looking at the record of MSU compared to UM. So, taking this excellent suggestion, I tried using similar methods to look at the trends in average win pct at MSU under various head coaches.
I found that under Nick Saban, the trend in average victories was positive (with an increase of .06 victories per year, much as occurred during LC’s initial years). But after that, the trends were consistently negative (a decrease of .17 victories per year under Williams and Smith and a decrease of .25 victories per year under Mark Dantonio).* So, MSU declined at a pretty steady rate.
The only way that Dantonio can stop the bleeding and just stay even with the average victory record of his esteemed predecessor, John Smith, is to win 2 out of the 3 next games. So, this analysis does not support the often voiced idea—some will call it wishful thinking—that MSU has turned the program around under MD.
To stop the bleeding (decline in average), RR also needs to become bowl eligible (winning 2 out of the next 4 games including a bowl). To be fair, however, his task is much more formidable. UM’s current average, which is at a low point for UM during this period (7.5 victories per season) is still 3 victories per season more than MSU’s average (4.5).
Methods of Analysis (repeated)
I looked at the trends since Saban took over in 1995 (based on a moving average involving each four year period).
Toal wins and average wins for four successive seasons beginning in 1995 to present.
1995 6.5, 6, 7, 6 avg 6.25 Nick Saban trend +.06 per year
1996 6, 7, 6, 10 avg 7.25
1997 7, 6, 10,5 avg 7.0
1998 6, 10,5,7 avg 7.0
1999 10,5,7,4 avg 6.5
2000 5,7,4,8 avg 6.0 Bobby Williams -.17 per year
2001 7,4,8,5 avg 6.25
2002 4,8,5,5 avg 5.5
2003 8,5,5,4 avg 5.5 John Smith -.17 per year
2004 5,5,4,7 avg 5.5
2005 5,4,7, 5 avg 5.5
2006 4,7, 5,4 avg 5.0
2007-8 5,4 avg 4.5 until Mark Dantonio only -.25 per year (not including this year)
5,4,6 avg 5.0 -0.0 per year (assuming two more victories = 6 total this year)
*considering only his complete seasons---only if we assume he gets two more victories this year does he stay even with John Smith’s average when Smith left.