IIRC, Mattison pretty much said that TOP doesn't mean anything. The goal of the defense is to get off the field in 3 plays and if they do that it doesn't matter how often they are on the field then.
Schlabach Confirms He's Useless
Exactly this. Don't have the link but he openly said it isn't the job of the offence to keep the D off the field. It's their job to score points. The D is the one responsible for making stops on 3rd downs and getting themselves off the field.
You do remember correctly because that's exactly what he said. Schlabach is a special kind of idiot and has a place reserved for him in lazy dumb sportswriter hell.
It's good that he has a reservation. "Lazy dumb sportswriter hell" is a very busy place.
That's precisely what he said, and I agree completely. I think TOP is ridiculous. If you have an offense that can score in three plays, you score in three plays. It's up to the defense to take care of their business.
And what if you don't have a proper two-deep on your defense (say, like Michigan the past two years) and you're playing a team like Wisconsin which might run the ball 34 straight times on you to control the clock, meaning YOU DO NOT GET THE BALL BACK WHEN YOU NEED TO SCORE?
Oh yeah, in those situations it's stupid to try and shorten the game. It only worked for Dantonio, Ferentz, Tressel and Bielema repeatedly the past two years, and almost worked for Bill Fricking Lynch.
Your argument would hold water if we were holding them right out of the box when we were "fresh", but most people argued we got beat out of the box and our comebacks were useless in these games not that the d ever wore down. It wore down because of the 34 rushes in a row not the offense scoring quickly the other way.
I've heard Hoke discuss TOP and ball control on the Inside Michigan Football shows.
I have come to doubt almost everything Hoke says to the media. I just think he is saying exactly what the media and traditionalist fans want to hear, not what he is actually going to do. And unless he starts losing, he will get away with it. It was refreshing to have a coach like RR who spoke his mind, unfortunately it just gave his critics things to pounce on.
I like Hoke and what he's trying to do so I tend to give him a pass on a lot of these tough guy antics and some quotes that frankly make him out as not so smart. I think this is all part of a plan DB laid out for him to rally the UM alumni. Hopefully, once he gets settled and has a great year this year he can just be himself and get this thing humming.
Hoke is pretty much like RR, just a football coach...but one that is getting better PR support and understands the market better.
I actually completely agree with this. Hoke is a lot better at "Michigan spin" (i.e., saying the things Michigan fans want to hear; please see "MANBALL" and "UNDER CENTER" and "PRO-STYLE" and "TSIO" for more information). It doesn't matter that loads of plays are coming out of the shotgun and that TE will likely not be as emphasized as everyone seems to believe, because Hoke says it and Michigan traditionalists eat it up. RR was a lot more forthcoming (especially with regard to insecurities about the program, etc.) which is never really a good idea. The honesty was refreshing, but that's not what people really want to hear. I don't really mind it though, I like that Hoke seems confident (even if he's not) and it certainly keeps the media talking positively which can only be good.
Plus one for the good title
How does huddling burn more clock than everyone running to the line and looking for the playcall? I wish Time Of Possession was attacked with the same viciciousness that batting average, RBIs, etc have recieved.
It's when your wife makes a terrible tasting tart, which you choke down and say is "just wonderful honey." And then she makes it again the next night.
I'm a lucky man.
Ah, the things I miss as a swinging 20something bachelor...
Sleighbaw is a moran.
But Dantonio said it when he took the job, that it is tough to play good defense when you are practicing against a spread offense everyday. It gets back to being tough everyday in practice. T.O.P. is not everything, but when your defense is no good to start and you do not have the ball very long and you leave them on the field all day, big plays tend to start happening. Just a fact!
You can't have a good defense playing against the spread in practice
Greg Mattison, Urban Meyer, Gary Patterson, Jeff Casteel, Charlie Strong.
TOP is useless. The defense was bad because it was bad. Did they give up more points because the offense scored fast? Yes. Is it better to lose 27-17 than lose 45-35. Not really. If you feel better about the team with a lower score than that's your right but it doesn't change the reality.
This is basically Kenpom stats for football. If you have more possesions per game you will give up more points but it doesn't change how good your defense is.
You're being irrational, as usual. TOP isn't useless. It's not definitive (42 minutes in TOP for Indiana, 18 for Michigan) but it's not useless. See below - you can usually look at a game and see TOP as a factor in why a game might turn.
But discounting its value is just stupidity for the sake of trying to be cool on the Internet.
We have differing views that's fine.
You stated below that our defense could have used some help. How would you have gone about doing that? Is huddling up and going 3 and out going to help the defense. The only way you can help that defense is by scoring.
Seriously jg I can be open minded to a good argument. Give me a gameplan that helps that defense. The only time I can see value to bleeding the clock is the end of the game, but again the reason you can bleed the clock is you got the lead by scoring more than your opponent not possessing the ball.
As for being irrational I'd say most informed fans(Advanced stats guys, Brian etc.) are on my side of the argument not yours, so you have the burden of proof to convince me.
You probably believe that NFL teams need to run to win because teams that win often have more rushing yardage than a team that lost. Never mind that the reason a team that wins often has more rushing yardage in the pros, or a higher TOP, is because they're already winning, and rack up yards/TOP in an effort to kill the clock because they're already winning.
I mean, the only thing TOP tells you about Michigan last year was that the offense went very quickly whether they scored or not, and the defense blew goats. There are plenty of better stats to tell you that our defense was terrible than TOP.
TOP is useless. Sorry.
"useless" is giving him too much credit.
Time of possession isn't a definitive statistic (Michigan's game against Indiana is the perfect example though Indiana's plan almost worked), but it isn't useless either. If you think a defense like Michigan's, which had little depth, could wear down if it's on the field too long, you might want to try and protect it a little.
Possession Time............... 35:15 24:45
1st Quarter................. 7:21 7:39
2nd Quarter................. 10:50 4:10
3rd Quarter................. 8:19 6:41
4th Quarter................. 8:45 6:15
That's the Gator Bowl. When did Michigan fall apart? The second quarter. You won't be shocked to see Mississippi State had the ball almost 11 minutes the second quarter.
Possession Time............... 36:59 23:01
1st Quarter................. 9:14 5:46
2nd Quarter................. 11:39 3:21
3rd Quarter................. 8:22 6:38
4th Quarter................. 7:44 7:16
Wisconsin had the ball for 2/3 of the opening half, and it sure felt like it, did't it? 28-0 was the result. That team rushed it down Michigan's throat, and Denard and company couldn't get on the field to do anything about it.
Possession Time............... 22:31 37:29
1st Quarter................. 6:31 8:29
2nd Quarter................. 6:43 8:17
3rd Quarter................. 4:22 10:38
4th Quarter................. 4:55 10:05
The comeback in the second half was rather good. However, the fact Penn State controlled the ball through Royster and short passing in the second half meant Michigan couldn't get the ball back enough times to win.
Again, time of possession isn't a definitive stat, but it normally can tell you WHY a game unfolds the way it does, and in the games above, you can see WHY Michigan lost through the stat.
TOP is a product of how the game played out, not why the game played out the way it did.
We lost those games because the defense couldn't get off the field on those long drives and the offense was inconsistent. Not because we scored too fast or didn't huddle.
Oregon and Wisonsin are perfect examples. Teams on opposite sides of the TOP spectrum. Both successful, both are known for wearing teams down, both scored a bunch of points. What did TOP have to do with any of it? Pretty much nothing. They are successful because they executed their offense and got off the field on defense.
I have seen nothing statistically that proves that TOP effects games and a lot that proves it is useless.
Do teams that win and are successful often have good TOP? Yes they do, but it's a product of having success on the field not the gameplan for success.
More simply put : TOP is correlative to winning, not causative.
These two things are not the same.
Edit: Beaten to it. I should have read further down before commenting.
Actually, what that tells me is that Michigan's opponents had more productive offensive possessions than Michigan did. Why is TOP lopsided? Because Michigan's defense couldn't get a stop and Michigan's offense was unproductive. It results in a lopsided TOP, but you're not trying to achieve TOP as a goal. That's just silly. You're right that it does show you how the game played out, but it's an outcome of performance and not a means unto itself.
So two turnovers (within the first three plays of each drive) and a turnover on downs had nothing to do with us coming apart in the second quarter of the gator bowl?
And the fact that we scored too quickly is why we lost to Wisconsin after narrowing the lead to 24-14?
And finally, the PSU game only proves the one time when TOP is an important stat, when you're trying to salt away a lead.
TOP is most often a result of playing well, not a cause.
Yeah, don't worry about that whole causation - correlation thing. Those words actually mean the same thing.
Did you think that Wisconsin won the TOP because they're the better team, not that they're the better team because they won the TOP? It just sounds like you're confusing what causes what.
If we would have huddled up and taken our time in the Wisconsin game, we still would have lost. We couldn't stop them from scoring, so all that would have done it make both teams total score lower, but theirs would still be bigger than ours.
TOP takes two things into account that don't matter in football - whether as offense is predominantly a running or a passing team, and time an offense spends in between plays. Pass plays stop the clock more (inc passes and more play near the sideline) so a heavily passing team often has less TOP than a heavy running team for the same number of offensive plays. But it doesn't mean they're any worse than a good running team that never stops the clock.
You're putting way too much thought into something that requires none. TOP is a meaningless stat, period.
I often wonder why certain people become semi-famous. Usually it's a tool like Tom Dienhart. Today, it's Schlabach.
"... defense stay off the field ..."
"... huddle more to control the clock ..."
Yes, useless ...
By actually making defensive stops, you would stand to increase your T.O.P. For all the things you could go after an ESPN analyst for, this probably isn't near the top.
2010 opener versus UConn: Michigan holds the ball for 36 minutes with the identical number of possessions as the Huskies. Michigan holds the ball over 20 minutes in the second half to kill the game.
2010 closer versus Ohio State: Michigan holds the ball under 10 minutes in the second half on its 6 possessions. The drives are:
2:01 (6 plays, 18 yards)
1:31 (3 plays, 2 yards)
:41 (3 plays, 6 yards)
3:22 (11 plays, 68 yards)
1:20 (4 plays, 1 yard).
Yep. TOP is useless.
TOP is useless, since there is no correlation between TOP and wins. Basically if you execute on offenxe and score, then it is a win. If you execute on defense and get the ball back for your offense, then it is a win. As mentioned above, Oregon played and uptemp game and wore down defenses that had to "get hurt" to stop the clock. These defenses didn't have time to sub and were getting tired. On defense, they stopped the other team.
Our philosophy was the same, except our defense did not execute. Hence the losses. I'm going with Mattison on this one.
TOP in those games was not a cause of the result, it was an effect of the result.
No sane person would argue that it's more effective for the offense to go 3-and-out on 3 runs up the middle for no yards, taking 2:00 off the clock, than to go 3-and-out on 3 incomplete passes, taking 0:20 off the clock. It makes no difference. The defense doesn't get any more rest one way or the other. The other team is no more or less likely to score on their next possession.
(Standard disclaimer: of course it is better to take more time off the clock if you have a lead in the 4th quarter; this is about an "all else being equal" situation, such as a 1-score game early in the 3rd quarter).
I don't think I'm getting my point across. Sure our TOP against OSU sucked, because we couldn't move the ball. Check out our TOP against OSU in 2007 or 2006 for that matter. In 2007 we couldn't move the ball and they ran the ball up the middle on us all game, because they were better than us. Here read this. This was by someone who is a writer and might be better to understand than me.
I've read that post a few times and it just gets better. I am saving it in my favorites to cite in any TOP conversation. The stat is not completely useless and can be used to fill in gaps as to how the game was played, but shouldn't be used as a strategy to win games. The strategy to win games is to score points and prevent points from being scored on you.
Just my $.02
it's paywalled. summary?
When you can have your defense stop the opposing offense in 3 plays the majority of the time. But incase you guys haven't noticed, our defense CANNOT STOP ANYBODY, even UMass. So when your defense can't stop shit, TOP does matter. Football is the ultimate team sport, and your going to have to pick up your teammates sometimes, and in this case, the offense will have to carry the defense. Ideally the offense shouldn't have to be forced to keep the defense off the field, but with this team, if we want to win, we'll have to. It's a luxury to be able to score in 1 play, but if what's the harm in slowing it down a bit and taking time off the clock when we score, then score quickly when necessary?
that you don't get extra points for taking a long time to score a touchdown, thus I agree that TOP does not mean anything.
But if you possess the ball for a long time on one scoring drive, and then get the ball back soon after, your odds of scoring again may be enhanced because the opposing defense may be tired from the previous possession. Also, when you have the ball for a long time, the opposing offense has to just stand there on the sidelines and wait, and sometimes opposing QBs lose their rhythm. I think it has some value.
The main issue I have with TOP is that it's just a measure of the clock, which favors run-based offenses over pass-based ones (which are going to stop the clock more often). Total offensive plays is a better measure, IMO.
That you don't get extra points for scoring quickly either, thus scoring quickly means nothing.
Everything jmblue said is right, another reason why you should take some time to scre if possible.
There's no doubt that a long scoring drive has benefits, but there has never been a team in football who has tried to score slowly, unless it's the end of a game situation. Fact is, the more plays you run, the lower the chance you have of scoring. And taking more time between plays only lowers the number of plays that are run each game.
A more important metric is number of plays that each team runs. A defense gets just as tired defending an 8 play drive that takes 3 minutes as one that takes 7 minutes.
No, that doesn't make much sense when you think about it. Both teams have the ball the same number of times during the game, so no matter how long it takes to score (or to not score), the other team always has a chance to respond, except on the last possession of a half.
If you have an 8-minute scoring drive at the beginning of the game, the other team gets the ball and you have to stop them. If you have a 1-minute scoring drive at the beginning of the game, the other team gets the ball and you have to stop them. Whether you stop them or not, you will get the ball back again.
Pointless poster makes pointless post.
"Whether you stop them or not, you will get the ball back." No isht, sherlock. But if you score in one minute and they score in 8, then you go 3 and out in one minute, guess what, they get the ball back with against a tired defense that's ishty to begin with! So guess what, they'll probably score again, and then we're losing, and the pattern repeats! That's why it matters.
This is what I have never understood. There may be a good reason why the D would be tired after an 8 minute drive, but that O which undertook that drive is not assumed to be tired.
That's because defense is much more tiring in football than offense is. It uses a lot less energy to block someone than it does to shed a block or get around a block. Plus, every defensive player is running to the whistle on every play, not so with the offense. And on offense, there is a lot more rotation outside of the QB (who usually gets the least tired) and linemen.
Try it with a friend! Have one of you be an OT and the other a DE. Have him try to run by you, around you, and get to some object that is behind you, and you need to keep him from getting it. See who gets tired more quickly.
The big difference is that the offense knows where the ball is going, so offensive players go to their spot and execute their block. The defense has its signals and assignments, too, but if the ball isn't on that part of the field, defenders have to forget all that and haul ass to get over to where the ball is. There's a lot more changing directions and backpedaling on D.
Now...let's try to think: what is a better measure of how tired the defense is, time of possession (which depends on whether a play is a run or a pass, and on whether a play goes out of bounds, and on whether a play is a first down), or total number of plays. If you argue that "total plays run" has an effect on the game, I would agree that it does. But "time of possession" is a very poor proxy for total plays, and is biased toward teams running less effective plays, such as running plays that end in bounds.
Again--do 3 runs up the middle for 0 yards tire out the defense 5 times as much as 3 incomplete passes? The 3 runs take 5 times as much time off the clock.
I tend to think that is more of a defensive stat than offensive stat. Like Mattison says, get off the field in 3 plays. If you do that every possession you will dominate TOP and win the game.
Someone at ESPN with a very superficial knowledge of an individual team?
HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED BEFORE?
I'm really curious to see if anyone has an opinion of the merits of TOP as a useful statistic.
did you not read the comments?
Imagine that I put a "/s" at the end of my comment. Would that help?
Nothing to see here. Move along.
Sweet, it's the first TOP debate in the history of the Internet. How refreshing.
Schlabach gets paid to write about Michigan football and I don't. Perfect.