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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
(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%20…
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.
such the first two years of each coach’s
tenure are shown as mixed colors, as they reflect the recruits of the
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?)