I got into an argument with a Michigan State fan—yes, right there is the problem—about our respective kickers last year. In true Michigan-Michigan State fashion the Spartan was making points using selective data (Dan Conroy has a better leg!) and the Michigan fan spent way too much time building data and constructing charts to demonstrate a nuanced and supportable conclusion (Dan Conroy has a better leg but Gibbons was money inside the 40).
I pulled kicking data from NCAA's game summaries and managed to get data points on 241 field goal attempts by Big Ten kickers last season. I also plugged each kicker's season into a Sabre.com formula for rating the position created by a guy named Jeff Yutzler, but his formula is WAY too kind in my opinion (as in there were 13 B1G kickers who scored in the A- range or above). For ease I've just ignored blocked FGAs since there's little the kicker can do about those. Table? Table.
|Big Ten Total||x||73/79||56/74||40/66||7/16||74.89%||94.3%|
Michigan: home of high yutz values
This says Michigan's kicking is was really darn good, though low sample size applies for Wile of course. Here's a chart of Michigan and Michigan State field goal attempts last year. X axis and size represent distance, Y axis is the order in which the kicks were attempted. Click bigginses:
Gibbons was perfect inside 42 yards, though in comparison to the Big Ten he took a lot of kicks in that sweet 25-35 yard range. Wile was obviously the long guy.
Conroy was deployed a lot, and here you see he seemed to have a big hole from 35-45 yards. Inside that he's great, outside of that he's great; for some reason the dude missed a ton of FGs from medium range. Sort him by distance and it reads 13 goods, whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff, good, good, whiff, good, whiff, good, good, good, good, whiff, good, good, good. Kickers: weird.
[The rest of the conference after the jump.]
Illinois couldn't decide who their guy was inside 45 yards—outside of that it was Zalewski. They took only five attempts inside 35 yards, not so much because they went for it all the time but because it was rare for the Illini to get inside the red zone (being the 122nd scoring offense out of 124 teams will do that).
Indiana charts a lot like Michigan, with a lot of close attempts and solid efficiency up to 45 yards, after which they're more likely to not chance it.
Meyer is Gibbons-like: perfect in close and iffy after 40. Lol at all those attempts inside the 7 yard line (24 or less).
I think I know where Wettstein's range is. He did improve as the season progressed in that 35-40 range.
Maher had those struggles early which knocked him from the Groza board and they're plenty visible here amidst a lot of trials. A lot of deep attempts here.
Budzien doesn't miss inside a 43-yard try, and doesn't take shots beyond that except for that prayer launched with a minute left in the Nebraska game on 4th and 7 from the Huskers' 36. They lost that game by 1 by the way.
Man it's not the Tressel years anymore is it? Meyer seldom called on Drew Basil, who's supposed to be the next in their parade of NFL guys. He was pedestrian in limited attempts.
Ficken had some adventures, particularly in that loss to Virginia in which he was 1 for 5 and converting one of those whiffs would have been the margin of victory. You'll also note a lot of them were beyond his normal range. PSU started going for it unless they were inside the 20, and Ficken made 'em all.
Here's another short guy/long guy split, with Griggs taking almost all the shots 35 and longer. I don't know how much better McCartney must be since he wasn't all that good despite being handed the easy tasks.
Russell missed the two he tried; the rest were up to French. Wisconsin smartly wasn't kicking FGs once they got about 6 yards from the end zone.
Data are here if you want to mess around and see what you can see.