A different look at the importance of experience

Submitted by 2014 on November 28th, 2010 at 11:00 PM

This isn't supposed to be a defense of RR or an indictment. This is just a simple way to look at the importance of experience in putting together a winning team.

I took the top 9 teams in the BCS standings (3x3 fit my screen nicely in excel, that's why 9...) and also looked at 3 under peforming classic power houses (Michigan, Texas, Florida). I pulled the depth charts from Rivals.com:

AUBURN
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Sophomore 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Junior 4 36% 2 18% 27%
Senior 5 45% 7 64% 55%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%

 

OREGON
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 3 27% 1 9% 18%
Junior 3 27% 4 36% 32%
Senior 5 45% 6 55% 50%
Junior/Senior 8 73% 10 91% 82%

 

TCU
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 1 9% 5%
Sophomore 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Junior 2 18% 2 18% 18%
Senior 8 73% 8 73% 73%
Junior/Senior 10 91% 10 91% 91%

 

STANFORD
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 4 36% 2 18% 27%
Junior 1 9% 5 45% 27%
Senior 6 55% 4 36% 45%
Junior/Senior 7 64% 9 82% 73%

 

WISCONSIN
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 1 9% 5%
Sophomore 2 18% 1 9% 14%
Junior 4 36% 5 45% 41%
Senior 5 45% 4 36% 41%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%

 

OHIO STATE
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 2 18% 2 18% 18%
Junior 5 45% 2 18% 32%
Senior 4 36% 7 64% 50%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%

 

ARKANSAS
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 2 18% 1 9% 14%
Sophomore 1 9% 2 18% 14%
Junior 4 36% 4 36% 36%
Senior 4 36% 4 36% 36%
Junior/Senior 8 73% 8 73% 73%

 

MICHIGAN STATE
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 0 0% 0 0% 0%
Sophomore 2 18% 4 36% 27%
Junior 3 27% 2 18% 23%
Senior 6 55% 5 45% 50%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 7 64% 73%

 

OKLAHOMA
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Sophomore 3 27% 4 36% 32%
Junior 4 36% 3 27% 32%
Senior 3 27% 3 27% 27%
Junior/Senior 7 64% 6 55% 59%

 

MICHIGAN
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 3 27% 18%
Sophomore 3 27% 3 27% 27%
Junior 5 45% 2 18% 32%
Senior 2 18% 3 27% 23%
Junior/Senior 7 64% 5 45% 55%

 

TEXAS
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen* 1 9% 0 0% 5%
Sophomore 4 36% 1 9% 23%
Junior 2 18% 6 55% 36%
Senior 4 36% 4 36% 36%
Junior/Senior 6 55% 10 91% 73%

 

FLORIDA
  Offense % Defense % Overall
Freshmen 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Sophomore 1 9% 1 9% 9%
Junior 5 45% 3 27% 36%
Senior 4 36% 6 55% 45%
Junior/Senior 9 82% 9 82% 82%

A few takeaways:

  1. Every team in top 8 had 73% of their starters as either Juniors or Seniors. Bob Stoops should be coach of the year at #9 Oklahoma...the big difference with Oklahoma appears to be that the young guys are playing because they are just better than the vets. They have plenty of age on the two-deep.
  2. There are only 9 total freshmen starting for the top 9 teams.
  3. There are only 3 true freshmen (denoted by *) starting combined for the top 9 teams.
  4. As it stands today, 3 of our 5 losses have been to teams in the top 8 of the BCS. Those 3 teams only have 1 starting freshmen, and he's a redshirt.
  5. WTF with Texas and Florida? Especially Florida, they are an experienced team...I thought I would find that Florida and Texas are young, but not so much...

I didn't do the math for all of the BCS teams, but a quick look at the rest showed the same story, nobody outside of Oklahoma is even close to us in youth.

Feel free to do what you will with these numbers, IMO, it's more proof that the importance of experience can't be overstated. Conversely, the importance of roster management also can't be overstated so you don't end up in these kind of situations. That pretty much sums up the argument for/against firing RR. Yin/Yang and what not.

Comments

M_Born M_Believer

November 28th, 2010 at 11:12 PM ^

All the way through the top 70 teams.  I did this based upon Rivals preseason analysis/predictions.  And the findings were exactly the same.  Of the top 70 preseason teams, Michigan was cearly the youngest team, and this was before the injuries to our secondary.  I think that I am going to dig that data up and put the final records against them and use it for a comparative study next August.

MCalibur

November 29th, 2010 at 12:55 AM ^

Holy [poop], how irrelevant. News flash, most top ten teams are pretty good.

  • Auburn beat Georgia and Arkansas by 18 and 22 points, respectively.
  • Oregon beat Arizona, USC, and Stanford by 19, 21, and 21 points, respectively.
  • TCU’s schedule is limp and, therefore, meaningless to this discussion.
  • Stanford beat Arizona by 25. Everyone else on their schedule either hung with them or sucks, like us. Oh yeah, the Cardinal also got blown out by a top ten team, hence my thesis.
  • Wisconsin beat up on inferior competition (except for ASU), beat par competition, and gagged against MSU.
  • Ohio State beat up on inferior competition, beat par competition, and gagged against Wisconsin.
  • Arkansas thumped SEC Championship Contender South Carolina by 21. They also got blown out by a top ten team, hence my thesis.
  • Michigan State beat par competition, and got embarrassed by Iowa being held scoreless in the first 3 quarters of the game.
  • Oklahoma beat Florida State by 30, while losing to two inferior opponents (Missouri, Texas A&M).

As much as we’d all like reality to be different, Michigan is not in the class of top ten teams this year; three of Michigan's 5 losses have come against top-ten teams. Any statement which attempts to discount  the quality of our opponents is worthless.

Also, you're wrong, Iowa received a point in the Coache's Poll and also lost to 2 top ten teams (by a total of 4 points) while thrashing another (by 31 points)... what a pathetic argument.

chunkums

November 29th, 2010 at 2:29 AM ^

Did you actually look at their schedule, or just the Sagarin rating?  They have played exactly one team with more than seven wins this year.  They have played four teams total with winning records.  They only played one cupcake, so the Sagarin rating looks pretty, but there have not been many quality opponents.

mejunglechop

November 29th, 2010 at 3:06 AM ^

Yeah I looked at the schedule, but what do you think that number is based on? Stanford played 11 BCS teams and had 6 road games. The Pac 10 went 9-3 against AQ schools in non conference play, with one of those losses being by one point @ Wisco. 

But, but so many losses

I know. That's what happens when you play 9 conference games and then go out and schedule games @ Nevada, @ Wisco, @ Boise State, @ TCU, @ Oksu and vs Nebraska.

2014

November 29th, 2010 at 9:07 AM ^

I like to reference the Sagarin SOS ratings since there isn't much else to go on, but the ratings really seem to be favoring the Pac 10 for some reason this year...Washington has the #1 SOS, which seems iffy even with Nebraska on it.

In fact, the top 8 SOS this year are all in the Pac 10. I call BS on that.

Our SOS is 30th FWIW, which seems low given how strong the Big 10 is this year. We have the toughest schedule in the Big 10 according to Sagarin.

Sagarin really discounts the Big 10 in general in the rankings (tOSU at 9, Wiscy at 15, MSU at 21, Iowa is 25th??). I'm talking about actual rankings, not SOS. Obviously his SOS weighs heavily in the actual rankings.

Alright, after seeing Iowa at 25, I'm thinking Sagarin is broken this year. I will be interesting to see how the Pac 10 does in the bowl games this year, according to Sagarin they should go undefeated and the Big 10 is going to get whooped.

funkywolve

November 29th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

I'm guessing part of the reason UM's SOS is so high is because they played MSU, OSU and Wisky. 

When you look at OSU and MSU's schedules, were they really that tough?  Their big non-conference opponents both finished 7-5 I believe (Miami and ND) and then they played 3 cupcakes.  They didn't play each other.  Iowa falling to 7-5 probably hurts the SOS too.  OSU and MSU only played one team ranked in the top 25 - Wisconsin.

funkywolve

November 29th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

I'm guessing part of the reason UM's SOS is so high is because they played MSU, OSU and Wisky. 

When you look at OSU and MSU's schedules, were they really that tough?  Their big non-conference opponents both finished 7-5 I believe (Miami and ND) and then they played 3 cupcakes.  They didn't play each other.  Iowa falling to 7-5 probably hurts the SOS too.  OSU and MSU only played one team ranked in the top 25 - Wisconsin.

chunkums

November 29th, 2010 at 10:47 AM ^

This explains why everyone but Oregon on their schedule is one game over .500 then.  Losing to Boise or TCU counts as at least three losses right?  I'm sure the average Pac 10 team is better than the average team in many conferences, but they are very bottom heavy this year.

MCalibur

November 29th, 2010 at 3:21 AM ^

All do respect to Sagarin, but [to hell with] Sagarin. I've said that the PAC 10 is pretty weak this year and that Stanford got thumped by the best team on its schedule (Oregon; whilst gagging on a 21-3 lead). I stand by that sentence.

Appeal to authority is such a fucking waste of my time...please, Sagarin says that Stanford has played a more difficult schedule (by 16(!) spots) than Auburn. Bullshit.

MCalibur

November 29th, 2010 at 4:26 AM ^

Not surprised, just vehemently disagree with your lazy conclusion.

Stanford also played Washington and Washington St and UCLA and Wake Forrest ....ooooh, teams that strike fear into opponents everywhere. 

You act like Auburn wouldn't piss all over Stanford's schedule...come on, man. Auburn beat LSU, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas whereas Stanford beat a bunch of 7-5 teams and got clobbered by Oregon.

Yep, you're right: Stanford's schedule is harder. Get real.

MCalibur

November 29th, 2010 at 7:15 AM ^

Sure, sure. You're using the SEC's stalwart argument. Cool. But it still rings hollow because the PAC 10 is still weak, and the fact remains that Stanford got blowout by the only team on their schedule in the top 25. Meanwhile Auburn has played, and beaten, 5 teams currently ranked in the top 25.

I get it, you're entrenched in your opinion and you're ducking  behind "Sagarin says..." and pile of hypothetical speculation in order to stubbornly adhere to it. Cool. 

mejunglechop

November 29th, 2010 at 7:31 AM ^

Simple math dictates that the Pac 10 beats up on itself more than other conferences, but to you apparently that's hot air. And there's nothing hypothetical about going 9-3 against AQ schools in nonconference play.

Also way to duck behind the AP poll, which punishes ambitious schedules by weighing losses more heavily than any other factor.

umchicago

November 29th, 2010 at 8:47 AM ^

for a team contending for a title, which would be the tougher schedule?  I will use round #s for simplicity.

TeamA:  10 games against opponents that were 5-5

Team B:  5 opponents that were 10-0 and 5 opponents that were 0-10.

I wonder if Sagarin would rate this as similar strenght of schedule (margin of victory obviously not being considered).

MCalibur

November 29th, 2010 at 11:38 AM ^

Not the math, your justification for sheeping your way into beleiveing that Stanford's SOS is more difficult than Auburn's. The PAC 10 beats up on itself in the exact same way that the Big East beats up on themselves. A bunch of shitty teams finding interesting ways to suck at football; figuratively, that is.

This is as simple as I can make it:

Auburn's Schedule

Team Record (Conf.) Outcome (Score)
ARKANSAS ST. 4 - 8 (Sun Belt) W; 52 - 26
@ Mississippi St. * 8 - 4 (SEC) W; 17 - 14
CLEMSON * 6 - 6 (ACC) W OT; 27 - 24
SOUTH CAROLINA 9 - 3 (SEC) W; 35 - 27
LA.-MONROE 5 - 7 (Sun Belt) W; 52 - 3
@ Kentucky 6 - 6 (SEC) W; 37 - 34
ARKANSAS 10 - 2 (SEC) W; 65 - 43
LSU 10 - 2  (SEC) W; 24 - 17
@ Mississippi 4 - 8  (SEC) W; 51 - 31
CHATTANOOGA 6 -5 (FCS) W; 62 - 24
GEORGIA 6 - 6 (SEC) W; 49 - 31
@ Alabama 9 - 3 (SEC) W; 28 - 27

Stanford's Schedule

Team Record (Conf.) Outcome (Score)
SACRAMENTO ST. * 6 - 5 (FCS) W; 52 - 17
@ UCLA * 4 - 7 (PAC 10) W; 35 - 0
WAKE FOREST * 3 - 9 (ACC) W; 68 - 24
@ Notre Dame 7 - 5 (Ind.) W; 37 - 14
@ Oregon * 11 - 0 (PAC 10) L; 31 - 52
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 7 - 5 (PAC 10) W; 37 - 35
WASHINGTON ST. 2 - 9  (PAC 10) W; 38 - 28
@ Washington 5 -6  (PAC 10) W; 41 - 0
ARIZONA 7 - 4  (PAC 10) W; 42 - 17
@ Arizona St. 5 - 6  (PAC 10) W; 17 - 13
@ California 5 - 7  (PAC 10) W; 48 - 14
OREGON ST. 5 - 6  (PAC 10) W; 38 - 0

If you really want to stand by the position that you'd rather play Auburn's schedule than Stanford's, go on wicho bad self. I kind of admire your tenacious commitment towards your tragic thesis though, in the same way I admire the String Quartet of the Titanic.

As enteratining as this has been, it's clear to me that further discussion will not be beneficial to either one of us, so I'll just declare myself the winner and excuse myself. Until the next thread, fair mejunglechop.

Now, where's my Internet Argument Championship Belt? I need to put another notch in that mofo...

Don

November 29th, 2010 at 7:22 AM ^

The notion that "the PAC 10 is a weak conference" has been repeated by Michigan fans each and every year since at least 1971. In years we play in the Rose Bowl, it takes on additional life, and that statement is then coupled with "Our Rose Bowl opponent (insert USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, ASU, etc) doesn't play anybody. We play a much tougher schedule in the Big Ten and we're more physical and they can't stand up to us etc etc etc."

Frequently, "the PAC 10 is weak" is coupled with "The SEC is awesome," yet our bowl record against SEC teams is damn good, and our Rose Bowl record against PAC 10 teams stinks.

profitgoblue

November 29th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

The point differential in losses are barely relevant.  Michigan was simply not as good as either Ohio State, Michigan State, or Wisconsin.  Those are facts.  The loss to Iowa was not surprising at the time to most people.  It doesn't look all that great now, but Iowa was ranked in the Top 10 at the time and was/is a very strong team.  The loss to Penn State was painful and ugly but, news-flash, Michigan did not receive any votes in the polls either.

Expectations are a funny thing.  Set them too high and you're bound to be disappointed.  I think many people's expectations jumped after the 5-0 start again this year and they far exceeded the reality of the situation.  Rodriguez continued to try to remind people about the team's shortcomings but people didn't listen.  Those same people are now (and have been) calling for his head).  I think a lot of people need to come back down to reality. . .

Vasav

November 28th, 2010 at 11:13 PM ^

Shows the other side of the coin from the earlier diary. Experience matters, so does coaching, so does talent. Michigan's defense is lacking on all three. Here's to a great offseason that improves that

BigTex

November 28th, 2010 at 11:16 PM ^

I know several had criticized RRod recently when he made the comment about "find another D1 school starting 5-6 true Freshmen on their defense", so this was quite telling for me.  Whether viewed as an excuse or not, it's clear this is an undeniable fact.  Thanks for doing the research!

 

GO BLUE!

6tyrone6

November 28th, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

this is exactly why RR gets one maybe two more years and deserves it. DB is a business man and you don't have huge profits your first couple years, you have to develop. RR is a great coach and I am sure he is staying. We lose like 3-5 players that really play this year Wisconsin, Iowa both lose about half their teams. Once we get back to starting Jr/Srs and developing players instead of starting walkon and 2 start freshman we will be better that fine. We never started freshman in the past unless they played like 5 stars or where 5 stars.

trueblueintexas

November 28th, 2010 at 11:52 PM ^

Good post. What would be really interesting (and I don't have the time or I would do it) is to look at all teams that are even close to our youth on defense and see how they compare (W-L, rank, etc)

Ultimate Quizmaster

November 29th, 2010 at 1:58 AM ^

I'll say this, we can chalk up our struggles right now to a young defense. But let's not operate under the assumption that every one of the freshmen will make a sophomore leap and become really solid next year. However, this might be what is necessary for us to compete with our rivals next year. And for RR. So if RR is retained for another year, there is very very little room for slip up, and almost everything has to go right.

2Blue4You

November 29th, 2010 at 10:12 AM ^

Good post.  Easy for us simple folk to understand.  I think a big thing with Florida and Texas is new QB's.  I have not seen either team play much and they probably have other significant flaws but first year starting QB's can't help, especially with the loss of leadership from Tebow and McCoy.

So here is to TP seeing $$$ signs and heading for the NFL after a bowl win. 

mfan_in_ohio

November 29th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

The reason they have struggled so much is they can't do anything offensively.  The Texas blogosphere criticized the offensive coordinator for  doing nothing but runs and bubble screens, but when they tried to throw downfield against Kansas State their QB threw like 5 interceptions.  The defense (where the juniors and seniors are) is generally fine, but they lose because of the offensive problems.

bronxblue

November 29th, 2010 at 12:06 PM ^

Nice post.  My only concern is that I'm not sure how many of those first-year players will make the type of dramatic leap you need, especially on defense, for this unit to really improve next year.  Sure, guys like Demens and Avery should be better, but I'm still expecting this to be an uphill battle to average.  Still, nice work and some relevant points for the detractors to consider.

MazenBlue4ever

November 29th, 2010 at 6:44 PM ^

This is what I was looking for.This really tells the story of how young our team is and why we need to support RR a couple of more years with the added Depth and Mich may become the Powerhouse of yester years.

DB needs to comeout and say he is behind RR because its getting out of control.