"ND Creeps up on UM Record" or "ND=Creeps"?

Submitted by michelin on November 10th, 2009 at 6:32 PM
There is a very misleading and dated article in the WSJ (and cited in mgolicious below).  It suggests that ND can overtake UM in win percentage this year.  At one point during the season, that was true.  Now, it is false.


Even if UM loses all the rest of their games and ND wins all the rest, UM is still ahead at year’s end (Worst UM .73663, Best ND .73632).  (UM is roughly 3 games ahead of ND at this point and the most ND can pick up is 2.5, if we lose all our remaining games (going 0-2) and they win all theirs plus a bowl game (going 4-0)).  Since ND is likely an underdog in 2/3 of the next games, we might be expected to lose 0.5 games by season’s end, then at most another .5 if ND wins a bowl.  That would put our lead at roughly 2 games.  In any case, the proximity of ND to our record should motivate our coaches and players for next year.

Over the next year, as this battle for the win pct is discussed, you may hear some Notre Dame fans argue that we shouldn’t count ties. That's been their claim to superiority.  But it a completely bogus argument.

Win percentages are calculated by counting ties as 0.5 wins and 0.5 losses.  You can’t ignore ties.  Think of it this way.

"Two teams play 1000 games.

Team A (the kiss your sister team) played 10 games and went 9-1 but tied on all the other 990 games. The way some ND fans seem to want to calculate win percentage, Team A’s would be .900. But, hypothetically, if you were a bettor, you’d have to guess that the team would not win 9 out of every 10 games. They almost always tie.

On the other hand Team B (the kiss-your-girlfriend team) went 899-101-0. If you were a bettor, you’d have to guess that the team would win a lot more games than Team A. They win almost 90% of their games, while team A only wins 0.9%."

So, I’d like an ND fan who wants to forget ties, to answer this.  Would you really take Team A over team B? Do you like kissing your sister that much?

Apparently , so, since ND players kiss their sister (tie games) 38% more often than UM does.  So you might question the heading on the WSJ article: "ND Creeps up on UM Record": Maybe ND=Creeps-who-kiss-their-sister would be more appropriate.

(section in quotes is an argument I also made in response to the WSJ article cited below, but I would like also to show here the calculations to back it up).



UM At beginning of season 872 295 36

Now Plus 5-5

Currently 877-300-36

With ties counting .5 UM is now 895-318 pct=  .73784

If UM loses last 2 games: (goes 5-7)

All time record is 877-302-36 

 895-320 with ties counting .5




ND at beginning of season: 831 285 41

Currently 6-3 so all-time is 837-288-41

857.5 – 308.5   with ties counting .5



If ND wins last 3 reg season games plus bowl ie goes 10-3

All time 841-288-41    Or 861.5- 308.5 with ties or win pct= .73632 

So the worst UM can do is  .73663, which is greater than

the best ND can do: .73632


Proportion of UM ties=31/(895+318.5)= .02556 currently

Proportion of ND ties= 41/(857.5+308.5)=.03516 currently or 38% more often than UM



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November 10th, 2009 at 7:11 PM ^

Maybe somebody should wake up the echoes of Fritz Chrysler, Bo etc. so that a fire is lit under this team. They need to realize that they're fighting for something bigger than themselves.

They're fighting to keep the tradition that brought them to UM.

Yes, time is short this year, but they can still take part in making a new entry in the history of the school's great victories..something that people will talk about for years to come...something that parents..indeed, someday their own children...will hear about from others.

They need to ask how they would like to be remembered.

Wide Open

November 10th, 2009 at 9:02 PM ^

Between the picture of Weis on the signature, and their "hope" that Brian Kelly would both take the job AND start coaching them early, I give that story two FAKES out of three.


November 10th, 2009 at 9:33 PM ^

.the picture was pretty wierd..but I thought that was the poster's rather than the guy who made the original report..

In any case, espn is talking pretty openly today about the possible decision to fire Charlie but they do hedge and suggest he could save his job by winning all three of the next games. Since they considered that feat extremely unlikely, it suggests that they believe he probably will be fired. But maybe they can't confirm the rumor and don't want to end up like Herbstreit.

I personally think that it would be a mistake to fire Charlie, since they've hopped on the coaching carousel quickly for the previous 2 coaches and the program just continued to fall.

Yet, it does sound plausible that a school would not wait until the end of a season to make a decision, so that they can hit the ground running as soon as it's over and try to secure the recruits (as occurred when LC retired and RR was announced just after the last regular season game, or around that time).


November 11th, 2009 at 1:38 PM ^

In any case, the proximity of ND to our record should motivate our coaches and players for next year.

Among the many motivations that players have (or should have) for playing hard and winning, this is pretty far down on the list. Owning the record matters a lot to fans, but I doubt it would be the difference-maker between winning and losing. Players have a lot of other things to motivate them.

It's a bit like saying, as some did before last week, that Purdue hadn't won in Ann Arbor since 1966. It's a factoid, but that stat mattered not a whit to the guys on the field. Most of those games were before they were even born.


November 11th, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

I agree that the players SHOULD have a positive motivation. Also, such motivations should be used by the coaches to help them learn. Praising the players for their successes, not beating them to death with their failures, is likely to help them learn new skills. The coaches need to keep their motivation up, above all.

Yet, when motivation is already high, I am skeptical that the joy of winning overpowers the fear of losing. Don't you think that, when OSU comes into AA, that the players think about the possibility of losing their win streak and having to go back to Columbus to face their friends? Won't UM players feel the same way if they lose the record to ND?

But you raise an interesting issue. Negative motivation is a double edged sword.