Hey Mathlete!  Had a question for you.

I see that Gardner's interception gave us a -11.4% chance at victory.  Can you tell us what the number would have been if he had instead accomplished what he was trying to do (throw an incompletion) or done what he should have (take a safety)?  Been wondering how the risk/reward numbers stack up once he found himself in the endzone with half the defense in his face.

Great question

Michigan was at 93% going into the play:

Incompletion: still about 93% (it was 3rd and 11, first down was unlikely)

Safety: only drops slightly to 92%, ND field position about the same as a punt, still need two TDs

Reality: dropped to 82%

The safety would have seemed devastating but in reality the interception was the only play that would have really swung the odds.

In regards to MSU being like USC, I really want to see them both reach 6-6 and end up facing each other in a bowl game.  Wonder if the coaches will realize they can just punt on first down.

Good stuff.

Can you run the same numbers to compare how those same true freshman do later in their careers.   I'm curious if there is no correlation at all to experience or if it's possible that true freshman that play do so partially because they already have the ability to take care of the football that perhaps other players only acquire later on.

There is some slight random variation but the fumble rates are pretty consistent year after year, regardless of age.

Thanks.   I suspected that might be the case.  It seems guys either know how to secure the ball (Hart) or don't (Hopkins) with I'm sure some that do eventually figure it out through technique changes, strength improvement, etc.

UAB still be down by 9?

UAB gets the first ever Futile Field Goal of the Week, missing a 57 yard field goal while down 32 points to LSU. Not sure what the decision making process was there, but hey I guess if you made you only need three touchdowns and ONE two-point conversion to force overtime.

If they cut it to 29, wouldn't they need four touchdowns and one two-point conversion?

In your defense, they don't call you the Arithmeticlete.

Calling Gardner's mistake the "Worst Pass Ever" seems rather unfair. He was obviously not trying to throw a pass but to throw the ball away to avoid a sack.

#### 0-Yard Int Return TD

Last 10 Seasons

Saturday Stephen Tuitt, Notre Dame
Oct. 10, 2009 Akeem Ayers, UCLA
Sept. 23, 2006 Marcus Buggs, Vanderbilt
Nov. 19, 2005 Ray Henderson, Boston College

The passers were:

2009 - Nate Costa, #13 Oregon

2006 - Antonio Hefner, FCS Tennessee State (was at South Carolina a year earlier)

2005 - BC vs. Maryland. Ray Henderson's INT TD was 35 yards per the recap.  Need to get the Schwab back, ESPN.

writing is great, too.   Very entertaining!

Mathlete, just a thought (and I don't know if you have the data for this), but inspired by Toussaint's late runs impacting Win % more than PAN, I wonder if you could work out a metric for "clutch" that compares the two? Could be cool.

They ended up averaging 2.5 yards per play, both passing (!!) and running, were 1-13 overall on third down (with the conversion by penalty, of course), and were facing a team with an offense nearly as bad as theirs. Their previous possession ended on a failed 4th-and-4 from the Spartans' 32, the only USF fourth-down attempt of the game. Their only hope to cut into that deficit was to give the ball back to MSU and force them to run some plays ... sadly, it didn't work out, but in this particular case, I think it was the right call.

On the other hand, on the second play of the fourth quarter, South Florida punted from their own 8 ... for 15 yards. (Sparty did get a touchdown on that drive, but not before ending up with a 3rd and 21.) So ... maybe the problem was not punting on third down.

We were watching that game in preparation for the big one. It was one of the worst offensive showings I've ever seen, and my family had season tickets to IU games in the late '70s.

I watched the game, I know what was happening but with MSU Defense and the USF offense, but come on. Best case scenario after that punt is to get the ball back where you had it, down 15 with a minute and a half to go. In a one possession game you can justify a punt but not when you need two possessions punting is game over.

but that's the problem that USF has. They're so bad that there are some situations where no decision is any good.

I mean, 6 for 26. They were 19 of 40 against McNeese State. If there were ever a modern team for which the quick kick was designed, it's USF.

Mathlete, great work as always. But I have a question: You say that the "Field Position Score" was affected largely by The Worst Pass Ever. Should I take that to mean you're counting all pick-6s as, basically, starting field position of 0 yards? Or is it more like "I'm spotting them 7 free points for a defensive score".

Can you explain a bit more why you made that choice? Because to me a pick 6, since the offense never touches the ball, doesn't really tell me much about an offense's (or defense's) effectiveness relative to starting field position. I thought that was the goal of the stat.

Have you ever looked at using other statistical categories for qualification?

I mean, would using median instead of mean (average) influence ranking at all? That would throw out the outlier plays, possibly at the expense of penalizing quick-strike teams.

In a similar vein, would standard deviation serve a similar function to categorize offensive/defensive efficiency? I realize that would reward "grind-it-out" offenses and "bend-but-don't-break" defenses, but categorizing Getting Torched/Homerun play frequency might be interesting.

Mathlete -  Just wondered why your Game Chart shows Michigan's initial win percentage at just uner 50%, when most trustworthy agents (i.e. the betting markets and your game prediction to name a couple) had Michigan as a small to medium favorite.  I know Corso donned the leprechaun hat on GameDay, but I'm assuming that's not feeding into your metrics at all.

Your game prediction did mention that your metrics had Notre Dame ranked at 15 and Michigan at 17, so I'm assuming that's the reason, but does your game chart not factor in home-field advantage in it's initial win percentage estimate?

Inquiring (nerdy) minds want to know.