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07/15/2018 - 1:51pm Last year --- they did the…

Last year --- they did the reveal "game-by-game."  I figure they will do the same this summer.

One issue is that ESPN doesn't have the rights to replays of the FOX games.  That's going to be several games that make the list but don't get televised.

My likely wrong guess at the Top 10 (in no particular order):

1/2. CFB Playoff games.  GA vs Oklahoma and GA vs Alabama

3/4/5.  OOC games.  A&M @ UCLA, Georgia @ ND, USC @ Texas

6/7. B1G: PSU @ OSU, PSU @ Iowa

8. American: UCF vs South Florida

9. SEC:  Alabama @ Miss State

10. ACC: Clemson @ Syracuse

07/14/2018 - 3:50pm Devil's Advocate argument --…

Devil's Advocate argument --- an outsider, say an Athletic Director at a mid-major or a Senior Associate AD at a high-major, is going to see some yellow flags in taking this job.

The most notable yellow flag --- MSU will have a new President in a couple years.  A lot of prospective hires will have some trepidation in taking a job when they will have a new boss very very soon.

Beekman is a stop-gap and I imagine they'll have another AD come 2020-2021.

07/13/2018 - 1:33pm RU plays Texas State (and KU…

RU plays Texas State (and KU and Buffalo) OOC this September.

07/13/2018 - 10:52am There's only one way this…

There's only one way this investigation can end:

Video of Chris Ash --- sans Rutgers R, of course --- buying stuff on the Princeton campus while using Kyle Flood's stolen credit card.

07/13/2018 - 9:25am I wasn't talking about…

I wasn't talking about whether you, or I, or college football fans as a whole, liked Franklin.

I was talking about whether his players liked him.  And --- a few exceptions out there (Christian Hackenberg and that 2015 team, which was a mess) --- I think that's clearly been the case.  His teams look like they have fun and enjoy their coaches and teammates.  Vandy fans would say the same thing about Franklin's teams there.

07/12/2018 - 11:35pm Dabo and James Franklin - I…

Dabo and James Franklin - I see the comparison (and I've heard this comparison before).

They're both goofballs who wouldn't be my first choice when it comes to doing the football Xs and Os.  But their players generally seem to like them both.

07/12/2018 - 10:44pm The funny thing about that -…

The funny thing about that ----- that looks like it is either Midland or Ector County in Texas.  E.g., the hometown of either Midland or Odessa (of Friday Night Lights fame).

As opposed to most counties in West Texas which is mostly populated by rattlesnakes (and Mike Gundy hunting them), people actually live in those two counties!

07/12/2018 - 12:06am I "resist" by exclusively…

I "resist" by exclusively bidding "No Trump" in my Bridge games.

07/10/2018 - 12:14pm I don't think Dan Leach is a…

I don't think Dan Leach is a completely crazy idea.  But I also think he's incapable of "toning down the wacky expressions."

You want a passionate play-by-play guy but he can't upstage the real show.

07/08/2018 - 3:30pm I don't want to put my…

I don't want to put my personal e-mail out here on this board.  And unfortuantely MGoBlog doesn't have a Direct Message component. 

But search for me on CFBAnalytics (hint: search for various forms of "Nittany" amongst user names) and send me a Direct Message there.  I can then share out some of my dataset w/ you (if it would be useful).

07/08/2018 - 2:32pm I admit --- PSU 2016 made me…

I admit --- PSU 2016 made me think about this theory more, but I generally thought that well before 2 years ago.

Bill Connelly is a smart guy.  There is a reason he has "explosiveness" as one of his five factors.  "Efficiency" is one of his five factors too.  But the best teams are BOTH explosive and efficient.  

And --- in theory --- one way to increase "explosiveness" is to increase the "number of chances you have to make an explosive play."

You don't win the bets you don't make.

07/08/2018 - 2:25pm Agreed ---- there is A LOT…

Agreed ---- there is A LOT that you would have to control for.

I admit that an analysis like I suggest would be answering questions at a "fairly high" and "directional" level.

And even if an analysis said "college football teams as a whole would become more efficient in the aggregate by throwing more deep balls", it may not add value for an individual team.  E.g., an offense that already runs the ball for 7-yards-at-a-chunk and rarely turns it over.  There's no value to adding "more long balls."  Their offense is already very efficient.

Such is data analytics.  Often "fairly high", "directional", and "in the aggregate" is as good an answer as one can get.  Still doesn't mean it's an analysis not worth attempting.

07/08/2018 - 2:18pm True - you simply can't run…

True - you simply can't run for 30 yards when the play starts from the opponent's 20.  Whereas you can from mid-field.  

You can only solve for "how much does this 20 yard run help in this particular time and place."

Case 1: 2nd-and-8 from the opponent's 20.  Typically, teams in this position will score 2.7 points on that drive (I'm making this # up, but w/ a big enough data base you can figure this # out).  E.g., Expected Points = 2.7.  Typically, teams that run the ball in this spot will have an Expected Points = 2.9 on their next play.  So if Higdon runs for 20 yards, he should get credit for (6-2.9) = 3.1 "points added above expected points."

Case 2: 2nd-and-8 from your own 40.  Expected points = 1.4.  Typically, teams run the ball in this spot will have an Expected points = 1.5 on their next play.  If Higdon runs for 20, that's now 1st-and-10 from the opponent's 40.  Expected points there = 1.8.  So Higdon's run for 20 yards, he gets credit for (1.8-1.5) = 0.3 points of "points added above expected points."

I think this metric would solve for your question.  Higdon's 20 yards in Case 1 is a lot more valuable than in Case 2.  I made up a bunch of numbers above, but I'd be very surprised if there are many situations where "X yards for a touchdown, where theoretically he could have run for more" aren't more valuable than "X yards somewhere else on the field, where he could have run for more but didn't."

Now, of course --- Higdon is one of 11.  Good luck figuring how his "points added above expected points" gets apportioned among everybody else on the field.

I tend to think football is the most analytically difficult of all the sports.  Baseball is fairly easy - basketball comes next.  Then ice hockey and soccer.  Football has a ways to go though.

07/08/2018 - 11:38am I like that idea.  I think…

I like that idea.  I think the closest stat to that right now conceptually is EPA (Expected Points Added).  E.g., on 1st-and-goal from the 1, if a college team runs the football, they will typically score 3.4 points on the play.  If Hill scores a TD, that's a +2.6 for him.  If he gains 0 yards, that's a -3.4.  If he fumbles and it's returned for 6, that's a -9.4. (I'm not sure how the extra point gets factored into all that).

Could also do the same thing with WPA (Win Percentage Added).  That makes a Hill TD run in a 10-10 game more valuable than a TD run in a 35-3 game.

I think the NFL Advanced Analytics guys use both of these - but I haven't really seen it for College.  Bill Connelly's offensive efficiency is closest, yes.


07/08/2018 - 11:11am Most of them aren't true 50…

Most of them aren't true 50-50 balls - but that's the fairly common nomenclature.

If you had a rich-enough data base, you could:

1. Look at the number of 30+ yard downfield passes that were thrown.  Determine that X% of the time it resulted in a TD, Y% of the time it resulted in a 30+ yard gain (no TD), Z% of the time it resulted in an interception, et cetera ....

2. Take a historical team and --- in the context of all the other plays they ran that year --- increase the percentage of times they threw a 30+ yard downfield pass.  Leverage the stats above.  Simulate their drives/seasons thousands of times.  See if their offensive efficiency increases or decreases in the aggregate.

That's not a perfect method.  And you need a hell of a lot of data.  And College Football stats are goofier than NFL stats because there are so many mis-matches (in step 1 above, you should throw out all the FBS/FCS games and a chunk of the FBS/FBS games too).  But the above method would at least hint at an answer.

07/08/2018 - 10:49am I've never seen it…

I've never seen it analytically proven out ---- but I've become more and more convinced (my gut feel) that college teams are not throwing the deep ball (the proverbial "50-50" ball) nearly enough.  I think there is more reward there than risk.

The CFBAnalysis subreddit is a decent source for data.  I personally have drive-by-drive data for most D-1/FBS college football games played since 2005.  Drive-by-drive data is nice but for a question like the above, you really need play-by-play data.  That takes a whole lot longer to compile.  Play-by-play data can also be purchased, but that's on the order of hundreds of dollars.

07/04/2018 - 11:54pm I don't mind the fireworks -…

I don't mind the fireworks --- it's just one night and it's a good way to celebrate America's Birthday.  

That said, I'm in Metro Denver.  A good chunk of the state is dealing with wildfires and my home county has banned all fireworks this year because of the heat and dryness.

But it's still loud as can be out there right now.  At least for this year where I'm living, people are being a bit selfish.

07/03/2018 - 4:16pm That district is a…

That district is a gerrymandered mess --- though not quite as bad as 1 and 2 (I used to live in 2).  

But yeah - OH-4 is perhaps the most pro-OSU District in the state.  

07/03/2018 - 2:44pm So --- another "sexual abuse…

So --- another "sexual abuse cover-up" story but this one involves a sitting Congressman.  And for good measure, that sitting Congressman is one of the more polarizing ones (on a national level).

This story is going to be a total mess.

07/02/2018 - 10:52pm If Bill Connelly's…

If Bill Connelly's predictions were 100% correct:

1. He wouldn't be publishing them.  He would instead be jet-setting in Vegas.

2. Life would be boring. Randomness makes things less boring.

07/02/2018 - 1:52pm Great point on a "tribalism…

Great point on a "tribalism."  I think "tribalism" is, to an extent, is hard-wired into every human being's brain.

It's weird.  College football thrives to a large extent BECAUSE OF "tribalism."  "My team is good, the other team is the enemy."  But don't go and take "the other team is the enemy" too far (e.g., start poisoning trees).

07/01/2018 - 10:29am Per Connelly's numbers -…

Per Connelly's numbers - Michigan had only a 6% likelihood of winning the FSU Orange Bowl.  That game isn't really the culprit.

The 4 games in JH's U-M tenure where they won (lost) with a under (over) 50% chance of winning per Connelly's numbers:

1.  at Utah, 2015.  58% chance, lost.

2.  MSU, 2015.  68% chance, lost.  

3.  at Minnesota, 2015.  45% chance, won.

4.  at Ohio State, 2016.  83% chance, lost.

Game 3 obviously had a coaching error (Minnesota's epic clock mis-management).  Game 2 arguably did, depending how much one blames the lack of max protect.  Game 4 was your classic "outplayed them but turnovers undid all of that" game.  And Game 1 was probably just random noise.

It's an interesting methodology by Connelly, but in the end --- as w/ Michigan's small subset of 4 games above --- it's not all coaching.  It's a mix of coaching, players/execution, and random noise.

06/28/2018 - 10:07am Thanks for posting that ----…

Thanks for posting that ---- that was a hilarious read.

That's had to be the last time any soccer tournament used that sort of format.  They were asking for shenanigans to occur!

06/28/2018 - 9:25am I'm trying to envision the…

I'm trying to envision the game if they both try to lose.  The game would look normal in some respect (except with attackers and defenders flipped as to side of field).  Except for the goalkeepers.  Who wouldn't be trying to block shots.

It would be a farce, but I sort of wonder what it would look like.

Has there been any example in soccer history where this sort of thing did occur?

06/27/2018 - 3:33pm I know Bo Schembechler didn…

I know Bo Schembechler didn't play athletics at Michigan ----- but his first assistant coaching job was at OSU.  He then went back there after a few years at other schools.

It's a business.  Gain the experience, and if he's does well, he'll have a ton of opportunities, perhaps at U-M, in future years.

06/26/2018 - 9:09pm From experience, CBD Oil…

From experience, CBD Oil definitely does the trick.  I live in Colorado - so no problem finding it!

Anxiety is tough - I have issues from time to time.  Good luck to you.  You're right: nothing is ever as bad (or as good) as it seems at the time.

06/25/2018 - 7:27pm Jim Harbaugh was obviously a…

Jim Harbaugh was obviously a success at the NFL level.  He should be proud of that.  It's a unique coach that can have success at 2 different levels of football.

I think any of Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio and James Franklin would be failures at the NFL level. 

They wouldn't be below-average NFL coaches.  They would be failures. 

Urban's schemes wouldn't work in the NFL.  Dantonio's "we're always being disrespected, screw that, let's instead bully the bullies ourselves" demeanor wouldn't work in the NFL.  Franklin's "Head Coach with high energy, installing an attitude of let's have fun and enjoy being each other's teammates" coaching demeanor wouldn't work in the NFL.

But, they work in college.  Urban's done it at 4 schools, Dantonio and Franklin at 2 schools.

There's no right answer here - but I do feel if we're ranking the 4 coaches now, it needs to be exclusively on their college resumes.  That's where they are now, after all.

06/25/2018 - 5:20pm PSU's last game without Joe…

PSU's last game without Joe Moorhead was the January 2, 2016 Gator Bowl against Georgia.  Ricky Rahne, who will be the OC in 2018, was the interim OC for that game (John Donovan was the OC for the 2015 regular season but was fired after the regular season).

Christian Hackenberg played in the 1st Half.  He and the offense were, as typical for that year, awful.  Hackenberg got hurt late in the 1st Half.

Trace McSorley thus played the 2nd Half.  The offense wasn't a world-beater, but it was noticeably better.  PSU trailed 24-3 at a point and lost by 7 with the ball in UGA territory.

We'll see how 2018 goes.  But I do think that Moorehead gets a bit too much credit for the difference in PSU's offense in 2015 & 2016.  IMO, a significant portion of it was the McSorley/Hackenberg transition.  Adding a QB who actually fit Franklin's preferred offensive scheme, and the subtraction of someone who was an "unwilling to learn entitled brat" in 2015.

06/25/2018 - 2:55pm Chryst: I'd have him closer…

Chryst: I'd have him closer to #8 on my list than #3.

His track record at Pittsburgh really wasn't that good.  He didn't elevate them.  He was 19-19 at Pittsburgh.  The Panthers were 24-15 in the 3 years prior to Chryst and they've been 21-17 in the 3 years after him.

He needs some big in-conference wins at Wisconsin.  2015: lost to the 2 other B1G West contenders (Iowa & NW).  2016: 0-3 against OSU, U-M and PSU.  Needed OT at home to beat Nebraska in the game that decided the West.  2017: 9-0 in conference but that was primarily a function of the schedule, missed the 3 top teams in the B1G East.  Lost in the Title game.

The Miami FLA win in the Orange Bowl was nice, but his resume remains a bit thin (IMO).

06/22/2018 - 4:30pm I'll give you a +1 because I…

I'll give you a +1 because I think you're right.

4 people in Engler's party are loyal to him.

2 people not in Engler's party have turned on him.

2 people not in Engler's party haven't turned on him because they are idiots who have supreme loyalty to MSU (they aren't even convinced MSU has done anything wrong).

06/22/2018 - 10:32am Exactly - Illinois & Rutgers…

Exactly - Illinois & Rutgers under-achieve. 

They don't have the structural advantages of a U-M or Ohio State. 

But they definitely have structural advantages over the likes of Indiana or Northwestern. 

Those latter 2 are the most disadvantaged schools (from a football POV) in the B1G, IMO.

06/22/2018 - 10:27am PSU certainly had their …

PSU certainly had their "dark years" as well --- and I'm not talking the NCAA stuff.  JoePa mismanaged that program for the entirety of 2000-2011.

I think the PSU/U-M series is finally ready to go back to what it was in the 1993-1999 era: Top 15ish teams and a game of high importance in the B1G race.  An entire generation has grown up not knowing that era.

The teams have played 14 times in the 2000s - there have only been 2 games (2002 & 2017) where both teams were ranked.  That's crazy when you think about both program's histories.  In the 1993-1999 era, all 7 games featured 2 ranked teams: the teams were ranked in the Top 10 50% of the time.

06/20/2018 - 2:02pm 2 points:

1. Colin's gotten…

2 points:

1. Colin's gotten better vs. 10 years ago, IMO.  But I'd still rank him below Dan Patrick in terms of my preferred daytime sports radio show.

2. Yes, ESPN made a mistake in letting him go.  He knows how to draw listeners.

06/19/2018 - 4:43pm I usually ignore you --- but…

I usually ignore you --- but I'll indulge you for once (and only this once).

Jay Paterno has NOTHING to do with my comment (or anything to do with this thread).  Why bring him up?  What's your point?  Does the school that I happened to choose to go to undergrad for (I made that decision 20 years ago)?  Do you feel better about yourself because you have had an opportunity to bash a Penn State fan?  Do you feel this board is better for your comment?

You've seen me posting here for years (and vice versa).  I feel that I contribute to this board with my comments, despite being a Penn State fan.  If you think otherwise, email the mods and ask them to ban me.

06/19/2018 - 11:43am You're right --- 2 of the 8…

You're right --- 2 of the 8 have publicly asked for Engler to resign.  Those 2 are Mosallam and Bynum.

The difficulty is going to be with the other 6:

3/4/5/6) Not to interject politics into this thread, but Breslin, Foster, Kelly and Lyons are all from the same party as Engler.  Foster was actually first appointed to the MSU BoT by Engler back in 1991. These 4 may flip but politics will play a factor here.

7/8) Ferguson and Perles are off the opposite party of Engler.  However, those 2 are also idiots to the 9999999th degree who don't seem to think Engler/MSU have done anything wrong here at all.  It's rather unlikely either of those two will "do the right thing."  If Engler does get fired, I expect these 2 to be the very last 2 holdouts.

It's not a pretty situation up there in terms of how the MSU BoT internal dynamics.

06/19/2018 - 10:33am Next MSU BoT meeting is…

Next MSU BoT meeting is Friday.  We'll see what happens then.  I do think he gets fired eventually, but Engler isn't going to leave on his own.

06/18/2018 - 3:18pm Good stuff - I just hope…

Good stuff - I just hope this game occurs eventually.  It would be good basketball.  U-M would no doubt have a solid fan turnout for the road game.

06/18/2018 - 2:42pm I follow the Bearcats…

I follow the Bearcats somewhat closely (used to live in Cinci) ---- per their boards, they think the game is off, at least for this year.

UC has 10 of their 13 OOC games scheduled for 2018-19.  The Bearcat OOC schedule (below) seems to be fairly robust already.  And given that UC played 6 "home buy games" last year, I'm not sure UC has "room" for Michigan:

1/2) 4-team Tournament in Florida with George Mason, Baylor, and Ole Miss.

3/4/5) home games against good teams: Ohio State, Xavier, and UCLA.

6/7) road games against good teams: Mississippi State and UNLV.

8/9/10) home games that are "buy games": NKU, Western Michigan and NC Central.

11/12/13) presumably more home "buy games."

06/18/2018 - 12:19pm Honestly - the way Steele is…

Honestly - the way Steele is figuring strength of schedule here isn't overly sophisticated.  It's simply combined 2017 winning percentage.

I don't know if this is available - but something like "average projected S&P+ value for 2018" (Bill Connelly projects everyone's S&P+ prior to the season) would be better.

06/18/2018 - 12:07pm More correctly - ESPN wanted…

More correctly - ESPN wanted Ohio State in over TCU.  

And, what do you know, that's what happened.

The whole system is ridiculous, if you think about it.  ESPN broadcasts the CFP, and obviously has an interest in better ratings.  ESPN also broadcasts the weekly rankings.  ESPN then talks about those rankings for several days.  Those talking posts inevitably get heard by the committee and have a non-zero influence in their thinking as to the next set of rankings.

May as well let ESPN execs choose the Top 4 themselves.  That's essentially what happens, IMO.

06/15/2018 - 3:27pm I don't like Jay Paterno. …

I don't like Jay Paterno.  And I certainly didn't vote for him with my alumni vote.

But --- he hasn't done anything dumb or ugly thus far in his 12 months on the Board.  He's certainly acted 10000000x better than some other recent PSU members (Al Lord). 

So, good for Jay for that (as it is).  We'll see if it continues.

Besides, don't get TOO self-righteous.  Joel Ferguson obtained his seat on the Board without any shenanigans.  Michigan voters elected Ferguson (multiple times).  I used to live in the state of Michigan, and I don't want anything bad to happen to any of U-M, MSU, or Wayne State.  But it's not inconceivable that the University of Michigan someday gets saddled their own idiotic and troublesome Board members.

06/15/2018 - 11:36am Yeeeesh.

I wonder how many…


I wonder how many votes it takes to fire.  2 Board members have made their statements.  But 4 others are from the same party of Engler.  And then the other 2 are Ferguson and Perles --- those two certainly don't have a proven track record of "doing the right thing."

It's probably going to get ugly ........

06/15/2018 - 10:50am Ah, typical politicians (and…

Ah, typical politicians (and the MSU BoT members are politicians themselves).  They're cautious to be the "lone wolf" to take a stand, but once a couple of them take a stand, they ALL can't wait to jump on the ship.  Safety in numbers.

But it's inevitable now.  Engler's done.

06/15/2018 - 10:34am He'll be gone soon.  Two…

He'll be gone soon.  Two Board members (Mosallam and Bynum) have released statements in the last 4 hours calling for Engler to resign.

When that happens - the end result is inevitable.


06/14/2018 - 11:44am Iowa may well be favored in…

Iowa may well be favored in 10 of their games.  They may go over (does the O/U include the B1G Championship and Bowl games?)

Home games: Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Maryland, Northwestern, Nebraska.

Road games: Minnesota, Indiana, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois.

06/13/2018 - 12:49pm USC, UCLA, and Notre Dame -…

USC, UCLA, and Notre Dame - the only 3 FBS schools to have never played an FCS school (since the D-1A/D-1AA split occurred in the early 1980s).

06/11/2018 - 10:08pm This U-M/OSU risk battle =…

This U-M/OSU risk battle = the Ten-Year War, version 2.0

I don't mind the game, but I do honestly wonder how CFB risk actually ends.

06/11/2018 - 3:04pm FWIW, that's been done 4…

FWIW, that's been done 4 times this century.  Including the latest NCAA tournament.

But I do agree with you - it's certainly "a bit much" in terms of an expectation.  The important thing is just to win the title, margin doesn't matter nearly as much.

06/08/2018 - 1:26am Denver housing is expensive …

Denver housing is expensive --- but it's still notably cheaper than California. 

I think the market remains hot until we get closer to "price parity" with California.  SO many California-folk are moving to Denver.  You won't be alone in that regard.

06/07/2018 - 11:27pm There's no doubt - Bettman…

There's no doubt - Bettman knew exactly what he was doing there.  I'll (begrudgingly) give him credit: it was a good line.

I'm also growing more convinced that Bettman is a vampire.  He FEEDS off of the boos.  They energize him. 

(tangent: a few weeks ago I was watching the 1994 Cup Presentation and it was weird, the New York fans actually modestly cheered for Bettman.  Then again, New York fans were ecstatic since 1940 wasn't really a thing any longer.  The next year, the New Jersey fans booed Bettman like crazy.  It seemed to have all started then)