OK, I have long struggled with trying to develop a system for the Blogpoll votes, and I wanted to quickly describe what I developed, though I have not really been able to deploy it fully yet.
Here's the idea....
The Blogpoll philosophy is to look at who has had the better season.
So, I decided to grade each result with the idea of coming up with a shorthand way of ranking teams. A team should be rewarded for winning against good teams, and for winning on the road. My draft system goes like this....
+3 Win over Top 5 team
+2 Win over Top 15 team
+1 Win over Top 30 team
0 Win over non-top 30 team
-1 Loss to Top 5 team
-2 Loss to top 15 team
-3 Loss to top 30 team
-4 Loss to non-top 30 team.
Then, a single point is added for a road win and deducted for a home loss.
Finally, it CAN be re-evaluated. Clearly, a win over East Carolina is not what it seemed like at one time. If a team that originally appears to be Top 15 shows itself not to be (hello Clemson) then I can go back and downgrade that win.
I think a Top 25 team should beat teams that are not in the Top 30 at home, so there are no points for it.
You can run into problems re-evaluating, say, Oregon's State's win over USC if you put the USC-Oregon State game in the mix while you do it. I only just re-evaluated now for the season so far.
I don't want to get into close losses, near losses, etc. A win is a win, and no team should get punished for winning a game (in my opinion). Plus, if the system is too complicated, it isn't worth it.
So far, for what it is worth, it is not working. (DOH!) The really good teams in the country don't get points because they open their season mostly with bad teams at home, so they just get zeroes.
A poor team with a couple road wins gets two points, and is ahead of that team.
Plus, maybe there are not enough categories. I ranked Top 30 and below because I figured that if you are going to be Top 25, you should beat #31 and #119.
Anyway, we'll see how it goes. For now, here is the ranking.
I think it might work after the season, but for right now, its putting odd results out. (Like Bowling Green tied with Florida at this point).
South Florida 2
Boise State 4
Ball State 7
Penn State 11
OK State 11
Texas Tech 11
Ohio State 23
Fresno State 23
Wake Forest 28
Air Force 28
Va Tech 28
Western Michigan 28
Ga Tech 36
Louisiana Tech 36
Oregon State 36
Boston College 46
Florida State 46
Central Michigan 46
Notre Dame 46
Bowling Green 55
Southern Miss 59
South Carolina 59
Colorado State 67
Arizona State 67
San Jose State 67
New Mexico State 73
Arkansas State 73
Iowa State 73
Florida International 73
East Carolina 80
Texas A&M 80
Florida Atlantic 86
La Monroe 86
NC State 91
Mississippi State 91
Utah State 91
La Lafayette 95
New Mexico 95
San Diego State 104
Middle Tenn State 104
North Texas 111
Eastern Michigan 118
Washington State 118
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
OK, I have long struggled with trying to develop a system for the Blogpoll votes, and I wanted to quickly describe what I developed, though I have not really been able to deploy it fully yet.
OK, a couple items from the Internets. First, Grant and Tony have resurrected their "Rolling Along" podcast after two years. Its pretty good, I listened last night. The audio quality is good, and its entertaining. Ryan Autullo of The Blade was the guest. Ryan shares with us that he normally works in his pajamas, which I am sure has been a shock to the security guard at the Doyt. And, he likes Stimmel's Market, which shows good taste, in fact. Podcasts are a lot of work, but I encourage them to keep it up, its a nice thing to listen to.
I used to try and listen to the MAC Report Online podcast, but the audio quality was dreadful and I couldn't take it. But, an hour to catch up on the whole conference while I am driving would be awesome. I should check in and see if it has gotten any better.
And, here's a user-created promo (from a BG fan) on youtube for the homecoming game Saturday. Its also not too bad.
COACHTALK KEYWORDS: Any Given Day, git-go, clean his ears out, long way from being perfect
From the "he's big but he's slow" school, that is what Coach Brandon had to say about Eastern during his presser yesterday.
He took great pains to talk Eastern up, which is just real basic coachtalk when you are playing a team with no I-A wins, and who is getting blown out. He kind of has to say that. And, you know, any given day, etc etc.
All of which is true to an extent (but we should win Saturday. No two ways about it.)
Coach also spent time trying to encourage a big crowd on Saturday for homecoming, tossing in a side dig at Hofstra.
From there, the conversation veered into a discussion of our long snapper situation. Here we learned two things.
- BG uses two long snappers, a LONG-LONG snapper for punts and a SHORT-LONG punter for field goals, because the LONG-LONG punter sometimes snaps it too hard for the field goals.
- We recruited the LONG-LONG snapper.
Team is beat up, and AT is day to day. I'm with Ryan, who said in his Bladeblog that AT shouldn't play unless we need him, and we shouldn't need him.
Here's another great coachtalk quote:
"We're a long way from being perfect."
Really? Specific targets of the imperfection were three sacks, two of which were from mental errors, and too many defensive penalties. As for Briggs getting a personal foul because (he says) he didn't hear the whistle, Coach says "we may have to clean his ears out."
The fumble in the red zone where the snap went past Tyler was a FUBAR from the "git-go," Coach said. First, Tyler took a hit and might have been a little woozy. Then the wrong formation was called, the RB was on the wrong side, Coach was trying to call timeout, Tyler dropped his mouthguard, and all the laughter ended in sadness.
He did say he was happy with how we finished drives, something which I do think we can all agree with.
No mention of Jerry Phillips this week.
Tyler Sheehan was MAC East Offensive Player of the week, and Cody Basler--who had a career day--was Defensive Player of the Week. Congratulations to both.
And who knows.....maybe by the end of his career we won't think it was a Career Day!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sources say big blogpoll news coming tomorrow....stand by
I think that the Falcon nation is resting a little easier right now.
Yesterday, the Falcons won a road game against a team that is probably the most like a team it might play in the MAC. And, the Falcons won the game convincingly and dominated most of the way.
It is a really good feeling.
To get all the disclaimers in there:
Wyoming is clearly struggling at QB, and it is very hard to win in college football without a solid QB. Whoever is the architect of the "take the Quarterback out every time he throws an interception strategy" needs to work on his people skills.
I don't recall a team seriously trying four QBs in one game. I don't even think we have that many without dipping into redshirts.
Still, the game was on the road, Wyoming had beat a MAC team, and this was a satisfying win for us.
The offense, which has struggled this season, was impressive, though clearly taking advantage of 5 Wyoming turnovers.
- We were over five yards a play--the first time season, I believe.
- We had almost 400 yards of total offense.
- We only turned the ball over once.
- We sprung a couple big TD plays, on a Tyler run and a screen to Corey.
- The running backs were 29-122, which is 4.2 yards and pretty good.
- Tyler was 22-25 (or about 63%) accuracy.
Early on, it did have the feel of previous games, as we drove deep into their territory and didn't finish. We used Ty Pronty in the direct snap, which I don't understand. I do understand that you didn't want to put Freddie there to take those hits, since he is battling and injury, but I don't understand why Pronty is better than a direct snap to Bullock, like we used to do with PJ Pope.
(In a "never heard that before" moment, we lost a shot at a TD when Tyler missed the snap because he was looking for his mouthguard. Doh!)
But, the offense eventually got the rhythm going, and was pretty relentless pushing Wyoming around.
And if you're going to mention that we didn't finish and haven't been finishing, you should we mention that we DID finish from then on.
The defense certainly had a good day, and according to Ryan, the defense is the story of the team.
Certainly, you have to like the results. We held Boise to 20, have been deadly in three of our four games in the second half. The offense didn't give them a chance early in the Minnesota game.
I do have to insert some "not so fast my friends" here.....
- The defense has had some entire quarters where they were completely dominated.
- Wyoming's offense is clearly weak---they have not scored on anyone, and at least one of the interceptions was called "the easiest interception I ever saw" by Cal Bowers.
- Devin Moore averaged seven yards a carry and went over 100 yards on 15 attempts.
- We didn't have any sacks.
- They had 4.6 yards per play.
To be fair:
- We had a defensive touchdown.
- We held Wyoming to 50% completions.
- They had 4.6 yards per play.
- We picked up five turnovers, even if one was really easy.
- Cody Basler had a career day.
I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade. My opinion is that I am encouraged by the play or our defense and I am looking forward to seeing how we perform against MAC competition. But I'm just not as far along on it as Ryan is. In his blog today he says this:
As I wrote in my game story, it’s asinine to suggest that the defense is simply on a hot streak. Four good games is not a hot streak, it’s the truth. Anyone who says otherwise is just trying to be different.
Well, OK. Say that if you want. I'm not saying they are on a hot streak. I'm saying they are on a warm streak, and the body of work is incomplete. (And maybe I am trying to be different).
The special teams seemed much improved. Srinisi drilled a 44 yard FG, something which will be crucial as we head into MAC play. Just as important is that coach have confidence in him, because he has shown time and time again that he will go for it rather than roll the dice with a kicker he doesn't have faith in.
The kickoffs seeemed really good from what I could hear. And we seemed to cover well.
We had just one miscue, a shanked punt, but that's the only play where there were problems.
So, we're 2-2. That was an important win. True, there were no consequences if we lost, but it builds confidence and it helps us with bowl eligibility.
Now, the real season starts on the road to the MAC Championship. Eastern was whooped on by NIU yesterday, so let's hope we can do the same next week for our homecoming and start things off with a bang.
One last note: circle that Buffalo game at the Doyt on 11/21. That could be a donnybrook.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
OK, so I used the off week to look at another aspect of offensive efficiency rating--most notably, what is happening on third down.
For back ground information, on the left sidebar you can find links to an explanation of this whole thing, as well as a link to the data online, if you are so interested.
I decided to look at downs because it is my theory that third down makes football teams. Yes, it matters if you do well on first and second down because they can make third down easier, but the ability to stay on the field or get off the field on 3rd down is critical to winning football.
So, I analyzed each play of the initial three games. And, what I found was actually pretty surprising.
We're terrible on third down.
I mean, we're losing every down to the other team. But, we're terrible on third down.
For example, on first down, we are getting .79 points per play, and our opponents are getting .94.
On second down, we are getting .75 points per play, and our opponents are getting .91.
On third down, our opponents are getting .8 points per play...and we are getting .16.
Wow. That's pretty significant. We actually had negative points on third down at Boise.
Now, its a little harder to score on third down, because the system doesn't have a 2 point play. You either make it (1 point) or you don't (0 points.) If you lose more than three yards, you lose a point and a turnover is -4. Big positive plays can score three or more.
But, our opponents are getting .8, so for us to be 1/5 as productive, at least on this measure, has some significance.
I looked into it as it related to Boise. We're converting 38% on third down for the season, so you wouldn't expect the number to be that low. We're had a number of bad plays, though , on third down, including three turnovers and a few other sacks and tackles for loss.
Against Boise, for example, we had 17 3rd down plays. We made six but had four negative plays. That's not a great ratio.
I'm not sure what all of this means. A turnover on third down is no worse than a turnover on second down...I don't think, and losing yardage on third down is only really bad if it severely impacts field position or a fourth down attempt.
But I do know this. If you want to know why our offense is sputtering besides turnovers (and that's not the only thing), you might look to 3rd down performance as another clue.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So, we got the Cowboys of Wyoming coming up....I guess they are known locally as "The Pokes." At the beginning of the season, I thought this was a game we could win, and it would be nice to win it. I still think that, though I am not so sure, both because I am not sure we are healthy and because we haven't played especially well.
The primary question as it relates to them:
The 'Pokes are 2-2. However, they are 4 points from being o-4. They beat OU by 1 and North Dakota State by 3, both in Wyoming. Their losses are to Air Force, and to BYU, both in virtual cowpoke bloodbaths.
This on its own does not shape up especially well for Wyoming. So, the question becomes, is there some reason to think they match up against us especially well?
Well, that could be, in fact.
- Coach says they are big and strong on the O-Line and committed to running the ball. This sounds like NIU, the type of team we have often struggled against.
- Their most important game for comparison purposes was against OU. They ran for 4.0 yards per carry against OU, which is pretty good. Even more importantly, that's 40 carries against 22 passes.
- Coach also says they have a big defensive line, something we have had trouble competing with. They really shut down the OU running game (21-39).
On the other hand:
- OU had mad success in the air.
- They barely beat OU, so we should be able to do that well, at least (Opposing QBs have a 117 efficiency against the Pokes).
- They have four offensive touchdowns this season
- They are -7 in turnovers, though the BYU games magnifies that.
- They are barely averaging over four yards per total play.
- Their big RB is Devin Moore who is getting just under 100 yards/game.
- They have completed 50 passes to a mind-boggling 10 players, and none has caught more than 10 this year, which, to be charitable, indicates they do not have a "go-to" gu
Posted by Orange at 4:32 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
First of all, Ryan has the news from the presser....
Like most off weeks, there isn't too much to say at the presser...and even if he has something to say, the coach doesn't always do it. Turner, Barnes and Dozier are day-to-day, Fink will play. Other than that, Wyoming will have to guess.
The scouting report is that this is a big, physical team built for the run. They don't pass much. I'll have more on what to expect from Wyoming in a couple of days or so.
Here's a couple other excerpts from the bgsufalcons.com site...
On what he sees in Wyoming
"A big physical football team built to run the ball and to stop the run. Good size offensive linemen, a big physical back and a quick little scat back, so they can they can get in and out of things with those two guys. Defensively they are stout, strong, physical football team."
On Wyoming's defense
"They have good skill in the secondary. Their corners are athletic, safeties tackles well and support the run. Their front seven are physical and stout. We are going to have to mix our run pass to be successful."
Finally, I was amused to see this on AZZ.com. Apparently, Wyoming's coach talked big about Utah....then, Utah paid that back with an onside kick on top of a 43-0 3rd quarter lead. And Coach Glenn did this....(For what it is worth, I don't believe what he is suggesting is legal in Utah).
Monday, September 22, 2008
Just a quick note that our thoughts are going out to Dante Love, of Ball State. He's a terrific player who suffered a serious injury in the Indiana game Saturday that required spinal surgery. Here's a report from MAC Report Online and from the Ball State website.
The good news today is that he is expected to live a normal life. Obviously, he is not expected to ever play football again. While this is clearly very serious, it would appear that he will have what I hope is a long and productive life.
Not to defend the Rockets, but I think if you get the chance to win the game with one play in overtime, you do it every time.
For that matter, back in the OT contest between BG and UT in 2005, I think we absolutely should have gone for the win in OT when we had the chance.
In a reminder that you have to be careful when accusations are made, Loren Hargrove was exonerated on drug charges stemming from an arrest with fellow Former Falcon Melvin Cole.
Mr. Cole was NOT exonerated, as you can see in The Blade story, if you follow the link.
Note the original post I made, including my disclaimer urging people not to jump to conclusions, as listed here.
Of course, I'm glad he wasn't involved in any wrongdoing.
Posted by Orange at 4:15 AM
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Here's my draft of the blogpoll....
I guess at the end of the day, the last 5 or so are pretty slim. I will be ready to debut my ranking system next week...with a full explanation of how it is supposed to work.
- At this point, East Carolina is still Top 25.
- LSU with the big win has to move up.
- Missouri had problems with Buffalo.
- Boise is back in (OK YOU GUYS)?
Comment if you like.
Friday, September 19, 2008
There are a couple more verbals out there for the football team. The first is Dwayne Woods of Cincinnati Princeton, a LB who is actually pretty highly ranked on the ESPN list. I've blogged before about the difficulty of rating players--an impossible job done badly--but, here I go, he's the second highest ranked player in our class. You can find more about him here.
Also inked, according to Rivals, is Tyler Harrell, also a LB, but from Dublin. He's not listed on ESPN, so we can't compare him to Woods yet. He's bigger than Woods (225 vs. 205). Both of these guys had interest from the teams we are trying to beat, so I think we have a nice shot with him.
So far, it looks like a decent class, but the real test will be when they are juniors.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
OK, so this is week 3 of my attempt to use offensive efficiency to evaluate how team's do with the ball. The explaining post is here.
The basic idea is that on first down, for a play to be successful, you need 40% of the total yards to go. Second down is 60% and only a first down can be a success on third down. Additional points are awarded for bigger plays, and big losses and turnovers are punished.
Boise State had a very productive game, only slightly below Minnesota, which is the best offense we have faced this year. They won 57% of their plays, and ended up averaging one point for each play. Their running plays were 1.07 points per play and their passing plays were .92. (Minnesota was 58% and 1.06 points per play).
Of course, their offense is OUR defense, and I think it goes to show you how our defense's poor period have really impacted overall numbers. For example, for the first half, Boise averaged 1.39 points per play, while in the second half, they averaged only .39 yards per play.
On our offense, we won 45% of our plays for a .5 point average. (In this game, you can see how the situational stats really tell the story differently then the traditional stats do). The winning percentage is almost the same as we had against Minnesota, but the points per play is more like Pitt, which is simply because of the effect turnovers have on the overall total.
On the bye week, I'm going to start to analyze the data by down.
Season long data can be viewed here for no charge.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Finally got a chance to listen to the Brandon presser this week...he didn't say a whole lot.
Basically, if we played this Saturday, we would be without Dozier, AT, Fink and maybe Barnes.
But, we don't. Barnes should play in Wyoming, Dozier and Fink are hoped for, and AT seems iffy.
Personally, I hope we don't rush anyone back for that game. We can win or lose, but I want us to be healthy when EMU comes to town and the games count. I'd love to beat Wyoming, and I want to make sure we are bowl eligible, but we need AT when we play Miami, Buffalo, Toledo, etc.
AT: Dislocated shoulder, just @ FIU.
Fink: Just beat up.
Dozier: Sprained ankle
Barnes: Tweaked his shoulder.
The team is getting three days off, and then next Saturday, too, and lifting only on Sunday.
What do the coaches do during an off week? This question was asked.....
NO! NO! NO!. They do not sleep all week. Come on, will you? No, some of the coaches are out recruiting, and some other ones are home working, and they'll all gather today again to look at the Boise film with the team.
OK. Coach is concerned about the missed field goals, but he still seems confident in Vrvilo, urging him to review film and figure out what went wrong. He is hard on himself, and one of the kicks hit the goalpost. (It isn't lost on anyone that it could have been 20-13 in the fourth).
He also gets high marks for sticking the kickoffs in the corner so we could cover them.
One of the questioners has a serious Jerry Phillips obsession. The answer: No.
Coach notes for the second week in a row, we took a winnable game into the fourth and made three turnovers in the fourth quarter. We are not finishing our drives, and he says everyone is disheartened by these things.
As he notes, we give up 20 to Boise, we should win the game (or anyone).
Andrew Beam played because they wanted to get him some reps, not a concern over Tyler. Tyler is doing what we need to win, but has played tough lines in the first three weeks. Boise got pressure with four guys, which means they can cover effectively, too. Receivers were not open, that's clear.
Beam may play the role of AT in Wyoming, if AT can't go.
Its an off-week. I hope I have the offesnsive play analysis up next week. I was going to out and do some blog recruiting, but I think I'm going to take a nap instead.
I am third for most stubborn. I don't get how people can downgrade Ohio State so much. I hate them as much as the next guy, but USC looked like a really, really good team. Do you think Wake Forest, East Carolina, South Florida or Brigham Young (!) really would have done any better. I just don't think losing to the best team warrants such a large demotion.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but Ryan had this post on Coach's weekly presser.
The best thing is, the injuries don't appear to be too serious. AT might not play at Wyoming, but who cares? Fink and Barnes are injured, and it sounds like they should be ready for the start of MAC play, too.
Blaine Schaefer, who didn't show up at Ball State and then enrolled at BG...well, he is no longer with the program. Just as well to get it over with early.....if you know what I mean.
You will recall that Kevan of One Bronco Nation Under God and I had a little wager--the winner of last Saturday's game would make a post on the other's blog. Obviously, Boise wins, for which I congratulate them. That's a good program and their seem to have some great online fans....
Without further delay, here is the post Kevan has taken as his prize...
Why Instant Replay is evil
There are few things in life that I absolutely cannot stand.
1. Chris Berman.
2. Raspberry Pop-Tarts.
Add instant replay to that list, won't you?
I assume I am in the minority with my distaste of instant replay. After all, each time I attend a football game, the ignorant fans around me tend to demand replay of anything that is even borderline questionable. "It should be third and fourteen, not third and fifteen! Throw the challenge flag!" "That was totally pass interference! Challenge it!" Whatever happened to the good old days of heaping blame and vitriol on the officials without any chance of retribution?
I miss those days.
Of course, everyone and their mother will say that instant replay is necessary because we should be doing anything we can to preserve the integrity of the game and to ensure fairness and equality for all teams involved. And to that I say, "Pfffffft." If placing control into the hands of officials whom we don't trust in the first place is a good idea, then I am even more out of touch than I thought.
The problems I have with the system are numerous, but let me try to explain at least a couple of them.
First, instant replay is not necessary. Officials had been making calls on their own accord for years, and we let a stupid Vinny Testaverde helmet touchdown interfere with our Luddite sports world. Shame on us. If you look at the totality of any football game, you will find that officials are right about 99 percent of the time. That is remarkable! If I was correct on anything 99 percent of the time, I probably wouldn't have flamed out of college and wound up blogging.
Even more alarming is that our efforts to control that one percent error rate are ultimately damaging to the officials' results. We have created paranoid zebras who swallow their whistles and call the game nervously, always at the mercy of the replay booth. Being a football official must be like being on a horrible, seventh circle of hell episode of Big Brother where your every move is scrutinized and Ed Hochuli is always hogging the lat bar.
I could go on for days about this point, but there's much more to get to ... like how instant replay does not solve problems. In fact, it seems to create more problems. Though the system was created to remove doubt, it has failed miserably on those intentions. No matter how slow you show a replay or how many different angles you can find, people will still disagree on what the right call should be. How does that help anything? If I see a fumble, my dad sees a catch, and the referee sees an incompletion, who is happy about that?
Instant replay was designed to take the human element out of important, game-changing decisions. But until footballs are equipped with sonar and hashmarks are painted with sensors, humans are still going to be involved. And that really peeves Norv Turner.
Third, instant replay changes the way you watch the game. It gives fans one more excuse on how to pass the buck if their team loses. When they're not screaming for it at inopportune times during the game, fans are whining about it afterwards as if video replay was responsible for Todd Boeckman sucking it up royally. Whatever lets you sleep better at night, I guess.
And there's the rub. We have instant replay because it makes us feel better. Stopping the game to freeze-frame a fumble makes us feel that there is justice in this world and that the voice of fans and second-guessers everywhere has been heard.
And then the referee says that the call on the field stands and we call for blood. If that's what we wanted when we brought instant replay upon ourselves, then it is doing its job. If that wasn't the goal, then I'd like to go back to the way things were, thanks.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I haven't heard the audio from the press conference because the link at BGSUfalcons.com didn't work (typically, anything with the word "broadband" in it meets a poor fate at our site, though the radio feed worked flawlessly on Saturday night).
But, the chatter on azz.com was that coach was in and out in about 90 seconds. And he was mad.
People may not believe it, because Coach looks like a history professor and is generally amiable, but he is not somebody you would want to mess with. When pushed, he can give a very formidable demeanor with every cell in his body.
Ryan relays many of the same thoughts in The Blade.
But rarely is Brandon fuming, speaking so quickly and passionately that anyone within earshot should consider heading for cover. That was his reaction to BG’s 20-7 loss at Boise State on Saturday night. Brandon was cordial, even cracked a smile or two, but was mostly incredibly intense.
I think its clear that the halftime talk was pretty blistering....
"We just set our jaw at halftime and came out and played guts-out football in the second half. We just didn’t get it done.”And its clear the team responded.
As I said in my post-game post, this is in the team's hand. I think its clear we can play MAC Championship football. And, its just as clear that sometimes we don't. There are some offensive problems and some big injury concerns. But, we've got two weeks and one more tune-up before we hit the real season.
I don't mind that he gets pissed, frankly. In fact, most generally, Falcon fans have been frustrated when he was philosophical after losses. The team responded, and that matters.
Now, we need to figure out how to start fast and finish fast, play four quarters and get back to scoring points.
OH, and a prediction....Coach will be pretty close to the vest on the injuries, with the off week coming up. I don't expect a lot of updates.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Here's my blog poll draft. Comments below....
- I like the Top 15 a lot. After that, its pretty grim.
- I probably dropped OSU too far. But their body of work this Fall is grim.
- How did UCLA beat Tennessee? Wow.
- South Carolina almost bore out my confidence (wack-worthy) in the blogpoll last week. Almost.