Week 4 Preview

GameDay had a nice piece on Chris Leak on how things have changed from last year. He’s running the offense, not learning on the field anymore. In addition he attended the Manning quarterback camp and got a lot of advice from Archie Manning. He then did a demonstration on how to deal with a corner blitz with Dallas Baker and Desmond Howard. It then sounded like the Ohio State fans chanted overrated about the Gators, but I couldn’t hear it that well and I have no idea why the fans of the number one team would chant “overrated” at someone. I think it may have been more a thing against Howard for daring to attend a rival school.

Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit then defended Leak and said what I have been: there’s no reason to be clamoring for Tim Tebow to start. There’s the stat about beating rivals that Dave Revsine brought up that I just mentioned, plus Leak is a senior leader. The worst excuse that I’ve heard as to why Tebow should start is that he looked good in the Orange and Blue Game. Well, everyone looks good in the Orange and Blue Game. It’s like the NBA summer league. If you look good it doesn’t say anything, but if you look bad, that’s really bad. St. Timothy is going to be great in time, but this is Leak’s team and Leak’s year.

* * *

I like to look at stats because I am an analytical type. Right now, Florida is 11th in total offense and 13th in total defense. Total offense and defense has to do with how many yards you gain and how many you give up. I decided to look at teams’ average ranking in these two categories to see how they stack up so far. I looked at only the top twenty teams in each category because I’m only looking for the top teams right now. Withholding comment on the meaning of the list right now, here is the top twenty in average ranking in total offense and defense:

  1. Missouri: 5th in Offense/2nd in Defense – 3.5 Average
  2. Florida: 11/13 – 12
  3. LSU: 23/1 – 12
  4. Texas: 26/6 – 16
  5. Connecticut: 12/24 – 18
  6. Southern Cal: 15/22 – 18.5
  7. Louisville: 1/37 – 19
  8. UCLA: 24/15 – 19.5
  9. Texas A&M: 22/18 – 20
  10. New Mexico State: 2/41 – 21.5
  11. West Virginia: 4/39 – 21.5
  12. Houston: 6/40 – 23
  13. Tulsa: 27/20 – 23.5
  14. Arizona State: 13/38 – 25.5
  15. Oklahoma State: 32/19 – 25.5
  16. Utah: 34/17 – 25.5
  17. Michigan State: 3/49 – 26
  18. Boise State: 52/4 – 28
  19. Michigan: 48/9 – 28.5
  20. Ohio State: 18/48 – 32

I have not posted 21 – 38 of my list here for sake of space.

This is not that meaningful yet because there’s only a sample size of at most three games for each team. It also does not tell how good a team is, but rather how good the combination of how its offense is against its competition’s defenses and how good its defense is against its competition’s offenses. It assumes that yardage is an accurate measure of how well each unit does. It penalizes bend-but-don’t-break defenses and rewards high-powered offenses. Still, if you consider two teams’ collective opponents to be about equal, it’s a way to compare the teams objectively.

Missouri and Florida are the only two teams on the top twenty in both categories, and that’s reflected in them being in the top. LSU is tied with Florida at two, which is interesting. LSU is at 23rd in offense, which shows what that Auburn defense did to them after two 45-3 wins. Auburn, incidentally, is 21st in defense and 60th in offense, for a 40.5 average. Weird things happen with this list early on, with New Mexico State, Houston, and Tulsa showing up.

This list is susceptible to teams with bad schedules showing up high. When teams with tough schedules show up, it really validates them as excellent teams. That looks good for Florida, having played two of the better C-USA teams and Tennessee. Of course, we have no idea how good UT is. I’ll probably revisit this later in the year after a few more games.

Interestingly, when you average the position of all of the top twenty in both categories, you get 32.45 in offense and 32.92 in defense. That’s pretty remarkable when the list includes Colorado State, who is 101st in offense, and Northern Illinois and Purdue, who are 112th and 100th in defense, respectively.

Finally, most people assume that when teams have good offenses, they usually don’t have a good defense and vice versa. Well, the average difference between teams’ offensive and defensive rankings is 44.21, showing that there seems to be a degree of truth in that in this list. When you average offensive minus defensive rank for these teams, you get -0.47. That means that collectively, these teams are a wash on offense and defense, and we saw that with the average rankings for all of them. It makes sense, because if you look at all of the teams then offense and defense will exactly cancel each other out (if you throw out games against I-AA teams) but it appears that when you look at the top of each category, they cancel each other out too.

* * *

There are not many good games today. It’s a Big 10 showcase, with Penn State-Ohio State, Wisconsin-Michigan, and Notre Dame-Michigan State being the headliners. Colorado-Georgia is looking a lot better now than it did before the game. But still, when ESPN picks up Kentucky-Florida for its prime time game, you know there’s not a whole lot going on.

* * *

An interesting poll that was started recently is the Master Coaches Survey. It polls former coaches who have a chance to watch all of the games and make informed choices, unlike the coaches poll used in the BCS. There’s a lot of big names and good football minds on the list, including Vince Dooley, Pat Dye, LaVell Edwards, Bo Schembechler, and Gene Stallings. I won’t reprint the full list or poll here since you can just visit the site and see it, but it is not that different from the other polls right now. That will change though. For the record, Florida is fifth.

The nice thing about it is that it’s open. You get to see every ballot every week. They also publish commentaries from some of the coaches and now have “PollCasts” featuring audio comments as well. I don’t always agree with it, but I don’t have nearly the experience or credibility that these coaches do, so there you go.

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