Brown Accidentally Votes for “Daniel McFadden”

November 30, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Ca. — Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown knew who wasn’t going to be his choice in this year’s balloting. However, his research into who was going to be his choice for the prestigious award led him to make a historic blunder.

A source close to the Heisman Trophy Trust confirmed that Brown has submitted his ballot, and his choice for first place was “Daniel McFadden,” a likely confusion of the names of two current leading candidates, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. The source additionally stated that the given school was “University of California, Berkeley,” which happens to be the home of Daniel Little “Dan” McFadden, a Nobel Prize-winning econometrician.

Brown said on several national media outlets that he did not believe an underclassman should win the Heisman Trophy and therefore would not be voting for Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. When contacted, Brown explained that he attempted to do research into the other leading candidates using the Internet, the first time he had tried to use a computer to help fill out his ballot. “I’m not very good with these computer things,” Brown said.

A search for “Daniel McFadden” on leading search engine Google will lead the user to several websites about the real Daniel McFadden. When contacted, McFadden stated that he was unfamiliar with the award, though after hearing that it is an award related to colleges, he wanted it made clear that UC-Berkeley is his employer, while the University of Minnesota is his alma mater. McFadden shared the Nobel Prize in economics with Dr. James Heckman in 2000.

It is believed this is the first time that a Heisman vote has gone to someone who is not a student at an eligible university. It is not yet known whether Brown’s second and third place votes will stand.


Tebow vs. Daniel: Running

November 29, 2007

I sent my piece, “Tebow vs. Daniel: Passing” to the Orlando Sentinel‘s and SunSports’ Mike Bianchi, and I got a reply back (thanks for the input, Mike!). Along the same lines of thinking as in the passing piece, he asked: is Tebow really a better runner, or just a guy who runs more?

Well, this is a tricky question, but I decided to tackle it. A lot depends on your definition of “runner” – are you talking speed and elusiveness, or are you talking effectiveness as someone attempting to gain yards on the football field to a specific end? Noel Devine and Jovorskie Lane are both running backs, but they have wildly different styles and are used for entirely different purposes. Devine can have highlight reel long runs, but he can’t pick up tough ground on short yardage situations like Lane can. Can you really say one is better than the other when they do completely different things?

I cover the discrepancy between Tebow’s style (sometimes as a battering ram) and Daniel’s (as an open field scrambler) below while still finding enough common ground between the two to come out with a conclusion, even if it is more tenuous than the conclusion about them as passers. It’s just the nature of the question. I’d say the fact that Tebow was even used as a running back while Daniel was not should be enough for anyone, but if that’s not enough for you, I give you my response to Mike Bianchi:

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For all of these stats, I subtracted sacks out of the carry totals and added the lost yards on sacks back to the net yardage total because sacks don’t have much to do with how a guy does at running.

1. Is the guy a running QB, or just a mobile QB?

I’d define a running quarterback as a guy whose coaches plan on having him do designed runs or option reads, while a mobile quarterback is someone who can move around but seldom does designed runs or option reads. I’ve watched every Florida game start to finish, and I can tell you that Tim Tebow is a running QB. I haven’t seen as much of Mizzou as I’d liked to, but they’ve been on Gainesville TV a couple times and from what I’ve seen, Chase Daniel is a mobile QB.

2. The Offenses

Florida runs the ball 58% of the time to Missouri’s 47%, but the rush/pass mix is determined by a lot of things, mostly the head coach’s personal preference for either. Those figures don’t tell you much, but the percentage of the time that the QB rushes out of total rushes does tell you something. Tim Tebow’s rushes have accounted for 40% of his team’s carries; Chase Daniel’s rushes account for 17% of his team’s carries. Neither team has a dominant tailback, and both teams have at least 7 players (in Missouri’s case, 8 ) with at least 10 carries. With Tebow’s rushing stats ( 5.29 yards/carry, 22 TDs) being better than Missouri’s top rusher Tony Temple’s stats (4.9 yards/carry, 8 TDs), it would appear that Tebow is the best rusher on either team which by definition, makes him a better rusher than Daniel. Other players have better yards/carry numbers (for instance, Percy Harvin for Florida and Jeremy Maclin for Missouri), but they lack Tebow’s durability as a rusher, as evidenced by their having fewer carries.

3. The Numbers

These are actually somewhat inconclusive. Their yards per carry are similar (T: 5.29, D: 5.23), but there’s the issue of them being completely different runners – Tebow is used frequently in short yardage situations, whereas Daniel has picked up some longer runs off of busted pass plays since no one puts a spy on him. Tebow wins the carries per TD battle ( 8.27 versus 25.67) and the carries per first down battle (3.57 versus 4.81), but Tebow is often used for short yardage situations that naturally lead to first downs, as opposed to Daniel’s less planned, more opportunistic rushing style. After all, a greater percentage of Tebow’s first downs have come on rushes of 3 yards or less than have Daniel’s (18% versus 12.5%).

4. The Schedule

I have to put the sacks back in this time, because the NCAA doesn’t provide rush defense stats that don’t include sacks.

Tebow rushed for 4.63 yards per attempt, 13% higher than the 4.09 his opposition gave up on average. Tebow rushed for 1.83 TDs per game, 31% higher than the 1.4 his opposition gave up on average. In other words, Tebow was more effective both at picking up yards and scoring on the ground than anyone, running backs included, would have been expected to be given the same exact schedule. Think about that for a second.

Daniel was not used as his team’s primary running option, and he lost a lot more yards on sacks (9.06 per sack, versus Tebow’s 5.33), so his numbers in this regard don’t match up well. Daniel rushed for 2.77 yards per attempt, 29% lower than the 3.93 his opposition gave up on average. Daniel rushed for 0.25 TDs per game, 86% lower than the 1.52 his opposition gave up on average.

Again, due to the different running styles, these numbers don’t do much for comparing the two, other than signaling that Tebow was used like a running back whereas Daniel was not. However, Tebow still wins points here because he was a better than average rusher given his schedule. The fact that Tebow even could be used as a running back signals that he’s most likely a better rusher than Daniel is.

5. Conclusion

Because of how different the player’s styles are, it’s difficult to compare them as rushers. After all, when 3 yards out of the endzone, Tebow rushes up the middle thanks to his bruising style, whereas Daniel is more likely to throw a screen to the tight end thanks to him not having a smash mouth running style. Plus, defenses key on Tebow running even in passing formations, so he doesn’t have as many opportunities to run free on broken pass plays as Daniel does.

If there’s one thing that sets them apart it’s this – Tim Tebow can do an effective one-man play action pass. Other’s have tried it periodically (Ryan Perrilloux at LSU, for one) and as easy as it would be for any quarterback to implement (just take a step and lean forward before dropping back to throw in the shotgun), no one else can do it as well as Tebow can. That high amount of respect given to him by defenses run by very good defensive coordinators (Chavis, Pelini, Andrews, et. al.) signals that he is a serious running threat. There is no evidence as of yet to suggest the same about Daniel, so that’s why I’d say in the end that Tebow is a better runner than Daniel is.


Video: All 51 TDs

November 28, 2007

I made this video of all 51 of Tim Tebow’s touchdowns this year. The quality varies from game to game thanks to needing LF Sports and SunSports to complete it, but here it is. Enjoy the first player ever to throw and run for at least 20 TDs.


Tebow vs. Daniel: Passing

November 26, 2007

This is a comparison of the passing performances of the two leading Heisman candidates: Tim Tebow and Chase Daniel. When talking about schedules, the ranks and stats of only I-A opponents are factored in, while the stats the QBs accumulated in games against I-AA teams are not removed from their overall stats. Tebow gets a freebie for Western Kentucky; Daniel gets a freebie for Illinois State.

Also, the term “BCS team” refers to any team that plays in one of the 6 BCS conferences, plus Notre Dame. Also, all stats are pulled from the NCAA website.

It’s crunch time for the Heisman race. The major statistics for Tebow and Daniel line up as follows:


First, let’s just look at raw numbers. It should be evident that Daniel’s higher yardage is due to more attempts. Daniel is slightly more accurate, so to compare the two, I’ll go by yards per attempt. Tebow has thrown for 9.89 yards/attempt, and Daniel has thrown for 7.98 yards/attempt. Given those rates, if Tebow had 495 attempts, he’d throw for 4,895 yards – 944 more than Daniel did; if Daniel had 317 attempts, he’d throw for 2,530 yards – 605 fewer than Tebow.

As for TDs and INTs, the picture changes as well when you adjust those for attempts as has been done with yards. Tebow has thrown a TD every 10.93 attempts and an INT every 52.83 attempts. Daniel has thrown a TD every 15 attempts and an INT every 55 attempts. Keeping those rates in mind, given Daniel’s attempts Tebow would throw for 45 TD and 9 INTs; given Tebow’s attempts Daniel would throw 21 TDs and 5 INTs.

In chart form:

Tim Tebow’s and Chase Daniel’s expected stats given the same success rates with the amount of attempts reversed.

However, this all ignores a confounding factor – opposing defenses.

Tebow vs. Daniel: Passing, when Defense is Accounted for

The average pass defense rank among BCS teams 56.68, and I use BCS teams as a baseline to eliminate the truly horrible defenses of a lot of the bottom feeders like most of the WAC and Sun Belt. The average rank of the pass defenses that Florida has faced is 33.36, which is 41.46% above the average pass defense. The average rank of the pass defenses that Missouri has faced this year is 72.27, which is 27.51% below the average pass defense.

While pass defense rankings have merit, it could be that the Tigers’ opponents’ average pass defense is so much worse because they are ordered on passing yards allowed per game and the Big 12 runs a higher percentage of passing plays than the SEC does. It could be attempts muddying the waters again.

So, let’s again look at yards per attempt. The average yards per attempt given up by the defenses of Florida’s opponents is 6.24. Tebow threw for 9.88 yards per attempt, or 58.43% above what you’d expect given the schedule. The average yards per attempt given up by the defenses of Missouri’s opponents is 6.87. Daniel threw for 7.98 yards per attempt, or 16.11% above what you’d expect given the schedule. So while both did better than you’d expect a QB facing their schedules, Tebow did 58% better than expected given his opponents while Daniel did only 16% better than expected given his opponents.

Well, what about yards per completion? Some of those incompletions could have been throwaways, drops, or passes batted down at the line and not bad throws by the quarterback. The average yards per completion given up by the defenses of Florida’s opponents is 10.91. Tebow threw for 14.43 yards per attempt, or 32.26% above what you’d expect given the schedule. The average yards per attempt given up by the defenses of Missouri’s opponents is 11.58. Daniel threw for 11.32 yards per attempt, or 2.28% above what you’d expect given the schedule. So while both did better than you’d expect a QB facing their schedules, Tebow did 32% better than expected given his opponents while Daniel did only 2% better than expected given his opponents.

Finally, pass efficiency. The average passing efficiency allowed by the defenses of Florida’s opponents is 116.28. Tebow has a passing efficiency of 177.9, or 52.99% above what you’d expect given the schedule. The average passing efficiency by the defenses of Missouri’s opponents is 127.16. Daniel has a passing efficiency of 155.9, or 22.60% above what you’d expect given the schedule. So while both did better than you’d expect a QB facing their schedules, Tebow did 53% better than expected given his opponents the mean while Daniel did only 23% better than expected given his opponents.

Once you account for the schedules they played, Tim Tebow has performed better as a passer than Chase Daniel has in every way this year.

Tebow vs. Daniel: Passing, Relative to Each’s Conference

Now, let’s look at how Tebow and Daniel stack up within their conferences.

In terms of yards per attempt, the average in the SEC is 6.25 yards per attempt. Tebow‘s again was 9.88, or 57.98% above the average for the conference. The average in the Big 12 was 7.06 yards per attempt. Daniel‘s again was 7.98, or only 13.11% above average for the conference. Tebow has vastly outperformed his peers, while Daniel has bested his peers by a much smaller margin.

In terms of yards per completion, the average in the SEC is 11.28 yards per completion. Tebow‘s again was 14.43, or 27.96% above the average for the conference. The average in the Big 12 was 11.52 yards per attempt. Daniel‘s again was 11.32, or 1.74% below average for the conference. Tebow has clearly outperformed his peers, while Daniel has actually underperformed slightly versus his peers.

In terms of passing efficiency, the average for SEC quarterbacks is 115. Tebow‘s again was 177.9, or 54.70% above the average for the conference. The average for Big 12 quarterbacks was 130.43. Daniel‘s again was 155.9, or only 19.52% above average for the conference. Tebow has vastly outperformed his peers, while Daniel has bested his peers by a much smaller margin.

Tebow vs. Daniel: Passing Efficiency if Schedules Switched

Finally and just to drive home the point, let’s look at passing efficiency if Tim Tebow and Chase Daniel switched schedules somehow.

Tebow outperformed his expected passing efficiency by 52.99%; Daniel outperformed his expected passing efficiency by 22.60%. The expected passing efficiency for Tebow’s schedule is 116.28; the expected passing efficiency for Daniel’s schedule is 127.16. Taking all those numbers into account, Daniel would be expected to have a passing efficiency of 142.57 (below his actual number against his schedule) while Tebow would be expected to have a passing efficiency of 194.54, 14 points higher than Sam Bradford, the current leader (Tebow is #2).

Conclusion

No matter how you slice it or how you compare, Tim Tebow has been a better passing quarterback than Chase Daniel this year. Keep in mind that this study doesn’t even account rushing, a category where Tebow is in a completely different universe than Daniel. It doesn’t tell you that Tebow has accumulated 51 touchdowns to Daniel’s 36.

The Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to the most outstanding player in college football. Since Tim Tebow has outperformed Chase Daniel in every way, you cannot possibly vote Chase Daniel #1 on your ballot because we know of at least one quarterback who has been more outstanding than he has been, never mind players of other positions. Tim Tebow has been more outstanding, and must be voted above Chase Daniel on any Heisman ballot.

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45-12

November 24, 2007

Only two teams this year failed both to score 20 points or get in the endzone against Florida: Western Kentucky and FSU. Think about that for a second. It’s great to be a Florida Gator.

Oh, and Timmy, if you don’t win the Heisman, it’ll be a bigger robbery than Rex in 2001. There, I said it. I mean, 51 touchdowns?! Dominance. Truly dominance.


So Long, Coach O

November 24, 2007

Well, I was wrong. I figured Ed Orgeron would get a chance to coach prized Texas transfer QB Jevan Snead for at least one year. However, Bruce Feldman is reporting that Coach O is out at Ole Miss. SEC fans will need to come up with a new running gag, I guess.

That’s 3 high profile coaches down in 24 hours – Dennis Franchione, Bill Callahan, and now Orgeron.  If Houston Nutt really is next, as reported sporadically, it won’t be this weekend since it’d look awfully bad to fire a coach the same weekend he beat #1 and the school’s greatest rival.


Good News, Tim

November 24, 2007

It’s cold and snowy in Kansas City, and the game between Kansas and Missouri is a night game. That hinders the passing game and favors defense, and Kansas has the better defense. Todd Reesing has no realistic shot of winning the Heisman, but Chase Daniel does. Conditions that favor Kansas hinder Daniel and help Tim Tebow in his cause.

Because last night was probably too little, too late for D-Mac. Pay no attention to ESPN in that regard, because they need to have a race to keep people watching. If Tim has a big game today, it’s his to win.