The problem with the entire league imitating Nick Saban's style is that it is hard to replicate what Saban does. Saban is an epic recruiter. The characterization of him in The Blind Side turned out to be accurate. Programs that try to imitate his method will typically find themselves doing so with less talent. Additionally, Saban is an outstanding defensive coach, so his teams don't need an offense to put up big numbers. In sum, Saban's style of conservative risk minimization works with a talent advantage and a dominant defense. Without those two factors, the other programs in the SEC won't be able to do what Saban's team can. Thus, even though a well-coached pro-style offense can work (and Loeffler is as good a candidate as anyone to run that offense well), the rest of the SEC looking up to Alabama could still stand to use the basic premise of the run-based spread, which is to use the quarterback as a runner to create either a numerical advantage in the box of favorable throwing conditions down the field. If you want a succinct scenario for the end of SEC dominance, it's the possibility of the rest of the conference taking the wrong lessons from Alabama's success.From an excellent SBN Atlanta piece about the SEC's Sabanization. It really is amazing to watch sometimes. Instead of figuring out how to beat the top dog, coaches spend a lot of time trying to resemble the top dog. Like the only thing more important than winning is convincing people you're trying to win.
that game not only ushered in an age of the spread, it also ushered in the age of information: Not only were the ideas themselves different, there were more of them than ever, and they could be passed along, combined, pondered, and reformulated at a rate faster than ever before. The game was dramatic not only because of what it was — a great football game, where a "David" used used an underdog strategy to topple a "Goliath" — but when it happened: Immediately before the internet, the cloud, iPhones, iPads and all of the good stuff that has increased our interconnectedness over the same time period.Chris Brown takes a look at The Most Important Game in the History of the Spread Offense, and Its Legacy. Great game, great read. (For more, feel free to revisit my "What I Love" piece on it as well.)
A while back, Football Outsiders created the Lewin Career Forecast in an attempt to use college stats to project pro success. Here are some of the factors it uses for projections: career starts, career completion rate, size, run-pass ratio, and rushing yards. In a lot of ways, Griffin is already the perfect quarterback for this tool. He is a three-year starter (the Alamo Bowl will be his 40th career start). His career completion percentage is 67 percent and has improved every year (2011: 72.4 percent). He could be a little taller (6-foot-2), but at 220 pounds he's got a decent amount of meat on his bones (but not too much). His run-pass ratio (30 percent) is probably a bit too high for F.O.'s liking, but only a bit. And when he does run, he tends to get somewhere. He has long been pigeon-holed into the "run-first quarterback" mold even though that has not been particularly true since his freshman year. In 2011, he proved himself to be one of the most well-rounded, pro-ready quarterbacks on the list. If he returns to school, that would be fantastic. But I cannot blame him if he takes the leap.Today at the mothership, I look at the stay-or-go decisions made by Robert Griffin III (probably leaving), LaMichael James (leaving), Lamar Miller (leaving) and Aaron Murray (staying). And when you're done with that, you know you were dying to read an in-depth preview of tonight's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
Last year's David (SDSU) is this year's Goliath -- they are playing in their second consecutive bowl and are set to join the now-ridiculously named Big East soon, in part because of their recent success -- and it is quite possible that they could fall victim to the same motivation-and-homefield situation that benefited them last year. This should be a game with big plays, of both the offensive and defensive variety, and a less-sterile-than-normal bowl environment. You want to watch this one.From my New Orleans Bowl preview. The first three (of 35) previews are up at the mothership. When you're done with ULL-SDSU, head on over to the New Mexico Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl previews. BOWL SEASON, BABY.
That leaves two at-large BCS bids, likely going to some combination of these four teams: Stanford (11-1), Boise State (11-1), Kansas State (10-2) and Michigan (10-2). Ten-win South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia teams are out because the SEC has filled their two-team allotment (the only way they get a third is if Georgia or the SEC West Champion win the SEC title game and two other SEC teams are still in the national title game). Ten-win USC is out because they aren't going to any bowl. Depending on how the BCS Top 14 plays out (you must be a Top 14 team to be eligible for an at-large bid), it is possible that a nine-win team like Oklahoma, Penn State, Nebraska or Clemson can also get involved, but for these projections we will stick to the ten-wins-or-better pool. Stanford gets one of those two slots, and we'll say that Michigan gets the other spot despite ranking a decent amount below both Boise State and Kansas State. (Ah, the power of an enormous, well-traveled fan base.) There isn't a clear-cut case for any of these four teams, however.From my bowl projections column at The Mothership. There are some interesting domino effects tied to some of these picks. (Also, feel free to check out this morning's awards finalists column.)
Since launching the website in February of 2006, the cost of operation, including paying monthly for a web hosting provider, has come out of my own pocket. So I’m asking now for help to defray the cost. I’ve chosen the month of October for the first-ever pledge drive at cfbstats.com. If you find the site useful, either because you love stats, want to settle an argument, or use it for work, please consider a donation. No amount is too small.Marty at CFB Stats is the reason I have data to analyze from week to week, DONATE NOW, PLEASE!
It is not unheard of for a team to get good press all week, then lay an egg on the field. Does it work that way for an entire conference as well? Only three ACC teams even slightly overachieved their projections (Clemson, Duke and North Carolina), and two of those did so at the expense of other ACC teams. Meanwhile, four teams underachieved by significant margins against non-conference opponents. Underachiever: Maryland (Projected Margin: +17.0 | Actual Margin: -31). Temple's 38-7 win was just a manhandling. Temple outgained the Terps by 185 yards (425 to 240), and the only reason it was that close is because Maryland's last drive went 80 yards in eight plays. Before that drive, the Terps managed just 160 yards in 52 plays (3.1 per play). Including sacks, quarterback Danny O'Brien's 36 pass attempts averaged just 3.5 yards each (17-for-33, 153 yards, 1 INT, 3 sacks). Yuck. The numbers liked Maryland because they played great against Miami and pretty well against West Virginia. I think they used up all of their statistical goodwill, eh?For those who like the Expectations And Reality series, check out my Underachievers And Overachievers piece at the Mothership.