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The 2013 college football charting project

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Last July, I asked for volunteers for the 2013 Charting Project. The goal was to go beyond the 110 or so games that our two interns charted in 2012 and see how far we could push this charting idea. It took a while to compile everything, but I'm happy to share the 2013 data with you now. Better late than never.

2013 College Football Charting Data (Excel)

We ended up with 85 charting volunteers, and while there was a decent amount of attrition as expected (this really does take a decent amount of time, and these were unpaid volunteers), we ended up with 202 charted games and 30,565 charted plays. That's pretty exciting.

It was a trial-and-error situation, and the number of games we got for a given team depended entirely on the interest level of that team's volunteer(s) -- we ended up with 12 Northwestern games, 10 Cincinnati games, 10 Illinois games ... six Florida State games, six Alabama games, five South Carolina games, five Michigan State games, two Wisconsin games, and two Texas A&M games -- but for a grand experiment I'll call this one a relative success. I definitely learned how to make this a smoother process the next time around, and we'll be taking new volunteers for 2014 in July.

You can download the complete file via the link above. Most of the columns are self-explanatory, but here are some helpful notes:

  • The Game column (B) is just an internal Game ID from my files. There's no specific meaning behind the number, but it's a way to track games. (You can find the whole list of IDs and games in the Teams tab.)
  • Tracking time was optional for charters. Some games will have a lot of times marked, others won't.
  • Rush and Block are intended for pass-tracking data. They represent the number of pass rushers and pass blockers on a given play. You might find a few run plays with this data; ignore it.
  • Charters were encouraged to track the general placement of passes -- left of hash, right of hash, or between the hashes.
  • Important: Not every charter tracked the distance of incomplete passes. (Blame me for that: my instructions weren't clear enough.) If you're looking to put together any sort of data that involves completion rates at different distances, use only the games marked with "Yes" in the "Distance of INC?" column (AN). I added this column so we could filter out the incomplete games while still using those games for run data and other purposes.
  • The "QB Move" (AG) and "Non-QB Run Info" (AH) columns were new and/or streamlined for 2013. The Non-QB Run Info column offers a way to track what types of runs were more efficient/successful. One note: we offered both "right/left tackle" and "right/left guard" as options, but the "Guard" wasn't used much. If you're compiling any data about run types, I recommend merging guard/tackle.
  • A few games were only partially charted.

If you find any errors (and you very well might, as this was a document basically compiled by 75 different hands), pass them along to analytics intern Chris A. Brown. We'll compile them and release a new version of the file at a later date. This has been scrubbed pretty well, but there's always a chance for finding other errors.

Enjoy. One final request: If you write about this data in some way, feel free to share it with me either in Fanshots here at Study Hall, via e-mail or Twitter. I'd love to see what people are doing with this.