Oregon vs. Ohio State Thoughts & Analysis

Well, here we are. If the Rosebowl is the “Granddaddy of them all”, next Monday about 30 miles from where I write this, in Frisco, TX, will take place the berth of a whole new family tree. In Arlington, TX at AT&T stadium, aka, “Jerry’s World”, we will finally have a no-kidding, honest-to-goodness (and, ohhh is it so good!) National Championship Game in college football.

Hey, it only took 145 years…I guess we can wait another 7 days to watch this culmination!

I’ll start my inserting my numbers, and we’ll go from there:

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 8.13.07 PM

Ok, so the middle column “Raw Line”, are the numbers I land at. I consider this model more indicative of a spread, than a total line. None-the-less, my totals have been within a point of Vegas’ opening total in 85% of the bowls.

I’ve got Oregon by 5. A combination of my raw line, and weighted scoring margin differential (6.8 & 3.0).

If you focus on the far right columns, and look at those metrics, it’s Ohio State that enjoys a slight advantage in Yards Per Play (YPP) differential, and Points Per Play (PPP) differential.

Where Oregon overcomes Ohio State in both weight scoring margin, and across all of those other metrics, is in Strength of Schedule (SOS), and Margin of Victory (MV).

So the metrics lean towards Oregon.

What about schemes, familiarity, and 11-12 days of preparation?

This is a two-phased analysis for me. In terms of preparation, readiness and familiarity across the roster, including those on scout team, this advantage leans heavily towards Oregon. Why? Because this is essentially like them going from Stanford in physicality on the OL, and pro-style sets, to most of the other teams in the PAC-12 that employ HUNH (Hurry-up, No-Huddle) high-tempo spread teams (E.g. Arizona, UCLA, ASU, Cal, etc.).

Ohio State simply doesn’t face a single team like Oregon’s in terms of team-speed on both sides of the ball through their whole schedule. However, Ohio State most definitely has the speed and the athletes to give their first teams a very good look, and they are well-versed in running the up-tempo themselves.

Now, in terms of having 11 days of game preparation, is there anyone else you’d want than Urban Meyer? He has made his case as the best coach in the entire nation, this year. Loses two Heisman trophy candidate level QB’s…in a single season?! And all he did was get QB number three prepared to shred a Nick Saban defense in only his second career start! Oh, and in the first, his ‘barrel full of nerves’ only rolled-up 59 points on a Wisconsin team that turned around and beat Auburn.

One more schematic note; I think Ohio State will get a rude wake-up call when they step on the field and face that speed from Eugene for the first time in person. From pulling OG’s on stretch runs, to the speed at which safeties come downhill. That’s not schematic, but this is: Ohio State schemed to take Amari Cooper out of the game vs. Alabama. They rolled a safety over top throughout the game, and dared Blake Sims to make NFL type of passes if he was going to get it to Cooper. Defending Oregon is a much, much different task.

Oregon doesn’t always know what they’re going to do pre-snap! There are a number of reads that Mariota is asked to make post-snap, which includes many plays that are run/pass/keep options, on which Mariota could be keying a DE, a CB, or a even a LB or S. Oregon’s/Chip Kelly’s offense is the quintessential ‘take what the defense gives you’ type of offense, with the QB being a true Point Guard, distributing the ball as they ‘run the break’, vs. the more traditional drop & read progressions passing offense.

So do I have a lean? Just ever so slightly towards Oregon, and I lean Oregon late. There’s no doubt that the tempo at which Oregon runs their offense eventually starts to kick Defensive Line ass. It’s like running gassers (remember those?). I think OSU’s front-7, mostly built for the ground & pound of the Big-10, wears down late in the 3rd quarter, and if they’re not up 21 points on Oregon (which I don’t see), then watch out.

I think Oregon wins 41-37, and Marcus Mariota caps off a dream season by being game MVP with an almost flawless performance.

The best & worst college sports mantras

Let’s take a look at the best & worst college sports mantras, or taunts, shall we?

THE GREAT:

Fight on! (The greatest. Go see “Unbroken” & you’ll see why)

Bear Down! (Legendary)

Geaux Tigers! (Perfect Cajun take on a classic)

Tiger Bait! or Gator Bait! (The best at home during tailgating)

Roll Tide! (Classic, legendarily cool, even though…roll? Tide? An elephant? What the hell are you guys talking about?)

War Eagle! (Awesome. I once heard the story…though I don’t remember what it’s about. But it’s awesome)

Hook ‘em! (Perfect)

Boomer Sooner! (Very good…maybe I’m partial because of the legendary past…but who’s Boomer?)

Go Green! and Go Blue! (claiming a primary color is bold. I love it)

Who have I forgotten?

THE AVERAGE:

Gig ‘em! (Wanted to give Texas A&M the benefit of the doubt, because y’all are so awesomely passionate, but then I thought–“wait, nobody knows what an Aggie is, or what the hell “gig ‘em” even means”. A for effort.

Go _______! You can’t hate it, can’t love it. It’s just what you do when you don’t have much else. You don’t want to fall into the category below, do you? Don’t push it.

THE TERRIBLE:

8 Clap (is this an STD, or a drunken episode of Dora the Explorer? You should be thankful for ASU)

Fear the Fork (PAT FREAKING TILLMAN played at your school, and you put forth dieting advice?! Seriously, IT’S NOT A FORK! It’s a freaking trident, you fools. I know your no-academic-standards-having students that you’ve admitted would never remember the word “trident”, but fork? Really? Good lord that’s stupid.)

Thank you to Rob Lantz & Gatley for inspiring this post.

Free Picks for Bowl Season Kickoff!

G’morning!

Further write-ups to come for games after today!

For today’s bowl slate:

  • ULL Ragin Cajuns (+1.5) over Nevada. I have this game modeled at about pick ‘em, with a total of 60, until I factor in HFA; ULL -3 is my line
  • Utah St. (-10) over UTEP, total 46. There’s no value in this line, but for confidence picks, I have USU pretty high. They’re the far better team. We’ll see who has this lined correctly, but I have this going wayyy over the total of 46.
  • Utah (-2.5) over Colorado St. Just on coaching and talent alone, Utah would win this game 9/10 times, but CSU has real talent (All-American WR) and the program is solid. Utah should be too much, late, with their DL controlling the LOS.
  • Western Michigan (-1.5) over Air Force. WMU has a 1.4 yards per play differential advantage in this game, which is as significant of a gap as almost any game. SOS adjusted, I have this at WMU -5, total of 56
  • South Alabama (-2.5) over Bowling Green. I have this as S. Bama -6.5, enjoying a significant HFA, and a favorite by both weighted scoring margin, and my composite raw line models. Total of 56.

Enjoy & Good luck!

SOS: Strength of Schedule

HFA: Home Field Advantage

WR: wide receiver

DL: Defensive Line

SEC scheduling is genius…and a scam.

Surprisingly, the fans of “the greatest organization of teams since the Allies in WWII” are pretty sensitive whenever you poke at their ‘superiority complex’ with information they don’t like. Debate always veers off-topic right away, so I’m putting together the entire basis for my claims that SEC scheduling is brilliant, and amounts to a scam in today’s national (vs. historically regional) college football landscape, and that the conference as a whole is overrated. It’s a great conference, but it’s overrated. Its best team is annually great, but the conference is overrated.

First of all, let me confess something: I love SEC football. I think it’s fantastic, because the passion in the south is what I view as the rightful & beautiful celebration of such an awesome game! It’s the fans that drive me nuts…

  • I think the SEC has been the best conference for the last few years.
  • I think this is self-evident based on the NFL draft, and their performance in the (relatively few) OOC games and bowl games in which the teams were evenly ranked & matched.
  • I also think that the way the SEC approaches scheduling is genius, but a scam.
    • In general, the conference plays nobody for a month, never leaves home, and certainly not their time zone.
    • This cannot be shrugged-away. This matters when we’re talking about 18-22 year old kids who are full-time students, limited practice hours in a week to prepare, etc.
    • Ever since USC swept Auburn and Arkansas (which included a shut-out of top-5 Auburn at Jordan Hare, dropping 55 on Arkansas at home, and *70* on them in the Coliseum), which preceded a mostly the same, undefeated Auburn team from being a victim to the 2004 USC team that murdered Oklahoma in the BCS CG, SEC scheduling has noticeably changed.
    • OOC home & homes have all-but disappeared (thanks to USC?) When SEC teams do travel, it’s to a friendly site against a name-brand teams that coincidentally, are all on the downswing when they’re scheduled (Michigan, VA Tech, Penn St. (h&h), WVU, and getting beat by Boise St.)
    • The lone exception to this has been LSU in some years. They get credit for playing Oregon when they were rolling, and at least making the trips out west, if it was to play teams then at the bottom-end of the Pac-10/12
  • Compared to teams like Stanford, UCLA & USC (the latter two have never played an FCS team–ever), who often play only 6 or 7 home games & 10-11 real games, the average SEC team almost universally plays 8 at home, only 8 in conference, for a total of 8-9 real teams annually.
  • Stated another way, PAC-12 teams nearly universally play 25%–38% more real opponents, 50% or more of which are on the road in a given year.
  • Given the above, the mathematical advantage is massive when applied across the entire conferences, which is how we get what we have every year: SEC teams “float to the top” to quote Ivan Maisel, in September, then circular-logic season ensues.
  • By November, when the full slate of 25—38% more real games has kicked in, you have a significant advantage mathematically, and in perception.
  • Given the indisputable mathematical advantage, and the obvious perception advantage, do you think that had any impact at the end of the season? In getting to the BCS CG’s?

Am I crazy? I mean, ESPN says “the SEC is the best evvahhh!”

Go look at the SEC’s record vs. the Big East in the BCS era (a conference so invested in football, that it has ceased to exist): 17—20 in the regular season, and 5-8 in bowl games. Yep, you read that right. A losing record

“Well, surely that’s an anomaly, right?” Ok. Let’s look at the rest of the Power-5:

  • PAC-12: 13-13
  • Big-10: (I mean, we all know they owned the B1G, right? Ok, if 23-21 is owning them
  • Big-12: 8-12 in regular season

Are you convinced yet? (Certainly not, if you’re SEC guy, because no amount of information will ever get you to publically doubt your ‘vast football superiority’)

“Well, if other teams played the SEC schedule, they’d be massive LOSERS!” Gee, if only we had an idea of what teams from the “weak, no-defense-playing, overrated, flag football conference” like the Big-12 would do if they moved to the SEC. Oh wait! We do!

Mizzou Record BCS era, Big-12: 100-73 57.8% (Bowls: 5-5 50%)

Mizzou Record SEC: 21-10 67.7% (Bowls: 1-0 100%)

Texas A&M Record BCS era, Big-12: 98-76 56.3% (Bowls: 2-8, 20%)

Texas A&M Record SEC: 25-7 78.1% (Bowls: 2-0, 100%)

I rest my case. Not only do the records vs. the other real conferences in the BCS era illustrate that the SEC wasn’t as dominant as the narrative, but the narrative is highly shaped by genius scheduling manipulation.

So why do I care so much? A few reasons: because I love this game, I really believe in rational, data-driven discussion when it comes to the opportunity to compete for a national championship, and because arrogant people annoy the hell out of me. And there is no more of a universally insufferable bunch than SEC fans. Some select few are reasonable about other conferences and teams, but none are reasonable about their own.

This point is free, because I’m a USC fan, and soon-to-be alumni of my dream school:

– USC is 9-5-1 vs. the SEC since the Pac-10 era began in 1978.
– Trojans are 17-10-1 all-time vs. the SEC.
– USC has won its last four games vs. the SEC by an average of 30 points.
– The SEC hasn’t beaten USC since the 1987 Citrus Bowl, 25 years ago.
– USC hasn’t lost at home to an SEC school since September of 1984, over 30 years ago.

My Political Platform In A Parallel Life

My Political Platform In A Parallel Life, Had I Decided To Run For Office

I’ve come to realize that I’m no longer a social conservative. I’m fiercely pro-life, and otherwise libertarian. Our Founders did declare we were endowed inalienable rights by God; LIFE, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–and that declaration mostly shapes my views.

– I’m adamantly against the death penalty.

– I’m for getting the Government out of marriage entirely & offering equal protection & opportunity under the law for all adult couples that so choose to enter into Civil Unions together.

– I’m against the war on drugs.

– I’m in favor of legalizing & regulating all naturally occurring drugs.

– I want to entirely overhaul our criminal justice system which (thanks to the war on drugs & abortion) has played a giant part in destroying the nuclear black family. Realizing Margaret Sanger’s racist, evil dream.

Fiscally, I’m as staunchly libertarian conservative as it gets; income taxes should be abolished (our earnings are our most basic & fundamental property rights).

We should be taxed on what we CHOOSE to consume from the economy, not what we produce & put into the economy. Meaning, we should pay taxes on what we purchase. Never on what we make. This could be socially engineered & progressive as well, to help those that are poorest amongst us by exempting entire categories of goods & services; Eg gasoline, used autos under $XYZ, medical, electricity, cell phone & service, all groceries and all clothing items under $100. There should be no exclusions for corporate expenses, but no confiscation of the money they make either.

On the top-end, the rates could climb higher on higher consumption, and on items that are more middle & upper class, or those that the poor CHOOSE (there’s that word again) to purchase, such as electronics, new cars, and anything over $100 (Jordan’s & $200 jeans, for example).

All levels of Government should be required to operate on a balanced budget (with exclusions at the Federal level for times of declared war).

You want to revitalize the American economy & reverse the off-shoring of the industries that could still operate here? Watch how fast money flies into the US economy when you eliminate confiscation of their capital. When every purchase that every individual & every corporation makes has a clear “price of Government” attached to it in the form of a sales tax, we will see a more accountable & transparent Government at every level.

Can you imagine the wake-up call that people would get when–overnight–the price of gasoline dropped by 50%?

When those layers of “hidden” taxes are removed out of the cost of everything we purchase, we won’t even notice when the $150 pair of shoes has $45 in taxes removed and the $105 shoes now only cost $133 even with the 27% sales tax (which the authors of many studies say is the ‘revenue neutral’ starting point) clearly seen on the receipt.

Most importantly, this is a foundational principle of liberty: you are only separating with your most important property–that which you give your time & abilities to earn–BY CHOICE! No more of this confiscating of your property between your employers & your bank account, as they recklessly spend what they continue to pillage from We The People.