Stat Compilation Example

The arrival of another college football season marks a new season for the score predictor.  For those of you who are not familiar, the score predictor is a statistical analysis of every FBS college football team.  It provides relatively good predictions on the outcomes of every game every week (For FBS teams only).  Unfortunately the analysis does not start producing meaningful data until around week 3 of the season as it needs a large enough sample of data to get the numbers crunching so to speak.  Usually these first 3 weeks are spent with me tweaking one thing or another, testing scenarios using the last years statistics to hopefully find ways to improve the accuracy of the predictions.

In years past I used a website that provided the NCAA statistics needed to power the analysis, completely free of charge.  I am and forever will be grateful to that website; however, this year they have decided to charge for their statistical services.  I wasn't really interested in paying to download their statistics so I created my own tool that reaches out to the Internet and downloads the game by game statistics for each FBS team.  After it downloads the statistics it then cleans the data up and plops it into a spreadsheet for your use.  For at least the beginning of the season I plan on providing the raw data version of these statistics completely free of charge.  In the future I may make the stats available for a small donation to help fund my humble site here but for now I'm more worried about working out the bugs and making sure things are correct.

So without further ado I've attached a sample of the data produced by what I guess I will call the AbsolutePigskin Data Grab tool.  Hopefully people find it useful!

Note: The statistical totals compiled for each team ONLY include statistics gained against FBS schools.  The game by game statistics do contain some FCS schools but this is eliminated in the totals.  The totals contained in the attachment are the statistics for the 2013 season.  Once this week of games is completed I will post the stats for 2014.  Also you will notice a few random stats that appear to be missing in some of the totals screens.  Those are stats for which I am still working out some kinks in the automation process and should be coming soon.

AbsolutePigskin Data Grab Tool.xlsb (3MB)

Braxton Miller Announces He'll Be Back But Will He Be The Starter?

Reports out of Columbus, OH are that Braxton Miller has already announced his intention to return to Ohio State for the 2015 season.  For those of you seemingly without TV access or access to any sort of sports information, Miller will be out for the 2014 season due to a dislocated shoulder he suffered in a non-contact practice this week.  

There is no doubt that Braxton was one of the early favorites to win the Heisman trophy this season and there is little doubting that he appeared to be developing into one of the all time greats of Ohio State football.  This all being said if Braxton does indeed come back in 2015 and is healthy, is he guaranteed to be the starter?

Penciled in to replace the injured Miller this upcoming season is redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett.  A highly regarded 4-star recruit out of Texas, Barrett has reportedly been making strides in pre-season camp this year to recently assume the #2 spot on the depth chart behind Miller.  As with any redshirt freshman who has yet to see any meaningful action at the college level, experience currently his main negative.  You could have all the physical tools in the world but experience is key to any position,  especially at quarterback.

Fast forward to 2015.  Barring a meltdown by Barrett of epic proportions, one is safe to assume that with a year of experience under his belt that perhaps Barrett isn't such a sure fire bet to return to his spot as a backup with the return of Miller.   2015 will be an interesting year indeed if Braxton Miller does return healthy and ready to play.  Prior to the Braxton Miller injury many had Ohio State penciled in as a potential national title contender.  There is no doubt that Ohio State is talented but they are extremely young along the offensive line.  With an experienced offensive line and the possible return of Braxton Miller 2015 could end up being one of the best teams in Ohio State history.  By 2015 the question then becomes, does Miller still give Ohio State the best chance to win?  It will be interesting to see how Ohio State deals with the potential excess of riches at the quarterback position.  

Ohio State QB Hurt, Possibly Out For Season

Ohio State starting quarterback Braxton Miller hurt his shoulder today and early reports are he might be out for the entire season.  This is a HUGE blow to Ohio State as they were early favorites to contend for a national title.  Miller is a potential Heisman Trophy candidate this year and there is no overestimating his importance to the team.

Braxton Miller Update:

While the cupboard is not bare at Ohio State in terms of overall talent, backup quarterbacks redshirt Freshman J.T. Barrett and redshirt Sophomore Cardale Jones are largely untested.  Reports this week indicate that redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett has a slight lead over Cardale Jones.  J.T. Barrett highlights shown below.

AP Top 25

Jameis Winston and defending national champion Florida State are No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll.

The Seminoles will start the season No. 1 for the sixth time -- the first since 1999 when they became the first team to hold the top spot for the entire season.

Florida State received 57 of 60 first-place votes Sunday from the media panel. No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Oklahoma each received one first-place vote. Ohio State is No. 5 and Auburn is No. 6.

Winston, the Heisman Trophy winner last season as a redshirt freshman, led Florida State to a 34-31 victory against Auburn in the last BCS national championship game.

This season the Bowl Championship Series is being replaced by the College Football Playoff. A selection committee will pick the top four teams in the country for two national semifinals.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

Death Knell of the NCAA

In a seemingly last ditch effort to keep the teams of the 5 power conferences (the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12) from leaving the NCAA all together the NCAA voted 16-2 in favor of allowing those 5 power conferences to make their own rules, short of ruling to pay their players.  

This is a sign that the NCAA will soon cease to exist, at least in it's current form. These conferences now have the power to write their own rules for such things as as cost-of-attendance stipends, insurance benefits for players, staff sizes, recruiting rules and mandatory hours spent on individual sports.  It makes sense because the needs of a school the size of a Penn State will vary by far from a school like Louisiana Tech.  "But these teams are both FBS schools... how could they be that different?", you ask.

Years ago La. Tech happily accepted money to get their butts kicked, I mean agreed to play a non-conference game at Penn State.  I know for a fact that during their walk through the day before the game many of the La. Tech players laid down on the Beaver Stadium grass doing "snow angel" motions because they could not believe how nice the field was.  La. Tech and Penn State are as similar in the sense that they both play in the FBS (Division 1A football) but are about as similar as the Earth and the Moon.  Both are in the same general area of the same solar system but your experience varies completely between the two.

It makes sense for the 5 power conferences to get the ability to write their own rules.  The issues that affect schools with $100 million plus athletic departments are simply not the same as the ones experienced by Middle Tennessee State.  It makes little sense to have the likes of an MTSU voting to determine rules that apply to everyone, regardless of size.  The NCAA didn't really want to do this but had to to placate the power conferences for just a little while longer to somehow remain relevant.  The NCAA wants to keep their piece of the $914 million pie at any cost.  They also desperately want to maintain the illusion that they have the best interests of the "student athletes" at heart by preventing them from such horrible offenses as making money on their name and likeness.  Horrible offenses because that is money that the NCAA enjoys currently, no pie for you kid.

That all being said, there are things that make this terribly frustrating and intriguing all at the same time.  The first observation is that Notre Dame is included in the 64 team list that makes up the 5 power conferences, despite not being part of any of those conferences.  In essence with a very loose affiliation with the ACC, Notre Dame has more standing in the eyes of the NCAA than any of the teams in the AAC, MAC, Mountain West, and Conference USA conferences combined.

That's not to say any of the teams not in the power conferences are completely "left out" so to speak.  All schools can choose to adopt any of the measures the 5 power conferences choose to enact, it's just that they probably wouldn't be able to afford to do so.  Let's say you are out car shopping with Bill Gates and he chooses to buy the top of the line Ferrari.  Sure you too could want to do the same but wanting to and being able to afford to are different matters entirely.  

The new sweeping powers awarded to the 5 power conferences is just the first step towards the eventual new landscape of college athletics.  The 5 power conferences will break away and form their own league and in our lifetimes we will eventually see college players get paid in some way.  (At least let them make money on their own names for Christ sake.)  We might even see an actual playoff (not what we have this year), once the power 5 conferences work out the best way to make money on it.  One of the first changes you will probably see is the 5 power conferences changing the transfer rules.  Players will eventually not have to sit out a year when transferring to another FBS school; thus, allowing teams from the 5 power conferences to eventually pick the best players from the smaller schools.

So it was nice to know ya Sun Belt conference, I'll still enjoy your random Tuesday night ESPN degenerate gamblers special where I foolishly bet on Troy to cover only to have them blow it late.  Farewell Conference USA... I don't have many good things to say but it's impressive that so many of your teams so often are in the bottom 20 out of 125 FBS schools.  So long MAC conference... Toledo beating PSU 24-6 back some 14 years ago will always be a special memory for me but I promise won't bet the under on 95.5 only to have Northern Illinois vs.Toledo end up 49 - 47... OK, I probably will but I digress.

Ultimately it remains to be seen if this truly is a good or a bad thing but for now I'll sit back and enjoy the knowledge that the NCAA will slowly but surely go away sometime in the future.

Goodell Defends Rice Suspension

Roger Goodell spoke to the media today and defended his suspension of Baltimore Raven running-back Ray Rice.  He called the suspension "consistent" with other suspensions.  Except that is is not.

Let's compare Ray Rice's 2 game suspension to other recent suspensions of similar length in the NFL.

  • Mike Vick, QB Atlanta Falcons - 2 Game suspension + prison in 2009 for involvement in dog fighting.
  • Plaxico Burress - WR New York Giants - 4 games + entire 2009 season (prison) for shooting himself in the leg.
  • Ndamukong Suh, DT Detroit Lions - 2 Game suspension in 2011 for stomping Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith
  • James Harrison, LB Pittsburgh Steelers - 1 Game suspension in 2011 for a violent tackle on Browns then QB Colt McCoy.
  • Terrell Pryor, QB Oakland Raiders - 5 Game suspension in 2011 for trading memorabilia for money and tattoos in college.
  • Lane Johnson, OL Philadelphia Eagles - 4 Game suspension 2014 for use of performance enhancing drugs.

Read the full article here.

AMWAY Pre-Season Top 25

I am totally against pre-season polls of any sort because they distort ratings down the line but being a sucker, I can't help but be consumed by anything college football related.  I also love that it appears Steve Spurrier gave his team a first place vote.  I know you have to believe in your team but you can't help but grin there with the Ole' Ball Coach.  It also lends credence to the rumors that South Carolina is going to be sneaky good this year.

1Florida State
Crimson Tide
6Ohio State
8Michigan State
9South Carolina
17Notre Dame
Fighting Irish
18Arizona State
Sun Devils
20Texas A&M
21Kansas State
23North Carolina
Tar Heels
Others Receiving Votes
Missouri 126; Florida 122; Central Florida 102; Mississippi State 74; Oklahoma State 56; TCU 54; Michigan 53; Iowa 49; Miami (Fla.) 45; Duke 41; Louisville 32; Marshall 27; Brigham Young 18; Boise State 13; Louisiana-Lafayette 12; Virginia Tech 12; Texas Tech 8; Minnesota 6; Cincinnati 6; Northwestern 5; Oregon State 4; Fresno State 4; GeorgiaTech 2; Houston 2; Arkansas 1; Arizona 1; Northern Illinois 1.
*Hi/Low Rankings
Hi/Low = The highest and lowest ranking each team has held during the designated season. Any team that starts the season unranked and/or falls out of the top 25 during the season will reflect a "NR" (not ranked) designation as its lowest rank.
List of Voters
The Amway Board of Coaches is made up of 62 head coaches at Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2014 season: Blake Anderson, Arkansas State; Dino Babers, Bowling Green; David Bailiff, Rice; Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe; Bret Bielema, Arkansas; Larry Blakeney, Troy; Bill Blankenship, Tulsa; Craig Bohl, Wyoming; Terry Bowden, Akron; Art Briles, Baylor; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Matt Campbell, Toledo; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois; Norm Chow, Hawaii; Larry Coker, Texas-San Antonio; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State; Bob Diaco, Connecticut; Larry Fedora, North Carolina; Jimbo Fisher, Florida State; Dennis Franchione, Texas State; Justin Fuente, Memphis; Al Golden, Miami (Fla.); Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Bobby Hauck, UNLV; Brady Hoke, Michigan; Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jerry Kill, Minnesota; Mike Leach, Washington State; Rocky Long, San Diego State; Mike MacIntyre, Colorado; Dan McCarney, North Texas; Bronco Mendenhall, Brigham Young; Urban Meyer, Ohio State; Les Miles, LSU; Todd Monken, Southern Mississippi; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; George O'Leary, Central Florida; Gary Patterson, TCU; Bo Pelini, Nebraska; Chris Petersen, Washington; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Jeff Quinn, Buffalo; Matt Rhule, Temple; Mark Richt, Georgia; Mike Riley, Oregon State; Rich Rodriguez, Arizona; Nick Saban, Alabama; Steve Sarkisian, USC; Frank Solich, Ohio; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Charlie Strong, Texas; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati; Ron Turner, Florida International; Kevin Wilson, Indiana. AFCA policy bars schools under major NCAA or conference sanctions from receiving votes.

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