Monthly Archives: December 2017
There is Absolutely, Positively, Mathematically No Chance Georgia Loses to Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl
To hear most punditry, the Rose Bowl matchup between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners will come down to a stout Georgia defense and an explosive Oklahoma offense. Though it’s hard to argue that that half of the matchup is strength vs. strength, expecting that side of play to determine the outcome of the game is completely misguided. There is, after all, another matchup that will happen during the same game—Georgia’s offense against Oklahoma’s defense.
Therefore, saying this game will come down solely to Baker (Faker) Mayfield and the Sooner offense vs. Roquan Smith and the Georgia defense implies that Georgia’s offense and Oklahoma’s defense must be even. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The greatest mismatch in this game actually occurs when Georgia’s offense (12th in the nation in yards per play) lines up against Oklahoma’s defense (65th in the nation in yards allowed per game). Frankly, if Oklahoma’s porous defense can’t figure out a way to stop Georgia’s offense, what Mayfield & Co. do won’t really matter.
Want a deeper dive? Let’s do this.
Numbers Used and the Process
For this study on offensive and defensive efficiency, I used Yards Per Play as a proxy. Lest I be accused of unfairness, it should be noted that Oklahoma’s offense is staggering by this measure at a nation-leading 8.3 yards per play. For what it’s worth, Central Florida is second in the country at 7.5 yards per play and only three other schools (Memphis, Louisville and Oklahoma State crack the 7.0 mark). The last time a team averaged 8.3 yards per play was was Hawaii in 2006. So, I’m not screwing Oklahoma over by using this metric and it’s defensive equivalent (Yards Allowed Per Play).
I only used data for both Oklahoma and Georgia’s FBS opponents. If an opponent was played twice, its underlying efficiency was also counted twice. Oklahoma played TCU twice; Georgia played Auburn twice.
Ultimately, I care about four co-related (though not correlated) things:
- How did Oklahoma’s Offense (as measured by Yards Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents’ Defenses (as measured by average Yards Allowed Per Play) this year.
- How did Georgia’s Defense (as measured by Yards Allowed Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents Offenses (as measured by average Yards Per Play) this year.
- How did Georgia’s Offense (as measured by Yards Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents’ Defenses (as measured by average Yards Allowed Per Play) this year.
- How did Oklahoma’s Defense (as measured by Yards Allowed Per Play) perform relative to its Opponents Offenses (as measured by average Yards Per Play) this year.
Averaging points one and two above should give us some kind of read on the offensive efficiency we can expect from Oklahoma against Georgia’s stout defense. If that’s all that matters, then points three and four should be ignored. Obviously, that’s not all that matters. So, points three and four should show how Georgia’s offense might perform against Oklahoma’s lackluster defense.
Oklahoma’s Offense vs. Georgia’s Defense
Here’s the data on Oklahoma’s offense, opposition and performance.
|Oklahoma Yards Per Play||8.3||1st in the Nation|
|Opponent||Average Yards Per Play Allowed||Rank|
|Relative to Average||146.80%|
Meaning: Oklahoma’s 14 opponents allowed an average of 5.65 yards per play this year. Oklahoma racked up 8.3 yards per play, or 146.8% more than expected.
And here’s how Georgia’s defense performed.
|Georgia Yards Per Play||4.3||7th in the Nation|
|Opponent||Average Yards Per Play Gained||Rank|
|Relative to Average||76.44%|
Meaning: On average, Georgia’s opponents averaged 5.63 yards per play. Georgia held these foes to 76.4% of their season average—4.3 yards per play.
Conclusions: If Oklahoma racks up 146.80% of Georgia’s season-long average for yards allowed per play, the Sooners will average 6.31 yards per play. Similarly, if Georgia holds Oklahoma to 76.44% of its season average for yards per play, the Sooners will average 6.34 yards per play.
The average of these two co-related outcomes is a yard-per-play output of 6.33 for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Georgia’s Offense vs. Oklahoma’s Defense
Again, this whole game won’t be Georgia’s Defense vs. Oklahoma’s Offense. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why that narrative is being pushed. So, how will Georgia’s offense do against Oklahoma?
Here’s the data on Georgia’s offense, opposition and performance.
|Georgia Yards Per Play||6.6||12th in the Nation|
|Opponent||Average Yards Per Play Allowed||Rank|
|Relative to Average||123.56%|
Meaning: Georgia’s 6.6 yards per play represent a 23.56% premium above its opponents’ average for yards allowed (which was 5.34).
And here’s a look at the Oklahoma defense.
|Oklahoma Yards Allowed Per Play||6.5||65th in the Nation|
|Opponent||Average Yards Per Play Gained||Rank|
|Relative to Average||115.75%|
Meaning: Oklahoma gives up 6.5 yards per play, which is 15.75% more than its opponents’ average for yards gained per play—5.615%.
Conclusions: If Georgia racks up 123.56% of Oklahoma’s season-long average for yards allowed per play, the Bulldogs will average 8.03 yards per play. Similarly, if Oklahoma allows 115.75% of Georgia’s season average for yards per play, Georgia will pick up 7.64 yards per play.
The average of these two co-related outcomes is a yard-per-play output of 7.84 for the Georgia Bulldogs.
I’m showing a mighty Oklahoma defense meeting its match with a Georgia defense to the tune of just 6.33 yards per play for the Sooners. And from my perspective, Georgia may beat that by more than a yard and a half.
Yeah, the Strength vs. Strength matchup matters. But what really matters here is that there is only one weak unit in this game, and that’s Oklahoma’s defense. For that reason, the Oklahoma Sooners don’t stand a chance against the Georgia Bulldogs.
That’s all I got/
Welcome to the Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia Bulldogs Football, where we give a voice to the fans who will never be happy with Kirby Smart at the helm in Athens.
Yesterday a bunch of manchildren signed their names on sheets of paper. What an incredible accomplishment! No one has ever seen anything like this. Sure, it happens every day in kindergarten classes across the country, but never before has such a worthy group of people gotten together and signed their names. I mean it was kind of cool when life insurance salesman John Hancock, brewmaster Samuel Adams and a bunch of other fathers founded America with the Declaration of Independence. But, boy…that time all those teenagers wrote their names in 2018 was way bigger. Committing to the G was a much bigger deal than De-committing from an oppressive English monarchy.
It’s really kind of pathetic when you think about it. The emphasis on Five Stars during the week of Christmas just shows how quickly this Georgia program has fallen away from its Mark Richt Era Christian roots. Any true biblical scholar (and Kirby Smart obviously is not one) can tell you that there was only one star that mattered at the original Christmas. Can you imagine how confusing that would have been for the Wise Men, the original lead recruiters, if they had to pursue five stars just to find a talented youngster. Personally, I don’t think that would have been feasible. What were they going to do—mix up the gold, frankincense and myrrh into a makseshift trailmix mumbo jumbo of gifts and split up? I don’t think so.
But who did Georgia actually sign? And will the Bulldogs get better? Let’s take a look at the “best of the best.”
Justin Fields, No. 1 QB in the Country, No. 2 Overall Player
If you have two five-star quarterbacks, you don’t have one. And now, Georgia has three. I can’t begin to imagine the challenge this is going to create for Jim Chaney. I bet his brain is a total pretzel right now, and for an apparent carb lover like Chaney that can’t be good. Seriously, he may eat through his own skull to get a bite of that pretzel brain if you tempt him with some melted cheese. Chaney already has one quarterback he doesn’t use (Jacob Eason) and one he doesn’t really trust (Jake Fromm). So the better quarterback (Eason threw for 2,430 yards as a freshman in 13 games, Fromm has thrown for 2,173 as a freshman in 13 games) sits on the bench while the lesser quarterback doesn’t really throw the football all that much (Eason attempted 60% more passes than Fromm as a freshman). I’m sure Justin Fields will really make the decision-making process more logical.
Zamir White, No. 1 RB in the Country, No. 6 Overall Player
Georgia always signs a lot of running backs. White and 4-star signee James Cook (the nation’s 3rd-best running back) represent an extension of that. But including these two fellows, Georgia has now signed five running backs in the past four classes. None of those players has ever run for 600 yards in a single season. Something tells me this White and Cook combo won’t be as successful as when Walter White was cooking meth.
Jamaree Salyer, No. 1 OG in the Country, No. 10 Overall Player
Salyer is a lose-lose signee for Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Either he comes in and add values and all yesterday’s self-back-pats are proved worthwhile or he doesn’t. But if he jumps into the starting lineup then it’s time to address the elephants in the room: Georgia’s offensive line was trash in 2017. No self-respecting offensive lineman should ever lose his or her job to a freshman.
Cade Mays, No. 2 OT in the Country, No. 16 Overall Player
Everything I just said about Salyer still applies to Mays. Interesting that Georgia has been touting its “much-improved offensive line” all year and suddenly “has to have help on the offensive line.” This is just wishy washy. I haven’t seen people go back and forth with offensive lines since the time Mario Batali cooked dinner for Matt Lauer.
Adam Anderson, No. 1 OLB in the Country, No. 18 Overall Player
If Anderson is anything like the top OLB Georgia signed last year, we’re all in for a real treat. Jaden Hunter played in two games this year and has registered .
That’s it. No stats were registered. But Georgia is really good at developing outside linebackers—just look at Roquan Smith. Roquan was the no. 5 OLB in his class. Now, just three years later, he plays a different position.
Brenton Cox, No. 2 SDE in the Country, No. 22 Overall Player
I actually really like Cox.
Georgia obviously signed a bunch of other scrubs too, but I wouldn’t count on any of them making an impact in the Playoff, so I’m not sure why you would care.
The Kirby Smart Hater
Georgia Football: A Bulldog Should Have Won The Heisman Trophy This Year – And It Wasn’t Roquan Smith
Baker Mayfield, who will soon be known nationwide as Faker Mayfield after he faces the first real defense (other than cops) he’s ever seen, won the Heisman Trophy. He had a good year. He may or may not have deserved the award. But was he clearly the most deserving person? Let’s go to the dictionary. Per the Heisman Trust’s Mission Statement, this is who should win the award:
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.
So there are really seven components to winning the award:
- Outstanding Player
- Performance that exhibits the pursuit of excellence.
- Performance that exhibits integrity.
- Great ability.
- Hard work.
What’s interesting is that almost all of those qualities apply the vast majority of college football players. Most work hard, persevere, display diligence and demonstrate great ability. As a result, the pursuit of excellence is relatively commonplace in college football. Relative to the broader population, most college football players are outstanding. But how many really display integrity?
Baker Mayfield grabbed his crotch during a football game. People seem to have forgotten that, and I’m not sure that is a display of integrity. And that’s why a Georgia Bulldog should have won the award. You may think I’m talking about Roquan Smith. I’m not. He may have been deserving as well. But I’m talking about Jayson Stanley.
There’s a moral high ground and selflessness that embodies integrity. Stanley has demonstrated that when it matters most for the Dawgs.
A few short weeks ago, Georgia won the SEC Championship and essentially clinched a College Football Playoff appearance. Boys will be boys and a number of them boys got into trouble immediately thereafter.
Most notably, Natrez Patrick, a beast of an inside linebacker, was arrested for marijuana possession. This was Patrick’s third weed-related infraction—or at least it could have been. It is entirely possible that Patrick’s career with the Bulldogs would have been over had this third charge stuck. Most certainly he would have missed Georgia’s Rose Bowl appearance and all-but-guaranteed National Championship Game showdown with Alabama/Clemson.
Indeed, things would have been bleak for Patrick and the Georgia defense were it not for integrity. Fortunately, Jayson Stanley, who should have won the Heisman Trophy, stepped up. Having never had a previous run-in with the law or marijuana-related infraction, Stanley saw an opportunity to selflessly help his team win a National Championship. That’s integrity.
He pleaded with the arresting officers and insisted that the green bud found was his own. I wasn’t at the scene of the alleged crime, but you can practically hear Stanley saving the day, the season and a young man’s career. “No, officer. If anyone should be punished for marijuana-ing, it is I! That marijuana is mine. I am the weed doer here, not my friend and teammate Natrez. I did the marijuana!”
Amazingly, it worked. Sometimes the good guys do win. Patrick’s charges were dropped earlier this week thanks to Stanley and an excellent lawyer, who astutely pointed out:
When you get into someone’s car, you’re not going to search it to see if there’s marijuana in the car. My client didn’t know the marijuana was there. If you’re sitting on a little piece of marijuana that you didn’t know was there, you’re not knowingly in possession of it.
That attorney is right.
Sometimes we’re not even aware of what we may or may not have possession of. Sometimes, we’re sitting on something. And in Georgia’s case, the Bulldogs have been sitting on a Heisman Trophy Candidate all along. His name is Jayson Stanley. The ultimate teammate. He is the very definition of excellence with integrity.
That’s all I got/
Running Back Depth
We heard about Georgia’s depth at running back all off-season and it lived up to the hype, thanks in no small part to a much-improved offensive line.
- Georgia will likely finish the year with two 1,000-yard rushers – Nick Chubb has racked up 1,175 and Sony Michel is sitting on 948.
- Georgia should have four running backs with at least 700 yards, as D’Andre Swift is at 597 for the year.
- Six Georgia runners (including wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley) are averaging 5.0 yards per carry or more, this includes Swift, Michel, Chubb and Elijah Holyfield.
Jake Fromm, allegedly a true freshman, has played with staggering efficiency for Georgia.
- Fromm ranks 7th in the nation in passer rating at 168.2
- No freshman is ranked ahead of Fromm in this category. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer is the next-highest rated QB at no. 31 in the nation with a rating of 146.3.
- Fromm is on pace for about 2,500 passing yards, 25 TDs and just 6 INTs (assuming two more games).
From has been helped out tremendously by big-play receivers.
- Georgia has five receivers with at least five catches and a per-catch average of at least 14.5 yards – Ahkil Crumpton (5 catches, 19.2 YPC), Terry Godwin (29 catches, 18.6 YPC), Riley Ridley (8 catches, 17.0 YPC), Javon Wims (38 catches, 16.6 YPC), Mecole Hardman (14.7 YPC).
- Last year, Georgia had only one wide receiver who fit that bill – Riley Ridley.
Well-Rounded Defensive Success
- Georgia ranks 4th nationally in scoring defense, 4th in yards allowed per game, 2nd in passing allowed yards per game and 12th in rushing yards allowed per game.
- Roquan Smith has been a monster. He’s first on the team by a wide margin in tackles (113 to J.R. Reed’s 69), a close second in tackles for loss (10.5 vs. D’Andre Walker’s 11.5), first in sacks (at 5.5) and first in QB Hits (17 vs. Lorenzo Carter’s 15).
- Nine different Bulldogs have come up with turnovers in the form of recovered fumbles or interceptions.
- SixBulldogs have come up with multiple turnovers. J.R. Reed leads the team with four takeaways (2 INTs and 2 FRs). Lornzo Carter (all FRs) and Dominick Sanders (all INTs) have three takeaways. Deandre Baker (both INTs) and Aaron Davis (one of each)
Special Teams Proficiency
That’s not something we’re used to around here!
- Rodrigo Blankenship has kicked 60 touchbacks on 82 attempts.
- Hot Rod is also 15/17 on field goals and his back up, David Marvin, is 1/1. Georgia is 6th in the country in field goal percentage, with both misses coming from outside 40 yards. Georgia has not missed an extra point.
- Georgia is 14th nationally in punting average (44.5) and 8th nationally in net punting average (42.1). All punts have come from grad transfer Cameron Nizialek, an underrated Dawg.
Georgia Football: It is a Travesty that Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator is Up for the Broyles Award and Georgia’s Mel Tucker Isn’t
I wrote at length about this last week, but here’s an update. Ignore for a moment who should win the award, because it’s completely arbitrary. But consider the comparison between Kevin Steele (Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator and a Broyles Award Finalist) and Mel Tucker (Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator), and tell me why Tucker isn’t a finalist. Note that these statistics are updated through Saturday’s beat down of Auburn.
|Category||Georgia (National Rank)||Auburn (National Rank)|
|Point Allowed Per Game||13.2 (4)||17.3 (10)|
|Yards Allowed Per Game||271 (4)||312 (14)|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||158.3 (2)||177.8 (8)|
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game||112.6 (12)||134.5 (32)|
|Average National Rank||5.5||16|
There is not a single major statistical category in which Auburn’s defense is as good or better than Georgia’s.
If we adjust for the quality of offenses faced, things are just as lopsided in Georgia’s favor.
Georgia played 12 FBS opponents (which includes Auburn twice). Those 12 opponents posted season-long scoring averages of 29.45 points per game. So, Georgia’s 13.2 points allowed per game represents just 44.8% of opponents’ scoring average. In simple terms: Teams scored less than half of their season averages against Georgia..
Auburn also played 12 FBS teams (which includes Georgia twice). This set of 12 opponents posted season-long scoring averages of 32.60 points per game. Therefore, Auburn’s 17.3 points allowed per game reflects 53.1% of opponents’ scoring average. In simple terms: Teams scored more than half of their season averages against Auburn.
What does this actually mean? Well, the national FBS scoring average this year is 28.785. If Georgia allows 44.8% of opponents’ scoring average and Auburn allows 53.1% of opponents’ scoring average and both teams played a truly average (28.785 points per game) team, Georgia would allow 12.9 points and Auburn would allow 15.3. Which defensive coordinator is better by that measure? Do you want to allow more points or fewer? According to the Broyles Award, more points allowed is better.
The butt-kicking continues on a yards basis.
This year, Georgia’s opponents have posted an average season-long per-game yard tally of 399.5. Against the Dawgs, however, they’re only getting 271 yards per game. So, Georgia is holding opposing offenses to 67.8% of their season-long averages.
Auburn’s opponents have averaged a total of 428.3 yards over the course of their entire seasons. Against Auburn, though, these teams are just gaining 312 yards per game. Auburn is holding opposing offenses to 72.8% of their season-long averages.
Again, Georgia is doing better than Auburn on an opponent-adjusted basis, but what does this look like practically? The national yards per game average is 403.992. If Georgia played an average offense and allowed 67.8% of the expected yards gained (which is Georgia’s average so far this year), the Dawgs would give up 273.9 yards. If Auburn allowed its 72.8% average, the Tigers would give up 294.1 yards. Again, Georgia holds the edge here.
So how about common opponents? Georgia and Auburn both played Missouri and Mississippi State. Georgia held Mississippi State to fewer points than Auburn did but gave up more points to Mizzou, so that’s a split. Georgia held both Mississippi State and Missouri to fewer yards. So Georgia checked three of four boxes there.
It is a CRIME that Mel Tucker is not up for this award.
That’s all I got/