Reading and Thinking Football

Football, including books thereon and idiosyncratic thinking thereabout

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More links. I’m going to try to do this weekly or so, with the goal of posting only links from that week. That’ll change, of course.

Apropos of Frank Wycheck post, the worst player in the Hall of Fame is probably Joe Namath. I’m not quite as down on Namath as Morgan is in the linked post, but he’s a guy in the Hall for what he meant at least as much as what he did.

The NFL’s labor attorney for the forthcoming negotiations: Robert Batterman of Proskauer Rose. If that name sounds familiar (I doubt it), he was the NHL’s lawyer during the 2004-05 lost season. The NFL doesn’t have the same structural problems the NHL did, but that’s not an encouraging sign.

SMQ previews Ohio State. The most consequential non-conference game of the forthcoming college football season will be played in Los Angeles Sept. 13, when Ohio State visits USC at the Coliseum. Be there, or at least in front of a TV showing the game. See also Statistically Speaking’s B10 preview, which predicts a likely 2 losses, 1 non-conference (almost certainly the USC game and 1 conference loss (@Wisky?).

Analyzing the 1997 draft trades through the use of the AV method, from PFR blog. AV is more interesting than definitive, so keep that in mind.

A very interesting point: running backs fumble less now. In the various discussion on FO, particularly w/r/t HoF credentials of running backs, it’s been noticed and held as important that many older running backs fumbled a lot. But, as this post shows, so did the running backs not in the HoF discussion. The key questions are, of course, what does this mean, and why did that happen?

Coaches Hot Seat Blog, one of the relatively few football blogs I don’t read that’s not blogrolled, thinks the SEC should start its own network. Umm, yeah, probably. There are a couple points here. First, the Big Ten Network is so successful because it’s really well done. Two aspects here: first, the B10 encompasses a couple major media markets, making it a relatively attractive proposition. The SEC hits the southeast, but doesn’t cover any major media markets, except perhaps Atlanta (which is a major media market almost exclusively because of Ted Turner). Second, Jim Delaney basically runs the B10. The SEC had that kind of head when Roy Kramer was commissioner, but I don’t know that Mike Slive has that same sort of pull. For an SEC Network to work, Slive absolutely has to be 100% behind it, and able to handle any intransigence on the part of individual schools. This is a harder job, too, because Slive has two more state governments to deal with than Tranghese did. Another point: the SEC may not need a network, because it may have enough bargaining power to extract most all the gains it could out of its own network without having to go through the expense and risk of creating a network of its own. In fact, I think this is a real possibility-if this is in fact the case, creating an SEC Network is not only not a good idea, it’s a downright bad one, SEC homerism notwithstanding.

One of the big outstanding questions of the forthcoming college football season is whither Oklahoma. Before the surprise blowout loss to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl, they were a very good team-failing only in the games against Colorado and Texas Tech. The key to those two games was quarterbacking-r-freshman wunderkind Sam Bradford apparently had a non-great game against Colorado and missed most of the TTU game after being injured early in the game. So, what should we expect from Sam Bradford this year? See Statistically Speaking and, of course, SMQ (B12 and recap post). Obviously, there are no definitive answers here, but it’s probably reasonable to expect OU to be relatively good this fall.

Ivan Maisel, following a trip to Afghanistan, sat down with Charlie Weis, Tommy Tuberville, and Mark Richt to talk football. Nothing particularly great here, but reasonable. I like Richt’s description of how he got into coaching.

From PFR blog, adjusted YPA for QBs, adjusted for strength of schedule for 2007. Yes, VY was pretty bad last year.

One of the things about college football is you have the traditional powers, your Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, USC, Texas, etc., and your never-really-beens. The problem, as a never-really-been, is you see schools like Miami-FL, Florida State, Louisville, West Virginia, etc. that seem to reach some sort of near-parity with some of the traditional powers. So, do you content yourself with being not-too-bad, or do you reach for the stars. If you’re Minnesota, you signal some dissatisfaction with “slightly above mediocrity”, fire Glen Mason, and go 1-11. The comment “But I’ll trade the usual 7-5 (3-5) / extremely minor Dec 28 bowl game season under Mason for Brewster, 1-11, a top-25 recruiting class – and for once, some damned optimism around here,” says it all.

Courtesy of MGoBlog, an update on how Nick Saban is dealing with over-recruiting.

Finally, from The Sports Economist on a post looking at the Seattle Supersonics trial, some thoughts on what sports economists do agree on. Key graf:

Concluding it all, what do we get? 1) Tangible benefits from a franchise are likely to be small or non-existent, possibly even negative. 2) The effects are dispersed over a wide area so changes with regard to sports franchises are likely to provide benefits to some areas in a region while imposing costs on other areas in that region. 3) Intangible benefits are difficult to measure, and there is little consensus on their size. 4) Regional input output models are generally not good tools for determining the net effects of changes in the sports environment.

As the post notes, the dueling experts in that case were arguing over the magnitude of 3), not 1), 2), or 4).

More comment coming this week. Oldest bookmark remaining is June 13, but I’ll try to get a substantive post or two up before the next links post.

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Written by Tom Gower

July 7, 2008 at 01:16

Posted in Uncategorized

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