Archive for October, 2008

Checking Meyer's Number

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

In the Kentucky-Florida game last Saturday, Florida blocked two punts and a field goal. After the first blocked punt was converted into a touchdown by Florida, Raycom play-by-play announcer Dave Neal said “Urban Meyer has said a team that blocks a kick during a game wins ninety-percent of the time.” An article this week by David Jones in the Fort Myers News-Press attributed the same claim to Meyer.

I decided to check the data to see if it supports Meyer’s claim. It’s not necessarily that I didn’t believe him; I really had no pre-conceived idea of what the percentage might be. Besides, Meyer and his staff have been pretty accurate in the past when they have given the results of their research to the media.

For this purpose, I’m going look at all games involving FBS teams from the 2005 season through the current season. Since the term “kick” is fairly vague and could include punts, field goals, PAT kicks, or any combination of the three, I’m going to break it down by each blocked kick type.

Here are the win/loss numbers for the team that blocks a kick during a game:

Team That Blocks... G Wins Losses Win %
A Punt 449 295 154 65.70%
A Field Goal 350 199 151 56.86%
A PAT Kick 228 91 137 39.91%
Any Type of Kick 971 556 415 57.26%

No matter which way a “kick” is defined, these win percentages are nowhere close to 90%. I was really surprised by the low win percentage in games that a team blocks a PAT kick — not sure of the reason for that.

It’s unknown what set of games that Meyer used to come up with his 90% number. It’s possible that he may have only been looking at games involving teams he coached during his career. Under Meyer, Florida is 15-1 (93.75%) in games that they’ve blocked a punt, field goal or PAT kick.

UPDATE: Readers Galen and Ryan pointed out that the likely reason that teams have a losing record in games that they blocked a PAT kick is because teams that lose games generally give up more touchdowns, and therefore have more opportunities to block PAT kicks.

The New Clock Rules – Week 9

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This week’s look at the impact of the new 40-second clock rule is available at The Wiz Of Odds.

Be sure to check out more work by The Wiz, Jay Christensen, over at Fan Nation.

Rivals.com: Inside the numbers – making third down look easy

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Mike Huguenin of Rivals.com has posted his latest Inside the Numbers column.

Forgotten Penalties

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Every college football box score has a line that includes the number of penalties in the game for each team. Here at cfbstats.com, there is a leader board that ranks the FBS teams on the total number of penalties for the season.

The number of penalties in the box scores and the rankings do not reflect the number of penalties actually called, only the number of penalties that are accepted. However, when it comes to assessing a team’s tendency to be called for penalties, the declined and offset penalties should count just as much as the accepted penalties. Other than personal foul penalties and the like, whether a penalty is accepted or not is usually determined by the game situation (down, distance, score, field position, time left in the half, etc.) rather than the penalty itself.

In 510 games so far this season, 6818 penalties have been called, of which 6165 (90.4%) have been accepted and 653 (9.6%) have been declined or offset. Almost 10% of called penalties are declined or offset, and become forgotten penalties as far as the official statistics are concerned.

The FBS teams with the most forgotten penalties this season:

Team Total Accepted Forgotten Forgotten %
Arkansas 70 58 12 17.14%
Eastern Michigan 59 47 12 20.34%
Temple 73 62 11 15.07%
Minnesota 61 50 11 18.03%
Kentucky 53 42 11 20.75%
Marshall 44 33 11 25.00%
Florida Atlantic 71 61 10 14.08%
Army 38 28 10 26.32%
Louisiana-Monroe 68 59 9 13.24%
Auburn 63 54 9 14.29%
North Carolina State 57 49 8 14.04%
Middle Tennessee 57 49 8 14.04%
LSU 52 44 8 15.38%
Georgia Tech 52 44 8 15.38%
Kent State 48 40 8 16.67%
Alabama 45 37 8 17.78%
Buffalo 41 33 8 19.51%

On the other end, Indiana, UCLA, and Michigan have no forgotten penalties — every penalty against them this season has been accepted.

The FBS teams with the highest percentage of forgotten penalties:

Team Total Accepted Forgotten Forgotten %
Army 38 28 10 26.32%
Marshall 44 33 11 25.00%
Ball State 33 26 7 21.21%
Kentucky 53 42 11 20.75%
Eastern Michigan 59 47 12 20.34%
Buffalo 41 33 8 19.51%
Minnesota 61 50 11 18.03%
Alabama 45 37 8 17.78%
Arkansas 70 58 12 17.14%
Wake Forest 35 29 6 17.14%
Kent State 48 40 8 16.67%
Vanderbilt 38 32 6 15.79%
LSU 52 44 8 15.38%
Georgia Tech 52 44 8 15.38%
Temple 73 62 11 15.07%

Finally, the FBS teams with the highest number of total penalties (accepted plus forgotten):

Team Total Accepted Forgotten Forgotten % Total Rank Accepted Rank
TCU 88 83 5 5.68% 1 1
Georgia 80 76 4 5.00% 2 2
Hawaii 76 69 7 9.21% 3 3
South Florida 75 69 6 8.00% 4 3
Temple 73 62 11 15.07% 5 11
Florida Atlantic 71 61 10 14.08% 6 13
Arkansas 70 58 12 17.14% 7 18
Florida State 70 63 7 10.00% 7 9
Southern Miss. 70 64 6 8.57% 7 7
Washington State 70 65 5 7.14% 7 6
Louisiana-Monroe 68 59 9 13.24% 11 17
Nebraska 68 64 4 5.88% 11 7
Texas Tech 68 66 2 2.94% 11 5
Stanford 67 60 7 10.45% 14 15
Utah State 65 61 4 6.15% 15 13
BYU 65 62 3 4.62% 15 11
Oklahoma State 65 63 2 3.08% 15 9
USC 64 57 7 10.94% 18 23
New Mexico 64 60 4 6.25% 18 15
Auburn 63 54 9 14.29% 20 29
Florida 63 57 6 9.52% 20 23
Ohio 63 58 5 7.94% 20 18

The last two columns show the rankings when sorted by total penalties (Total Rank) and the rankings when sorted by accepted penalties (Accepted Rank). Moving into the top 10 are Temple that goes from 11th in accepted penalties to 5th in total penalties, Florida Atlantic that goes from 13th to 6th, and Arkansas that goes from 18th to 7th. Kentucky is the biggest gainer overall, going up 27 spots from 83rd to 55th.

Moving out of the top 10 are Texas Tech that goes from 5th to 11th, Nebraska that goes from 7th to 11th, and Oklahoma State that goes from 9th to 15th. UCLA and Indiana dropped the most overall, both going down 21 spots from 60th to 81st.

The complete list can be downloaded here.

Clutch Field Goal

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Kevin Goessling of Fresno State kicked a 58-yard field goal with time expiring on Saturday to beat Utah State 30-28. That’s the definition of a clutch field goal attempt: make it and you win or keep playing; miss it and the game’s over, you lose.

Goessling is the 33rd player since the start of the 2005 season to kick a field goal on the last play of regulation or in overtime, with his team trailing, that either won or tied the game. At 58 yards, Goessling’s kick is the longest in those situations, six yards longer than Alex Trlica’s 52-yard boot on December 29, 2006.

Here are the successful “make it or lose” field goals of 35 yards or longer since 2005:

Player Team Opponent Date Yards
Kevin Goessling Fresno State Utah State 10/25/2008 58
Alex Trlica Texas Tech Minnesota 12/29/2006 52
Daniel Lincoln Tennessee UCLA 9/1/2008 47
Lones Seiber Kentucky LSU 10/13/2007 43
Alexis Serna Oregon State Oregon 12/1/2007 41
Jared McLaughlin Brigham Young TCU 9/24/2005 39
Garrett Hartley Oklahoma Baylor 10/22/2005 39
Denis Hopovac North Texas Florida Intl. 10/7/2006 39
Dustin Rivest Florida Intl. North Texas 10/7/2006 37
Jeremy Ito Rutgers West Virginia 12/2/2006 37
Steve Aponavicius Boston College Navy 12/30/2006 37
Warley Leroy Fla. Atlantic La.-Monroe 10/27/2007 37
Mark Buchholz Clemson South Carolina 11/24/2007 35

The complete list can be downloaded here.

Here's the Kicker

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The long-awaited, much-anticipated kickoff leader boards have been added to the site. You can now find out which player leads the nation in touchback percentage on kickoffs or which player leads the nation in average yards per kickoff.

There are national leader boards for team kickoffs and opponent kickoffs. Team and player kickoff leader boards are also available for each conference.

Week 9 Statistics Available

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The statistics through week 9 of the 2008 season (through 10/26/2008) are now available.

Ground Conversions

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Nothing beats a good third- or fourth-and-short situation, especially when the game is on the line. The offense and defense are both in short-yardage formations and the crowd is on its feet and screaming. It usually comes down to which line can get the bigger push, but it helps on offense to have a quarterback or running back that has a nose for the first down marker or goal line.

Here’s a look at the players in the FBS that have had the most success in short-yardage rushing situations this season. Third- and fourth-down rushing plays with two yards to go or less are considered, and the play is converted if the ball carrier gets a first down or touchdown (or both). To qualify for the list, a player must have a minimum of nine third- or fourth-down short-yardage rushing attempts on the season.

Rank Player Team Pos Rush Att. Conv. Conv. %
1 Dennis Kennedy Akron RB 11 11 100.00%
1 Damion Fletcher Southern Miss. RB 9 9 100.00%
3 Zac Robinson Oklahoma State QB 12 11 91.67%
4 Todd Newell Air Force FB 11 10 90.91%
5 Donald Brown Connecticut TB 10 9 90.00%
6 Daryll Clark Penn State QB 9 8 88.89%
7 Josh Freeman Kansas State QB 17 15 88.24%
8 Harvey Unga BYU RB 14 12 85.71%
9 Chris Crane Boston College QB 12 10 83.33%
9 Frank Summers UNLV RB 12 10 83.33%
11 Joseph Turner TCU TB 11 9 81.82%
11 Curtis Brinkley Syracuse RB 11 9 81.82%
13 Kory Sheets Purdue RB 15 12 80.00%
13 Vai Taua Nevada RB 15 12 80.00%
13 Tim Tebow Florida QB 10 8 80.00%
13 Anthony Dixon Miss. State RB 10 8 80.00%
13 Charles Scott LSU RB 10 8 80.00%
18 Anthony Turner Bowling Green RB 9 7 77.78%
18 Graham Harrell Texas Tech QB 9 7 77.78%
18 Aaron Opelt Toledo QB 9 7 77.78%
18 Rodney Stewart Colorado TB 9 7 77.78%

On this list, both Dennis Kennedy of Akron and Damion Fletcher of Southern Miss are perfect on their attempts this season, and four other players have missed on one attempt. While Florida’s Tim Tebow has converted 80% of his attempts, one of the two that he’s missed was the crucial fourth-and-one play late in the game against Mississippi that sealed the win for the Rebels.

Josh Freeman of Kansas State has the most conversions (15), and he and Javon Ringer of Michigan State have had the most attempts (17). Ringer has converted 12 of 17 (70.59%) for the season so he missed the list above.

The complete list can be downloaded here.

The New Clock Rules – Week 8

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

This week’s look at the impact of the new 40-second clock rule is available at The Wiz Of Odds. You can also find articles by Jay Christensen, who produces the required reading at The Wiz of Odds, over at Fan Nation for si.com.

Rivals.com: Inside the Numbers

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Mike Huguenin of Rivals.com has posted his latest Inside the Numbers column. His weekly column is a great read for college football stats junkies like me.