Sunday, December 02, 2007

Brief College Football Post

On ESPN this morning, the panelists considered Ohio State a lock to play in the BCS Championship. When discussing the two-loss teams that could make a case to be the second team, USC's injuries were given as an excuse for its two losses, LSU's weren't. USC's starting QB missed the Stanford game, well LSU's QB played hurt in the Kentucky game and at least five players were injured in that game. LSU was at least as injury-plagued as USC and its players should also be much healthier in a month, just like USC's. The panelists did seem to think that LSU's losses were triple-overtime losses was worth mentioning. They also didn't like the fact that Georgia didn't even earn the right to play in the SEC championship. Take away Tennessee's overtime win against South Carolina and Georgia's in the SEC Championship. I don't like the amount of attention that tends to get paid to teams missing conference championships -- when they miss them based on a tie-breaker.

AP has LSU #2
I'm not really arguing for LSU -- I don't know how you can pick between LSU, UGa, USC, OK, Va. Tech and one or more teams that I'm sure I'm forgetting. I just don't like the fact that CBS only mentions the role that injuries played in LSU's losses as afterthought, but ABC/ESPN makes sure that every viewer knows about that the role that thet played in USC's losses.
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I was watching IU basketball and freshman phenom eric gordon for much of the evening, however, I did keep tabs on the football, and switched over to the Mizzou/OK game when the Sooners were pulling away. It was a time of intense BCS speculation, and Mussberger, Herbstreit, and the sideline reporter/analyst (Spiegelman?) all decided to weigh in on who should face OSU. This was prime time, mind you, on ABC/ESPN/Disney.

Both Herbstreit and Spiegelman picked LSU and not once, but twice used Les Miles' "close losses don't count as much"* argument. They both thought LSU should be in the BCS championship. Mussberger initially said Hawaii, and didn't appear to be totally serious. Then even he corrected himself, and said that he'd "lean LSU".

At perhaps the most crucial and influential possible moment, the ABC broadcasters were arguing pretty forcefully and repeatedly for LSU. Certainly no other team got such timely advocacy from a major network.

* LSU wants maximum "credit" for their close losses, but minimum "discredit" for failing to dominate inferior teams in close victories . In its last 7 games against power conferences, LSU has trailed its opponents in more quarters than it has led (15-12).
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I thin Les Miles 'We are undefeated in regulation" is pretty powerful, especially when comparing 2 loss teams. Coupled with strength of schedule and injuries he has a point.
"In its last 7 games against power conferences, LSU has trailed its opponents in more quarters than it has led (15-12)."

WTF? Ever since you threw out that utterly misleading figure about City Park being 1300 acres, I've been worried about your use of statistics. You're showing signs of being either a numbers naif or a numbers abuser. My first thought, what about quarters with lead changes? Second thought, 4 X 7 =28; 15 + 12 = 27. Possible explanation: refers to which team had lead when each quarter came to an end. But I found it hard to believe that only one quarter in 28 ended in a tie.

LSU's last 7 games against teams from power conferences were SEC games, and it looks like LSU has a slight, 15-10-3, edge. I might have added the box score figures incorrectly -- I wasn't going to spend too much time on an odd statistic. Who was ahead at the end of the most quarters in the last seven games against power conferences? That has cherry-picking written all over it. If it means power conference non-SEC games, whoever came with up the stat may have intentionally made it power conferences, not power conferences plus Notre Dame -- I've seen comparisons made either way, this way excludes last year's Sugar Bowl. Count N.D. or not, LSU is 6-1 in such games. Only two of the wins were close. the loss was also close, but I think they may have trailed the whole way. The two close wins were come from behind wins that they might trailed for three quarters in each, so I guess it's possible that the stat is correct. But I think your source for it is a deliberately deceptive numbers manipulator, if it is correct. BTW, that ASU was more of a quality win at the start of the season than it seemed at the end.

Back to this year, at first I didn't think LSU deserved it, but then I looked at OK's schedule. If they had played (and beat) KU they'd have a better case, hard to feel sorry for KU (BTW) because they didn't even try to schedule a tough out-of-conference game. I feel sorry for OK, because it's not their fault that the one respectable out-of-conference team they scheduled, Miami, had a bad year. But their record isn't that impressive, other than beating Missouri once at home and once at a neutral site. We know that they match up very well against one very good team but not much else. I've gone from thinking they deserved it slightly more to thinking LSU deserves it slightly more.
I've completely lost the thread. What are you talking about?

BTW the City Park web sire says it's 1300 acres?
Oyster threw out the 1300 acre figure in a post a few weeks ago, when we were hearing about how big it is at 1300 acres. Less than a quarter of that is open space, page 6 of this pdf.

That, followed by Oyster acting like it's unusual for a top 25 team to have seven home games (it's the norm) in a recent post, now this odd stat about number of quarters in last seven games against power conferences. I don't really think that Oyster deliberately misuses numbers, but I was really curious about that last stat. And I do take exception to anybody throwing out the 1300 acre figure for City Park without the proper context.
I liked the sound of "numbers naif," and I started, but didn't have time for. a "Kudos to Coleman" post last Thursday, because his article on City Park was the first that didn't start with 1300 acres. Wasn't intending to take potshots at anybody.
I noticed you didn't have a response to the thrust of my comment, but went on at length about my "odd statistic".

This statistic is mine, and it's simply a reaction to the argument that was twice repeated by ABC commentators as well as Les Miles-- that LSU deserves special credit for showing that they are "unbeatable during regulation". Early one morning, I hastily scanned through to see how many times LSU was leading a game at the end of quarter 1,2,3 and 4. I counted the overtime sessions as a "quarter" as well, and didn't count ties.

When I recounted just now it looks like LSU has been in the lead after 13 quarters and power conf opponents have been in the lead after 13 quarters (there were 3 ties). Now, again, I admit error there, but still, my larger point is that LSU has generally not dominated its last 7 or so opponents. They wanted credit for their close losses (in overtime), but not their close wins. No one can say that LSU has been dominating their opponents (in terms of scoring) lately.

I think LSU is a deserving team, but clearly the ABC/Disney/ESPN evil empire could've harped on LSU's "weak wins" (if they were biased that way) during their primetime nationwide telecast of the OK/Mizzou game. Instead, they had three broadcasters enorse LSU to be in the title game, and twice they repeated Miles' "OT losses count less" argument.

I got the 1300 acre City Park figure directly from the first sentence on the city park web site.

Recall that I began that post in a halting and hedged manner, because I wasn't intimately familiar with the proposed changes. My basic thought was that some income producing ideas might be worthwhile if they would help sustain the park -- as long as they were done right.
Then I went on to celebrate and quote about the wonderful museum and sculpture garden there.

If that one lapse was really "utterly misleading", I apologize for not more critically analyzing the park's own statistic. I recall being surprised at it, and I know four golf courses make up much of the space, but I was proud that New Orleans offered such a large park, and wanted to brag on that. (My intention was not to minimize the proposed changes, although I might've done that unintentionally.)

Sometimes I'm compelled to comment on issues where I don't have expertise. Perhaps, as a longtime reader who is familiar with my blog's use of statistics and sources (as well as the accompanying analysis) you could cut me a bit more slack? I err. And I also err when I write about college football late at night trying to invent new statistics.
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