Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nugget from Phil Steele for next weekend

So I read Phil Steele on the can, and it could be said that I'm not exactly studying during that time. So I want to make sure I remember a few nuggs that kind of jump off the page.

In his "Football 365 Days a Year" piece, which sticks in a number of items he couldn't fit into their own full article, Steele focuses on starts lost to injury in the previous year. Basically, he suggests that injuries have a lot to do with luck, and a team that suffers a ton of injuries one year isn't likely to suffer as many the next while a team with an incredibly small number of injuries isn't likely to have the same good fortune. Relatedly, a team that has suffered a lot of injuries in the previous year benefits from a few silver linings: not only will many of those good players who were injured return (and since they were the starters before injury, it's possible they add significant talent), but because of those same injuries, the team allowed backups to gain significant in-game experience.

For example, Trinton Sturdivant was Georgia's best lineman heading into last year, when he suffered a season-ending injury in training camp. He returns this year, providing a strong infusion of talent (assuming he's healthy). Consider also, that because of Sturdivant's injury, Vince Vance made 6 starts (before also getting injured). Vance is back now too. Further, because of Vance's injury, Clint Boling played all over the line (versatility can be a massive advantage for a pretty deep line). And Bean Anderson picked up 7 starts. Now, entering the season, Vance and Anderson are backups on the depth chart and they have 13 starts and hundreds of snaps under their belt.

Back to Steele (and this is on pg. 314 if you're keeping up at home). Steele has calculated a raw number of games that starters have lost to injury or suspension. Then he's analyzed how teams with significantly large or small amounts of games starters have lost performed in the next year. Steele's numbers over the last 5 years:

If a team loses 32 or more starts in one year, 74.5% of the time that team improves their record the following year (41 out of 55).

If a team loses 6 or fewer starts in one year, only 35.7% of the time did that team improve their record the following year (15 of 42).

Steele's anecdotes are even better. This time last year, Utah had the most starts lost in the previous season (51 starts lost). They improved from 9-4 to 13-0. This time last year, Illinois was coming off a run to the Rose Bowl in a year when they suffered just 2 starts lost. They ended up 5-7. Purdue lost just 4 starts in 2007 when they went 8-4; they went 4-8 in 2008.

So how does this fit in with next weekend?

Last year, Georgia lost 44 starts to injury or suspension, which was tied for 6th most in the nation.

Last year, Oklahoma State lost all of 2 starts to injury or suspension, which was the second fewest in the nation.

From my numbers, guys who are listed as backups on Georgia's current depth chart have as many as 47 career starts, among at least 10 different players (and that's just for last year). Oklahoma State's depth chart has backups with 8 total starts and that's just 2 players.

Could be hot next week. If it's a shootout, players will need to get rotated in and out. Just something to think about.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flick the Button

1. The Duchess. Has not this film been made a dozen times before? Who ponies up the (I'd guess sizable amount of) money to produce these sorts of films? What's the audience? I'm not sure why I was a part of it. You're Fired.
2. Transsiberian. I've always had an odd interest in central Russia, so I kind of wanted this to be good. It was OK, but there was something missing throughout. Maybe miscast, maybe just not the movie I would've made. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't anything to recommend to anyone. You're Fired.
3. RockNRolla. Not as much of a collossal turd as Revolver was, but not as good as Lock Stock or Snatch. A handful of interesting characters, but not all that memorable. You're Fired.
4. Changeling. Far better than expected. Eastwood can do suspense, even if he tends to the cliche Steak Knives.
5. Brick. Exceptionally good. I watched it twice and I'd watch it again. See this. Cadillac.
6. The Dead Girl. An odd movie that I wouldn't recommend, and I don't think people would stumble across, but it was actually pretty good. Seemed a little more like a short novel than a movie, which is kind of a compliment, but I don't know. Dull Steak Knives.
7. Choke. The book is better, despite the best efforts of the cast. Seemed like the studio tamed it down, which is almost always the wrong choice. You're Fired, but read the book.
8. Body of Lies. Hmmm... I like international spy thrillers, and I like all of the actors and the director, but this one didn't work. Every other scene has Crowe and DiCaprio just yelling at each other over cell phones, which is lazy and lame. You're Fired.
9. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. The Lady liked this more than I did. Sweet, I guess. I'd have liked it were I 15. Shrug. You're Fired.
10. Milk. Fantastic performance, pretty good movie. You've heard about this before. Sharp Steak Knives.
11. W. Very good performance, pretty good movie, actually. More entertaining than it should've been. Dull Steak Knives.
12. Crank. Utterly ridiculous and awesomely entertaining. See this. Sharp Steak Knives.
13. Frozen River. Would've made a better short film or novella, but an excellent performance by Melissa Leo. Dull Steak Knives.
14. Junebug. I can tell that the film was made by someone with a complicated relationship with the South, which I think a whole lot of artsy folks down here have. I wonder why the director hasn't made another feature. Worth seeing, but maybe not while one has an impending birth. Steak Knives.
15. How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. Absolutely atrocious. Pegg, you're better than this. You're Fired.
16. The Proposition. Quite beautiful, awfully good. Fine direction. I'm fired up for The Road now. Cadillac, but you should like westerns to think the same way.
17. Pride and Glory. A movie that's been made a dozen times before. Less suspense than an average Law & Order episode. You're Fired.
18. The Transporter. Hilarious, especially the villains. Statham is so effing good. Cadillac.
19. Twilight. Offensively bad. Seriously, I was offended by the baseball scene. As a baseball fan. No self respecting man should have to watch this. You're fired.
20. Notorious. Entertaining as hell, but not exactly great. You will be glad that you've seen this. Steak Knives.
21. Rachel Getting Married. Pretentious, overacted, annoying. See The Celebration instead. You're Fired.
22. Oldboy. Exceptional filmmaking, but it was a bit too much for my tastes. I should probably see this again, knowing what I'm getting into. Reserving rating for another time.
23. The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Historical movies are hard, because they need to come from the perspective of showing the viewer something new. This didn't take the Irish Rebellion in a new direction. I didn't see anything I didn't know already. You're Fired.
24. Away from Her. Very good. One of the best dramas I've seen in a few years. Heartbreaking, realistic, sensitive, even funny. I really respect this film. Cadillac.
25. Taken. A little too serious to be in the class of awesomeness that are most Statham movies. Seeing Liam Neeson kicking people is awesome nonetheless. Steak Knives.

26. The Hangover. One theatre movie! Comedies need to be funny, and this was. I'll see it a dozen more times. Genius move: making the funniest 3 minutes of the movie the last 3 minutes. Cadillac.

A. East Bound and Down. The best television show about the modern South ever made. If you don't laugh at this show, I don't really want to hang out with you. My highest praise.

I'm sure I missed a ton.


Not Dead

Just had a lot on my plate lately is all...

2 young kids, both hilarious and amazing.
Major renovations to Douchebag Manor.
The economy has rediscovered my real job and has provided me with a way to spend a sizable amount of time.
And all sorts of other things that I've been busy with.

Nevertheless, I don't want this to die. I've been saving a lot of things to write about. Might have shorter posts, might have less interesting (to you) posts. Definitely not doing Gameday Recaps ever again. Probably won't even be watching it this year (I'd rather watch the 10:00 Premiership Match on FSC - more on that in another post). I am still interested in college football, but I have little faith in myself to add anything terribly interesting to the online discussion. Too many smart people do this with more diligence and intelligence.

I have noticed, in the past several months, that I do need an outlet for the bile.

So a welcome back to myself. But first, a few Cheers and Jeers:

Cheers to Carriage House Construction, for coming in under budget.
Jeers to the guy who broke into my car to steal $8 in quarters.
Cheers to the producers of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for adding Jeff Goldblum, who wears pretty awesome specs.
Jeers to the producers of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for making a very short season, but mainly for bringing back Det. Wheeler when they could've easily written her off.
Cheers to Hop City Beer, a fine establishment for a beer lover.
Jeers to Hop CIty Beer, for being located on the West Side, rather than in Georgia's Beer Capital, Decatur.
Cheers to the dessert waffle at Leon's Full Service.
Jeers to the Crunchie candy bar, and to me for forgetting that I didn't like it each time I'd try it again.
Cheers to my son's ticklish feet.
Jeers to inexact MRI readings.
Cheers to Tommy Hanson's breaking ball. Reminds me of a tall Maddux when it whips back over the plate.
Jeers to the Marlins, because they keep winning with a mediocre run differential.
Cheers to the triumphant return of the Guardian's Football Weekly podcast, and the melifluous cyncism of Barry Glendenning.
Jeers to the sad departure of Candace Keener from the How Stuff Works Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast.
Cheers to upcoming book releases I'm excited about: Simon Kuper's Soccernomics, Jon Krakauer's Pat Tillman book, Bill Simmons' basketball book, Jeff Ross' memoir, Joshua Ferris' follow up to the exceptional Then We Came to the End, Chuck Klosterman's Eating the Dinosaur.
Jeers to the above-referenced business getting in the way of reading, and lots of other stuff.
Cheers to having two amazing kids that never stop making me happy.