Gabriel's Horn

A terribly biased view of sports through the Eyes of Texas.

Want a Slice?

Posted by TxHny on November 2, 2007

I’ve recently made the argument to friends, colleagues and anyone else that will stand around while I yammer that Texas, Texas A&M and OU cannot all be good at the same time. And like most, I’m sure right now you are saying, “Txhny, but what about the game in ____, when ____ and ____ were both in the top 10 and….” Yeah, I know. I also hear your argument, “but Texas is soooo big. There are so many great players – isn’t there enough to go around?” No. There isn’t. There are only a few dynamite players per year — Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, Cedric Benson, Jamaal Charles, etc. etc.

My point is simple: Texas is awesome and everyone would like some of the sugary Texas pie. However, no matter how tasty and talented, there is only so much to go around. Let me explain.

texas_pie.jpg
Pie a la tacklin’ fuel.

I salute Texas High School football programs (prioritized right above TAKS scores), coaches, robustly funded athletic programs and all the teachers who fudge grades for the greater good of footballdom.

greatergood.jpg
The greater good.

Their work produces finely tuned athletes for both college and professional football, and now with an even butterier crust! And who vies for the largest slices? Texas, Texas A&M and OU. One major talent base, three programs seeking to be a power-house. Whoever gets the biggest slice wins.

“Txhny, you are seriously off your rocker. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You can’t just pull whatever you want out of your cute white shiny ass and call it logic.”

And you’re right. Gentlemen, I give you numbers, statistics, fancy charts and several hours of my time cursing at Excel.

The method of my madness: Several weeks ago, billyzane of BON fame did an analysis of games 2001-2006 to determine which factors are the best predictors of success in college football games. This article and his other Football by the Numbers pieces are outstanding. You can read this particular one here. To make my point clear, I took the predictors of success identified by billyzane, and then did comparison charts with numbers from Texas, Texas A&M and OU over the span of 9 years. We’re in “year 10” and I’ll do another post or two with predictions and then a final sum up.

rivals-recruiting-rank.gif
(You’ll have to click to see it big, but you can get the gist. Red: OU, Orange: TX, Maroon: TAMU)

This particular factor was not listed by billyzane. And if you hate Rivals – please feel free to take it up with them. This is just what I used as a sort of overall indicator. As you can clearly see, Texas is opposite of OU and Texas A&M.

Next, let’s look at total wins per season. Okay, this is also not a billyzane predictor – but again – just another overall success indicator. What do we care about? Wins! Bowl Games! image002.gif
In particular, look at years 2000, 2003 and 2005. In 2000, OU won the national championship and in 2005, Vince Young won. After 2000, OU sort of evens out. Championships win recruits. Texas was also on the upswing. At this point we see Texas A&M make a pretty significant dip. After 2003, the OU dip in wins coincides with a slight upswing at Texas A&M. (And yes, I realize that this relationship is perhaps affected by the fact that they are all in the Big 12 South. I’m not saying this is perfect, I’m saying it is interesting.)

And on to predictors of success, as defined by billyzane. First up, Net Rush Offense. This chart is actually a bit surprising.image003.gif
It shouldn’t be a huge shock to you that large numbers of rush yards equals success. However, I find it really interesting that in this particular subject all three tend the same. And please note the Cedric Benson/Vince Young factor in 200-2005. Also note the steeeeep drop back to reality in 2006. (A little Texas bragging — in 2004 Ced had 1800 rushing yards by himself, almost as many as Texas A&M had as an entire team.)

Next, let’s look at total offensive yards. Again, shouldn’t be a shocker that this is a big indicator of success. Yards = TDs = wins. image004.gif
Again, look at the areas of huge upswing – OU in 1998, 2001-2003, Texas in 2003-2005. Those are areas of big success for those programs. And they coincide with a big drop for someone else.

First Downs per season is also another good indicator of success. Keep in mind on all of these charts, that the year after is likely quite influenced by the year before.image006.gif

This is a nice chart to illustrate my point.
image007.gif
I couldn’t find statistics for OU in this category – so we’ll this is simplified by comparing only Texas and texas A&M. One goes up, the other comes down.

image010.gif
And total pass offense. Not as in line as the rush offense, but expected since there was a disparity in total offence. However, notice the high peaks and the low peaks.

Anyway – perhaps this doesn’t solidly reinforce my point – but I think it is food for thought. I’m working on getting some other stats as far as number of Texas players per season and working some of that up.

Any approval or dissent regarding the above, discuss in the comments.

-txhny

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3 Responses to “Want a Slice?”

  1. Are the results similar for defensive stats? I’d be interested to see if it’s the same story with defensive talent.

  2. txhny said

    I am myself also. Those statistics are a little harder to chart – but I think we should give it a look. I’m working on some 2007 numbers and sort of looking at win-losses.

    Also — if anyone knows where I can get old Oklahoma rosters that would be very helpful. I want to do an analysis on the number of Texas players per season on each team.

  3. Larry the Tap Dancing Giant said

    You know, I think I took a statistics class once. And by took I mean show up to the final. But I do remember the takeaway point being that you can make statistics lie for you with enough creativity…

    In any event, wanted to say I’m glad the Horn is back, I’m happy to have something to comment on again.

    Oh, and I approve of the return to the color/format scheme…

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