Dawgs look good playing the numbers

Crunching numbers gives some of us a headache. (Stanford University)

Crunching numbers gives some of us a headache. (Stanford University)

Mathematics is something I’ve generally spent my life avoiding whenever I could and surviving when I couldn’t, as in high school. Generally, you want to send me scurrying away in the opposite direction, just drop a term like “pythagorean theorem.”

But while I wouldn’t go as far as several teachers tried in vain to convince me many years ago and say that math can be your friend, I will grant that it can at least be used to serve a purpose.

Which brings me to an interesting CBSSports.com blog post by Jerry Hinnen citing some recent numbers-crunching that offers hope to fans of Mark Richt’s Bulldogs.

He notes that viewed through a mathematical prism, the general idea in college football is that if you win or lose an unusually high number of close games in a season, the odds are that you’ll do the opposite the next season to get back to the mean.

Citing Phil Steele’s tracking of “net close wins” and the Alabama blog RollBamaRoll’s pythagorean numbers-crunching, Hinnen concludes that this season: “Georgia should be taken seriously in the East. Both Steele and the pythagorean wins agree: the Bulldogs were the unluckiest team in the SEC last season. Mark Richt’s team suffered a league-high four ‘net close losses,’ and per their points scored/allowed should have won nearly two more games than they did in 2010. Combine better fortune in competitive games with the Bulldogs’ manageable schedule, and the numbers say Georgia should be poised to take a big step forward in 2011. (Steele pegs them as this year’s East champions.) If they don’t, the question has to be asked: if Richt can’t engineer a turnaround this year, when can he?”

Not everyone reads the numbers the same way, though. While Steele likes the Dogs to win the East, RollBamaRoll was less convinced, noting that for Georgia: “Going into 2011 improvement seems likely, especially with the continued development of Aaron Murray and the almost-laughably weak SEC East, but this is a team with far more holes than they ought to have given their recruiting prowess, and a return to Richt’s glory years doesn’t seem very likely…”

Of course, as Carl Sandberg said, “Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the answer is wrong and you have to start over and try again and see how it comes out this time.”

After all, the only numbers that really count are on the scoreboard.

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164 comments Add your comment

JM

July 6th, 2011
10:49 am

When did Carl play?

nick rails

July 6th, 2011
10:58 am

Here are the numbers that matter.Going into summer workouts Bama has 95 guys on scholarship (until the make their cuts)

We’ll have 71 or 72…we cannot compete for anything until this number situation is solved.
The 25 limit is a step in the right direction but still doesn’t solve this issue.

Charlie Hayes

July 6th, 2011
10:58 am

I agree. 2011 will be a much better year for the Dawgs! This will be a 10-2 season with losses only to Tennessee and Florida. SEC East Champs for sure. Just wait, the D is gonna surprise you this year and we will have a lot of low scoring wins! Was snakebit last year and lost some very close games (Arkansas, Colorado, Miss St) that should have been wins. The points allowed will come down this year and the talent on D is huge! Look for some of the good ole days to come back where UGA wins 14 to 10 in several games…..

ARdawg

July 6th, 2011
11:00 am

Numbers and prisms can tell a favorable side to anything one desires. the four close losses were to mediocre to pitiful teams. I don’t really see how those compute into anything this year. Bill King, you are getting as gimmicky as Richt. There’s no substitution for solid year long and game day coaching. Gimmicks and hanging ones hat on algorithms does not a good season make

ForsythDawg

July 6th, 2011
11:01 am

“Almost-laughably weak SEC East”?? RollBamaRoll, we’ll see how things play out this year. The East is still strong and there’s plenty of young talent ready to be set loose.

bardawg

July 6th, 2011
11:02 am

Those Bammers know how to pick our scabs

chazzo

July 6th, 2011
11:02 am

I am optimisitic and will always support my team, but mathematical prisms…. c’mon. This is college football and the SEC. Every game is rivalry. Math doesn’t matter (most of the players will tell you that).

UGA has on the plus side this year: a QB with a year of experience under his belt, a defensive scheme that has sunk in and with more appropriate personnel, solid special teams, an improved offseason training program, and a lot of speedy guys.

The unknowns: Can a good O-line stay healthy? Can freshman linemen contribute? Will an RB take the lead and establish a solid running game?

It stands to reason that the D will continue to improve. It stands to reason that special teams play will continue to improve. It stands to reason that Murray will be improved. That is all we can say with any certainty.

It truly doesn’t matter how many close games there were or how many blowouts there were or what stats the team or individuals produced. There are simply too many variables, and that is one of the reasons why I love college ball.

UGA Fan Ryan Keys

July 6th, 2011
11:05 am

Spanky

July 6th, 2011
11:07 am

Wow Bill! It almost sounds as if you’re getting superstitious! Come on now,..numbers, luck, voodoo…It all comes down to will! (Reference movie Usual Suspects) With that being said, it’s being better prepared to last 4+ quarters, sprinting in the end! Hiring Coach JoeT for strength and CONDITIONING was a great move! He doesn’t like excuses, and doesn’t tolerate half efforts. THAT, my friend, is why we should win the close ones! Go Dawgs!!

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
11:11 am

“Georgia should be taken seriously in the East”

They always are in pre-season among UGA fans. Then reality sets in once the season starts. By the end of October the battle cry “Wait until next year” kicks in. And the KoolAid machine keeps humming along.

dont get it

July 6th, 2011
11:12 am

Really reaching here Bill. Bottom line Richt cant beat Florida (2-8). We will be third in the east yet again due to a coach that A. doesnt want it as bad as others and B. just isn’t as good of a gameday coach. Would have been fired at Bama or Florida two years ago.

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
11:17 am

“the Bulldogs were the unluckiest team in the SEC last season”

Wow. Now the spin is that instead of just being a bad program with lousy coaching on a three year downward spiral, they are unlucky? When you go 6-7 and cannot beat a team with a winning record that goes beyond unlucky.

Black Mountain Bulldog

July 6th, 2011
11:21 am

Joe T will be like the the farmer who separates the chaff from the wheat. If you can’t stand his conditioning heat; he will force you out of his kitchen. Welcome to OLD SCHOOL boys. It’s time to hang up the I phones and the video games and get down to the business, of winning again!

sandman053

July 6th, 2011
11:23 am

Well I’ll settle for three fewer fumbles in the red zone.
On the other note as to S and C…Watts Dantzler tweeted yesterday if you see a 300-lb man laying on the side of the road, don’t call an ambulance it is just him. Coach T is really getting with it! Go Dawgs and bring on the Smurf Turf boys.

Black Mountain Bulldog

July 6th, 2011
11:23 am

That’s the Calculus class the UGA players are attending right now Bill.

Destin Dawg

July 6th, 2011
11:25 am

SIGator.. get on your own blog… need a job ??? going up hill in Athens.. Grantham’s Junkyard Dawg defense.. Kicking.. S & C.. schedule.. we” ll be fine this year… they should play the Floriduh game home/home or At./Jax.. it’s a home game for Floriduh every year !! Go Dawgs !!

Dogwholikesgatortail

July 6th, 2011
11:26 am

X + Y = I WANT SOME GATOR TAIL

UGA Fan Ryan Keys

July 6th, 2011
11:26 am

Lookee! I even gots me and my broz piks from the polees stayshun!

Can u tel I wuz exsited? I wuz syn GO DWAGS!

Columbus Dawg

July 6th, 2011
11:27 am

Seems like it’s always some toothless redneck Bama fan that wants everyone to think he knows all and tells all about UGA Football. I can only hope that when the Dawgs are in the Dome playing for the second time in 2011 that the tobacco munchers are on the other side of the field.

All of the doom and gloom about the OL is purely based on the shortcomings of the last couple of years, but Searels was simply the wrong choice to begin with as far as bringing him to Athens. That Auburn pos could care less if the Dawgs were successful. It was a paycheck that was close to home for Searels and nothing else. I have read more than one publication that is of the opinion that the Dawgs will have one of the better, and biggest offensive lines in the nation. Experience and talent abounds in the starters, and building some more depth to give the starters a blow will come.

Look for Richt to be coaching that offense as he did early on in his days in Athens, because he knows his legacy as a coach depends on it. Everyone in the country will be surprised at the improvement in all areas of the team in Athens, bank on it. The Dawgs will be running the ball with authority again in 2011, and a bold prediction here, Caleb will actually be a big part of that. Everyone posting about the poor running game has had a point, but I do not think that Richt does not know that running the ball is important, he just got a couple of over rated backs that were trying to run behind suspect lines. Moreno had a half decent line in 2007, but 2008 came with many injuries here, and he was forced to make his own space a lot of times, and was pretty successful at it. The difference this year is the OL will be better than a lot of people think, Caleb has more muscle and experience, and all Crowell needs is a little crease and he is gone. UGA has not had a fast, explosive runner since Robert Edwards. These fast breakaway speed type of backs used to be the norm at Georgia but have been far and few lately. I think you will see that return this season. Murray will come to play this year, with some tweaking on his pocket presence and accuracy, and the fact that Richt will now trust Murray more with the checks and calls. This was the case with Stafford in his second year as well, and it showed. All the haters are scared to death of what Murray can do, they just will not admit it. There will be an adequate receiving corps emerge, and tight ends are best in nation. We will see more two tight end sets this year than we have since Leonard Pope and Martrez Milner were on the field together. When you truly have the talent here it is very hard to defend.

Bottom line is like old Erk used to say, “When you come to play Georgia, you better have them chin straps buckled tight”!

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
11:29 am

“if Richt can’t engineer a turnaround this year, when can he?”

Nothing like asking a question you already know the answer to. The last three years should be a good indicator of what the future holds in store.

Destin Dawg

July 6th, 2011
11:31 am

gator get a job !!!

Richt`s Hammer

July 6th, 2011
11:32 am

We win three. Oh lord and another 50 point beatdown by Florida.

Remarkable

July 6th, 2011
11:34 am

Mathmatically we have a chance if the O line can perform over the whole season. I don’t see any other true weaknesses. We have some great freshmen coming in and if they can help, we will be OK. Keep recruiting these big guys and we’l be great for the future.

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
11:36 am

Speaking of unlucky, this gang that couldn’t shoot straight that passes for the coaching staff of UGA football would probably lose at Russian Roulette with no bullets in the gun.

allwehaveishope

July 6th, 2011
11:36 am

Put a spin on last season any way you want it still comes out the same. Fumbles, missed assignments, poor play calling and poor play all adds up to losses no matter what math you use. I don’t think luck had anything to do w/it. It comes down to the players and coaches and how they execute.

UGA_2001

July 6th, 2011
11:39 am

Georgia fans don’t say “Wait till next year.”

That’s a Florida tradition.

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
11:40 am

Here are some more numbers: Mark Richt’s pucker factor. I would bet that the pucker factor on him is probably about an 8.5 right now. It will only get tighter as the season gets closer. By mid-October he probably won’t be able to pass gas.

SOUTHGADAWG88

July 6th, 2011
11:43 am

I want a good Defense this year…

Delbert D.

July 6th, 2011
11:49 am

I keep reading how Georgia’s offense is one-dimensional. Someone explain that in mathematical terms form me.

Delbert D.

July 6th, 2011
11:50 am

*for*, not form

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
11:58 am

“Dawgs look good playing the numbers”

It is called the lottery. The last time UGA won it was in 1980 – so long ago.

can't wait

July 6th, 2011
12:00 pm

man that tech fan can’t spell.

Paul in RDU

July 6th, 2011
12:01 pm

People making predictions and bets based on “luck” and “the law of averages” has turned Las Vegas into a large city with huge casinos.

can't wait

July 6th, 2011
12:03 pm

life will be tough with no urban gator fans. just wait and see

St. Richt

July 6th, 2011
12:08 pm

Don’t the Dawgs ALWAYS look good “by the numbers”? They’re always going to be unbeatable this time of year, preseason. Whats new here?

DawginLex

July 6th, 2011
12:10 pm

Ever notice that SSI talks about pucker factor regarding Richt?
Then he calls him a bartender?

My guess is he saw Richt out one night in Miami and kept staring at his backside, made a pass at him, Richt punched his lights out and now SSI takes it out on the blogs hiding behind a computer.

What a man.

DawginLex

July 6th, 2011
12:12 pm

St. Richt

July 6th, 2011
12:08 pm
Don’t the Dawgs ALWAYS look good “by the numbers”? They’re always going to be unbeatable this time of year, preseason. Whats new here?

*******************************************************************

You always think you look good to girls until you actually go try and talk to one.

Then reality sets in like always and you go home with your blow up doll.

nostrodamus

July 6th, 2011
12:12 pm

i predict another Florida win over Georgia, i predict SSIgator will get sodomized by his gay Uncle at thier next family reunion.

Gus

July 6th, 2011
12:14 pm

Charlie Hayes-Losing to Tennessee, no way
don’t get it-Neither Florida nor Alabama would’ve fired Richt until this offseason, Florida probably wouldn’t have fired him.

People seem to forget that Richt took a young team to a #2 national finish in 2007 and then had a pre-season #1 team in 2008. Granted the team underachieved in 2008 but still finished in the top 10. That along with 2 SEC championships will get you through 2009 at any school and probably through 2010 too.

And Richt does want to win, all this crap that other people want it more than him… get real.

jaxdawg

July 6th, 2011
12:14 pm

After looking at the bulldog visit to camp sunshine photos and only recognizing about four or five of the players on the visit, I’d say I’m a little bit concerned about the upcoming season. Several of the players look like they belong on a high school team. I think 1/3 of our team is comprised of walkons.

Producer

July 6th, 2011
12:15 pm

But, but, but Richt is such a gooood man! I was shocked to learn he was a Christian. I never, ever knew! He even goes overseas to help little Pocolito find some fresh drinking water. His humanitarian efforts were even documented by a camera crew and he got great sycophantic press from Steve “I just gave Richt a” Hummer. Football is soooooooooo secondary!

truedawg

July 6th, 2011
12:21 pm

No bad luck, no stats, no bs. The better team wins 98% of the time. The team that wants it the most and team not which player, but team. What I’ve seen more of this year, is team mentality, and better S&C.
Gators by the numbers. 385 Weiss chorlestorel count. 25 number of buffets shut down. 47-40 UGA leads the series.largest beat down UGA 75 UF 0. and most important 0 wins Must rat has as a head coach. GO DAWGS!!!

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
12:22 pm

“Mathematics is something I’ve generally spent my life avoiding”

Not Mark Richt though. He can count to over three million. Oh, and he can also count how many more coaches and other people he can sacrifice before he is all out of them and then he has to be the one held accountable. His farewell speech will probably be best summed up as, “It was a great run” (financialy speaking – see ya later suckers) laughing all the way to the bank in his Ford truck.

realitycheck

July 6th, 2011
12:28 pm

Columbus Dawg…….”always some toothless redneck Bama fan”. Wow, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black. My observation is that all SEC schools(with the possible exception of Vandy) have lots of those types of fans that you described. Those types never took a single class at any SEC institution. Your comments are so ignorant that I question just how many courses you took in Athens. Additionally, your level of enthusiasm and seemingly unreasonable outlook toward UGA’s upcoming season make you very much like those “toothless redneck fans that you mentioned”. One can only hope that this is not another case of a redneck calling others rednecks.

Wow

July 6th, 2011
12:33 pm

SSIgaytor,

you sure do spend A LOT of time on a rival’s blog. You have been posting foe well over an hour now. You have proven yourself as a total pathetic loser. Be gone now!

Judd

July 6th, 2011
12:39 pm

Richt loses more games than the year before 7 out of the last 8 seasons.

88% chance he’ll go 5-7 or worse, 12% chance he’ll go 7-5 or better.

That’s the best predictor of Richt I’ve ever seen, with 88% accuracy.

UCF Alumni

July 6th, 2011
12:40 pm

SkokieDog

July 6th, 2011
12:42 pm

That mathematical formula about a team winning more games than expected in a new season after that team has previously lost several games by close scores is a better predictor in baseball, since that sport’s season is much longer (has more games, therefore larger sample size) than a football season.

Reasons UGa lost so many games by small margins last year included poor execution on key plays, such as an inability to stop other teams scoring via the wheel route, lack of stamina in the fourth quarter, lack of leadership, and poor coaching decisions. In short, the Dogs found ways to lose the close ones.

I’ll become optimistic about the 2011 season when I see changes made that make our Dogs likely to win the close ones. Players must lead on the field, and coaches must prepare them adequately before games and then make wise and, importantly, UNPREDICTABLE decisions on the sidelines. I attribute some of our ineptitude last season to the ease with which opposing coaches could anticipate our plays. Fixing that problem is one key to improving our team’s record in 2011.

Whiskey Breath

July 6th, 2011
12:42 pm

Sometimes I would like to ask the Dawgs, “What the hell does Alabama have to do with Ga’s success?” You luck out and have not played them for 3 years.
Don’t be fooled by the easy east schedule. Ga will figure out how to make it a difficult schedule, they always do.

Judd

July 6th, 2011
12:44 pm

Richt also lost his top 3 offensive scorers in AJ, Durham and Ealey.

King will likely replace AJ’s TD’s considering AJ missed 4 games, Charles will need to replace Durham’s td’s, and King/Crowell will need to replace #1 offensive scorer Ealey’s 11 td’s.

Even if this happens, UGA only finished 10th in scoring against winning teams last season, can’t see that getting any better with the loss of the top 3 scorers.