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

Judd

July 6th, 2011
12:46 pm

Lost UCF game by 4 points, Murray had 3 turnovers.

Lost UF game by 3 points, Murray had 4 turnovers.

Lost Colorado game by 3 points, King had a fumble in the red zone at the end of the game.

MSU game Ealey had a fumble in red zone.

UGA finished 12th in SEC in to margin against winning teams for the 2nd straight year. In other words, Richt can’t fix it.

Urban Meyer

July 6th, 2011
12:46 pm

Nice by the pool now! hope Timmy calls soon! Just couldn’t coach without Timmy! Can you believe they hired a Georgia guy to coach the gators now !! What a chump!!

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
12:47 pm

For all of the UGA fans that long for the day when they could beat UF are you in luck. Today at 4:00 pm SS is having the replay of the 2004 UF/UGA in which UGA wins. If you hurry, you can go buy a case of PBR, light up the grill at home, throw all of your trash around in your yard, yell “It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog” and pass out on your couch in your doublewide. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Nomobama

July 6th, 2011
12:49 pm

Dont uga fans know by now that close only counts in horse shoes & hand grenades? 6-6 this year.

JB

July 6th, 2011
12:50 pm

What’s the latest on the 10 mil verdict UCF alum….got your letter yet to help with that. Maybe the profits from that lousy bowl win over the worst Georgia team in 30 years will help you guys out.

Judd

July 6th, 2011
12:50 pm

Murray’s 7 turnovers against UCF & Florida, Ealey’s 2 red zone fumbles against SC & MSU, King’s red zone fumble against Colorado, that was the season pretty much. Eliminate those 10 plays, you go 11-2, improve the 4th quarter execution and you beat Auburn & Arkansas.

Georgia also LOST the 4th quarter this year.

Zing

July 6th, 2011
12:50 pm

“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.”

And that’s why journalists like Mr. Hinnen should stick to writing and avoid mathematics at all costs, including statistics. This is the same error that people who look at a roulette wheel hitting black 5 times in a row and think “now it’s more likely than ever that the next one will be red!” make ALL THE TIME. Just because you’ve got a 50-50 chance in one particular instance and you lose doesn’t mean the next time you face the same situation you’ve got a better chance… IT’S STILL 50-50!

Now, it IS true that the Bulldogs lost an inordinate number of close games last season, which is somewhat improbable if you make the (rather shaky) assumption that losing close games is just a matter of spinning the wheel and coming up black instead of red (rather than, say, character, resilience, toughness, or just not being as good as the other team). You can probably figure that the Bulldogs will have as good a chance as any other team to win the close ones, so maybe they’ll win more of them this year.

BUT DON’T ASSUME THEY’LL WIN MORE THE NEXT SEASON BECAUSE THEY LOST MORE OF THOSE 50-50 CHANCES TO “GET BACK TO THE MEAN!!!!” ARRRRGGGH!

This kind of stuff drives me nuts, can you tell?

Some prism, Hinnen.

UGADawg83

July 6th, 2011
12:51 pm

2 plus 2 equals another lame blog from Bill

sandman053

July 6th, 2011
12:53 pm

I just want to party like it’s 1980 again

Judd

July 6th, 2011
12:53 pm

Against winning teams, in big games, Georgia MO has been beating itswelf with turnovers. That’s not likely to change under Richt, finishing LAST in the SEC in turnover margin against winning teams in BOTH 2009& 2010, if Richt knew how to fix it, Richt would have already.

JoeMac

July 6th, 2011
12:54 pm

The SEC East is very weak. At least 5 teams from the West would win the East, if they had the chance, and quite honestly, I cannot see the SEC East champ beating either one of the ACC’s division winners. I mean, look at last season… the ‘Noles killed USC East. A 7-5 record for the pups would be a GREAT season.

UCF Alumni

July 6th, 2011
12:55 pm

What’s the verdict on JB??? The truth is that Georgia sucked yesterday, they suck today and tomorrow.

Wow

July 6th, 2011
12:55 pm

Judd,

you can throw those stats out about just about every team in the country. Sure UGA lost those guys, but what about Bama? (Ingram, Jones and QB), Auburn? (Scam, Adams) Ohio State? Oregon? Boise St? Many, many times teams offensive dynamics improve with offensive losses. The fact is that someone ALWAYS steps up their game to become the new “man” the following year.

Judd

July 6th, 2011
12:55 pm

Georgia also finished 10th in the SEC in scoring against winning teams and 10th in rushing. The offense is in shambles.

Bulldog Arch

July 6th, 2011
12:56 pm

The only numbers we need to care about are on the win column and the number of players leaving for “personal reasons” because the conditioning is just too damn tough.GATA S&C Coaches!

WillneverplayforBCSchampionship

July 6th, 2011
12:58 pm

UGA will never play for a national championship under Richt. Unfortunately GA’s low expecataion fans will keep him around at least another 10 years because he’s a “nice” guy. He wouldn’t cut it at AL, FL, LSU or even Auburn where expectations are focused on national championships, not winning records.

Wow

July 6th, 2011
1:00 pm

JoeMac,

If you TRULY believe that than I have ocean front property in Utah to sell you.

Judd, Vandy was 2-0 playing in front of 40,000 or less fans last year and Ole Miss was 0-3 when playing in front of a crowd that was atleast 65% male.

Colorado Buffs

July 6th, 2011
1:02 pm

Georgia can’t beat us and now all of a sudden they look good???

DawginLex

July 6th, 2011
1:07 pm

SSI,

Which one of the 12 jurors in the Casey Anthony trial was you?

You had to be one of those 12 morons.

Only in Florida

Dawg in Malta

July 6th, 2011
1:11 pm

Bill…This doesn’t have anything to do with “Pythagorean Theorem”,
2nd derivative of Sin or Cosine, or Algebra for that matter.
All this has to do with is UGA putting more points on the
scoreboard other than their opponents.
This team is going to suprise some people…the “D” is going to be a beast.
Go Dawgs!

Richt

July 6th, 2011
1:17 pm

hers, , Juddd , yesterday it was Ace posting the same thing day after day. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

BobbyDawg

July 6th, 2011
1:20 pm

I like what sandman053 said. “Party like it’s 1980 again”! I’ll never forget it. If I even tried to party like that again I’m sure I’d end up in a hospital. I’ll wait ’till after the first couple of games this year to make my evaluation of our Dawgs. Meanwhile……..why don’t all of you UGA haters find another place to leave your nasty hateful comments?

gtfanfrom1951

July 6th, 2011
1:22 pm

The problem starts with O line and D line then there is running back or lack of. And if the kid from USC can’t play there’s trouble at the linebacker. But I still think UGA will go 8-4. I’m not sold on freshman running back coming in and being H Walker. I. C. could turn out to be W. E. Rmember it was his team mates that were in jail for stealing for UGA players.

Colorado Buffs

July 6th, 2011
1:25 pm

BobbyDawg how about you go back to your trailor park home and stop using the unemployment office computer loser

sandman053

July 6th, 2011
1:26 pm

I’m hoping when Coastal Carolina comes to town folks are talking about a reincarnation of Erk’s Junkyard Dawgs…. GATA!!!!!!

go cubs!

July 6th, 2011
1:33 pm

well, bill has accomplished his objective again. getting hits on his blog.

cracks me up how people “know” how well the dawgs will be when they ain’t played a game.

just like cubs fans…..go cubs go!!!! pass the koolaide.

tide roll

July 6th, 2011
1:38 pm

Bill, what about these numbers. You have 5 offensive lineman that are capable of competing at this level. The drop off in TALENT and EXPERIENCE between the starters and your 2nd team is MONUMENTAL! In fact, your 2nd team is already thinner than your starters, with attrition (Benedict and Harmon), Austin Long’s back injury, and Dallas Lee’s “asthma like conditions.” If a starter’s injured, there is a real possibility that you go to a true freshman (9th rated offensive line class in the conference- Xzavier Ward is injured and will redshirt, the rest are long snappers or legacies!). or a Walk On. My question to you Bill is this: Based on these facts concerning the quality of offensive line depth, how can UGA afford to conduct normal srimmages, thus risking injury to any of the 5 starters? And, if you can’t afford this risk, how in the world can you properly prepare your offense for the physical nature of the SEC ? You know it’s funny, you bring in this guy Joe T. for the express purpose of creating a more physical aspect to Georgia football, and now, because of an incredible lack of forsight by Richt and his staff , you can’t risk implementing it on the field!

AltamahaDawg

July 6th, 2011
1:42 pm

It’s not the math, it’s the logic behind it.

AltamahaDawg

July 6th, 2011
1:51 pm

Dawg in Malta gets it. The best explanation for some statistical probability is usually the most simple one.

BIG JOE

July 6th, 2011
1:52 pm

SSIgator

As bad as we were last year…uhmmm.. What was that score in the FL vs SCar game? No, wait, I mean the FL vs FlaSt game?? No, wiat, I mean the Fl vs….

@ WOW

July 6th, 2011
1:53 pm

There’s no ocean front property in Utah!!! LOL

Better yet, where’d you get that number on the Ole Miss record in front of 65% guys? That was funny!

You’re too much, man!!!

Sept. 24 — Richt’s Last Game

And I think SSIgator is in St. Simons Island, Ga. He’s within state lines!!! Get ‘em Skeeterrrr!!!

tebow

July 6th, 2011
2:00 pm

@Urban Meyer: For the last time, I am not rubbing lotion on your back.

chazzo

July 6th, 2011
2:02 pm

@tide roll: Nobody “brought in” Joe T. That shows how little you know.

HomelessGuyD'town

July 6th, 2011
2:02 pm

Going to be a GREAT year!!!! Lots of weapons on offense and the D will be better and stronger than last year!!! Can’t wait for the season to start!!!!!!!!!

Oh, sorry…I thought it was about Georgia STATE…

chazzo

July 6th, 2011
2:06 pm

I am sorry but if you have to employ a “mathematical prism,” you shouldn’t be in the biz. UGA will win if they want it bad enough. Regardless of what the math wizards and all the experts on these blogs have to say, it all comes down to cojones on the field. We will see if the Dawgs have ‘em or not.

Bogey

July 6th, 2011
2:15 pm

Thank goodness Tide Roll finally posted. I was having withdrawal symptoms.

Jim

July 6th, 2011
2:18 pm

Hey Mr. Gator,

You better start worrying about the state of UF football. Looks like a lot of question marks down there in Gainsville. I’d say UF is ready to take a nose dive into the mud while the rest of the SEC puts their cleats on the back of the gators’ necks. Or, as seen on “Swamp People”, a well placed shot to the back of the head.

Mobile Dawg

July 6th, 2011
2:22 pm

Hey Columbus Dawg, I used to have that young, refreshing, unbridled, optimism. What you say makes sense, let’s hope your right. Pardon me if I hold back on the kool aid just a while longer. I’m like Bill and always disliked anything other than basic math.

SOUTHGADAWG88

July 6th, 2011
2:33 pm

Tide Roll UGA will have more wins than Bama this year.The stats about UGA did blah blah blah against winning teams last year don’t mean jack.Last year has nothing to do with this one….just as what we did in 09 against blah blah blah had nothing to do with 10.That is one of the silliest analogies being thrown around these days

SOUTHGADAWG88

July 6th, 2011
2:39 pm

This is Muschamps first HC job….there is no guarantee that he will be as good as Meyer or Zook for that matter.

From Where I Sit

July 6th, 2011
2:44 pm

Once again, a lot of trash talking GA fans about a team that has not DONE JACK in 30 + years!

Must be hard when FL has 3 NC’s to your lonely one!

SC OR Gators Win the East in 2011!

Enough Said!

Jerry

July 6th, 2011
2:55 pm

If you like these kind of numbers then you should definitely check out this site I found recently. Here’s all you need to know regarding Richt.

http://coachesbythenumbers.com/coach-profile/?coach=Mark+Richt

MD

July 6th, 2011
3:01 pm

SSIGator has the ability to run his smack, the last 20 years proves it, and I’m a UGA fan. I hate reading it, living it, worrying about it, but until our team shows up and beats them more than once in a row; he has every right to crush us.

WDE

July 6th, 2011
3:15 pm

@MD SSI might have crushed you but not us…we have a talisman against him and his vile spewage..remind him CUM is gone,that we took his mighty Gators to O.T last year with a freshman QB and a terrible D and CUM was still there..and when he spouts off that it was the worse Gator team in a decade remind him when we went 6-7 last. Remind him his returning QB smelled up the spring game and his OC is a college program and buffet destroyer of biblical proportions. And lastly remind him we own the series and the Gators will never catch up….and his HC has yet to coach a game as a HC.and if you feeling a little cruel whisper to him…”We are bringing our dancing shoes” to Jax this year.

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
3:18 pm

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

Really? I thought that wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ that UF loses more games than UGA (since they can’t beat UF on the field and get there) so they can get to the SEC game in Atlanta was what really counts. That is the only way it has ever happened before. What will they try next? Rumor has it that Mark Richt found a Ouija board in Honduras and has hired the local witch doctor form there to operate it.

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
3:24 pm

WDE -

“we took his mighty Gators to O.T last year”

Is this is what it has come to for UGA fans? We lost again, but we lost in overtime! Yippeeee!!! Say it’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog!!!!

James

July 6th, 2011
3:31 pm

Someone else posted it. But yeah, if you like numbers, try http://coachesbythenumbers.com

They do this stuff everyday.

SSIgator

July 6th, 2011
3:31 pm

WDE -

“we own the series and the Gators will never catch up”

Sorry to hear that you have some kind of illness that is so serious that you will not live through the end of this decade. Probably just as well though. When Florida overtakes UGA in the overall record UGA fans won’t have anything left to woof about. My condolences to your family.

THE DUDE

July 6th, 2011
3:31 pm

WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. LETS GO BOWLING.

Ron Smith

July 6th, 2011
3:37 pm

It’s great to be a Florida Gator