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Topic: Who have we faced, by the maffs...
Replies: 29   Last Post: Nov 3, 2018 10:55 AM by: RevDodd®
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Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[48]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 3:41 PM
 

TLDR Version: Clemson gets great maffs even against good teams.

The nice part about the NCAA stats site is that 129 teams it breaks down to a near-perfect bell curve for grading purposes. Basically, teams 1-25 in a given stat get an "A", teams 26-50 a "B", and so on...the only problem is that there are four extra teams that wind up with an "F", but just in my own opinion, it doesn't much matter if you're team #100 or team #129 in a given stat. If you're that bad at something - and you're alone on that dreaded third page of stats on the official NCAA stat site - I think we can all pretty much agree, you're terrible at whatever that stat is measuring.

So with that in mind, I took a look at Clemson's stats: Clemson is the #8 ranked offense in the nation, averaging 522.6 yards per game, and the #3 defense, nationally, giving up just 263.9. This gives Clemson an "A" on offense...and an "A+" on defense. (Alabama is 2nd nationally on O, and have risen to 16th nationally on D, so they too would get an "A" grade on both sides of the ball now.)

What's more interesting is who exactly Clemson has achieved those numbers against. For all that the talking heads like to talk about Clemson's strength of schedule, the reality is that Clemson has faced some very good teams from a statistical standpoint. In particular Clemson has faced a very large number of elite offenses.

Clemson has faced no less than three "A"-level offenses already: Syracuse (#14 overall at 485.4ypg), NC State (#24 overall, 462.7ypg), and Texas A&M (#25, 462.5ypg). To that is added the fact that we've also played another two that were a half-notch below that, and would grade as "B+" level offenses (Wake Forest at #28, and Georgia Tech at #29.) The fascinating part about these offenses is their disparity in strengths...NC State, Syracuse, and A&M are elite passing teams, whereas Georgia Tech, as always, leads the nation in rushing with 366.6 yards per game. We've dominated almost all of them, and neither the passing teams nor the rushing teams have gotten much against us. The only outlier was A&M...bolstered by Kellen Mond and his seemingly charmed night in College Station early in the year.

Another interesting outlier: per the stats, Georgia Southern (7-1) is an "F"-level offense in terms of total yardage, ranking #111 overall at just 349.3 yards per game...but the caveat to that is, they're the #4 rushing team in the country behind the Bees, Army, and Navy, rushing for 275.8...they just throw for less than 75 a game, and other than their game against us, haven't needed to. They got stuffed too.

Our only other FBS opponent was FSU. Their O has legit gotten a failing grade this year, ranking 109th out of 129 at 349.5 yards per. Whatever: when a flawed but very talented FSU offense that boasts a half-dozen former 5-stars in its 2-deep is by a mile the worst offense you've faced, it means your D has dominated against some extremely good competition. Contrariwise, look to the offenses the two teams ranked ahead of Clemson statistically - Michigan and Miami - have faced, and you see no less than three "F"-level offenses on the Wolverines' schedule (SMU, Michigan State, Rutgers), and two more are almost that bad - "D-minus"-level...Northwestern (97th), and Maryland (92nd). Only Western Michigan (37th) and Wisconsin (36th) get B-grades, and Nebraska was the sole A-level offense the Wolverines faced...and Scott Frost is generating offense with smoke, mirrors, and a single freshman scholarship QB who has been healthy about half the time....and who wasn't healthy for Michigan. (The Huskers faced the Wolverines mostly with a walk-on at QB.)

Miami has faced even weaker offenses. The U has faced mostly ACC Coastal opponents...plus the aforementioned #111 FSU offense, plus LSU (who have the #87 offense in college football.) In fact the highest-rated offenses Miami has faced are Toledo at #39 and Virginia Tech at #43 nationally.

On the other side of the ball, Clemson has also faced some pretty good defenses. Texas A&M was an "A"-level defense (23rd nationally, allowing 330.9ypg), and Georgia Southern and GT get "B" grades (41st and 43rd, respectively)...but after that almost every opponent we faced (or will face) has middlin, "C"-level defenses in the 51-75 range...Boston College (51st overall, 371.3 allowed), South Carolina (54th), Duke (65th), Florida State (67th), and NC State (69th). Syracuse (96th) is the only "D"-level defense we've faced, and only Wake Forest - who ranks 125th out of 129 teams, allowing 502.6 yards per game - is an "F"-level defense. And our RB's duly jogged up and down the field on both teams.

And yet, despite playing average to elite defenses in 5 of 7 contests we've played thus far against FBS-level competition, Clemson ranks 8th overall in total offense, too.

Also keep in mind those stats are heavily skewed by the fact that Clemson has emptied its bench in every game except A&M and Syracuse. Almost every team Clemson has faced has gotten extensively runouts against Clemson's third-stringers and even walk-ons.

FWIW. But those numbers do give you an idea just how dominant Clemson has been...and against teams that are significantly better statistically than they are perceived as.

We actually face less statistically imposing teams down the stretch. Louisville is terrible on paper (113th on O, 101st on D), and both Duke and South Carolina are utterly, thoroughly mediocre (64th and 72nd respectively on O, and 65th and 54th, respectively, on defense.) Only Boston College (with a "B"-level offense that generates 445.6 yards per, and a "C+" level defense that ranks 51st overall allowing 371.3 yards per game) is in the same league as A&M/NC State/Syracuse/GT or Georgia Southern. Regardless of perception, Clemson has already played by far the roughest teams on its schedule. Now the Tigers just have to close with consistency.

Also, looking ahead - if we indeed face UVA in the ACC title game as seems increasingly likely, the Hoos get a "D", statistically, on offense (82nd overall, 390.8 yards per game), but are winning games with a stout "A-" level defense that ranks 21st overall and gives up just 327.4 yards per...the short version there is, if we move the ball and score points against the Cavs - which is not easy to do this year - we win, because UVA does neither thing well.

Obviously games are played on the field and not on the stat sheet and so I wouldn't book our place in the playoffs just yet. But peering ahead, Clemson actually appears more likely, not less, to improve on what is already a statistically dominant year. In fact at year's end it could actually be Clemson, and not Alabama, that might be able to lay claim to the title of "one of the greatest college football teams ever".....


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 3:43 PM
 

I must be lazy, too long for me . Is there a 1/4 version of this ?


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[8]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 3:55 PM
 


I must be lazy, too long for me . Is there a 1/4 version of this ?



There was actually a one-sentence version right at the beginning - and I even highlighted it for you - but you were apparently too lazy even to trouble yourself even for that.

Twitter seems more like your speed. It's thataway ----------->>>>

People who whine about people discussing football on, you know, a football forum mystify me. Truly.


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 4:47 PM
 

So you were to lazy to read my first sentence. It’s rocket science !


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[4]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:09 PM
 

Personally I have always enjoyed the longer posts, perhaps because I can be quite long winded myself. Garnetisugly was perhaps being tongue in cheek, but generally speaking, I've never understood when someone complains about the length of a post on a message board. If you are here to read football related content then it seems like it would be welcome to see lengthy and in depth analysis. If you don't have time to read a long post or just don't feel like it then you have the option to skip over it and not read it.


I always enjoy the time, effort and intelligent analysis you put into your posts. Thank you.

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Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[4]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 4:49 PM
 

Cliff Note version - We be good!We gonna be better! We may kick Bama in da nuts!


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 4:54 PM
 

Always enjoyed Cliff notes, Thank you


Maybe Garnetisugly prefers the useless/pointless/

[4]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 8:14 PM
 

Waste-of-time posts (that ironically get tons of TUs) by Tiger Balm and Francis Marion?


Those posts are the worst.***

[1]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 10:40 PM
 



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Good stuff, as always Quozzel. :)***

[1]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 3:56 PM
 




Outstanding, Quozzel... keep the maffs coming!***


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 4:14 PM
 



2019 orange level member

Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[2]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 4:09 PM
 

Interesting article, BUT....
we haven't faced a team with "SEC" Speed.
And you can't count Texas A and M because a former ACC Coach was at the helm.
Now if it had been Steve Spurrier coaching them, you might have something!


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 4:52 PM
 

Thanks, great work!!!


Excellent Analysis as always

[6]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:05 PM
 

I would add that we are likely to improve on our level of statistical dominance not only because of the weak competition we will be playing for the remainder of the regular season (sans BC), but perhaps even more importantly, our offense has began to hit its stride now that they have gotten more comfortable with Trevor Lawrence and TL himself has gained experience.


I'm not 100 percent opposed to a team allowing a 2nd QB to get some playing time outside of garbage time with a series here and there, but IMO it seems to hurt momentum and chemistry when two QB's are splitting equal reps throughout the game. Given the limited amount of time that teams are allowed to practice in college, there just isn't enough first team reps available for two QB's to get enough each week, especially when one QB is a true freshman. Dabo and the coaches would likely never had done it, but giving Trevor 100 percent of the first team snaps in practice and in the game outside of garbage time has been the biggest factor in our offensive explosion.


In this regard it has been the best possible scenario for us by having KB2 decide to transfer. A month ago I would have thought this would only be true if Lawrence stayed healthy, but given the way that Chase Brice has performed, I think the offense would be much more dynamic with him leading the way instead of KB2.


=====================================================================

SOS is a great tool to help measure teams against one another, but it cannot be the only metric that is taken into account. It's possible to play against a team that drags our SOS down, but is really great on one side of the ball. Our offense has shown the ability to dominate no matter how good the opponent's defense may be. Given how balanced we are we have the ability to adapt our game plan when our opponent is dominant in either rushing or passing defense. It's a pick your poison scenario.

The same applies to a bad team with a good offense like Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. Our defense can shut down our opponents even if they have a dominant offense. The A&M game made our pass defense look like a weakness, but after rewatching the game, a large portion of their passing yards were on 50-50 plays or shear luck that isn't likely to happen consistently. We have benefited from a couple dropped passes by our opponents in our last two games, but overall our secondary has been borderline dominant.


Because of the aforementioned reasons, I've started to look at advanced stats (S&P, F/+, ESPN efficiency, etc.) to get a better idea of the quality of a team since they take strength of opponents offense and defense into account. The one advanced stat that I don't put any faith in are special teams efficiency metrics. IMO, these numbers don't appear to be very reliable and vary quite a bit from source to source.

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Re: Excellent Analysis as always


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 8:04 PM
 

What’s so amazing about our stats on offense is it does take into account that we were running dual qbs in half of our stat season.

Plus beyond that TL is still learning how to read better defenses and getting comfortable with his reads. We’re fortunate that we have 4-5 more games for TL to get experience and hopefully be able to better direct defenses.

As the season goes on he will learn (I hope) to not telegraph as many passes. Elite cb and safety will be able to get there in time.

On a side note- Tee needs to get better on the 50/50 balls and get nasty like a sammy and nuk.

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Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:16 PM
 

Thanks for the post, good read (yes, I read all of it). +1

2019 white level member

Reminds me why I love statistics at Clemson!***


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:23 PM
 




Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:23 PM
 

Good stuff.

2019 orange level member

Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[1]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:42 PM
 

Good read Quozzel. I always look for your posts because they are extremely well thought out.


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 5:54 PM
 

NLE/REW :)

NLE = Not Long Enough!
REW = Read every word!

Go Tigers!!!

2019 orange level member

Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[2]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 6:26 PM
 

Most excellent as always. Thanks for putting it together.

I also enjoy cornstock as well.


Go Tigers!!! Finish!!!!

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Okay, I read the long read....do we or do we not win...


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 6:26 PM
 

...another Natty this year? :)

Also, it would be interesting for an analysis like this for the other top four teams to see where we stand.

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Nice breakdown

[1]
Posted: Nov 2, 2018 7:23 PM
 

I like thinking of the teams as a quasi- Bell Curve. Reminds me of Carl Sagan equating existence to a calendar, where the Big Bang is Jan 1, and we are in the last second of Dec 31.


That you mickey?


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 8:09 PM
 

I'd say quit hosting a radio show, at the least. Maybe work for an accountant.


Hey Q - 2 parter. 1. So our offense is really good. If you


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 10:45 PM
 

were to take out in the stats what our really good offense did to the other team’s defense, how much better does that make the “defenses we’ve faced” look ? We have contributed to the thought that the defenses we have faced aren’t all that good.

2. Same thing on defense - our defense is really, really good. If you take out what we did, how much better are the other team’s offense ?

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Re: Hey Q - 2 parter. 1. So our offense is really good. If you


Posted: Nov 2, 2018 11:49 PM
 


were to take out in the stats what our really good offense did to the other team’s defense, how much better does that make the “defenses we’ve faced” look ? We have contributed to the thought that the defenses we have faced aren’t all that good.

2. Same thing on defense - our defense is really, really good. If you take out what we did, how much better are the other team’s offense ?



Well, after 8 games, each game is weighted 12.5% of the total. If you figure the max variation in each game is about +-250 yards, max, depending on how good the O or D you're facing is, you figure the max swing we could have had is a net result of about plus or minus 31.25 yards on their yearly average over that 8 game span.

So not that much.

One game won't make you or kill you, is basically the message. So we're really not making or breaking anybody. They do that on their own, over the course of the season. Each team pretty much is what they are...independently of what Clemson did to them.


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 3, 2018 1:08 AM
 

As always I truly appreciate the analysis, intellect, and insight.

In my view, however, the problem with these stats as you’re applying them is that bell curves are typically used in statistics where the applicable factors are standardized. That is the circumstances under which the curve provides statistically meaningful inferences.

That’s just not the case in college football because of the wide variation of schedules and conference, which makes it extremely difficult to compare/contrast apples to apples.

There are invariably six degrees to Kevin Bacon theses that can be put forward, but the bell curve approach is just just not effective here.

2019 purple level member

Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...

[1]
Posted: Nov 3, 2018 10:25 AM
 

ddraines said:

As always I truly appreciate the analysis, intellect, and insight.

In my view, however, the problem with these stats as you’re applying them is that bell curves are typically used in statistics where the applicable factors are standardized. That is the circumstances under which the curve provides statistically meaningful inferences.

That’s just not the case in college football because of the wide variation of schedules and conference, which makes it extremely difficult to compare/contrast apples to apples.

There are invariably six degrees to Kevin Bacon theses that can be put forward, but the bell curve approach is just just not effective here.



True. It really isn't apples-to-apples because the Sun Belt is not the SEC and in applying the bell curve here I'm pretending a yard earned or prevented in the Sun Belt is indeed equal to one earned or prevented in the SEC. Much as I dislike the SEC, I will admit all yards are not equal and yards gained in the tougher conferences are Big Boy yards.

But it's what we got unless you want to go applying some formula like S&P+ or whatever secret sauce the mathniks at ESPN use to weigh every yard, too...and even those formula ignore things like injuries, emotion, and program momentum. So the bell curve is not perfect, but it is a pretty good indicator. I dunno, for instance, if Syracuse is indeed the #14 overall offense in the country but anybody with eyes could tell you they're pretty durn good this year, especially at slinging it. I dunno if Wake is really as bad as 125th out of 129....but anybody with eyes can tell you Wake's D is indeed wretched and can stop no one this year.

So while it ain't exact, it's not far off, either...and in broad strokes it does tell you a good bit.


Re: Who have we faced, by the maffs...


Posted: Nov 3, 2018 2:30 AM
 

Great post, Quozzel. Good info. Always enjoy your informative posts!

2019 purple level member

Good stuff!***


Posted: Nov 3, 2018 10:55 AM
 



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