Some of you working in finance may be aware of JP Morgan's Market Insight Series, including the "Lil Book". The book is a quarterly piece of intellectual capital that contains nearly every data point useful in discussing the markets and the economy. One of my favorite slides lately touches on the impact of politics on the markets and GDP. One chart in particular shows the historical voting trends within the house and senate, specifically pointing out that the last time that our politicians voted so blindly for their own party was immediately after the Civil War during reformation. So essentially Washington, and by extension voters, is as polarized as we were when the country split in half and slavery was on the table. And so goes society, and so goes the blogosphere.
Knowing that to be true, I know full well that half of you will not be able to read my breakdown of the game through any other prism than "TTUMAR stand for this, I stand for that, it's fingers in the ears time." Regardless, I'm going to do my part try and add balanced content and specifically this week, make a case for why the sky is not falling, the data and our record does not support the calls for Brown's, or Tub's or Willi's head, and in the end I will argue that if anything, we know just as much about our 2009 team, as we do about our 2010 team. So pull up a chair, the numbers don't lie, so try to be objective and if step back from the ledge for your dose of sunshine.
The following data will compare 2009 and 2010 offensive and defensive production numbers and off to the side I will indicate which team had the better number per line item, all up to this point in the season.
2009 2010 Winner
Avg Points 39 34 2009
Passing 444 276 2009
Rushing 29 70 2010
Total Yards 473 346 2009
3rd dwn Conv 37.5% 42% 2010
Turnovers 6 6 Tie
Interceptions 4 2 2010
Yards Per Carry 4.34 5.16 2010
1st Downs 75 59 2009
Summary 2009 Wins 4 Offensive Categories
2010 Wins 4 Offensive Categories
2009 2010 Winner
Avg Pts Allowed 19 23 2009
Pass Allowed 179 260 2009
Rush Allowed 89 100 2009
Total Yrd Allowed 268 360 2009
3rd dwn Allowed 45% 41% 2010
TO Forced 5 11 2010
Interceptions 2 8 2010
Summary 2009 Wins 4 Defensive Categories
2010 Wins 3 Defensive Categories
2009 2010 Winner
Penalties 36 19 2010 (By nearly half as many)
Most Important Statistic For Winning Championships
2009 2010 Winner
Win/Loss Count 2-1 2-1 Tie
One more stat to mention is that our opponents for the first three games of this year, finished with the identical records of the first three opponents for last year, in 2009. So the competition quality is identical in that respect.
I would also add that stats are not everything, and the case I am making is based on not only the data, but the fact that I watched all three games, two in person.
My balanced assessment clearly shows that a strong case could be made that the production of the entire team is nearly identical as it was overall to last years team. We are noticeably weaker in some key areas, but also stronger in just as many key areas. In fact the notion that the offense is some how drastically different than the product on the field last year, in terms of the whole picture, simply doesn't appear to be true. Meanwhile, an area most of us feel better about, the defense, is in fact the area where it looks like we have given up ground. I think this goes back to what some of said about the numbers of the defense not being as good, but the style of play is more to our liking.
The case for sleeping at night:
Offensively we are just barely underscoring last years squad (5 point difference), we are better on 3rd down which was a huge concern last year, and we are running the ball better. Defensively we are stopping more times on 3rd down which was a huge concern last year, we are forcing more than twice as many turnovers, and more than three times as many interceptions.We are giving up more points, and passing yards than last year, but it makes sense to take into to account that both SMU and NM are passing first teams compared to Rice and North Dakota from last year. Turnovers are a huge improvement, although recent penalties are untimely, we have committed nearly half as many as last year at this time. Lastly, we have the same record, and for good reason. The numbers don't lie, we are producing nearly identical production (albeit from different places), against teams with identical records, with nearly the identical personnel as we had on the field in 2009.
You have to ask yourself what was your expectation coming into the season. On the pessimist side I read that given the team we are returning, there should be no drop off in wins.....but many felt there would be. Guess what? There has been no drop off in wins against identical competition, up to this point.
I'm not arguing that we should not tear apart the game and critique. To Seth's point, fair, balanced, deconstruction is what DTN is about. But I would argue that nothing in the the data, or the outcome supports any of the Macro concepts some have proposed here. Based on this information, how can any of us proclaim one coach a bad hire, or a season lost, or any other big picture theme unless you can go back and document that you held that exact same belief this time last year? If 2010's production and results warrant firings, and season lost discussion than by that logic we should have also cleaned house and fired the staff after the UT game last year, and proclaimed that season last as well. Funny thing is, don't remember anyone doing that. What is happening, is those who never intend to give the team a chance are taking any opportunity to seize on everyones disappointment. In what world is it ok to proclaim a first year HC, DC, or OC a failure in week three? In what world does logic dictate that having the same record against identical competition mean that this staff has lost the season, but last years staff had it all figured out? We all knew that we should do as well as last year with what we had coming back, and hoped we would do perhaps do better. So far, we are doing just as good in the only category that determines championships....wins. All we have to do is beat ISU in two weeks to take the first steps towards beating our record last year up to that point, does that sound terribly difficult? I think not. Its highly likely that by this time two weeks from now that we will have comparable stats to 2009, just as we do now, with a better record after 4 weeks of play......and thats something to be hopeful about. I am just as pissed about our failings on Saturday as I was by the same 10 point loss margin we suffered to UT last year. But the loss doesn't mean anything more than it means.....we have yet to improve overall, but we yet to degrade overall......and that my friends is already a victory over what the "experts" had predicted coming into the season. Cut the coaches and players no slack, but it means on what it means, and nothing more......until it does. =)