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Posts Tagged ‘LSU Tigers’

College Baseball – Finding a champion

Posted by cuorange on February 2, 2010

Since we are a little more than two weeks out from the beginning of college baseball, I thought I would slip in a post on the subject. In previous posts (and years) I have delineated the importance of defense in football and basketball. To recap – 9 of the last 10 BCS Champions in football have had top 10 ranked defenses and top 10 run defenses. In basketball, over the last 6 years the worst defensive efficiency rating of the national champion was 16.

The table below shows that 7 of the last 8 baseball national champions finished in the top 17 in fielding. Five of the 8 finished in the top 8, and 4 of the 8 finished in the top 5.

If you add in the fact that 7 of the last 8 baseball champions also finished in the top 22 in ERA an obvious pattern presents itself, with the exception of 2008 Fresno State of course.

Year Team Batting Slugging Fielding ERA
2002 Texas   99   65  5  2
2003 Rice  41  103  2  2
2004 Cal State – Fullerton   9  56  17  22
2005 Texas  80  74  3  4
2006 Oregon State  85  95  8  14
2007 Oregon State  162  129  2  11
2008 Fresno State  125  102  52  56
2009 LSU  78  34  16  9

Only one team finished in the top 10 in batting and won the championship (Fullerton in 2004). The highest rated slugging team was last years LSU coming in at 34th.

What this tells us is that pitching and defense are much more important than offense in college baseball today.

In many cases highly ranked offensive teams rolled into Omaha and left on the losing end to a better pitching and fielding team. Some examples: In 2002 Texas came in with the lowest batting average and second lowest slugging percentage of the 8 teams in Omaha. Yet, with a fielding percentage that was 5th in the nation and the 2nd ranked ERA they left as champions. In 2006 Oregon State had the lowest batting average and slugging percentage of the 8 teams in the World Series. However, the Beavers also came in with the second highest defensive rating of the 8 teams and an ERA that ranked 14th nationally. It was the first of two consecutive championships for the defensive and pitching minded club.

LSU finished the 2009 season with a 78th ranked batting average, but a 16th ranked fielding average and a 9th ranked ERA. They left as champions.

It’s important to note that the other team in the finals last year also met the criteria based on defense (8th) and ERA (2nd). However, Texas was such an anemic hitting team (206th in batting average) you understand why I predicted LSU to win the title.

So when judging the ability of your team to compete use these markers:
1) Defense = top 17 or better
2) ERA = top 22 or better
3) Batting and Slugging = top 100 or better

The numbers are compelling. Offense sells tickets while defense (and pitching) wins championships.

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Posted in College Baseball | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ranking the championship teams

Posted by cuorange on January 21, 2010

I’m not a huge believer in all-decade teams and the like, but in researching a post last week I wondered who the best team of the 2000’s was. I remember ’01 Miami and certainly ’05 Texas, but who was I leaving out, or better yet, who was I selling short because of some potential bias and maybe who was I giving a lot more credit than they deserved because of a) seeing them so much and b) how they won games.

So, I developed a formula (similar to the one I used last season in baseball to predict LSU over Texas) that would theoretically take out all my biases. This formula is based on the factors that lead to a national champion and the categories that are highly correlated to a NC are weighted as such.

Rank Team Score % of Perfection
1 2009 Alabama 549.7 94.27%
2 2001 Miami 544.7 93.41%
3 2007 LSU 541.4 92.85%
4 2004 USC 539.0 92.44%
5 2008 Florida 533.3 91.46%
6 2005 Texas 517.1 88.68%
7 2003 LSU 506.6 86.88%
8 2000 Oklahoma 494.4 84.79%
9 2006 Florida 490.2 84.07%
10 2002 Ohio State 451.5 77.43%

A perfect score would be 583.100.

The scores are heavily weighted towards defense, because that’s what wins championships. So, in general, better defensive teams will score higher than offensive powers.

Certainly a case can be made for 2001 Miami, but they were crushed by 2009 Alabama in two categories that accounted for most of the difference: Rush defense (2nd for Alabama, 40th for Miami) and turnovers lost (3rd for Alabama and 26th for Miami).

Texas circa 2005 is an interesting case. The Longhorns were 3rd in total offense (one of only two of the last 10 champions to be in the top 10 in total offense) and 10th in defense, but were 40th in passing offense, 33rd in rushing defense and 36th in turnovers lost. You can see how they would be down this list.

There’s not much arguing Ohio State’s 10th place standing among this group. The Buckeyes were 70th in total offense, 92nd in passing offense, 23rd in total defense and 95th in passing defense – easily the worst in those categories among the 10 champions.

Posted in College Football | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defense wins again

Posted by cuorange on January 13, 2010

No matter which team won the BCS National Championship game last Thursday, one thing was certain: for the 7th consecutive year and 9th time in the last 10 years the BCS Champion finished in the top 10 in total defense.

Alabama’s victory also insured that a top 10 scoring defense also won the championship for the 9th time in 10 years.

In an era when headlines and SportsCenter highlights are driven by eye-popping offensive plays, nothing is more certain than this: defense wins championships.

Year Team Total O Rush O Pass O Scoring O Total D Rush D Pass D Scoring D TO Lost TO Gain TO Margin
 2000 Okla.   18 68   13  7   8  23  9  7 88   5 30 
 2001 Miami  8 21   35    6  40  2  1 26  1  1
 2002 Ohio St.   70 31    92  41  23  3  95  2  7  33  18
 2003 LSU   31  27   43  19  1  3  18  1  83  9  39
 2004 USC  12  33   13     6  1  34  3  35  1  1
 2005 Texas  3    40  1   10  33  8  8  36  21  27
 2006 Florida  19  38    28   23  6  5  33  6  66  17  37
 2007 LSU  26  11    58   11  3  12  9  17  10  3  2
 2008 Florida  15  10   61  4  2  15  20  4  13  34  2
 2009 Alabama   42    12    92   22   9  2  10  2  3  10  4

Consider these facts:

*Only 2 of the last 10 BCS Champions were ranked in the top 10 in total offense.
*9 of the last 10 champions were ranked in the top 10 in total defense.

*Only 2 of the last 10 BCS Champions were ranked in the top 10 in rushing offense.
*5 of the last 10 champions were ranked in the top 10 in rushing defense.

*0 of 10 champions were in the top 10 in passing offense.
*5 of 10 champions were in the top 10 in passing defense.

This is not to say that offense is unimportant in the equation. The 10 champions averaged ranking 24th in total offense and 14 in scoring offense. One irony, of course, is that points scored by a team’s defense and special teams are credited to the scoring offense category. Hence, Clemson can rank 74th in total offense, but 28th in scoring offense.

In contrast, the last 10 champions have averaged a number 5 ranking in scoring defense and a 7th ranking in total defense.

One new trend may be emerging – turnover margin. In the last three years the champion has finished 2nd (2007 LSU), 2nd (2008 Florida) and 4th (2009 Alabama) in turnover margin. It also appears that the most important element in turnover rankings is very rarely turning the ball over (as opposed to gaining a lot of turnovers but giving up a fair amount, too as Texas did in 2009).

So when the 2010 season rolls around and there is talk turns to which team is going to win the BCS National Championship remember defense should come first.

Posted in College Football | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pick ’em – Bowl edition 2

Posted by cuorange on December 26, 2009

Game Spread AccuScore Predicted Score Actual Score AccuScore CUOrange Texas D B. Rink A. Eargle
NW vs. Auburn NW +7  31-21 Auburn  38-35 AU  AU  AU  NW  NW  AU 
WVU vs. Florida St. FSU +3  33-29 WVU  33-21 FSU  WVU WVU  WVU WVU  WVU 
Penn St. vs. LSU  LSU +3 25-20 PSU   19-17 PSU  PSU PSU  PSU  LSU  LSU 
Ohio State vs. Oregon OSU +3.5    26-22 OU  OSU 26-17  OU OU   OU OU   OU
Florida vs. Cincinnati  UC +12 34-24 UF  51-24 UF  UC  UF   UF UC   UC
SC vs. UConn UConn +4.5  27-24 SC  20-7 UC   UC UC UC  SC  SC 
Oklahoma St. vs. Mississippi  OSU +3 25-23 UM   21-7 UM OSU  UM   UM UM  UM 
Arkansas vs. East Carolina ECU +8  35-27 UA  20-17 UA   ECU  UA ECU  UA  ECU
Michigan St. vs. Texas Tech  MSU +8.5  34-26 TTU 41-31 TTU   MSU  MSU  MSU MSU  MSU 
Boise St. vs TCU BSU +8  TCU 32-25  17-10 BSU  BSU  TCU  TCU  BSU  TCU 
Iowa vs. Georgia Tech  Iowa +4  27-26 GT  24-14 Iowa  Iowa GT   Iowa GT  GT 
Texas vs. Alabama Texas +4.5  25-19 Bama  37-21 Bama  Bama  Texas  Texas  Bama   Bama

Posted in College Football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Week 12 Pick ‘Em

Posted by cuorange on November 17, 2009

Getting harder and harder to find 10 games.

Week 12 games, spreads, picks

Game Spread AccuScore Predicted Score Actual Score AccuScore CUOrange Texas D B. Rink A. Eargle
Ohio State @ Michigan UM +12.5 32-16 OSU   21-10 OSU OSU  Michigan   OSU  OSU OSU 
UNC @ Boston College UNC +3.5  21-16 BC   31-13 UNC BC   UNC  BC  UNC  UNC
Oklahoma @ Texas Tech TTU +7 29-26 OU  41-13 TTU  TTU   OU  OU  TTU  OU
LSU @ Mississippi LSU +3.5 25-19 Ole Miss  Ole Miss 25-23  Ole Miss  Ole Miss   LSU  LSU LSU 
Penn State @ Michigan St. MSU +3  29-23 Penn St.  42-14 Penn St.   Penn St. Penn St.   Penn St.  Penn St.  Penn St.
Virginia @ Clemson UVA +20.5 29-11 Clemson   34-21 CU UVA   CU  UVA  CU  CU
Cal @ Stanford Cal +7.5 34-29 Stanford  34-28 Cal  Cal   Stanford  Cal  Cal  Stanford
Kansas St. @ Nebraska KSU +17 33-16 Nebraska  17-3 UN  KSU   KSU  KSU  KSU  KSU
Kansas @ Texas KU +28 43-14 Texas  51-20 Texas  Texas   Texas  Kansas  Texas  Texas
Oregon @ Arizona Arizona +6 35-26 Oregon  44-41 OU  Oregon   Oregon  Oregon  Oregon Oregon 

Posted in College Football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Week 10 Pick ‘Em

Posted by cuorange on November 3, 2009

Week 10 games, spreads, picks

Game Spread AccuScore Predicted Score Actual Score AccuScore CUOrange Texas D B. Rink A. Eargle
Va. Tech @ E. Carolina ECU +12.5   28-19 Tech  16-3 Tech  ECU ECU   Tech  ECU Tech 
S. Carolina @ Arkansas SC +5.5  33-23 Arky   33-16 Arky Arky  Arky   Arky  Arky  SC
LSU @ Alabama  LSU +9 26-15 Bama  24-15 Bama  Bama   LSU  LSU  LSU  Bama
Oregon @ Stanford  Stanford +5  36-26 Oregon  51-42 Stanford OU   Stanford  OU  OU  OU
Wake Forest @ Ga. Tech  Wake +15 40-23 Tech   30-27 Tech Tech   Wake  Wake  Tech  Wake
Ohio State @ Penn St.  Ohio State +3.5 26-19 PSU  24-7 OSU   PSU  PSU  PSU  PSU  OSU
Texas A&M @ Colorado Colorado +4   30-24 A&M  35-34 CU A&M   A&M  A&M  A&M  A&M
Florida State @ Clemson  FSU +8.5  33-21 CU  40-24 CU CU   FSU  FSU  CU  CU
USC @ Arizona State  ASU +11 28-17 USC   14-9 USC USC*   USC  USC  ASU  USC
Oklahoma @ Nebraska Nebraska +6   24-20 OU 10-3 NU   OU  OU  OU  OU  OU

Posted in College Football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Power Poll for the undefeateds

Posted by cuorange on October 6, 2009

The power rankings below are based on 15 statistical categories that have proven over the last 9 years to determine the BCS Champion, with the highly correlated statistics (such as total defense and scoring defense) weighted more heavily.

A score of 1.000 would be a perfect score and if a team has a power ranking of .903, this means that the team is playing at 90.3% efficiency.

It’s important to understand that these rankings look at past performance and are not a predictor of future games, i.e. I am not saying South Florida would beat Texas. I’m saying South Florida has played better than Texas to this point of the year.

Rank Team Power
1 Florida .90284
2 Alabama .90280
3 South Florida .877
4 Boise State .852
5 Texas .834
6 Cincinnati .811
7 TCU .782
8 Kansas .760
9 Auburn .714
10 Iowa .701
11 LSU .690
12 Missouri .648
13 Wisconsin .605

Florida and Bama are in a virtual dead heat that went to the 5th decimal for Florida to gain a slight advantage. At this point in the season I would predict the Florida-Alabama winner (in SEC Championship) to play Texas for the national title. Bama’s scoring defense is just outside of the top 10 currently so I would favor Florida to win that game (assuming Tebow plays) and ultimately beat Texas for the title.

Why is Texas so low relative to Florida and Bama? A 65th ranked pass defense and 61st ranking in turnovers lost sure don’t help, but what it really boils down to is that Florida and Alabama have better defenses, at least to this point of the season.

One could argue that Texas defenses ranking is where it is because of playing in the gun slinging Big 12. Sure, Texas Tech racked up some passing yards against Texas, but with their other games being Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, and UTEP there really isn’t much excuse for a 65th ranked pass defense through 4 games.

The frauds of the group? Wisconsin, Missouri and LSU. All three of those might go down this week.

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