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Who Have They Played?! (Comparing teams through statistical analysis)

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Who Have They Played?!

The content here at Buckeye Planet is created (with apologies to Mr. Lincoln) by fans and for fans. The media will throw context-free numbers at you and call it analysis. Their marketers tell them to assume that their viewers have a 7th to 8th grade level of education. Seriously. Here at BP, we don't make any assumptions about who you are, except perhaps that you're like us. We like our guests with thick skin and sarcastic wit and our numbers with enough context to make them relevant.

The talking heads of college football spew all sorts of stats all the time. When there are a few seconds of dead air to fill, some coiffed and tanned former jock will casually mention a statistic or factoid that's supposed to make himself sound intelligent and informed, and you to feel out of touch with reality, something like: "James Madison has the best rushing defense in the country." You hear it, and your preconditioned response is to throw something...

Notre Dame Postgame Thoughts

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Notre Dame Postgame

1. With last night's 21-10 victory, Ohio State now leads the Notre Dame series 5 to 2, with each of the Buckeyes' wins coming by a double-digit margin (average margin of victory of 14.6 points). Ohio State also outgained Notre Dame in yardage (395 yards to 253 yards); first downs (22 to 12); plays (69 to 48); and time of possession (33 minutes to 27 minutes).

2. The first narrative heading into the game was this: Ohio State's high-powered passing attack would generate several big plays against a stout but slow Notre Dame defense. As things turned out, Notre Dame had the three longest pass plays of the game (54, 32, and 31 yards), and averaged far more yards per attempt (9.3 to 6.6) and per completion (17.7 to 9.8) than Ohio State.

3. The second narrative heading into the game was this: Notre Dame would win the battles of the trenches, allowing the Domer offense to run the ball consistently and the Domer defense to shut down the...

Ohio State vs Notre Dame: The Rivalry That Never Was

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Ohio State vs Notre Dame: The Rivarly That Never Was

The Big Ten Conference was formed in 1896, and by 1917 it counted as members every major football power in the upper midwest. All except one - Notre Dame.

Notre Dame began football in 1887 as an independent and it has stayed that way ever since (more or less - see below) despite various attempts to lure them into a conference. But in the early days, before Notre Dame became a brand name in college football, the small private Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana, actually tried to join the Big Ten. Although Notre Dame fit the Big Ten profile geographically, that factor was about the only match with the other conference members, most of whom (Northwestern and Chicago being the exceptions) were large state-operated "land grant" universities. The Big Ten could ignore the "small" and "private" aspects of Notre Dame, as the conference had previously done with Northwestern and the University of Chicago...

A Pall Over the Horseshoe (Michigan 2022)

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A Pall Over the Horseshoe

Don't come in here
You'll see something ugly
Not the kind of thing
You'd expect from a body
Don't come in here
I beg of you
Yes there's love in my heart
But there's hatred in my thoughts
Don't believe in me
Or anything that speaks
For you won't be deceived
By a human certainty​

Over the years, I have lost enough friends and acquaintances (figuratively and too often literally) to alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, and other less unnatural means that a bad result in a football game means fuck all to me - it's four hours of lousy television and then back to the regularly scheduled programming of everyday life, the stuff that allegedly really matters, the stuff from which sports is supposed to be our distraction (although we often invert the reality and the diversion therefrom, grieving over the entertainment whilst ignoring (or at least de-emphasizing) the...

Comparing Ohio State and Michigan Over Three Eras of CFB

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In this article, I will look at Ohio State and Michigan during three Eras of college football: the Pre-Poll Era (from 1869 to 1935); the Poll Era (from 1936 to 1997); and the Playoff Era (1998 to present).

During the Pre-Poll Era, all national championship recognized by the NCAA were awarded by historical committees after the fact.

The Poll Era began in 1936 with the advent of the Associated Press (AP) Poll, which is still in existence. From 1936 to 1949, the NCAA recognizes the AP national champion as the sole national champion; and from 1950 to 1997 as one of the national championship selectors. The NCAA also recognizes national championships awarded by the following selectors: United Press International (UPI) coaches poll from 1950 to 1997; the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from 1954 to 1997; and the National Football Foundation (NFF) from 1959 to 1997. During the 48 years of multiple national championship selectors, there were 15 split national championships...

Week 12 CFP Top 25 ranked by DSC

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For a definition of DSC, among other things, click HERE.

Teams Ranked by DSC, showing CFP ranking and the difference between DSC and CFP ranking.

TeamDSC RatioDSC RankCFP RankDifferenceConf.

[TR1][TD]Georgia[/TD][TD1]3.697[/TD1][TD1]1[/TD1][TD1]1[/TD1][TD1]0[/TD1][TD1]SEC[/TD1][/TR1]
[TR1][TD]Michigan[/TD][TD1]3.115[/TD1][TD1]2[/TD1][TD1]3[/TD1][TD1]1[/TD1][TD1]B1G[/TD1][/TR1]
[TR1][TD]Ohio St.[/TD][TD1]3.025[/TD1][TD1]3[/TD1][TD1]2[/TD1][TD1]-1[/TD1][TD1]B1G[/TD1][/TR1]
[TR1][TD]Alabama[/TD][TD1]2.584[/TD1][TD1]4[/TD1][TD1]7[/TD1][TD1]3[/TD1][TD1]SEC[/TD1][/TR1]
[TR1][TD]Penn St.[/TD][TD1]2.339[/TD1][TD1]5[/TD1][TD1]11[/TD1][TD1]6[/TD1][TD1]B1G[/TD1][/TR1]
[TR1][TD]Tennessee[/TD][TD1]2.215[/TD1][TD1]6[/TD1][TD1]10[/TD1][TD1]4[/TD1][TD1]SEC[/TD1][/TR1]...

DSA Preview of The Game

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Here is a snapshot of The Rivalry as of Hate Week 2022 as seen through Differential Statistical Analysis (DSA - simpler than it sounds). For a primer on the terms used herein, click HERE. That's enough of an intro for Hate Week. Here it is, unvarnished:

Differential Statistical Analysis


SO: Scoring Offense
SD: Scoring Defense
DSO: Differential Scoring Offense
DSD: Differential Scoring Defense
RO: Rushing Offense
RD: Rushing Defense
DRO: Differential Rushing Offense
DRD: Differential Rushing Defense
YpCo: Yards per Carry - Offense
YpCd: Yards per Carry - Defense
DYpCo: Differential Yards per Carry - Offense
DYpCd: Differential Yards per Carry - Defense
PO: Passing Offense
PD: Passing Defense
DPO: Differential Passing Offense
DPD: Differential Passing Defense
PEo: Pass Efficiency - Offense
PEd: Pass Efficiency - Defense
DPEo: Differential Pass Efficiency - Offense
DPEd...

Week 13 Games

Maryland Recap (2022)

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Maryland Recap (2022)

#2 Ohio State had a bad day yesterday, needing a last-second defensive score to secure a shaky 43-30 victory against an unranked Maryland team that was trying to recover from blow out losses in its two previous games (23-10 to Wisconsin; 30-0 to Penn State). Now for some perspective....
  • #1 Georgia looked offensively challenged in a 16-6 win over unranked Kentucky (6-5 overall, 3-5 in conference, same as Maryland).
  • #3 scUM needed a last-second field goal to beat unranked Illinois, 19-17, and also lost Heisman hopeful Blake Corum to an injury.
  • #4 TCU needed a last-second field goal to beat unranked Baylor, 29-28.
  • #5 Tennessee got blown out by unranked South Carolina, 63-38, and also lost Heisman hopeful Hendon Hooker to an injury.
  • #13 North Carolina lost to unranked Georgia Tech, 21-17; Heisman pretender Drake Maye was awful and choked on the potential game-winning drive.
  • #14...

Week 11 CFP Rankings with Context

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Numbers can be a good way of comparing football teams, but only if you know what numbers tell you and more importantly, what they don't. Much of what a number can tell you depends on context. At Buckeye Planet, we use differential statistics to compare teams because they have context built into them. Some quick examples before we get started. If you score twice as much as your opponents typically allow and pass for twice as many yards, then your Differential Scoring Offense and you Differential Passing Offense are both 2.0 (twice as good as average). If you allow half as many yards rushing as your opponents gain against everyone else and allow half as many points, then your Differential Rushing Defense and your Differential Scoring Defense are both 0.5 (also twice as good as average). For more complete explanations of the numbers herein and what the categories mean, see Our Glossary...

Mid-November Heisman Race Update

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Heisman Race Update

At THIS LINK you will find a previous comparison that shows quite vividly C.J. Stroud's superiority to other top FBS quarterbacks to this point in the season. Below is a continuation of that comparison with an update to the season stats.

HERE you will find a brief glossary of the terms used herein. These terms are also explained within this post, but in future weeks the explanations will be elided. We will simply include links to the glossary.

The Heisman race has been expanded to include a couple of Pac 12 quarterbacks who a certain 4-letter network has been plugging for the Heisman. The only member of the top 8 in Passing Efficiency that is excluded here is Kurtis Rourke of the Ohio Bobcats, as no one is likely to mention his name for the Heisman at any point...

2022 Indiana Recap

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Indiana Recap

1. On a cold and snowy day in the Horseshoe, Ohio State trounced Indiana by the final score of 56 to 14, which marked the Buckeyes' 28th victory in a row against the hapless Hoosiers. In the series, Ohio State now owns a record of 79-12-5 (.849 winning percentage) and has outscored Indiana 2,655 to 1,096 (27.7 to 11.4 on a per game basis).

2. As you might imagine from the final score, Ohio State did pretty much everything right in yesterday's game. Quarterback C.J. Stroud did nothing to hurt his Heisman chances, connecting on 17 of 28 passes (.607 completion percentage) for 297 yards (10.6 yards per attempt), 5 touchdowns, no interceptions, and no sacks. If we're going to be completely honest, Stroud was a little bit off at times and a couple of his touchdown passes were called primarily to pad his stats for the benefit of Heisman voters, although each pass did in fact...

CFP - But With Context

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Contextual Comparisons

Like any sports message board, Buckeye Planet is full of people who are convinced that they're right and that anyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong but also stupid, insane, evil, downright un-American, or combination thereof. What sets us apart is that we also have a few people who have a sense of perspective. I'm not one of them, but I hear they're out there.

This time of year the discussions and arguments among college football fans are about who deserves to be ranked where in the CFP rankings. Statistics can't end those discussions and settle those arguments, because everyone has a different definition of that elusive word "deserves". Even for those who believe that being the best makes you deserving, stats can provide only data, not answers.

Unlike what you'll get from most sports media, we here at BP prefer stats with context. Rather than just compare teams to whom they've played, we prefer numbers that...

Know Your Enemy - Indiana Hoosiers

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8f3e0928-9db9-4167-8ea2-fcd7c7d65ae2.jpg

1. Indiana University is located in Bloomington, about an hour southwest of Indianapolis. IU is the state's flagship public university. The school's motto is Lux et Veritas, which translates to: "Light and Truth".

2. Indiana's colors are crimson and cream and its mascot is the Hoosier. No one knows exactly what a Hoosier is, other than a term for a resident of Indiana. Some say that Hoosier comes from an old Indian word, hoosa, which apparently meant "maize". Whatever the origin of the obscure word, Hoosier now apparently means: "friendliness, neighborliness, an idyllic contentment with Indiana landscape and life." At least that's according to the Indiana Historical Society, which is probably not the most objective source for such information...

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics ... and DSA

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics ... and DSA

While most people save money so that they can retire some day, there are some professions that people seem to want to do for as long as they can get people to pay them to do it. Joe Biden and a disturbingly high percentage of Congress say hello. Football is another such profession. Those who can get people to pay them to play, tend to play as long as people keep paying them. Tom Brady says hello.

Coaching football is also a profession that people tend to do for as long as they can get people to pay them to do it. Nick Saban tips his cap while preparing to head to Louisiana State; Joe Paterno tips his halo from the heights of heaven (which is much warmer than he expected). You might say that coaching takes this phenomenon to a higher level than any other, as people do it until they can get someone to pay them not to (Ed Orgeron gives a nod from the deck of his yacht), or better yet until several...

Stats - BP Style

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But Who Has He Played?!

Most non-Buckeye fans will point to Ohio State's recent games against Iowa and Penn State and say that C.J. Stroud hasn't been at his best recently, at least not in the first three quarters of those two contests: "See!! See!! As soon as Stroud plays a defense with a pulse he doesn't look so great does he?!?!" Unfortunately for such fans, the fourth quarters of those games really did happen. For example, against Penn State, Stroud was 6 of 8 for 128 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter (in a span of just 4:06, to be precise), for a pass efficiency (PE) of 250.65. That is oddly similar to his season-long fourth quarter PE of 250.36. Unfortunately for Ohio State fans, however, the first three quarters of those games really did happen as well.

It would be just as disingenuous for us to cherry pick Stroud's spectacular fourth quarter numbers as it would be for other fans to dismiss them, so let's consider the entirety of Ohio...

Penn State Recap

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Penn State Recap

1. With the 44-31 win yesterday, Ohio State improved its record against Penn State to 24-14 overall, and 22-8 in Big Ten play. Penn State: Still not elite ... still not our rival.

2. A 13-point margin of victory over the #13 team in the country looks pretty impressive, and the win would've looked even more impressive if the Buckeye defense hadn't surrendered a garbage time touchdown. In reality, however, Ohio State played about fifteen minutes of winning football yesterday, but those winning minutes produced 38 of the Buckeyes' 44 points (86.4%); 270 of their 452 total yards (59.7%); and all four forced turnovers. Ohio State continues to be a quick-strike team on both offense and defense, a team that has difficulty grinding out long drives on offense or preventing big plays on defense (see below).

3. For 3+ quarters, CJ Stroud played a fairly ordinary game. Then with...

Week 10 Games Discussion

2022 Rose Bowl Postgame

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2022 Rose Bowl (Ohio State vs Utah)

Before I get started, I have a couple of admissions to make. First, I'm in the "NC or bust" camp when it comes to the Buckeyes. Ohio State is historically a top-5 (or top-3) program, and the Buckeyes are in the midst of perhaps their best run ever, so it's not unreasonable to expect the team to compete for a national championship every single year and win a few along the way (more than one a decade, IMHO). So every season that does not result in an NC (with a few exceptions) is necessarily a "failure" to some degree. With that being said, I can deem a season like 2021 a failure overall yet still enjoy individual moments or games along the way and appreciate them for what they are. Last night was one of those games.

My second admission is this: I had Utah winning the game fairly comfortably, something like 38-27, primarily because the Buckeyes were missing four All Americans...

Big Ten 2020 CCG Recap

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RECAP: Big Ten Championship Game 2020 (Ohio State vs Northwestern)

1. First of all, props to Northwestern, as they played one Hell of a game today. There is - literally - not one player on Northwestern's entire team who had an Ohio State offer, yet the Wildcats went toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes all game long and had the 20-point favorites on upset alert for about three quarters. Pat Fitzgerald is a great coach and motivator and he got every ounce of talent and effort out of his squad. Unfortunately for Northwestern, that still wasn't enough to beat Ohio State, because the Buckeyes are just that much more talented than the Wildcats.

2. Major props to running back Trey Sermon, who broke the Ohio State single-game rushing record with 331 yards on 29 carries (11.4 average) and a pair of touchdowns. Sermon broke the record set by Eddie George against Illinois all the way back in 1995 (314 yards on 36 carries)...

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