Big Data In College Football

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 9.10.2016


Rukkus, a ticket selling website, showed what you can do when you sit down and comb through the data. Some of this shouldn’t be surprising like the fact that Hawaii leads everyone in how far players have to travel to go to school there. Some of the other stats may surprise you though.

One of the things that made total sense is that Stanford was second. Stanford has to recruit a certain kind of ‘student-athlete’ and Stanford is that place where they truly are ‘student – athletes’. So the Cardinal has to go all over the country to find their players.

Navy, Army, and Air Force pretty much the same deal as Stanford. A certain type of person is going to go to these Academies. This is why all 3 are in the top 12.

Nor Cal

The one that did raise an eyebrow but it really shouldn’t when you think about it was the fact that the PAC-12 has 11 of the top 24 spots on the list. Surprising because you really never think of it but not surprising in that when you get out west, things are little more spread out than they are in the south.

Overall this was a really impressive use of data in sports. A lot of times people look at data within the context of the sport itself or they find another sport and transfer over that data. Other times data like this is glossed over and used a bumper on ESPN College Gameday into the ‘feature’ on a player or coach.

imageNow compare this to the ESPNFC article from the other day that pondered the question, if your NFL team was in the Premier League, what team would they be?

Really? This is what you are bringing to the table ESPN?

A ticket selling site gives us great use of big data and ESPN throws out this? Really disappointing.

Data like this can be used to draw so many other conclusions. Last 5 College Football National Championships have been won by Florida State, Alabama (3) and Ohio State. They are only a few spots from each other (59, 63 and 67) or have players who are 400 to 367 miles on average away from home. Oregon and Oklahoma are the only two schools in the top 48 who have made the College Football Playoff and neither won the National Title. Those players travel some 1,000 (Oregon) and 515 (Oklahoma) miles to go to school at these universities.

This is a great use of data. It’s intriguing, can help put things in a new perspective and help coaches, players and fans know their schools just a little bit better. Biggest shock, this wasn’t ESPN, CBS, NBC or FOX that came up with this.

New Year’s Eve Playoff Is Not As Bad As It Sounds

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Year two of the College Football Playoff will be played on New Year’s Eve and not on New Year’s Day as it was in its first year. While much of the college football media has come out slamming the decision, the fact is that it’s not all that terrible of an idea.

MSU TDDan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has absolutely chastised the idea. While Wetzel is correct in his cronyism view and that these games would have been bettered served being played on New Year’s Day or even on January 2nd, he is miss guided on several other points.

Not everyone has plans New Year’s Eve believe it or not. While a lot of people have to work on New Year’s Eve day, let’s be honest, nothing is really getting done (especially by kick off which is at 1pm PST) and with Watch ESPN, people are going to be watching in significant numbers on various devices. Also, people have to work on New Year’s Day and even Christmas so let’s stop acting like America completely shuts down on Holidays anymore.

If you do have plans on New Year’s Eve, did the bar or home of the party you are attending all of sudden stop having TV’s? If you are at a club, ballroom or what not, we can promise you that someone is going to be streaming the game on a smartphone. It’s 2015 after all.

Deshaun Watson ClemsonYes the ratings will be down this year compared to last year but that is not just because of the date and time the games are being played. In the second year of something you can almost guarantee a dip. The novelty has worn off. And if we’re being honest, Michigan State and Clemson are not the national brand names that Ohio State and Florida State are. Not to mention the fact that one of the games last year (Oregon vs Florida State) featured two Heisman Trophy winners squaring off against each other.

Yes a 1pm kick off on the West Coast on a ‘work day’ is a head scratcher. However we are in a 24/7 on-demand world. That means that we are not passively involved anymore, instead we have to actively seek out and find what we want to watch. Besides most people are using a second screen while watching TV anyway. Up to 87% of them in fact. So this notion that everyone stops, gathers around the TV and never looks away went out the window a long time ago.

Is a 1pm PST kick off on a ‘work day’ any worse than a 8:30pm EST kick off on a ‘work night’? Last year the Ohio State vs Alabama game didn’t kick off until almost 9pm EST and wasn’t over until well after midnight. Plenty of people didn’t stay up for that one after staying up late the night before and having to work the next day. Where was the outcry for that?

Look the College Football Playoff should be played on New Year’s Day and have games that are done well before midnight on the East Coast. But having the games on New Year’s Eve isn’t the ‘outrageous’ idea some want to make it out to be. Now there will be something on instead of Ryan Seacrest and Pitbull. If you prefer that then God be with you, the rest of us will be watching the College Football Playoff.

Bowl Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

All times are PST

Saturday December 20th

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Colorado State – 12:30pm ABC: Solid matchup between a tough Utah team and fantastic Colorado State team. Big issue for CSU, Head Coach just took the Florida job.

Tuesday December 23rd

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs Northern Illinois – 3pm ESPN: These two teams are a combined 23-3. It’s also a chance to check out the best QB you may not have heard about, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato.

Saturday December 27th

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs Duke – 11am CBS: It’s the only bowl game CBS does for whatever reason. Both teams are a very talented 9-3 and this game should be close throughout.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC – 5pm ESPN: Nebraska is without a head coach which means guys are playing to impress the incoming staff. USC is in a better place than they were a year ago.

Monday December 29th

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia – 11am ESPN: This could be the most exciting Bowl game Or it could totally suck. Either way it’s a Monday afternoon college football game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson – 2:30pm ESPN: Don’t know what to expect here but it has all the makings of a shootout.

Tuesday December 30th

Belk Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville – 3:30pm ESPN: This is one of the best bowl games outside of the Playoff.

Wednesday December 31st

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU – 9:30am ESPN: Either TCU takes Ole Miss behind the woodshed or they get faded cause they are left out of the Playoff.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Boise St vs Arizona – 1pm ESPN: This game depends on what Arizona team decides to show up.

Thursday January 1st

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Michigan State – 9:30am ESPN: Oh lord is this one going to be good.

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Florida State – 2pm (ish) ABC: We can only hope that this Playoff lives up to the hype. This should be the better of the two Playoff games.

Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs Kansas State – 3:45pm ESPN: This game has a tradition of being one that you don’t want to miss. This should be no exception.

Monday January 12th

National Title Game – 5:30pm (ish) ESPN: Let’s see if this is as good as we hope. Also, ESPN is apparently doing it’s ‘Film Room’ again during the game. It was awesome last year.

Wrap It In A Blanket

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

While the weekend brought us some interesting and exciting moments but none may have been as good as the Tennessee mascot, Smokey, wrapped in an orange blanket on the sidelines of their win against Kentucky.

Smokey in a Blankett

Yes, Florida State found a way to win, again! Yes, Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin ran for an NCAA record 408 yards on the ground against Nebraska. Yes, the Green Bay Packers scored 50 plus points for the second straight week.

But let’s be honest, nothing beats a hound dog wrapped in a blanket on the sidelines…and the photoshop madness that followed.

You’re welcome America.

The Sunday: Clemsoning And The Upset Fans

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Four weeks into the season and some fan bases are already calling for the head coach to be fired. Upsets continue to happen in games you do not expect and some teams ended up acting like they always do.

The Mighty Have Fallen

Michigan lost again and it wasn’t really close. Head Coach Brady Hoke is on the hot seat as more and more people are calling for a change. Florida couldn’t compete with Alabama despite four Bama turnovers. Head Coach Will Muschamp is on the hot seat but his QB Jeff Driskel was just dreadful.

Fans from both schools are about at their wits end with these once mighty teams. All is not lost though as Michigan has yet to play or lose a conference game and Florida has only lost one conference game but it was to a team in a different division.

Clemsoning

It’s not an official word but one that makes its way around college football circles after the Clemson did what they did against Florida State. Clemson was able to rip defeat from the jaws of victory as they failed to capitalize on the poor performance of the number one team in the country who was without their best player.

Clemsoning is not owned by Clemson. California did a West Coast version of it by blowing a 28-6 halftime lead to lose 49-45 to Arizona on a last second Hail Mary.

 

What to Watch Friday 11/1-Sunday 11/3

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Baseball is done…and back to football.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1st

Miami Heat @ Brooklyn Nets- 5pm ESPN: The two time defending champs head north to take on the revamped Nets. Could be fun.

USC @ Oregon St. – 6pm ESPN2: Corvallis, OR is always a tough place to play especially with one of the top scoring offenses in the country resides there. USC has one of the best defenses around (minus the Arizona St game of course). It’s a battle of wills on your Friday night.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2nd

Virginia Tech @ Boston College – 9am ABC: Trap game for Va Tech. They get Miami next week and the Fighting Addazio’s make life tough for everybody. Look for an upset in Chestnut Hill which would be back to back losses for the Hokies.

UNC @ NC STATE – 9:30am ESPN3: Not a sexy game on paper but this one is going to be all about pride. Both schools need a win and both have enough talent to be a lot better than their records indicate.

Minnesota @ Indiana – 12:30pm BTN: Normally a really good basketball game but this one features a high powered offense by IU and a stanch D by Minnesota. Bowl implications on the line in Bloomington.

Oklahoma St @ Texas Tech – 4pm FOX: Gus Johnson will announce this possible shootout in West Texas. You’re welcome.

Miami @ Florida St. – 5pm ABC: It’s awesome to see this game matter again and in primetime no less. Famous Jameis gets another stage to show off for the Heisman voters.

Portland Timbers @ Seattle Sounders- 7pm NBCSN: A Cascadia Playoff game? This is must see TV. Even if you don’t like soccer, you should watch this. It will change your mind.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 3rd

San Diego Chargers @ Washington – 10am CBS: Could be a shootout of epic proportions in DC.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots – 1:25pm CBS: Tom Brady vs Ben Roethlisberger. It’s not what it use to be but it’s still a battle of Super Bowl winning QB’s. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Real Salt Lake @ LA Galaxy – 6pm ESPN: The defending champs have a tough road to another MLS Cup. It starts against the one team you don’t want it to start against, RSL.