Fun With Numbers - Around The Pac-10 takes on a slightly different look this week as it includes an expanded Pac-10 schedule/standing, Pac-10 bowl projections, a reason why Oregon State should not be written off against USC, a look at red zone statistics for conference teams, and how Aaron Rodgers' sophomore seasons compares with that of other recent Cal quarterbacks.
PAC-10 STANDINGS AND SCHEDULE
|USC (3)||4||1||8||1||UCLA, OSU||Ariz.||Oregon||27,64,59,71,49,44,48,14||52|
|Washington State (14)||4||1||7||2||ASU, UCLA||Wash.||California||179,58,69,46,111,49,43||44,3|
|UCLA (38)||4||1||6||3||Oreg.||WSU, USC||Oregon State||113,90,48,111,52,71||58,1,49|
|Oregon State (43)||3||2||6||3||Stan., USC||Oreg.||UCLA||152,192,26,71,52,111||54,48,14|
|Washington (48)||3||2||5||4||WSU||Ariz., Cal||Arizona State||124,179,49,43,46||6,38,93,3|
|California (52)||3||2||5||5||Wash.||Oreg., Stan.||Washington State||53,113,3,111,71||34,42,23,43,38|
|Oregon (46)||2||3||5||4||Cal, OSU||UCLA||USC||109,93,111,10,49||14,23,71,48|
|Arizona State (71)||1||4||4||5||Ariz.||Stan., WSU||Washington||95,116,46,117||12,43,3,38,52|
|Stanford (49)||1||4||2||4||ASU, Cal, Notre Dame,||OSU||Arizona||121,64,38||48,3,14,46|
|Arizona (111)||0||5||1||8||Wash., USC||ASU||Stanford||149||9,46,16,8,14,38,52,43|
This week's team rankings come from an index that Jeff Sagarin uses in computing his ratings for USA Today. This particular index, ELO CHESS, is what the BCS uses from his ratings when tallying up the different computer ratings in coming up with its own rating index. This is why if you look at this week's BCS chart, Florida State will be ranked #5 according to Jeff Sagarin, although in his ratings which are posted on the USA Today site, Florida State is ranked #2. ELO CHESS does not take margin of victory into consideration.
The number in parentheses next to each team's name is their Sagarin/ELO Chess rating for the week. In the green column, one can find the rankings of the teams that a certain team has given. For example, Cal's beaten teams ranked 3, 51, 71, 111, and 113. The red column includes the rankings of the teams that have beaten a given team. The Bears have lost to team ranked 34, 42, 23, 43, and 38 - from a sheer ranking standpoint, none of those would qualify as a bad loss. Likewise, Stanford's losses have come to teams ranked 48, 3, 14, and 46.
Because a good number of the Pac-10 teams are bunched around the 40s and 50s, no team is going to have spectacular numbers, but what the chart does show is that its not inconceivable that teams near the top of the Pac-10 could each lose two more games before conference play ends. However, if teams end up staying more or less where they are, here's one projected set of teams and bowl destinations.
Pac-10 Bowl Alignments and Projections
|STANDING||DATE||BOWL||LOCATION||Projections as of 11/3|
|Pac-10 #1||January 1||Rose Bowl||Pasadena, CA||Washington State|
|Pac-10 #2||December 30||Holiday Bowl||San Diego, CA||USC|
|Pac-10 #3||December 31||Sun Bowl||El Paso, TX||Oregon State|
|Pac-10 #4||December 26||Insight Bowl||Tempe, AZ||California|
|Pac-10 #5||December 24||Las Vegas Bowl||Las Vegas, NV||UCLA|
|Pac-10 #6||December 30||Silicon Valley Bowl||San Jose, CA||Washington|
|At-Large||December 31||Humanitarian Bowl||Boise, ID|
For those needing to find a link to the Rose Bowl tie-breaker formula, click here. In the event of a tie for any position from second on down, it's left up to the bowl committee to choose which team they want.
Night and Day
One of the linchpins of every scenario which would put Cal in the Rose Bowl is having Oregon State upset USC. At first glance, that doesn't look too promising. With the exception of Cal, USC has steamrollered their other eight opponents this year. With recent collapses by Virginia Tech and Miami, it would appear that the Trojans can now tiptoe their way towards a national championship with matchup with Oklahoma. USC's remaining matchups are against Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State. The Wildcats don't figure to pose too much of a challenge, and the Bruins appear ready to put their tray tables up and return their seats to the upright position as they begin their descent to the middle of the conference standings. Which leaves Oregon State as USC's last stumbling block enroute to New Orleans - barring something goofy like Miami winning the rest of its games by 50-point margins.
If we take out the game against I-AA Sacramento State, and look at Oregon State QB Derek Anderson's numbers in night and games, there is a very sharp contrast:
Most quarterbacks will have a sharp break depending on the level of competition they play, but it's unusual for a quarterback to have such divergent performances based on whether the game is a day game or a night game. In his three night games, Anderson has thrown three, five, and three interceptions. It looks like Anderson can shelve the Dr. Jeklyll/Mr. Hyde routing as the games coming up against Stanford and Oregon will both be played in the afternoon.
And more importantly: game time on December 6th for USC - Oregon St. -- 1:30 p.m.
What Exactly Are We Measuring Here Anyways?
One statistic that people enjoy talking about is a team's success inside the red zone - or how often a team scores when it's inside the opposition's 20-yard line. There are a couple of problems with this -- first, the red zone really ought to be extended to the 30-yard line. From the 30-yard line, a team would be attempting a 46- or 47-yard field goal, which should be well within range of just about every Division I-A and NFL kicker; and secondly - the statistic as it's quoted does not differentiate between field goals and touchdowns. Consequently, there'll be cases like Washington State which for much of the season had a terrific red zone scoring percentage - yet kicked an inordinate amount of field goals compared to every one else. If we say that for every possession inside the 20-yard line that a team can score a maximum of seven points, and can emerge with either seven (touchdown + point after), three (a field goal), or nothing, and revised the Pac-10 charts, this is what we'd come up with.
|Revised Stats||Official Pac-10 Stats|
|Pts. Scored||Max Pts.||Max Pts.%||Rank||Red Zone%||Rank|
|Notes: There isn't much difference for the top seven teams. The biggest differences take place for the bottom three teams. Arizona's revised percentage doesn't change much - when a team's being beaten one-sidedly, it doesn't make sense for them to roll out the field goal unit when they're inside the opponent's 20-yard line and down by 40 points...Most teams drop about 10 to 12 percentage points from the official red zone numbers to the revised numbers; UCLA drops nearly 14 points and Washington State drops 17 points which would mean they tend to kick more field goals inside the red zone than other teams....A couple of things that this doesn't take into consideration are the number of times that the red zone is avoided because of a long touchdown plays and the frequency with which a team is in the red zone. For example, Washington has the same revised red zone percentage as Arizona - based on twice as many opportunities and twice as many points. No one would dare equate the Washington offense and the Arizona offense in any way, shape, or form.|
|Revised Stats||Official Pac-10 Stats|
|Pts. Scored||Max Pt.||Max Pts.%||Rank||Red Zone%||Rank|
|Notes: Cal's two strong offensive efforts the past two weeks are a big reason why Arizona and Arizona state are at the bottom of the chart. Surprisingly, Stanford is second in red zone efficiency despite playing having already played the teams that ranked #2 and #3 in the conference in revised red zone percentage...Most teams have differences in the eight to 12 percentage point range. UCLA (18 points) and Washington State (17 points) have larger than normal differences which would suggest that they give a higher percentage of touchdowns inside the red zone than the other teams.|
The Terrible Twos
Here's a chart showing how Aaron Rodgers' season compares to other sophomore seasons of recent Cal quarterbacks of note.
California Quarterbacks' Sophomore Seasons
|Troy Taylor||1987 (3-6-2)||278||169||60.8||2081||12||18||136.40|
|AARON RODGERS||2003 (5-5)||217||127||58.5||1614||3||10||133.45|
|Dave Barr||1992 (4-7)||344||199||57.8||2343||15||19||124.57|
|Rich Campbell||1978 (6-5)||293||164||56.0||2281||19||14||124.17|
|Gale Gilbert||1982 (7-4)||270||147||54.4||1796||12||12||116.10|
|Kyle Boller||2000 (3-8)||349||163||46.7||2121||13||15||104.49|
|Steve Bartkowski||1972 (3-8)||165||70||42.4||944||13||4||82.72|
|Notes: Since Rich Campbell supplanted Gary Graumann as quarterback in 1978, Cal's had a good history of quarterbacks who've played extensively in their sophomore year and had fairly productive years. Prior to Campbell, Cal's last sophomore quarterback who played a lot was Steve Bartkowski. During that time, it was unusual for any team to throw the ball much more than 20 to 25 times a game. When Bartkowski threw for 2580 yards in 1974, he became only the second Cal quarterback ever to throw for more than 2000 yards. Since then, Cal quarterbacks have thrown for more than 2000 yards on 18 occasions. Rodgers is narrowly behind Troy Taylor on the list in terms of QB rating, just has to average 129 yards a game in his last three games (or 97 yards a game in the last four, for the half-full people) to pass 200 yards for the season.|
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