I have a couple of thoughts here.
#1 - The defense has been at least somewhat disadvantaged by the offense. Here are the data for net average plays for the defense versus the offense per game for the past several years - 2016 (-6.5), 2017 (+1), 2018 (-4.76), 2019 (-6.1). Negative numbers indicate the defense played that many more snaps. Extrapolation over the season, except for 2017, means that the defense played about 1 more game than the offense. That has to wear on them.
There’s an implication/inference that this is on Trace or something? Trying to isolate him as THE reason for this seems sort of crazy to me. Was he perfect? No. But if you consider his whole body or work, and the results of his starts, he has far more good than bad.
#2 - Somewhere above it says that the defense has a ceiling. I agree with this, and that ceiling is as the best defense in the country. I will write about this soon but suffice to say, Pry’s teams have been very strong and as I said above, a bit of schematic change should help them.
Gotcha. I don’t think anyone would claim that any predictive system claims to be (or could be) perfect. But to say that they fall flat on their faces seems extreme too. As an amateur powerlifter I think that both S&P and WAR have merit to assess and compare teams. The original assertion that the 2013 MSU team was the best over the 2010s is an interesting opinion but personally, I can’t agree. You said that the top teams in the list padded their stats against bad teams.
Let’s compare 2013 MSU to 2013 FSU to see if that’s true. Each team played one FCS team (Youngstown and Bethune).
Out of MSU’s remains 13 games, they played 7 who ended with a winning record and 6 who had losing seasons. The average scores were 29-9 against the losing teams and 26-19 against the winning teams.
FSU played 5 teams with losing records and 8 with winning records. Their average scores were 57-10 against the losing teams and 48-15 against the teams with winning records.
So, in my opinion, based on these performances (and all of the things that encompass S&P and WAR), it would indicate that FSU was probably better than MSU.
Thanks for the comment. I GREATLY appreciate the feedback and respect your opinion. I am curious though what you mean by the “quantitative aspects of football”? By definition, all of the things that I and S&P calculate are quantitative since they’re based on stats and outcomes that are, ya know, quantified. I would be happy to consider inclusion of other metrics though.
S&P+ has them at 421 and WAR has them at 485. So, not up to current PSU standard but still better than average. That 2014 defense was pretty damn good...
And yeah, will likely do something on PSU only so we’ll save the rest for that.
Want to take a guess as to where that team would be ranked? Remember, it’s out of 1,263. To note, in neither S&P+ or WAR are they the worst PSU team of the last decade.
Hey thanks for the good words! I’ll write these for as long as the blog will have me! Whether or not BOB is “Penn State’s most important coach” is debatable depending on your definition of “important”. I do believe that he is probably a bit forgotten because of the success that CJF has had and without the steadiness of BOB we could be a disaster right now.