Sunday, May 31, 2009

Best Coach in the ACC? Well That Depends

Who is the best football coach in the ACC? A few weeks back, I did a ranking of SEC Coaches based purely on statistics like record, championships, and recruiting; so now it's the ACC's turn.

One of my biggest complaints (and readers too) was not taking a coaches recent record (last four seasons) more into account - it counted the same as everything else. Another one was comparing recruiting rankings to actual record to see who is developing their talent the best.

Long story short, I looked at three different ways for ranking the ACC coaches using the above methods. Results were mixed to say the least.


Using record, championships, recruiting rankings, and recent record all with even weight, Florida State's Bobby Bowden came out on top greatly helped by his overall record and ACC Championships. Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer finished second and Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech third.

Putting a much heavier emphasis on recent record (50% of value), Beamer comes out on top, Bowden slips to second, and Johnson comes in third again.

Simply looking at your recent recruiting rankings (last four classes) versus your recent record, Wake Forest's Jim Grobe dominates the rankings. Grobe's classes are ranked last in this coaching set (see note below), even ranking behind Duke, but the Deacons coach has the third best record over the last four seasons.

So you can take which ever ranking you feel is most appropriate and form your own opinion. I thought all three were pretty good so I just combined all three into one ranking (mostly).

Vote in the poll for who you think is the best coach in the ACC.

1. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Beamer's 79 percent ACC winning percentage ranks second only to Bowden's. Beamer also has three ACC Championships. Where Beamer surpasses everyone is with a 78 percent winning percentage over the last four seasons doing it with recruiting classes ranked lower than FSU's.



2. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
Only one year in the ACC, but it was a pretty good one at 9-4. Johnson also has won two national titles in his coaching history and fared very well recently with a 69 percent wining percentage over his last four seasons coaching.

3. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
My first break from the statistics here with Grobe actually finishing behind Bowden accoring to the stats. But if you look at what Grobe has done with the recruiting classes he has brought in, it is astonishing. Grobe ranks last in the recruiting rankings over the last four years, but has the third best record during that time span - and an ACC title to boot. Also, Grobe has three in a row over Bowden and FSU.

4. Bobby Bowden, Florida State
Despite recent troubles, Bowden deserves to be near the top of the list because of his outstanding accomplishments in the ACC - 12 ACC titles and 2 national titles. And "recent troubles" is relative because he can still coach and recruit a little with a recent record that ranks fourth in this set.

5. Tom O'Brien, NC State
The Navy graduate jumped ship from Boston College to NC State two years ago and is rebuilding the Pack into an ACC contender. O'Brien scores middle of the pack in most everything, but has done fairly well record wise compared to his recruiting rankings at Boston College and NC State.

6. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland
The Maryland coach ranks middle of the pack across most everything as well. Ralph has something that only three other coaches in this league have - an ACC title.

7. Butch Davis, North Carolina
Many will say Butch Davis built the 2001 National Championship team at Miami and you would be right. But sadly Butch left for the Cleveland Browns before that season. The more you count in the Miami years, the higher Davis ranks, but he has yet to break out in Chapel Hill. Could this be the year?


8. Al Groh, Virginia
Probably the coach with the biggest hot seat in the ACC. When all categories are ranked evenly, Groh is near the bottom. But record wise he has done better than average when compared to his recruiting classes.

9. Randy Shannon, Miami
If Groh is number one on the hot seat, then Shannon is number two. The former Miami LB has brought in some stellar recruiting classes thus far, but that talent has yet to perform to that high level on the field.

10. David Cutcliffe, Duke
The second year Duke coach had a better season than most have had in Durham, but it still fell to the bottom in the ACC. A bright spot is Duke's improved recruiting in the last few years and Cutcliffe's successful run at Ole Miss.

Note: Dabo Swinney of Clemson and BC's Frank Spaziani are not ranked because they have not coached a full season yet.

Vote in the poll for who you think is the best coach in the ACC.

You can check out all the data here.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

NCAA Baseball Regionals Updates:ACC and SEC Looking Strong

The NCAA has a great site to track how all the Regionals are going. You can check out the entire bracket, in progress games, and results by conference.

The ACC went undefeated on Day 1, including Virginia's 5-1 win over San Diego State and previously unbeaten and likely #1 draft choice P Stephen Strasburg.

Only Alabama and Vanderbilt lost in the first game from the SEC. The Tide are currently in trouble with Tennessee Tech in an elimination game; Vandy beat Indiana to stay alive.

FSU (vs) Georgia are in progress for a spot in the Tallahassee Regional Final and Florida and Miami meet tonight after both winning on Friday.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

NCAA Baseball Tournament Regional Previews

The road to the College World Series kicks off today with Regional action at 16 sites around the country.

The College Baseball Blog has done a very informative preview for each of the Regionals.

If you remember our interview with the College Baseball Blog earlier this week, they told us that they thought the Irvine Regional with #1 seed UC-Irvine and ACC Tournament Champion and #2 seed Virginia was the toughest by far.

The Gainesville, Clemson, and Tallahassee Regionals each pit the ACC vs the SEC as the top seeds.

The ACC has four regional hosts - Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State, and Clemson and The College Baseball Blog expects all four to advance. The College Baseball Blog also expects South Carolina and Arkansas to make it to the Super Regionals from their #2 seed spot.

Should be an interesting tournament and I fully expect an ACC or an SEC team to be in the finals.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NCAA Baseball Tournament Preview: Q&A With The College Baseball Blog

The NCAA Baseball Tournament field is set and our friends over at The College Baseball Blog allowed us to do a short question and answer with them to give more insight into the Tournament field and how they see it shaking out.

Q:What jumped out to you first when reading over the bracket?
A:Virginia getting screwed by having to go to UC-Irvine. They will have to face Stephen Strasburg in the first game which is a likely loss. I still think UVA has a chance to get through out there.

Q:Do you agree with the selection committee’s top 8 seeds?
A:The only problem I see is that Oklahoma is a borderline Top 8 seed and I think FSU should have been included.

Q:Eight teams from the SEC made the field, including three regional hosts. Any surprises on the SEC seeds?
A:Not really, I think the NCAA got it right with the SEC teams.

Q:The ACC garnered seven bids. Did Duke not being in the field surprise you? Any other ACC seeding surprises?
A:I think Duke not making the tourney goes back to their horrible non-conference schedule over the past couple of seasons. They have an RPI of 75 this year which is an absolute joke with the amount of high quality teams in the ACC.

As I said earlier, I am a little shocked that FSU didn’t get a national seed and Virginia wasn’t a number 1 seed in a regional.

Q:Teams like Georgia and Georgia Tech have been limping into the Tournament while a team like Virginia was surging at the end. Does recent play have any bearing on how well a team will do in the Tournament?
A:Yes, you rather be going into the tourney on a winning streak but in the long run, It is a new season now.

Q:What Regional do you think is the toughest?
A:I think that Irvine Regional is by far the toughest Regional with Irvine as the number 1 team in the nation according to many national polls. Virginia can play with anyone in the country where they play a real solid game of pitching and defense.

San Diego State has the best pitcher in the country in Strasburg and one of the best closer’s in the nation with Addison Reed who has no record with 19 saves and a 0.68 ERA.

Q:What host has the easiest regional?
A:I think Cal-State Fullerton has a pretty easy regional which should be a given being the number 2 overall seed in the tourney. I also like what LSU got with Minnesota, Baylor and Southern. None of those three teams can compete with the Tigers.

Q:What Regional could produce the biggest upset?
A:I think Bethune Cookman has a chance to win the Gainesville Regional with two absolute studs in their rotation.

Q:How many teams from the ACC and SEC do you see making the Super Regionals?
A:I think every team in the ACC and SEC could possibly get through their regional if they pitch well and get timely hits.

ACC Teams:
Georgia Tech
Clemson
North Carolina
Florida State

SEC Teams:
Florida
South Carolina
Ole Miss
Arkansas

Q:If the seeding holds, which Super Regional matchup would you be looking forward to the most?
A:I think the Texas and TCU/Texas AM Super Regional matchup will be outstanding.

Q:Do you see North Carolina making it to Omaha for a fourth straight year?
A: think UNC’s path to the CWS is fairly easy and I would expect them to make the CWS Championship series.

Q:Who is your favorite to win the College World Series?
A:LSU is my favorite and UNC is the other team that could give them a run for the title.


The College Baseball Blog is ramping up their coverage for the Tournament so be sure to check them out.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Notre Dame Minimizes The Truth

Notre Dame has been conveniently leaving out Charlie Weis' losing seasons out of their media guides.

Evidently they have been doing this since Weis was hired in 2005.
The decision to omit those records goes back to when Weis was hired in 2005 without any prior head coaching experience. Notre Dame’s media relations department said Monday that it treated his coaching history like that of an assistant – only accentuating the positive.

“That’s the way we did it at the time and that’s what we’ve lived with, for the most part,” said Notre Dame senior associate athletics director for media relations John Heisler said. “If you go back, it didn’t necessarily look the same as Bob’s or Tyrone’s or anybody’s. We weren’t trying to make it look identical.”

Notre Dame University (sic) may not have to worry about leaving out Charlie's record this year considering their relatively easy schedule that includes both Washington schools. But somehow, I don't think Charlie gets more than 8 regular season wins.

And if that wasn't bad enough...Notre Dame is in discussions with Yankee Stadium to play a game.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

College Baseball Regional Projections and Tournament Links

The ACC and SEC Baseball Tournaments are under way in Durham, NC and Hoover, AL. Both conferences take just the top eight for their tournaments.

The ACC uses a pod system, round-robin format with the two pod winners playing for the championship. The SEC uses seeding and double elimination for their winner.

UPDATED 5/21: The College Baseball Blog has updated projections here. LSU remains their top overall seed, unchanged from last week. Arkansas moves from a regional host to a #2 seed, same with Virginia. Ga Tech moves down from a top 8 seed to just a regional host.

They have Vanderbilt as one of their last five teams in and they added the Duke Blue Devils into the field. The ACC and the SEC get 8 teams in each if these projections hold.

Rivals.com has updated projections today.

SEBaseball.com has projections as of May 18.

You can follow the ACC Tournament at the ACC site here. So far on Day 1, Miami beat Georgia Tech, North Carolina defeated Duke and FSU beat BC.

The SEC site is here. Three upsets on Day 1 as Arkansas beat Florida, Vanderbilt beats LSU, and the slumping Georgia Bulldogs got back on track with a win over Ole Miss.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

SEC Coaches Rankings: A Statistical Look

Everyone has a coaches ranking so I figure why not have one myself? But I thought it would be good to look at statistics only to rank the coaches instead of the typical ranking off the top of your head model.

To rank the SEC coaches, I used four major criteria: record, championships, recruiting, and "what have you done for me lately". With this criteria, I could not include recent hires Lane Kiffin, Gene Chizik, and Dan Mullen since they do not have any SEC head coaching stats to pull from.

The coaches were ranked against each other in these categories and a total point value was assigned. If you want more detail on the computations, read below and click on the link to the spreadsheet.

Vote in the poll on the right hand side your top SEC coach.

1. Urban Meyer - Florida - 32.17 points out of 36
Meyer scores high in all categories, but really separates himself in the records and championships areas. In terms of his record, the Florida coach was only out done by former head Gator Steve Spurrier in SEC games.


2. Nick Saban - Alabama - 27.33
Saban's best category was recruiting where he has been ranked #1 in the SEC the last two years. His downfall from not landing the top spot was his record where he had several 5-3 SEC seasons at LSU and a 7-6 season at Alabama.


3. Les Miles - LSU - 27.17
Miles finished just behind Saban owing mostly to his one SEC Championship compared to Saban's two. But across the board, the LSU coach earns high marks finishing second in record, recruiting, and recent success.

4. Mark Richt - Georgia - 22.83
Mark Richt started out hot in Athens, but has cooled recently. His record over the last four years and lack of national championship bumps him down the list. Despite his top notch recruiting class, they come in only fourth in the conference over the last four years.

5. Steve Spurrier - South Carolina - 21.83
Spurrier actually matched Meyer in championship points due to his six SEC Championships while at Florida. The Ol' Ball Coach has lost traction with his mediocre record in Columbia. Surprisingly, Spurrier ranked higher in recruiting than he has in his recent record.


6. Bobby Petrino - Arkansas - 13.67
The first surprise on the list was Bobby Petrino at number six. Petrino is bumped up by his overall record and relative recruiting strength in just two years at Arkansas. The Arkansas' overall winning percentage of 74 percent ranks third currently, ahead of Saban and Miles.

7. Houston Nutt - Ole Miss - 12.00
Nutt had a very first year in Oxford after an up and down career at Arkansas. The Ole Miss coach has never had great recruiting classes and if you take out his last four games in '08, has a very average record with only a 53 percent winning percentage in the SEC.

8. Rich Brooks - Kentucky - 7.33
Brooks has a very paltry 0.27 SEC winning percentage. His recent record has been good, but is still only good for eighth place out of the nine coaches. The Kentucky head man has the worst overall record of the nine coaches ranked.

9. Bobby Johnson - Vanderbilt - 4.33
Johnson has just one winning season at Vanderbilt and has not been able to raise the Commodores recruiting level much in the pantheon of SEC teams. His only saving grace is 49 % career winning percentage, which ranks eighth, bolstered by his time at Furman.

Not Ranked: Lane Kiffin, Gene Chizik, Dan Mullen

And just for conversation purposes, if I was to include those three...
1. Meyer
2. Saban
3. Miles
4. Richt
5. Spurrier
6. Petrino
7. Kiffin
8. Nutt
9. Brooks
10. Mullen
11. Johnson
12. Chizik

Vote in the poll on the right hand side your top SEC coach.

More detail on the rankings...
For the record portion, I used overall record, current school record, and overall SEC record. Coaches were ranked to their SEC peers with each category receiving equal weight. Same thing for the "championships" category where I used National Championship and SEC Championships and ranked each coach.

The recruiting rankings were devised by using Scout.com and Rivals.com ranking over the last four years in comparison to the rest of the conference. If a team ranked fifth in the SEC on one site and third on another then they would receive an average ranking of four. In regards to coaching changes, I only counted classes where the coach was present on National Signing Day - Houston Nutt's recruiting ranking comes from classes at Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Finally, I ranked the coaches on their college coaching record over the last four seasons; Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino will include time from LSU and Louisville respectively.

A coach could earn a maximum of nine points in each category (since I ranked nine coaches) and a total of 36 points with each category given equal weight.

Click here for statistical detail of how the rankings were computed


Thoughts?

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

ACC vs SEC in 2009: An Early Look

It’s May and not a whole lot is going on right now with Spring Practice over (if there is news this time of year, it is usually bad) so I thought we could take a look ahead to the ACC vs SEC matchups in 2009.

Alabama vs Virginia Tech September 5th Atlanta, GA

Early Lean: Alabama 65.4% Chance of Winning

Why? The Tide returns nearly their entire defense from a unit that ranked top 5 nationally last year. QB Greg McElroy looks like a suitable replacement for the departed John Parker Wilson.

Why Not? Frank Beamer is one of the few coaches that can match Nick Saban in game preparation. Also, the Hokies won’t be underestimating ‘Bama like Clemson may have last year.

South Carolina at NC State September 3rd

Early Lean: NC State 53.3%

Why? The Wolfpack were a much different team at the end of last year than in the beginning when the Gamecocks throttled them. QB Russell Wilson is the difference maker for NC State and he should be healthy for this game.

Why Not? Steve Spurrier is still one of the best game planners when given ample time. It will come down to his team executing well which they have not done as much as expected over the last four years.

Georgia Tech at Mississippi State October 3rd

Early Lean: Georgia Tech 69.8%

Why? The Yellow Jackets return 19 of the 22 starters from the end of last season and will have a full off season to implement more of Paul Johnson’s offense.

Why Not? The Bulldogs defense will have seen a similar offense having practiced against Dan Mullen’s scheme during the spring and pre season. Whether or not they have the talent to stop it is the question.

Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt October 31st

Early Lean: Georgia Tech 68.9%

Why? Georgia Tech is the more talented team and will catch Vandy in the middle of a stretch that includes Georgia, @ South Carolina, and at Florida.

Why Not? Vandy was very good at forcing turnovers last year and fumbles can be a plenty in an option/running offense.

Florida State at Florida November 28

Early Lean: Florida 86.7%

Why? The Gators have dominated FSU as of late, especially in the Swamp. They have a big talent advantage and a coaching edge too.

Why Not? Florida falls victim to the pre season hype, does not live up to expectations, and does not take a better than expected FSU team seriously.

Georgia at Georgia Tech November 28

Early Lean: Georgia Tech 53.7%

Why? Georgia Tech beat Georgia in Athens last year and that was with Matt Stafford having a career day. Willie Martinez is still the Georgia DC too.

Why Not? The Yellow Jackets fall victim to too many pats on the back and cannot handle the favorite role against a very good team. See Chick Fil A Bowl.

Clemson at South Carolina November 28

Early Lean: Clemson 50.1%

Why? Clemson just seems to have South Carolina’s number in this rivalry. Otherwise, the teams have very comparable talent and coaching staffs.

Why Not? South Carolina is due for a victory and they are at home.


What are your thoughts?


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