Tag:Miami Ohio
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:39 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Robinson Coach of the Year finalists announced

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The eight announced finalists for the 2010 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award (as given out by the Football Writers Association of America) didn't offer much in the way of surprise; six of the nominees come from the current top seven teams in the BCS standings and all eight coach for teams in the BCS top ten. They are, from highest-ranked to lowest:

Chip Kelly, Oregon
Gene Chizik, Auburn
Gary Patterson, TCU
Chris Peterson, Boise State
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

A victory over Alabama (and the lack of further allegations against Cam Newton ) would probably make Chizik the front-runner by a nose over Kelly, since his team entered this season with lower expectations and a far worse record in 2009. But Kelly's mastery of his light-speed spread-option offense and dominating season would make him a fine choice, as would any of the finalists. The FWAA can't go wrong.

If there's anything to complain about here, it's that all eight choices follow the "good or great team becomes or stays great" model. But there's something to be said about taking a mediocre or even bad program to (or back to) respectability. Here's three coaches who also deserve some recognition for their work in 2010:

Mario Cristobal, FIU. It's easy to forget just how miserable the Golden Panthers' program was when Cristobal arrived in 2007, with FIIU fresh off an 0-12 season, the infamous Orange Bowl brawl with Miami , and NCAA sanctions. Three seasons later FIU, picked to finish eighth in their conference, will win the Sun Belt and play in their first-ever bowl game if they can hold serve at home against Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State to end the season.

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland . The only reason the Fridge is even still employed by the Terps is because the school couldn't afford his buyout at the end of 2009, and it was no surprise when Friedgen's team was pegged for dead last in the ACC Atlantic this offseason. Instead of tuning out their supposedly lame-duck coach, though, the Terps have surged back to a 7-4 season with a big win vs. rivals Navy and road victories at Virginia and bowl-bound Boston College , putting them in contention for the division title as recently as last week.

Mike Haywood, Miami (Ohio) . It's hard to believe that the 7-4 Redhawks could win the MAC East when you consider how supremely hopeless they were in 2009, when they failed to score a single point until their third game and finished 1-11. In the MAC. But Miami served notice in a valiant season-opening effort against Florida that Haywood had made the absolute most of the offseason, and if they can claim an eighth win they'll have their most victories since 2004.


Posted on: October 21, 2010 3:12 pm
 

Yep, turnover margin is really freaking important

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every college football fan knows that "winning the turnover battle" is a "key to the game" in any matchup that's actually "competitive." But as a season-long cumulative statistic, turnover margin still doesn't get the attention it deserves as the one stat that can singlehandedly make or break a team's year, regardless of what happens with all that silly yardage and special teams and whatnot.

It's true. Look over the national top 20 in turnover margin and you'll see there's almost nothing a positive outcome in the turnover column can't accomplish. Like:

Propel your conference front-runner into pole position for a BCS championship berth. Their performances against Utah State , Air Force , and Cincinnati didn't exactly scream "future national champion," but Oklahoma still topped the first edition of the BCS rankings courtesy of a +9 margin that has them tied with one other team for the third-best margin in the country. The other team in that tie? Only Oregon , the BCS's No. 2 team, despite a performance at Arizona State where they gave up nearly 600 yards.

Put your previous conference also-ran within reach of a championship season. Sorry, preseason prognosticators , but Oklahoma State is not going to narrowly finish ahead of Baylor in the race to avoid the Big 12 South basement. Some of that is Dana Holgorsen 's offensive acumen and the unstoppable Justin Blackmon , but a large part of it is also the Cowboys' +5 margin, tied for 18th in the country. Also tied at +5: surprising Missouri . Even higher up the ranks at +8: surprising Michigan State . You get the picture.

Turn around your previously downtrodden mid-major program. Last year Miami (Ohio) failed to score a single point their first two games and finished 1-11. This year, Mike Haywood 's Redhawks are 4-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 in MAC play, good enough to stand alone atop the conference's East division and position Miami for the country;s most surprising bowl bid. How? +7 in turnover margin, that's how. Also at +7? Hawaii , all but left for dead after June Jones ' 2008 departure and now tied with Boise State for the WAC lead. And Army , No. 1 in all the land in turnover margin at +11, is on pace for their first bowl bid since 1996.

Negative turnover margin, of course, wields the same power in the other direction, helping turn your program into the worst in all Division I (New Mexico, -10, No. 118), arguably the worst in a BCS conference (Kansas , -7, No. 113), or the worst it's been in a decade (BYU , -5, No. 98).

If you're an annual reader of Phil Steele or his numbers-oriented like, none of this will come as a shock. But even for the statistical diehards, the overwhelming strength of the correlation between turnover margin and victory can -- and should -- still make the eyes pop.


 
 
 
 
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