Gamecock Fans Should Be Pleased With Today’s Loss

November 28, 2015

Clemson 37 @ South Carolina 32

Gamecock fans and alumni should actually be pleased by this result.  Of course the Gamecock faithful would have loved to have the bragging rights of being the only team in the regular season to have knocked off Clemson, and to have been the team that (possibly) prevented the Tigers from a College Football Playoff birth.

But, let’s be honest here:  The Gamecocks had arguably the worst season they have had since Lou Holtz’s first season as the Gamecock’s coach in 1999 in which they went winless at 0-11.  Carolina’s only wins in 2015 were in the opening week against UNC in which the team that had the most players without leg cramps at the end would win (also, no one knew at that time that UNC would actually be a pretty good team), against Central Florida (winless at 0-12), and against a hapless 4-7 Vanderbilt team.

Clemson will go on to the ACC Championship Game, and then to the College Football Playoffs.  Carolina will start looking for a new coach.  If Carolina would have pulled out a victory today, the powers that be would spend the next two months relishing the victory against their cross-state rival instead of focusing on finding the best coach they can get.  Wins in rivalry games by bad teams cloud the issues that made them a bad team in the first place.  If an assistant led the Gamecocks to a victory, the players might rally and demand that assistant be given the head job based on one game.  You may laugh, but it happened to West Virginia after Rich Rodriguez left after the 2007 season, and Bill Stewart led the team to a 48-28 Fiesta Bowl win versus #3 Oklahoma.

Clemson fans, congratulations.  Gamecock fans, get ready for an actual search for Ballcoach’s successor.  There certainly will be plenty of fine candidates.


Missed 4th Downs Should Count As Turnovers

November 22, 2015

Statistics have evolved greatly over the century-plus of college and professional football. The professional and college games have added in new statistical categories to measure player and team performance over time as they have been needed to adapt to changes in the game.

Some examples are that the Passer Rating/Quarterback Rating was introduced in 1973 as a more accurate way of measuring a quarterback’s performance against that of their peers’. As is obvious now, yards, attempts, completions, touchdowns, and interceptions are not enough to determine which quarterback had the best game or season, so a stat was made to incorporate all of those attributes. The individual player tally for sacks were not kept as an official NFL statistic until 1982. It was once stated that Deacon Jones once had seventeen sacks in one game. Of course, we don’t know this for sure, but it would be interesting if this could be tallied retroactively.

One number that should be added to the basic “Team Stats” sheet should be “Missed/Unconverted 4th Down Attempts”. Last week, I was watching the Buffalo Bills play the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Thursday Night Football. The Bills defense forced four turnovers in the game, and also stopped the Jets twice on fourth down in the fourth quarter. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the same as collecting six turnovers. A missed fourth-down conversion is every bit as damaging to a team’s chances of winning as a turnover, especially if it’s in the red zone.  Those two 4th down stops were pivotal to Buffalo’s 22-17 victory on Thursday Night Football.

As far as I’m concerned, a missed 4th down conversion is representative of the offense involuntarily giving up possession to the opponent – just like a turnover. A punt is voluntary, a missed conversion is not. Adding missed conversions in as a main stat would give the reader/viewer a much better indication of the story and course of a game.

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