Showing posts from July, 2019

To Run or Not to Run: That is the Question on Third Down

From 2015 through 2017, “Run the Ball” guy was vocal around Lincoln. A Husker legend for running the ball returned in 2018 and things are looking up for the ground game moving forward. However, the analytics guys preach the diminishing value of the ground game. The analytics guys also say that passing should be the only option on third down. I wanted to see for myself how much better Scott Frost’s teams were at passing than running the ball on third. The results were surprising.

On 3rd-and-10, the data say that Nebraska should run the ball if it wants to pick up the first down. If you identify as a “run the ball” guy, you can stop reading this article now, quote my last sentence, use the graph below as proof that running is better on third and ten. For those of you who want more information about why the data say this, the shortcomings of the data, and add more steam to the 2019 Adrian Martinez hype train, keep reading.
This is a logistic regression analysis. What this means is that I’m…

An Homage to NCAA Football: Big Ten Pipeline States

Growing up the Fourth of July meant my favorite holiday was less than two weeks away: the release of the next edition of NCAA football. For over ten years of my life, that Tuesday was my favorite day of the year. It usually took me less than 24 hours to lead Nebraska back to a National Championship. July 9, 2013 was the last day I experienced this joy. When fall camp starts, I will plug my Xbox 360 in, look for a new roster file to download, and play a few seasons bringing Nebraska back to contending status. My favorite part of NCAA Football was recruiting. I loved the feel of gaining a new pipeline state and stealing recruits from the local teams. In honor of NCAA Football, I want to take a real life look at the pipeline states for the schools around the Big Ten.

So, how do I define a pipeline state? If a team has over 5% of their 2019 roster from a single state, it’s a pipeline state for that school. I chose 5% as it caused most schools in the Big Ten to have around four pipeline sta…

Where in the World are the Nebraska Cornhuskers?

The last few weeks, I focused on where Nebraska is recruiting its 2020 class across the United States. Now, I want to look at where Nebraska has built its team from in the past. I used data from for this exercise. This means that all walk-ons are included in the dataset showing Nebraska as the top source of players on the roster. To account for changing roster sizes over the last 50 years, I’m focusing on the percent of players from each state for each season.

Which Nebraska coach since 1970 was responsible for the smallest percentage of Nebraska players on its roster? Callahan? Riley? Bo? The answer is actually the 1970 team itself led by Husker legend Bob Devaney. Only 36% of the 85 players on the team were from Nebraska. Devaney relied on his home state of Michigan for talent on this squad. Nearly 12% of the team was from Michigan.
Tom Osborne’s teams were littered with players from Nebraska. From 1979 to 1985, over 3/5 of the roster were in-state players. This trend peak…