Friday, October 26, 2012

A Rebuttal to Rick Reilly: Luck or RG3

If you haven't had a chance to read Rick Reilly's article about Andrew Luck being better than RG3 this year, then consider yourself lucky.  Because rather than giving sound evidence and explaining his point, he gives you misleading statistics and tries to be the funny guy.  I'm still not even sure how this guy got a job with ESPN--he should be writing for the Bristol gossip column.  But enough about him, let's focus on why RG3 is, without a doubt, having the better season at quarterback.

First, I would like to preface with the fact that both of these players are great.  Not just good, but they are both playing at an extremely high level for rookies, and they both have incredibly bright careers.  But I've been in love with Robert Griffin III since I wrote about him December 8, 2011.  And so far this year, everything has come true.  So this article is meant to take nothing away from Andrew Luck--it is meant to take everything away from Rick Reilly, while anointing RG3 even more than he has been already.

Reilly's first point, "Luck runs more successfully than Griffin.  He's had 10 scrambles for first downs.  Griffin has had 9."  Stop the presses.  10-to-9!  Reilly, you son of a bitch.  You win this round.

Oh wait, no you don't.  while a 10-9 victory in "runs for first downs" is surely a reason to say Luck's better than RG3, I think looking at a complete scope of rushing statistics would be a bit more effective.  Considering RG3 averages 7.3 yards/carry, compared to Luck's 5.8, says a bit more than your 10-9 statistic.  And he's doing all of this while teams are specifically game-planning to take away his running ability.  And, since it seems like you didn't see it, here's Griffin vs. the Vikings.  Luck is a good runner in his own right, but to even make the case that he's a better running quarterback is asinine.  Griffin is 13th in the league in rushing, while Luck fails to crack the top 40.

Reilly's next point, "Luck is asked to do more than Griffin and is doing it.  His average pass completion travels 8.6 yards in the air, highest in the NFL.  Griffin's is 5.8, one of the lowest." This sounds like a statement from a guy who's never watched a game of football in his life, not an "esteemed ESPN columnist."  Many uneducated football fans use this "yards in the air" stat for quarterbacks, and it's a terrible statistic.

Reilly says, "Sixty-nine percent of the Colt's passing yards are gained while the ball is in the air, the rest after the catch.  Only 49% of the Skin's passing yards come through the air.  In other words, Griffin still has his training wheels on.  Luck has his license."

Merrill Hoge (and I don't like citing him on football knowledge because he's not very knowledgable, but he was very astute in his breakdown of Luck and RG3), while analyzing Luck vs. Griffin before the draft, showed tape where, time after time, RG3 would throw a football and lead his receiver to open space.  His Luck-counterpoint was tape where, time after time, Luck would make the receiver go down to catch the football or throw behind the receiver, limiting yards after the catch.  This analysis has been the most accurate of any in comparing Luck and RG3 in their rookie years, and it holds true in Reilly's cited statistics.  Yes, Luck may be completing 8.6 "air-yards" for every completion, but RG3 is completing 70.4% of his passes, compared to just 53.6% for Luck.  And he's done it all without his #1 receiver, Pierre Garcon.  It's not like he's got a future Hall of Famer to throw to like Luck does in Reggie Wayne.  Also, while QB rating can be a misleading statistic, RG3 is 3rd in the league in QB rating, while Andrew Luck is 31st.  That sort of discrepancy is never misleading.

Then, Reilly goes on to say that "Katy Perry in heels" could complete 60% of her passes in the Redskins offense, another reason why he should apply for a job with the National Enquirer.  Tom Brady always used to get blamed for throwing short passes, too, but why wouldn't you?  There's less risk involved, you still get the ball in the hands of your playmakers, and it's clearly effective in today's NFL.

He also says that Luck has been more heroic.  More heroic?  I'm not even sure what that means, to be honest.  But I think what RG3 did against the Giants was the definition of "heroic."

All of the points Reilly makes are points that my sister, who hasn't watched a football game in 10 years (she's too busy doing yoga and not eating anything with a face), would make.  He might as well have started the article with, "The Indianapolis Colts have prettier colors!"  At least I wouldn't have wasted my time reading it.

Do us all a favor, Reilly, and stop writing articles.  To quote Coach Riley from the Mighty Ducks, "You're not even a has-been, you're a never-was."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Angry Rant: College Football Conference Realignment is the Worst!

by John Huffstetler

Much to the detriment and confusion of fans, the major conference power struggle in recent years has completely shuffled the structure of college football. Not only are some teams way outside of their geographic regions (see West Virginia in the Big 12), but the divisions established within these new conferences usually make no sense at all. Why can't each team be in their own geographic region and in  divisions that actually make sense? Would it be too difficult for the ACC and Big Ten to organize their teams into two divisions that people can actually remember? Why is Missouri in the SEC East even though they're located further west than 5 SEC West teams? The rest of this rant will break down the annoying nuances of conference realignment conference by conference and fix College Football's terrible newly established divisions.

Big 12

First of all, you have 10 teams now. It reminds me of my brother claiming he's 5'8" when he's clearly 5'6" at best. They were down to 8 before adding TCU and West Virginia. TCU makes perfect sense. They're a school from Texas with the potential to be a perennial top 25 team nationally. They fit in already as natural rivals with Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. West Virginia, however, is ridiculous! There were multiple teams that made more sense than WVA that the Big 12 could have invited to join the conference.

First of all, West Virginia is a terrible state and has an overrated football team. Making teams in your conference travel to West Virginia once every two years is basically a prison sentence. Nobody wants to go to West Virginia. Not even West Virginians. Secondly, they are located NOWHERE NEAR EVERY OTHER TEAM! Would Houston have been that terrible to get instead? Their football program is strong and they're located in Texas where 4 other Big 12 teams reside. How about Boise St.? They obviously would have turned down the Big East and joined the Big 12 instead. I could go on, but the point remains that there were many viable options that were more geographically suitable for the Big 12 that don't involve the worst state in the US. Here's what the Big 12 should look like (let's actually give them 12 teams too):

My Big 12

Oklahoma St.
Kansas St.
Iowa St.
West Virginia
Boise St.

Texas Tech

Wow, great job ACC. These make perfect sense.

With the ACC, at least the teams in the league make sense, but the divisions are total nonsense. I'll pay anyone $100 if they can name every team in each division. You might remember that Clemson and Florida St. are on the same half and that Miami and Virginia Tech are on the other half, but you'll probably have to double-check on where the dogshit teams like Duke, Virginia, and Wake Forest fall. Plus, the division names are infuriating! Atlantic and Coastal. That's almost as pathetically lame as Legends and Leaders (see the Big Ten). Why couldn't the ACC just structure the divisions based on geography? Oh, now I remember. They originally wanted Florida St. and Miami to be on opposite sides of the conference so they could play in the conference title game. Only problem is that they've both been mediocre for the last decade. Here are the conference championship game results over the 7 years the game has existed with Florida St.'s and Miami's appearances in bold:

2005- Florida St. over Virginia Tech
2006- Wake Forest over Georgia Tech
2007- Virginia Tech over Boston College
2008- Virginia Tech over Boston College
2009- Georgia Tech over Clemson
2010- Virginia Tech over Florida St.
2011- Clemson over Virginia Tech

Notice the lack of bold. Florida St. has been to the title game twice and Miami ZERO Times. You CAN'T organize a conference based on the possibility of two teams meeting in the title game. That is a short-sighted approach. The ACC should have been geographically organized, and this lack of geographic organization has completely crippled their conference's rivalries, and undoubtedly stifled them in recruiting. Now, Pitt and Syracuse will be joining this mess and the proposed North and South divisions STILL have Miami and Florida St. in opposite divisions! Did they learn nothing from this current alignment? Here is the way the divisions should look right now:



Boston College
Virginia Tech


Wake Forest
NC St.
Georgia Tech
Miami Fl.
Florida St.

So much simpler! Split up the North Carolina teams and put the Northern teams together and the Southern teams together. So what if one half looks stronger. Just divide it up logically.

Big Ten

Hey guys, my team is in the "Rainbow Fairy Division"
Two words: Leaders and Legends. These are the names of the divisions? Why? First of all, there are exactly zero "Legends" from Minnesota, and the "Leaders" at Penn St. and Ohio St. have proven to be complete scumbags. Plus, the division names are so cheesy. As a Michigan fan, it's hard to say we're in the "Legends" division without sounding like a gigantic pussy. Just like the ACC, the divisions make no sense based on geography or rivalries either. Also like the ACC with Florida St. and Miami (and we've seen how that has turned out), the Big Ten wanted to put Ohio St. and Michigan on opposite sides of the conference so they could potentially play in the title game. This throws everything else in the conference out of whack. It's not as big of a mess as the ACC, but the divisions could still improve. Swapping Wisconsin and Illinois for Michigan and Michigan St. would essentially solve the problem and create "East" and "West" divisions. This would give the added bonus of not feeling ashamed to say what division your fucking team is in! Oh and by the way, I'm changing the conference name from the Big 10 to the Big North.

My Big North

East (How awesome does this division look to watch by the way)
Penn St.
Ohio St.
Michigan St.



This line looks a little crooked
I'm going to keep this one short: Your conference was already fantastic. Why are you adding Big 12 trash and throwing off your perfect East/West balance? Missouri in the East? Gross. Plus, if you put Missouri in the West, the only sensible geographic move would be to split up the Alabama and Auburn rivalry, which is unacceptable. My solution is to go back in time and tell Missouri and Texas A+M to fuck off and stay in the Big 12. Why mess with perfection.

No Complaints Pac-12

Every other conference botched it in some way except the Pac-12. They added two teams: Colorado and Utah. Although both teams aren't particularly good, they at least make sense geographically. There is a clear North/South dividing line. They didn't try to put two teams on opposite sides so they can play in a title game once every 5 years if they're lucky. They just divided the teams up geographically and moved on. If only every other conference would have done the same. We wouldn't have to deal with teams in ridiculous conferences with terribly named divisions.

Is this nightmare salvageable? Probably not. Unfortunately, the perception of monetary gain drives the conference expansion and division of teams rather than logic and order. Next year, Boise St. will be in the Big East and West Virginia will remain in the Big 12. There is something just so wrong with that. It just feels dirty. And why hasn't the ACC learned that rigging divisions so Miami and Florida St. play in the title game didn't work? They're about to make the same mistake again with their proposed divisional alignment for next year. It might be over a decade before Miami and Florida St. happen to meet in the title game. That's not worth bastardizing your conference's divisional alignment. Learn from your mistakes and set the new divisions up correctly.

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