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September 11, 2015 / busmasterjones

2015 Dallas Cowboys Prediction

Coming off a 2014 season that saw the Cowboys outperform everyone’s predictions for them, the Cowboys have high expectations heading into 2015.  However, the Cowboys will win only 10 games in 2015 thanks to a harder schedule, two key injuries on offense, and a battered offensive line.  The Eagles will win the division before getting blown out in the playoffs while the Cowboys fight to fend off the Giants for a wildcard spot.

The Lions edge the Packers to win their division and the 49ers improve quite a bit as does Tampa Bay.

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September 6, 2015 / busmasterjones

Aggie Obserations – 2015 Week 1

Sep 5, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk (3) salutes after returning a punt for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 5, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk (3) salutes after returning a punt for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Obvious

The defense.  Of course this was the game when we found out that the Chavis hire would have immediate results.  We may look back later and laugh that we ever doubted it.  Nine sacks!  But there were other great signs from the Aggies’ season-opening 38-17.

Freshmen matter.  Look at the 2 TDs from Christian Kirk.  Look at Kyler Murray who showed flashes of his incredible football skills in between a few freshman moments of skipping a pass to a WR and throwing a telegraphed pick.  Look at the 6 tackles by Daylon Mack.

Special teams play was outstanding.  With 41.0 yds per punt return including a TD, with 52.8 yds per punt for 6 punts, 1 for 1 on FGs, 5 for 5 n PATs, and several ASU kickoff returns that didn’t make it to the 20 yd line, the special teams were truly in top form.

The Not So Obvious

The offense, despite some sputtering in the middle quarters in particular, produced 31 points.  The three straight runs up the middle starting from first and goal were a mystery, especially with mobile Kyler Murray at the helm at that point in the game, but despite some trying drives early, the Aggies ended the game with a respectable 8 of 18 (44.4%) on 3rd down conversions and they scored on 4 of 5 red zone trips.  Not spectacular, but solid.

Tackling was spot on tonight.  There were many open field tackles that limited potential big plays to pedestrian gains.

Great start to the 2015 season.  Let’s see if form continues to hold once the Ags hit their SEC schedule.

September 4, 2015 / busmasterjones

Fearsome Predictions for the 2015 College Football Season

SEC

LSU beats Auburn, then loses to Alabama.  LSU vies for the SEC West title.

Auburn loses 2 or 3 conference games this season.

Alabama stubs it’s toe mid-season against either Texas A&M on the road or Tennessee at home, but then goes on to win the SEC West.

After a miserable October, Florida finishes strong.

Georgia pulls a Georgia and doesn’t quite measure up to expectations.

This year’s SEC East darling Tennessee, takes two of four October games before a showdown with Missouri to decide the SEC East.

Everyone Else

Michigan upsets a top 25 team but struggles throughout the year, showing promise by the end of the season at key positions like QB.

News flash – Ohio State wins the Big 10.

Oklahoma can’t quite run the gauntlet, but they still tie Baylor for the Big XII title.

TCU stumbles in multiple games and learns that it is tough to run from the front.

December 7, 2014 / busmasterjones

The Case for Baylor…falls short

Let me state my loyalties upfront so there is no confusion.  I am not a fan of the Baylor Bears.  They were decent in the 1979-1980 where they had platooning QBs, but after that they were a punching bag for the Southwest Conference.  When the Big XII was formed, politics — not performance — landed Baylor a spot at the table.  They dragged down the prestige of the conference.  It took a full decade before Baylor could muster 2 conference wins in the Big XII.  Baylor graduated two groups of recruits that only won a single conference game.  They wanted at the big boy table and then they wet themselves.  Repeatedly.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, the TCU program which was left in the cold after sporting a resume very similar to Baylor in the SWC, was left to lick their wounds.  After spirling for a couple of years in the WAC, they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.  What Dennis Franchoine ignited, Gary Patterson poured gasoline on and fanned the flames.  From a non-power conference, TCU built a program block by block, adding one bowl win to the next until they broke through with a Fiesta Bowl appearance and a Rose Bowl victory.

To their credit and after years of choking on their silver spoon, Baylor hired Art Briles and things started to change.  They took full advantage of their weakened conference and started to fill the power void left by teams like Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Missouri jumping ship.  With a Texas program that was tripping over its own feet, Baylor was on the rise.  And good for them.  They had every advantage and they finally put things together while TCU did it much sooner with less in their toolbox.  So when push comes to shove, I’m biased towards TCU as the historical underdog in the fight against TCU.  Mojo favors the Frogs.

Fast forward to this season, which objectively, is all that matters.  The argument for Baylor is that they played the same conference schedule as TCU and in beating TCU, they have settled everything on the field that they should go instead of TCU to the top 4 promised land.  Not a bad argument!  Settle it on the field is what we have yelled for years.  Ah, but wait!  There is a small fly in the ointment of that reasoning.  If we look purely at wins and losses we will see that Baylor is not superior to TCU. In fact, they have the same record.  Hmm.  That means Baylor suffered a loss at some point.  It was to currently unranked West Virginia on the road.  TCU beat West Virginia by the tiny claw of their horned frog feet which means by a last second field goal.  Should we dismiss that game?  Baylor lost by 14 to West Virginia.

What’s an person to do to objectively evaluate the results of these two teams?

Fortunately, I have a method.  I have taken the time to break down the TCU and Baylor games with common opponents into groups.  These weigh a few factors, but in essence each game is placed on the following scale:

  • Win: Route – generally a win of 28 points or more
  • Win: Solid – 14-24 point win
  • Win: Good – 8-13 point win
  • Win: Close – <7 point win
  • Loss:  Close – <7 point loss
  • Loss:  Good – 8-13 point loss
  • Loss:  Solid – 14-24 point loss
  • Loss: Route – a loss by more than 28 points

The edge cases will all be examined to see if they should be upgraded or downgraded.  For example, Baylor lost to West Virginia by 14 points.  By definition that is a Solid Loss, but the score was tied going into the 4th quarter, so I downgraded the loss to a Good Loss which will help the Impression Points as you will see.

In looking at the TCU and Baylor schedules for common opponents you’ll see there are 10 of them which is a large sample size.

Opponent  

@/vs

TCU Score TCU Impression TCU/Baylor BU @/vs Baylor Score Baylor Impression
SMU @ 56-0 Win Route = @ 45-0 Win Route
OU 37-33 Win Close B @ 48-14 Win Route
Baylor/TCU @ 58-61 Loss Close B 61-58 Win Close
OSU 42-19 Win Route T 49-28 Win Solid
TT 82-27 Win Route T @ 48-46 Win Close
WV @ 31-30 Win Close T @ 27-41 Loss Solid*
KSU 41-20 Win Solid T 38-27 Win Good
KU @ 34-30 Win Close B 60-14 Win Route
tu @ 48-10 Win Route T @ 28-7 Win Solid
ISU 55-3 Win Route T @ 49-28 Win Solid

Note a * by Baylor/WV, Although this is technically a Solid Loss by the books, the game was tied heading into the final quarter, so I downgraded the loss to a Good Loss.

I then added a scoring system to this classification method. Each Route win is worth 4 points, a solid win is 3, good is 2, and close is 1. Each loss has the same point totals, but with a negative sign, so a close win is +1 and a close loss is -1.

TCU

W Route 5 x 4 pts = 20
W Solid 1 x 3 pts = 3
W Good 0 x 2 pts = 0
W Close 3 x 1 pts = 3
L Close 1 x -1 pts = -1
TOTAL 25

Baylor

W Route 3 x 4 pts = 12
W Solid 3 x 3 pts = 9
W Good 1 x 2 pts = 2
W Close 2 x 1 pts = 2
L Good 1 x -2 pts = -2
TOTAL 23

By summing the points we find that TCU has 25 Impression Points and Baylor has 23 Impression Points. Comparing game to game, TCU had 6 games with a better impression, Baylor had 3 (OU, TCU, KU), and one was a push (SMU). When you start to pull in other factors, you see that TCU has the edge in things like the ranking of the teams when TCU/Baylor played them. While it was the same team, TCU faced a #4 ranked opponent and won a close game and Baylor faced a #15 ranked OU and routed them. At the time of each game, the relative rankings matter. A #25 TCU playing a #4 OU is expected to lose, but they won by 4 points. Impressive! A #12 Baylor team might be a push or slightly favored over a #15 OU team. While Baylor routes OU (surprise!) they were expected to win.

Let’s take a more pronounced example. OCt 18 #4 Baylor plays unranked WV on the road. It is a tough road game, but you expect a Baylor win. Oops, they lose by 14. Wow! Bad impression. Nov 1 #7 TCU makes the same road trip but they face a surging #20 WV. While TCU is the higher ranked team, a close game is expected. The result holds to that expectation and TCU escapes with the win. That is a +1 for TCU and a -2 for Baylor. When you factor in the relative rankings, you would widen that a bit in favor of TCU.

Fact is that TCU played 5 teams that were ranked going into the game and in 2 cases those teams were ranked higher than TCU. They were 4-1 in those games which is impressive. Baylor faced three ranked teams and none of them were higher ranked than Baylor when they met. Baylor was 3-0, but that was to be expected. They lost to an unranked team whereas TCU lost to a team ranked higher than themselves on the road. A road game is worth three points to the home team. It is like starting the game down 3-0. If you factor that in you have TCU playing Baylor dead even on the road because they lost by 3 points. All of those factors — the entire “body of work” — could override the head-to-head Baylor victory over TCU.

Take all of that one step further. If TCU grades out better than Baylor, what about TCU vs Ohio State. Ohio St ended up with 21 Impression Points with routes over MD, Rutgers, IL, and WI, close wins over Penn St and MN, and a solid loss to Va Tech. Michigan St was a good win and I downgraded 2 other wins (IN and Mich) from solid to good because those games were tied after 3 quarters or were within a TD at that point. That gives OSU 21 Impression points. Factor in the intangibles – OSU played 3 ranked teams and went 3-0 with only one of those being higher ranked than OSU at game time (Mich St). They destroyed Wisconsin, but that was accounted for with he 4 route points. They might get 1-2 bonus points for killing WI and beating higher ranked Mich St, but that would still leave them short of the 25 base Impression points for TCU. Add in that Sagarin in the WIN50% conference rating lists Big 12 as 4th best (behind SEC West, Pac 12 South, and SEC East) and the Big 10 East (OSU’s division) is 6th and Big 10 West is 9th, we see that the TCU road was tougher than the Ohio St road, or at least that is the impression.

All told, I have it as TCU #4, Baylor #5, and Ohio St #6. Because of the recency effect, I could see Ohio St and Baylor swapping places, but TCU should be ahead of both. That would give us a final four of Alabama, Oregon, Florida St, and TCU.

May 14, 2013 / busmasterjones

Scattershooting

Here are a few thoughts from Facebook posts of friends:

∏  I assumed Duck Dynasty was a show about hockey. I just looked it up. I’m not sure I could have been more wrong.

——–

Friend: Just getting in from Les Mis auditions. It’s like Phantom all over again

Me:  I misread the original post and wondered why you were auditioning for the part of the LSU head football coach Les Miles.

——–

May 14, 2013 / busmasterjones

More than Post Election Blues

Written 11/7/2012

Here is my 2 cents – if anyone is still up and reading. 🙂  What I have seen nationally in 2008/2012 mirrors 2000/2004.  Obama is a lightning rod for conservatives the way Bush was for liberals.  Just as the Bush first election was close, tonight was close.

The lesson is we have a country divided with very divergent and deeply held views that is largely either unable or unwilling to engage in a meaninful way to find truly American solutions.  Without a common unifying force or theme, the divide will grow and will be our country’s undoing.  I don’t say that because of tonight’s result; I say it because darkness and light cannot coexist, and I think each “side” views itself as the light.  As such, it seeks to irradicate the darkness.

The push for homosexual marriages and a biblical view of marriage are opposites.  There is not room for compromise.  Abortion and banning abortion.  There is not really a middle ground.  Many of the social issues have been polarizing.  One group sees something as a sin while another group sees it as a beautiful expression of love.  What one group sees as holiness another group sees as intolerance.  There is a biblical Christian world view and there is the world’s view.  They are oil and water.  Once, the United States gathered under a watered down Christian ethic to guide public life.  Now, that is being cast off an intolerant and old-fashioned and the exact opposite of that ethic is being flaunted in public, thumbing it’s nose at “outdated” Christian ideals.

If ever Jesus was the answer it is now.  For a nation that refuses to bow to Christ and instead chooses to flaunt its freedom in a godless existance, the decline will be swift.  No one thumbs their nose at God so brashly and continues to receive His protection and blessings.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a godless future of America.  There are millions of praying people who will be mocked and driven underground.  It is time for the American church to endure some added persecution, so prepare for it.  The assault will only pick up steam now that those who revel in freedom without the relational love towards its giver have held sway.

Woe be the America of my youth.

September 29, 2012 / busmasterjones

College Football Uniform Madness

bout the same time that Oregon put itself on the college football sports map, it was coming out with all sorts of wacky uniforms.  They looked like lots of other teams.  Were we watching…

 

Iowa?  No, that is the Ducks.           Ah, is it Baylor?  Nope, Oregon again.

 

I know this one, it is Rice!  No, it’s the Ducks again.

A different look for every week.  It was a novelty.  Before their play caught up to their flashy outfits, everyone knew that it was just Oregon’s bit to wear odd unis.  It certainly grabbed attention, but it wasn’t all bad.  It gave rise to some pretty interesting looks.  Helmets had never looked better:

 

It wasn’t just the national media that took notice (in a “what is Oregon wearing this weekend” Entertainment Tonight sort of way), recruits starting thinking that the unique looks were pretty slick, although I’m absolutely certain that none of them described their fascination in those terms. If recruits think you are “cool” then you have a potential recruiting advantage, and any advantage is a good advantage in the cutthroat world of recruiting.

Soon, the phenomenon spread.  First with BCS buster teams looking for anyway to generate press.  There was Boise State…

 

And then TCU…

 

It wasn’t enough to have a new uniform; the new look had to have deep meaning.  TCU was traditionally purple and white with no red to be found, but the red on the TCU helmet was for the unique ability for a horned toad to shoot blood from its eyes when threatened.  Of course, that makes perfect sense.  The deep soul-searching meaning just added to the cool factor for Nike, maker of these Pro Combat line of uniforms.  Honor the troops, Virginia Tech and Ohio State (1942 troops in their case):

 

 

Then teams that had good, clean, traditional looks started to shake things up a bit.  Michigan abandoned its classic maize and blue look for Ronald McDonald shoulders and flash card sleeves.  (Stick with your old look, Wolverines.)

 

 

The uniform crazy really got out of hand.  Maryland decided that Batman’s foe TwoFace would be a great role model for their uniforms:

 

 

Not to be outdone, Addidas and Notre Dame teamed up to go from the most classic look in college football and go with a cartoon helmet

 

From this clean golden helmet look to

 

 

 

Not a fan of some of the new uniforms. I felt like I was watching the Electric Company as the Nebraska/Wisconsin game was brought to you by the letters W and N.

 

 

Maryland