Monthly Archives: December 2011

What if bowl stats before 2002 counted


The career stat lists on CougarStats do not include bowl game stats for players prior to 2002, the year that the NCAA started including bowl games in their official stats. For a long time, I’ve wondered how much of a disadvantage this gives the older players. Would it make much of a difference in the top 10 rankings if pre-2002 bowl statistics were included?

For passing and rushing leaders, the bowls make no difference. The top ten is unchanged. For scoring and receiving, the leaders would change.

RECEIVING

Dennis Pitta is BYU’s all-time leader in receptions with 221. 15 of those catches were in bowl games. Matt Bellini is third with 204. If Bellini’s 24 bowl game receptions were included in his career totals, he would take over the top spot with 228.

Official receiving leaders:

1 Pitta, Dennis 221
2 Collie, Austin 215
3 Bellini, Matt 204
4 Hooks, Margin 189
5 Odle, Phil 183
6 Hudson, Gordon 178
7 Mahe, Reno 166
8 Drage, Eric 162
9 Brown, Curtis 157
10 Christensen, Todd 152

Receiving leaders with pre-2002 bowl games included:

1 Bellini, Matt 228
2 Pitta, Dennis 221
3 Collie, Austin 215
4 Drage, Eric 195
5 Hooks, Margin 194
6 Hudson, Gordon 192
7 Odle, Phil 183
8 Mahe, Reno 173
9 Heimuli, Lakei 161
10 Christensen, Todd 160

If the NCAA did not change the rule in 2002 and no bowl game stats were included, Pitta would still be #1, but Bellini would hold the second place spot ahead of Austin Collie.

Receiving leaders with no bowl game stats:

1 Pitta, Dennis 206
2 Bellini, Matt 204
3 Collie, Austin 198
4 Hooks, Margin 189
5 Odle, Phil 183
6 Hudson, Gordon 178
7 Mahe, Reno 166
8 Drage, Eric 162
9 Christensen, Todd 152
10 Bellini, Mark 146

——

RECEIVING YARDS

Austin Collie officially has the most receiving yards in BYU history and if pre-2002 bowl stats were included he would still hold the title. However, Eric Drage has more yards in regular season games.

Official receiving yards leaders:

1 Collie, Austin 3,255
2 Drage, Eric 3,065
3 Pitta, Dennis 2,883
4 Hooks, Margin 2,841
5 Bellini, Matt 2,635
6 Odle, Phil 2,548
7 Hudson, Gordon 2,484
8 Bellini, Mark 2,429
9 Smith, Chris 2,367
10 Kozlowski, Glen 2,223

Receiving yards leaders with pre-2002 bowl games included:

1 Collie, Austin 3,255
2 Drage, Eric 3,227
3 Hooks, Margin 2,953
4 Pitta, Dennis 2,883
5 Bellini, Matt 2,868
6 Hudson, Gordon 2,600
7 Bellini, Mark 2,600
8 Odle, Phil 2,548
9 Smith, Chris 2,463
10 Kozlowski, Glen 2,330

Receiving yards leaders with no bowl game stats:

1 Drage, Eric 3,065
2 Collie, Austin 3,029
3 Hooks, Margin 2,841
4 Pitta, Dennis 2,742
5 Bellini, Matt 2,635
6 Odle, Phil 2,548
7 Hudson, Gordon 2,484
8 Bellini, Mark 2,429
9 Smith, Chris 2,367
10 Kozlowski, Glen 2,223

POINTS SCORED

The biggest loser in this little experiment is Mitch Payne, bless his heart. In the official stats Payne leads Owen Pochman by a single point. If you add Pochman’s bowl stats, he takes over #1 with 341 points. If you take away Mitch’s bowl stats, he gets passed by Pochman and Mitch’s big brother Matt.

Official scoring leaders:

1 Payne, Mitch 334
2 Pochman, Owen 333
3 Payne, Matt 312
4 Staley, Luke 290
5 Unga, Harvey 266
6 Gunther, Kurt 243
7 Willis, Jamal 240
8 Brown, Curtis 218
9 Hamilton, Waymon 192
10 Heimuli, Lakei 192

Scoring leaders with pre-2002 bowl games included:

1 Pochman, Owen 341
2 Payne, Mitch 334
3 Payne, Matt 316
4 Staley, Luke 290
5 Unga, Harvey 266
6 Gunther, Kurt 258
7 Willis, Jamal 252
8 Brown, Curtis 236
9 Hamilton, Waymon 198
10 Heimuli, Lakei 192

Scoring leaders with no bowl game stats:

1 Pochman, Owen 333
2 Payne, Matt 312
3 Payne, Mitch 308
4 Staley, Luke 290
5 Unga, Harvey 254
6 Gunther, Kurt 243
7 Willis, Jamal 240
8 Brown, Curtis 200
9 Hamilton, Waymon 192
10 Heimuli, Lakei 192
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Jake Heaps post-mortem


Now that Jake Heaps has decided to take his talents elsewhere, let’s take a look at the (statistical) legacy he’s leaving at BYU. While they won’t be building him a statue in the Hall of Quarterbacks, he does hold a number of BYU freshman records including:

Passing Yards: 2,316
Passing Attempts: 383
Passing Completions: 219
Passing Touchdowns: 15
Wins: 6
Games Started: 10
Games Played: 13

Passing
Heaps leaves BYU ranked 16th in career passing yards with 3,768, about 500 yards less than Sean Covey. His 2010 season was the 29th most yards in a season.

Rushing
Jake’s -157 is the 8th most yards lost in BYU history. Not necessarily a terrible thing considering the quality of some of the QBs below him — Sarkisian, Detmer, Nielsen, Walsh.

QB Rating
His final passer rating was 114.1, comparable to some other QBs that had limited success at BYU — Bob Jensen, Matt Berry, Bret Engemann.

TDs – Ints
Jake wraps up his BYU career with a +7 TD to Int total. In 2011 he was only at +1

Win-Loss record as a starter
Career: 10-6
2010: 6-4
2011: 4-2

CougarStats wishes all the best for Heaps and hopes he can live up to his potential and turn into a great quarterback wherever he ends up.

So long Jake, we hardly knew ye.

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The Perils of Dink and Dunk Passing


Over the past 10 to 15 years, college football passing attacks have adopted an increasingly dink and dunk flavor where they get an increase in their completion percentage by decreasing their yards per completion. In 2000, the NCAA had an average completion percentage of 54.1% and an average of 12.7 yards per completion, compared to 2011, where the averages are now 60.4% and 12.0.

The problem with this approach, however, is that some teams have taken the dink and dunk to enough of an extreme that their increase in completion is not sufficient to overcome the loss of efficiency resulting from shorter throws. Take a look at the grid below, which shows the winning percentage for a given combination of completion percentage and yards per completion. This is based on over 13,000 games played between 2001 and 2011.

Note the neat little diagonal in the middle of the chart which shows where the threshold is between a winning and losing record. It also shows that even if a team can complete 70%-75% of their passes, if they average less than 10 yards per completion, their odds of winning are still less than 50%.

This season, Jake Heaps has completed 57% of his passes for 10.1 yards per completion. The grid above shows that historically, that results in a winning percentage of 35%. Contrast that to Riley Nelson’s 61% completions for 14.8 yds per completion, which matches up with a winning percentage of 69% in the grid. Nelson is completing a higher percentage of his passes than Heaps and for a significantly larger average gain. This is the single biggest reason why BYU’s offensive output has shot up over the beginning of the season.

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Analysis of BYU’s Defense — Strength of Schedule


BYU is currently 17th in the nation in total defense.  A common response from the fan base is ‘yeah, but their strength of schedule is poor’.  Let’s look at how BYU did at limiting opposing offenses, relative to the other teams.

Opponent Yds Allowed Rank
Ole Miss 214 5
Texas 289 4
Utah 481 12
UCF 399 7
USU 406 4
SJSU 325 4
OSU 365 6
ISU 251 4
TCU 283 1
Idaho 241 3
NMSU 249 1
Hawaii 299 2

On average, BYU has held their opponent to the 4th fewest yards they’ve gained this season. Utah is the big outlier, otherwise BYU has held every other opponent at or below their average except for UCF.

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