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January 4, 2010

Spurrier's Nightmare Continues

The autopsy from South Carolina's season funeral bowl game is in. The cause of death is lack of effort. In fairness to the Gamecocks, just about any SEC team would've been a high risk candidate to sleep walk through a bowl game at Legion Field in front of 30,000 fans against a Big East also-ran.

However, the depth of ineptitude really is staggering from the game. Consider:
  • 10 Play 5 Yard Drive - How exactly do you manage to work so cover such little real estate.
  • 4th and Dumb - Spurrier turned the ball over on downs after going for it on 4th and 1 from his own 32 yard line. Your offensive line is a mess without a position coach, and you go for it on your own 32? UConn got an easy FG after that.
  • Hot Potato - The Gamecocks couldn't catch...anything (~10 dropped passes, dropped INTs and dropped snaps for field goal opportunities).
The reviews from the lack luster affair have sort of poured in since Saturday's game. It's a fun read if you're into that the Schadenfreude scene. And I am.PWD


RedCrake said...

Give them a month or so to grieve.

By February they'll be back to making proclamations that the Gamecocks will win the SEC East. They always bounce back to be the Carolina fans we know and love.

Tommy said...

It's SC's nightmare, not Spurrier's. He got paid $50K for that pants-crapping. Talk about a Jimmy Sexton special.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Yeah, in the immediate wake of Urban Meyer's pseudo-retirement I heard a few people posit that South Carolina, with arguably the fewest personnel/coaching question marks heading into 2010, could be next year's SEC East frontrunner. The counterpoint to that, of course, was simple: They're South Carolina (Exhibit A being the p***-poor performance in B'ham).

I listened to the second half of that game on the Gamecocks' radio network as I was driving home through South Carolina on Saturday, and even the radio announcers sometimes sounded a little incredulous. The color guy went so far as to get a couple digs in at the team's lack of effort, particularly the receiving corps ("I know the ball's cold, but jeez . . . "). I'd seriously entertain the idea of kicking SC out of the conference after a showing like that -- can we trade them for Clemson? Or hell, how much could Duke be? The SEC's graduation rates would shoot up, if nothing else . . .

RUSS GATA said...

Lobby the SEC today. Chickens out of the SEC-NOW. East Carolina would be a better choice. They have helped our conference in ZERO ways as an addition.

EmotionalFescue said...

The UGA v SC rivalry is a very underrated rivalry. Its always a well fought battle, played in conditions suitable for Death Marches or insane high school wrestler looking to "make weight", and they're our border cousins. Kick Vandy or UK out to the ACC and bring in Clempson.

PWD - This site is so Blackberry friendly now I might just cry tears of joy. I love it.

Tommy said...

I agree with EF. Boot Vandy. When they shuttered their athletic department, that was a middle finger to the rest of the conference. They are the SEC's version of the LA Clippers -- a bad program that only wants a piece of the pie, but makes no commitment to making the pie bigger. Screw them and their BMWs.

SC's trying. They're just dealing with the terminal stupidity of their players, many of whom are products of the worst public schools imaginable.

Andy said...

And all that "yada, yada" about rooting for the SEC in bowl games - damn straight we were rooting for Connecticut. I loved it!

PTC DAWG said...

Good Job UCONN..

I pull for UGA, not the SEC.

Unknown said...

Interestingly, mathematical analyses by David Romer (famous economist) at UC Berkeley calculated that it is slight favorable to go for it on fourth and 3 from your own 10, so 4th and 1 from your own 32 is a no brainer. Even with a poor offensive line, Spurrier made the right call.

No coaches follow Romer's advice, of course, because they would be fired. You look crazy at best, and idiotic at worst because of 'popular opinion'.

NRBQ said...


I think he meant your chances of getting the yardage are slightly in your favor, Dan.

The times you don't, and invite the other team to ram the ball down your friggin' throat, with the goal line right behind you, are not "favorable," and would probably (get it?) result in statistical studies of whether you'd ever get another coaching gig.

Unknown said...

Here's the paper, that particular statistic is on page 2:

I know it sounds unbelievable, but 'favorable' in this case indeed means "maximizes chances of winning". And that's the metric that matters, right?

HiAltDawg said...

Actually, some madman in arkansas did it and won a title.

Unknown said...

Jones is leaving early, Curran may forgo his sr year too

Unknown said...

I've seen the Berkeley paper before. It leaves a lot to be desired. There aren't enough cases of going for it on 4th down to properly analyze the situation. The Berkeley paper recognizes this but plods along anyway with the asinine notion that analyzing 3rd downs will tell you how 4th downs would have gone. What makes this especially stupid is that they look at the 3rd down successes and failures in relation to field position. Excuse me?

So imagine you're a D coordinator that has a team pegged at 3rd and 5 on their own 20. If they miss the 3rd down, they're likely to punt and you get OK field position. If they get it, you still have roughly 75 yards of field before they get a touchdown. Basically, you have options. You can be as high stakes as you want to be. You send 8 and they make it? Not a big deal. There's still plenty of room to play with.

Would you have the same attitude if they were going for 4th and 5 from their own 20? Somehow I doubt it. A stop then and there almost guarantees you 3 points. You'd be a lot more conservative and it would be a far more intense moment for your players with that much on the line. The game plan and therefore the outcome will be noticeably different.

So instead of doing the honest thing and just admitting they can't do the research they want because the data doesn't exist, they acknowledge the data doesn't exist and carry on anyway with a data model based on incredibly false presumptions.

Hunkering Hank said...

What can I say, there's lies, damn lies, and then there's statistics.

Unknown said...

@Hunkering Hank
True enough, but this was not an effort to 'prove' anything. It was an effort to model the situation as accurately as possible.

They make no bones about having to make do with 3rd down data. You rightly point out that 4th down is a different beast, but I'm surprised that you think it is so radically different. The advantages on fourth and short that coaches are not taking advantage of are not negligible and I would be surprised if they are negated just because it's a 'tense moment' for the players. After all, it's pretty tense for the defense as well.

We all know how important turnovers all, and making it on 4th and short is as good as a turnover, right? I'm not sure this is fully appreciated.

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