PFB - Reader Thoughts: Strong Advanced Stats, and is Gundy Getting Complacent?

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Feb 17, 2018
We had some good emails and reader thoughts this week. So many in fact that we had to split them into two posts (such is life in a two-loss world).

Has Gundy gotten complacent with his auto-renewing contract? I hear it a lot from other fans that aren’t happy right now and, honestly, think the idea might have some merit. We’re all at least partially (significantly?) motivated by keeping a job. If you know you’re never in jeopardy, do you lose your edge? -Aaron G.

I don’t think it’s necessarily the actual contract that’s making him complacent or that he even is complacent at all. I think he’s simply graduated on to this CEO role (I think this is a good thing, by the way) and that he values quality of life and work-life balance in a way that maybe doesn’t encourage that extra recruiting call or those extra two hours at the office (from him or his coaches). This might not be reality, but it’s certainly my perception.

As a human being, I appreciate this. As someone who consumes OSU football, I’m a little annoyed because I think OSU can and should be recruiting better. I’m also curious if this really is the case — if two extra hours a week or whatever would really help the special teams or really help recruiting — or a convenient excuse those of us outside the program make.

What do you think about an article possibly examining the perception people would have of Gundy if he played SS at this point and he comes and lights it up. Do you think he is worried people would see he has a pattern of not playing the best QB on the roster? Anyway, I think it would be a fun little point of view game to look at. Also, side note. Have you seen the stuff SS fav and RTs. Seems like he may be getting a little frustrated too? Can you blame him tho? Anyway. Thanks as always. -Derrick S.

We have considered a separate channel in Slack entitled “SS fav and RTs” but have yet to make it happen. There’s nothing egregious but certainly a few things that make you go …

As for Gundy’s mindset, it’s a pretty interesting theory. I think he cares far less about what you and I think and say and far more about what people around him think and say, which means the theory could actually hold some water.

The bigger picture for me is that I think Gundy probably truly believes that his biggest issues are elsewhere and that he doesn’t lie awake at night thinking about what a change at QB would do for his team. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but Corn has been good enough to not trigger this part of Gundy’s stubborn mindset and other positions have been poor enough to keep the focus everywhere else besides QB.

What do you make of the fact that S&P+ says this years team is statistically pretty good. In fact even after losing to Iowa State they are quite a bit better than the 2015 and 2016 teams in S&P+. It seems like when you take a step back maybe things aren’t as bad as a loss to Iowa State and Texas Tech feel. -Ben D.

It is pretty interesting. No. 21 OSU is ahead of TCU, Texas, USC, Oregon, Stanford, Texas Tech and Michigan State in S&P+. If you’re not familiar with the concept of S&P+, you can read more here.

I do think we do this thing after big wins or big losses where we project the entire rest of the year based on what we just saw. After Boise that meant Big 12 title talk. After Iowa State it means missing a bowl talk. The reality will likely be somewhere in the middle even if it doesn’t feel like that right now.

For fun (?), I went back over the last three years and tried to find top 25 S&P+ teams that finished with losing records. It’s impossible to do. Here are the closest ones I found.

  • 2017 Arkansas State: 7-5
  • 2016 NC State: 7-6
  • 2015 Washington: 7-6
  • 2015 Auburn: 7-6

There were two teams — 2016 Notre Dame (which went 4-8 a year after going … 10-3) and 2016 Ole Miss — that finished just outside the top 25 that both had losing records. As you might imagine, ND played (and lost) a LOT of one-possession games, which could be where these Pokes are headed.

I ended up going on a deep dive down that 2015 ND season. It was encouraging on a couple of different levels. Mostly that even if you have an absolutely atrocious season (which OSU could be headed toward), programs that have good statistical profiles almost always bounce back.

I have long noted how, when you look at a given year’s S&P+ rankings, you can pretty quickly point out the teams that are likely to rise and fall the next year (from a records standpoint) by simply looking at the standout records. My favorite example is 2011, when both 7-6 Texas A&M (eighth in S&P+) and 8-5 Notre Dame (11th) seemed out of place, ranking much higher than their records suggested they should have. The next year, the two teams went a combined 23-3.

It doesn’t always work out in such a clean manner, but the bottom line is, sometimes your record doesn’t match your on-paper quality. That usually rectifies itself quickly. [SB Nation]

Also, this is interesting as it relates to Gundy (OSU has won 15 of its last 18 one-possession games) …

[Brian] Kelly has had a fascinating relationship with close games at Notre Dame. His Irish lost five of their first seven one-possession finishes, then won 15 of 18. They lost three in a row and won five of six and have now lost eight of nine. Do the Irish have another drastic change in direction left? [SB Nation]

Oklahoma State’s statistical profile could slip from No. 21, of course, but the fact that they’re still in the top 25 in S&P+ after what we saw against Texas Tech and Iowa State is pretty fascinating (and possibly encouraging!).

The post Reader Thoughts: Strong Advanced Stats, and is Gundy Getting Complacent? appeared first on Pistols Firing.

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