Last time I plotted the Bruins Football Trajectory over the years back to 2005. I used the FEI and S&P+ football ratings as calculated by Football Outsiders ("FO"). Again, both are a measure of a team’s quality and are adjusted for SOS; you can read more about the basis of calculation in last week’s post and at FO. This week I just plotted the FEI as the results weren’t too drastically different with either data set. As of September 29, 2012:
You all lived through it; you know the results have been dismal over the years. 2012 looked promising, but that was pre-Beatdown in Berkeley, when many of us were still filled with cautious optimism about our potentially positive season. I guess my optimism wasn’t tempered enough though, because I’m feeling a bit naïve over the hope I had for our Bruins mere days ago.
Below I’ve updated the graph for week 6. On a macro view, here’s our trajectory through October 6, 2012:
Compared to last week, our drop is noticeable. This puts us just below where we were in 2009, when we went 6-6 under CRN during the regular season and beat Temple 30-21 in the EagleBank Bowl. FWIW, the FEI ratings project us to win only 3 (well, 2.8) of our remaining games given how we’ve played so far. That would bring us to 7 and 5, falling far short of this community’s expectations.
Here’s what it looks like on a micro view:
Unfortunately, I only have weekly data for these past two weeks, I’m trying to obtain data for the first four and will update accordingly if successful.
I assume the downward trend we see in the Top 25 is due to some of the losses (FSU, LSU, Georgia, UCLA) or poor performances (TCU, u$c) we saw from these teams on Saturday. The ratings of Top 25 BCS and Top 25 FEI teams dropped 10% and 13%, respectively. The Pac-12 dropped 16%, and UCLA plummeted 70%. Ouch.
The SOS component of these rankings means the Bruins were punished more severely for their loss to Cal than they were rewarded for their win against Colorado. Similarly, even though $c won, it was lost points for playing so poorly against the Utes, who in turn gained points for playing well despite their loss.
Here’s the same data in a different format, isolated to weeks 5 and 6. The grey horizontal line through the middle is the mean rating for all FBS teams, the navy blue line is the average of all Pac-12 teams.
Last week I talked about the Cal game providing a chance for us to separate ourselves from the Pac(k). Instead, we’ve driven ourselves into the middle of it (just below the middle, actually); the Cal game moves us toward poor Ralphie and away from the Duck, Sparky and even the Beavs. According to these ratings we’ve dropped from the 7th to the 8th best team in the conference. In one week our FEI rating dropped from 34th to 54th for all FBS teams.
On the plus side it’s nice to see that there is a clear break between us and the 9th ranked team. Utah is about as far below the mean of all FBS teams as we are above it, but I don’t think the FBS mean is the benchmark any of us are grading the Bruins against. The conference is starting to sort itself out. The tight grouping we saw at the top of the Pac-12 in week 5 has dispersed, and our place in the conference isn’t where any of us had hoped we’d be.
Tasser summed it up pretty well in this week’s Power Poll: "different coaches, same ol’ crappy UCLA Football". [Side note: these rankings align with the frontpagers’ Power Poll save Cal, which they have ranked below UDub in the Pac-12 North]. To back up Tasser’s sentiment objectively, I found a disheartening precept based on the analytical work done over at FO. Through their analysis of tens of thousands of football plays over the years they’ve found that "The strongest indicator of how a college football team will perform in the upcoming season is their performance in recent seasons."
Seems painfully obvious. But with college football, where you have a regular turnover of players to graduation and the draft, one would think you’d see more volatility year over year. I’d especially think this to be the case at UCLA, where we’re into our third coach in 10 years.
But that ignores the constant at UCLA these past 10 years, Dan Guerrero. If past performance is the best predictor of future performance then I have no idea how Dan got the AD job at one of the top universities in the nation, and no idea why he was allowed to hire his 3rd head football coach. As O references, the past decade serves as a case study of the Warren Harding Error. Must be nice as an AD to get paid huge sums of money to make significant decisions and not have to worry about getting below the surface of an issue.
Winners win. This administration deflects, misleads, and just doesn’t seem to care. Ambivalence needs to be replaced with ambition; Guerrero just needs to be replaced.
There are still 6 games left. Mora can define this team as a championship team, one that meets the eye test and has finally thrown the soft, un-focused play to which we’ve become accustomed. But with 6 games under his belt, Mora is dangerously close to following in his predecessors’ footsteps.
If anyone is looking for a silver lining, I guess we can be happy that haven't been included on this list.
(Note that offensive and defensive ratings will not be adjusted for SOS until week 7):