Bumped from the diaries. GO BRUINS. -N
Fellow Bruins. I've been a long-time reader here on Bruins Nation, but haven't posted anything until now. Clearly, Dorrell's tenure at UCLA has thrown a rift between two sides of the Bruin faithful. The more one side argues their case, the more the other side digs their heels in, and it's understandably becoming more emotional and less objective by the day. So if you'd indulge me, I'd like to pose what I think is a simple yet compelling statistical analysis of KD's time here with us. And ultimately, why I believe it means he should be fired regardless of the outcome of the USC game.
First, the basis for my analysis comes from the baseball world, which historically has lended itself more to the stat-geek side of things than football has. Baseball analysts are always looking for ways to remove "luck" from the equation to determine how good a particular team (or player) actually is. In evaluating a team, it really comes down to run differential, or average margin of victory. Those of you who follow MLB probably heard a lot of talk about this at the end of the season with regards to the Arizona Diamondbacks who, despite getting outscored 712-732 during the regular season, somehow managed a 90-72 record. The prevailing sentiment was, yeah, they won 90 games, but they're really not that good (as their run differential shows). As it turned out, when they got to the playoffs and actually played a decent team on a daily basis, their "luck" eventually ran out and they got trounced by the Rockies.
So let's look objectively at UCLA's point differential during KD's tenure. In his 5 years to date, UCLA's average per game point differential is +1.9 points. (Hey, at least it's not negative, right?) +1.9 points puts UCLA in 60th place in D-I football over those 5 years. His supporters might argue that his first two years shouldn't count, for whatever reason. Okay. The team's point differential over the last 3 years is, in fact, better, at +3.2 points per game. This puts UCLA at 47th in the nation over those 3 years. For comparison, UCLA was 50th in the nation over the 3 years before KD's arrival.
So he certainly hasn't been able to improve our standing much on that front, and I would strongly argue that any Bruin fan satisfied with being 47th (or 60th) in the nation is any sport needs to have their Bruin pride checked by a physician.
Now, the biggest knock on looking at point differential alone, especially in football, is that it does not take into account the strength of a team's schedule. Thankfully, the folks over at Dolphin Simulation publish something called a "Predictive Rating," which takes into account both point differential and strength of schedule, as well as counting later games more than earlier games. Because the Pac-10 is historically one of the stronger conferences, using this metric does, in fact, make UCLA look better. Over the 5-year tenure of KD, UCLA's Predictive Ranking would put them as the 29th best team in the nation. Over the last 3 years, 27th best. In the 3 years prior to KD's arrival: 22nd.
So we've actually gotten slightly worse during his 5 years here, based on this objective rating scale. And I'd argue again, being in the mid to high 20s isn't good enough for a school that prides itself on overall athletic prowess, First to 100, etc. We should be better.
As a side note, I know DumpDorrell was pushing hard on the "We're #4" campaign. Unfortunately, since Dorrell's been here, we're not #4. Our 5-year point differential and Predictive Rating are 6th best in the Pac-10 over that time span, and our 3-year (2005-07) point differential and Predictive Rating are both 5th best in the Pac-10. Blech. "We're #4"? No, sadly. "Commitment to Mediocrity"? Absolutely.
That's all I've got as far as statistical analysis goes for now. Really, one only need watch the games to know that Dorrell is in over his head and isn't the man for the job, but it's nice to know that the statistics support what our eyes and guts are telling us. The man should be fired at the end of the season, regardless of what happens in our game against USC. I'll be rooting hard that he goes out with a win.
Go Bruins. Beat SC.