Monday, September 10, 2007

Gaddabout's Grades: Colorado

Gaddabout's Grades is an on-going experiment measuring ASU's efficiency stats in comparison to success on the field. The author believes any earnest study of modern college football history reveals successful teams are efficient teams.

It's almost impossible to pick a spot to begin in a game in which ASU commits seven personal fouls, and 12 total penalties for over 100 yards. The first quarter alone was enough to quarantine the game film and only bring it out as punishment to anyone who thinks reckless abandon is the best and only way to play a game.

In the interest of consistency, I will continue the endeavor:

3rd Down Efficiency

Off. 5-of-18, 27.7%; Def. 4-of-18 22.2%: There's not much to explain here. Defense, good. Offense, disappointing rushing game. With Ryan Torain nursing an ankle injury, there were first-half moments where ASU actually failed to advance the ball an inch on 3rd-and-short. That won't cut it against a Pac-10 team.

If you're looking for the hidden stat here, it's fourth down conversion. ASU was 2/3 and Colorado was 0/4. When combined with 3rd down conversion, ASU was actually at 33 percent while Colorado was at a miserable 18 percent.

Grade: D


-2: Carpenter made one bad throw in this game. No one seemed to be communicating to Tyrice Thompson where he was in relation to the punted ball. Brent Miller makes a good catch downfield only to get a helmet square on the ball. It was a strange game, and one I don't think will be repeated. The only turnover I found disconcerting was the one ASU didn't lose -- Herring's fumble out of bounds that could have really changed the momentum of the game for good.

It's an ugly number, but I don't think it's as bad as it looks. Maybe ASU got this type of game out of the way so they won't have it against the better conference teams. Fingers crossed, anyone?

Grade: C-


12-for-136: Of the 12 penalties, 11 of them were the kinds of mental mistakes directly related to coaching. Erickson said he doesn't see those kinds of mistakes on the practice field. Well, now you've got a whole film of them, coach. Time to get to work.

With the halo rule gone, timing the punt coverage to arrive at the returner at the same time of the ball is now an important skill. Regardless of the rule chance, you STILL CAN'T HIT THE RETURNER BEFORE THE BALL GETS THERE. I'm glad we've got that covered and we can get on with the season without seeing another mental mistake like that one.

Grade: F-


This happens every year. A team defies the efficiency stats and wins a game in spite of eye-popping inefficiency. What I can guarantee you is the never goes on for an entire season. If ASU is in double digits in penalties, upside down in turnover margin, and less than at least 35 percent on offensive 3rd-down conversion, it will not be playing beyond the UA game. That's a college football certainty.

So why did ASU win? Defense has a lot to do with it. Any team that holds an opponent's offense to less than 20 percent third-down conversion will win most of the team. ASU was just that much better than Colorado.

Don't count on surviving a game like this against a ranked opponent, though.

Grade: D-

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