Hello. Advanced statistics are all the rage these days. Analysts delve deep into nuanced and complex data to come up with some pretty shocking conclusions. We here at The Key Play are unrelenting. We want to find those set(s) of numbers that will explain the entirety of Hokie football and probably the meaning of life1.
In addition, we listen to the fans. Not only because we are fans and we can hear ourselves talk, but because Hokie Nation has some burning questions that we feel finally need to be addressed. Joe let me use our shiny new press credentials2 to go out and buy a HIGHLY advanced and EXTREMELY costly3 data visualization tool to start answering some of them.
Everyone wants to see a team draped in #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING take the field at Lane Stadium. That has not happened since Sept 26, 20094 when Miami was treated to their second helping of an #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING butt whooping. And it appears that Whit Babcock, doing his best to convey that he actually cares about the fans, seems inclined to grant us our hearts' desire. But how effective, historically, has #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING been? And, just as any other weapon has a set of optimized conditions in which to deploy it, what is the most effective use of its powers?
Before we dive in, a quick thank you to Clark Ruhland and his badass uni builder on his awesome website which was invaluable in researching this effort. Please note that I only evaluated true #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING occurrences. Last year's Georgia Tech game, sadly, does not count since the helmets were really more of a grey than a maroon. That being said, let's take a quick stroll through the history of #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING.
A game by game look at this history of this beautiful uniform over the last 25 seasons
While I don't currently have the resources to go back further than the Beamer era, #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING made its modern debut on November 24, 1990, in a 38 (sound familiar, bro?) to 13 win over Virginia. After that, it was used infrequently until the 2003 season when it was worn four times. The Hokies had mixed success, posting a 7-7 record in #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING until the current five-game win streak started with a win over FSU in 2007. This streak also includes wins against Miami and LOLUVA. Speaking of which, how have we fared against different opponents?
Looking at our wins (top) and losses (bottom) against all the opponents who've faced #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING
We can establish a set of rules.
1. Always feel free to use #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING against teams from Florida and/or teams that begin with the letter 'M'.
This one seems pretty self explanatory. The infamous "Give it to me, Roscoe!" game, one of only two victories against FSU in the last 40 years, and the perfect antidote to the Maryland Imperial Stormtrooper uniforms5.
2. Tangentially related to Rule No. 1: Always feel free to use them when a hurricane is involved.
Whether it's Hurricane Isabel rolling into town along with Texas A&M or Tropical Depression Brock Berlin, #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING combines its powers with gale force winds to provide victory to the Hokies.
3. NEVER WEAR THEM AGAINST BOSTON COLLEGE.
Seriously, eff Matt Ryan.
Okay, so this is some good intel. What else can we learn about #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING? Well, here's something that may blow your mind.
Where has #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING been deployed? To what effect?
You may not recall, but #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING has been deployed twice outside of Lane Stadium, both times in bowl games. Both times to disastrous results. There was the attempt to break the scoreboard against Cal, and the meltdown against Georgia in the Peach Bowl. Without these two misadventures, #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING would boast a more impressive 71% winning percentage. Which leads us to Rule No. 4:
4. Never wear #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING outside of the Terror Dome.
One last item breakdown to look at. I'm pretty superstitious, if you couldn't tell by me doing a statistical breakdown of a uniform's effect on our winning percentage. But perhaps there's something more we can learn if we look at WHEN it's deployed.
A breakdown of winning percentage by weekday and kickoff time
5. Never wear #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING on Friday.
Guess we'll just have to show up in something else to beat LOLUVA this year. I mean, do we even need to wear pads against them? Maybe that would make it more fair if we didn't?
6. No #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING for kickoffs at 1:00 or after 7:30.
The first one should (hopefully) be a non-factor as 1:00 kickoffs go the way of the dodo bird. The second part feels a lot like a rule for caring for your Mogwai, which means it's almost certainly reliable.
Looking at these trends is very helpful, but how does #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING stack up against other uniform combos?
A look at winning percentage as well as average margin of victory by uniform combo
Huh. Oddly, we're actually better in white pants, both in terms of winning percentage and a more than DOUBLE average margin of victory. Amazingly, we actually win at a better rate in two different combos with WHITE jerseys (which is generally road games) than #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING. Dare I say it...does #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING actually help our performance on the field at all?
Oh...wait, so you guys just like it because it looks cool? Oh...okay. Alright, I'm down with that. And you know...with such a small sample size, we're really just going to need them to wear it more often to see if the trend holds true. Plus, we're on a five game winning streak in them. And if we follow the rules I've outlined, we should be good to go, right? So...
We're done here?
Okay, one last thing. Take a step back from #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING, what is the uniform combination that historically gives us the GREATEST chance at victory? I'm talking about harnessing the greatest power from each of our uniform components—identifying the winningest helmet, winningest jersey and winningest pants.
Well then. Looks like if we field this all season, we'll be playoff bound:
1Those are actually the same thing, when you think about it
2Turns out press credentials are not a form of currency and are not accepted as payment by data visualization vendors or Harris Teeter
3Tableau Public is actually free with the caveat that your visuals are public, which is sort of ridiculously cool
4Seriously. That's difficult to fathom.
5I know they didn't wear those uniforms that game. I just hate their Stormtrooper uniforms because we lost to them.