Six Pick: Week Ten

Welcome to the start of November football. So much for this weekend being the best weekend of the season, too much chaos and unpredictability this year. That's not to say there are bad games, far from it. Regardless, college football has officially entered put up or shut up time, where dreams are achieved or crushed. It's more than just who has the biggest package in the SEC West, or which program really is the class of the Pac 12. Who wants to win the ACC Coastal, the Big Ten Losers division, or play spoiler to the Irish? The season hasn't shaken out as expected, who's to say more surprises aren't coming?

A couple weeks back I mentioned how I enjoyed the increased college football coverage Fox has. However, it would be nice if the networks didn't have the top 3 teams playing in games at the same time. Poor K-State is going to get crushed in the ratings going head up against Oregon/USC and Bama/LSU. The Wildcats would have drawn more viewers at the 3:30 ABC time slot and enjoyed the benefits of being the best game on at that time. I'll quit my bitching now and make sure the remote is close by. Tracking this week's ESPN Gameday location has them returning to the SEC and heading to Baton Rouge. It's deserved and I can't think of a place I'd rather be on Saturday. I can almost smell the smoked pork and corn dogs.

Thursday, 11/1/2012

An ACC Halloween

Ryan and I started talking about Halloween, candy, and the ACC at midnight. Bad things happened and they follow.

Once in a while, Tom O'Brien enjoys a caramel cube. The bland taste reminds him of American values. And there's just enough sugar to necessitate the need for an evening jog (running is showing off), but not enough to consider him "high" on anything. He hands out dental floss.

Wake Forest gets a ten-dollar bill, because, "Take it, get the hell off my porch, and I don't ever wanna see you around here again."

Much like FSU, pumpkin flavor is back in September–October. Everybody raves how it's in everything they're eating and drinking, but by November no one gives a shit and they just want it out of their life.

Randy Edsall seems like the kind of asshole who turns his porch light off and doesn't give out candy, so Maryland gets egged. They try to return fire, but don't have a quarterback to do so.

Virginia Tech is best represented by a Krackel Bar. Each season it looks promising on the outside, but once you bite in, there's no substance.

Beamer forces O'Cain and Stinespring try to trick-or-treat in a two-man horse costume, but they can't get out of the door. He encourages them, "You're just a couple of steps away".

Adventures on Whiskey Lane: Episode Nine

This week Brian goes solo due to Hurricane Sandy. He interviews Tech Assistant Director of Broadcasting Andrew Allegretta, where they talk heavily about the state of the ACC and what the additions of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame will do for the conference.

Brian then does a quick breakdown of the upcoming Miami game.

All that and more, on this episode of Adventures on Whiskey Lane.

MP3 Download link: http://thekeyplay.podomatic.com/enclosure/2012-10-30T12_10_06-07_00.mp3

Q&A with State of the U

This week I exchanged questions with the Miami blog State of the U. They talk about the misnomer of "the U's culture", Al Golden's rebuilding process, and the general inconsistencies that come with playing such a young lineup.

TKP: Okay, before I get into specifics I want to ask about all of the stuff that happened last summer. Miami is pretty much the poster child of the dreaded report "Charles Robinson sighted on campus". Ironically, the reported infractions didn't really surprised that many people (including myself), because it seemed to fit in with "The U"'s culture. Has there a been a noticeable change in the way this team acts and performs on and off the field under Al Golden?

Here Comes the Screen (Analysis)

It's the most feared word in the Virginia Tech offensive playbook: SCREEN! As tensions mount from O'Cainspring's tactics and the team's struggles, I took it upon myself to do research screen plays and their success rates.

So with Hurricane Sandy hammering the East Coast, I decided to increase the bleakness and watch the game film provided on the site and account for every screen run this year and analyze the stats by player, quarter, down, distance, formation, and yards gained. Then everything was analyzed again for only ACC games.

The entire chart is available below to peruse, but I came up with 39 deliberate screen plays. These are defined as a play where either a running back or wide receiver have blockers set up and is the primary target of the pass. Dump-offs and outlet passes that are thrown behind the line of scrimmage do not count.

Hurricane A' Coming: Winds of Change for the Hokies Defense

On the eve of a critical Thursday night matchup with the Miami Hurricanes, questions about the Hokie offense abound. While any changes to the offensive coaching staff, and a corresponding change in philosophy, will not take place until the offseason, we have seen a radical change in Bud Foster's defensive approach that has resulted in a significantly improved pass rush and run defense over the past two weeks. That continued success will be critical to any hopes of victory against a depleted, yet talented Hurricanes offense.

A quick comparison of film from the Pitt and UNC games versus the Duke and Clemson games demonstrates two significant changes in Bud Foster's philosophy.

A New Spin on an Old Trick: 4-4 and Stopping the Run

The first was a return to the old 90's 4-4 alignment, but adjusted to fit three and four wide receiver sets. It was utilized to shore up a previously porous run defense.

Statistics on Predictability, Part 2

As a follow-up to last week's post on predictability of our offense, a couple of commenters mentioned that a better comparison might be to the best teams in the country rather than all teams (since we aspire to be one of the best and most years are). In this post we'll compare the behavior seen by VT with that of the top twenty offenses in the country as ranked at http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ncaaoff.

Statistics on Offensive Predictability

Editor's Note: Bumped to the front because this is really, really well done. --Joe

Based on data available from cfbstats.com, I took a statistical look at how predictable VT’s offensive play calling has been thus far this season (note that I believe the last game is missing). The site provides basic information on every play in every game, but does not give information on specifics like formation, whether a pass was completed or not, etc. So this analysis (based on logistic regression if you’re a geek) simply looks at the most basic aspect of predictability – whether or not we rush or pass.

What Won't Change During the Bye Week

We are 5 days removed from the disaster in Death Valley, and I still find myself completely at a loss for what to write. The reality is, I see lots of good things. I really do. I think about 70% of the pieces are there for this to be a great football team. No, I am not kidding. The defensive line has been turned loose two games in a row, and without having the robotic responsibility of slanting to a gap and holding the space rather than pursuing, they have looked like the dominat unit we expected in preseason; a unit that can demolish without parlor tricks. Against both Duke and Clemson, the offense moved the football when it followed a coordinated, sensible plan of attack coupled with reasonable execution. I saw terrific effort, passion, and nastiness from critical players. We have evidence this can work.

5:42–5:50

Six Pick: Week Nine

I can't hide my disappointment resulting from the Hokies season, and I'm sure you can't either. That doesn't mean I love the Hokies or the game any less. As long as they keep playing, I'll keep watching. As you know, because of a bye week and back-to-back Thursday night games, Tech won't play on Saturday until mid November. So, it's on the rest of the nation to entertain us. I'm energized and ready to sit on my ass the next two weekends and watch the wheat be separated from the chaff. Buckle up and let's enjoy some quality football.

Seventy-three-year-old Bill Snyder is a BAWSE. This is the second time he has made K-State into a top 10 power. I have much respect for his ability to turn JUCOs, and two- and three-star nobodies into good football players. Collin Klein was a little thought of QB recruit turned WR by RonP, now he's the Heisman frontrunner. That's a pretty remarkable turn of events as he likely rides the pine for 90% of the other FBS schools. It probably took Snyder 10 minutes to figure out Klein's potential. Bill Snyder in this whiz-bang high scoring football world still knows ball control offense and sacking up on defense can still win a lot of games. If "Everything Old is New Again" is accurate, there is hope for VT to rebound.

Friday, 10/26/2012

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