Links of the Day 10/20/14

If anyone needs to know how to fix their washing machine, just let me know.

Peyton Manning now holds the record for most touchdowns thrown in a career.

 Erik Walden was ejected from yesterday’s game. If the Colts are lucky, he will be suspended too!

The Rams got a little crazy in their victory over Seattle. Gutsy playcalling.

SCOREBOARD
NFL
Green Bay 38, Carolina 17 – This game wasn’t even as close as the numbers suggest.
Indianapolis 27, Cincinnati 0 – Bjoern Werner’s emergence as a defender has helped, but in this game, having the Bengals’ two best offensive players hurt was the biggest aid.
Buffalo 17, Minnesota 16 – Buffalo wins with a touchdown in the final second. Put in Ponder!
Denver 42, San Francisco 17 – Denver is better than last year, and the 49ers are less good than last year. Analysis.
Tippeligaen
Rosenborg 3, Valerenga 2 – RBK was down 2-0 early, but came charging back, winning it with a Tomas Malec finish. Love that guy.
NHL
Los Angeles 2, Minnesota 1 – The Wild DID win 41-16 on shots, though.

College Football Promotion and Relegation: 2010 Simulation

This week, we continue the concept of a tiered NCAA Football Promotion and Relegation system.  Last week, we published the results of the initial 2009 simulation, and now we will simulate the 2010 season once again using Whatifsports.com. Below is a recap of each tier using the 2010 version of the teams playing each other as aligned in the previous post.  We’ll start at Tier 5 and work our way up and show the 2011 alignment at the end….

Tier 5
East Champ: UAB (9-3)
West Champ: UTEP (10-2)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Kansas State (9-3), FIU (8-4)
Other Playoff Teams: South Florida (8-4), New Mexico State (7-5)
Relegated Teams: None, because no Tier 6 yet. Would have been Arkansas State (4-8), Western Kentucky (3-9), Eastern Michigan (1-11), and New Mexico (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: UAB took the East and got promoted a year after going 2-10 and would have been relegated had a Tier 6 existed. New Mexico State also made the playoffs after a relegation-worthy season.  Major tiebreakers existed to determine the playoff teams.  South Florida’s 40-21 win over Indiana put them in the playoffs, and in the West, Washington State, San Jose State, and Iowa State were also 7-5, but New Mexico State won the tiebreaker.  Louisiana-Monroe beat Arkansas State in a hypothetical relegation-avoiding game, and Michigan State put up it’s 2nd consecutive 1-11 relegation worthy season.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
FIU 52, New Mexico State 22 – Big plays led the way for the Golden Panthers, who kicked off the game with a 46-yard end around TD run by T.Y. Hilton. Later in the game Wesley Carroll hooked up with Jonathan Faucher for a 52-yard TD pass
Kansas State 37, South Florida 31 – Kansas State held off a late South Florida rally to advance.  Daniel Thomas led the way for the Wildcats with 180 yards rushing and 2 TDs
Semi-Finals
FIU 26, UTEP 17 – In a pretty uneventful game, FIU scored 2 TDs in the 2nd quarter to take a 20-17 lead.  In the 2nd half, the Golden Panthers held UTEP scoreless  and added 2 FGs of their own
Kansas State 29, UAB 28 – UAB took an early 14-0 lead before K-State scored 19 unanswered points.  UAB finally answered with 2 more TDs to give them a 28-19 lead in the 4th. After a FG by the Wildcats with 3 minutes to go, Carson Coffman hit Andre McDonald with a 18-yard TD pass as time expired to tie it, and  the extra point gave Kansas State the win
Championship
FIU 35, Kansas State 31 – The FIU Golden Panthers are the Tier 5 champs!  Wesley Carroll connected with 2 70+ yard TDs to Greg Ellingson and T.Y. Hilton before K-State even knew what hit them. They added another score to take a 21-0 lead early.  K-State stormed back from a 28-7 defecit led by 2 Daniel Thomas 4th quarter TDs to take it to OT.  In OT, K-State kicked a FG on their first posession but FIU won it with a Darriet Perry TD run

Tier 4
East Champ: Louisville (10-2)
West Champ: Air Force (9-3)
Promoted Playoff Teams: UCF (10-2), Baylor (8-4)
Other Playoff Teams: Duke (9-3), Colorado State (7-5)
Relegated Teams: Northwestern (3-9), Louisiana-Lafayette (3-9), Ohio (2-10), Army (2-10)
Notes on Regular Season: The Louisville Cardinals, a program definitely on the rise, earned promotion to Tier 3 by beating UCF and winning the division.  UCF eventually joined them and earned promotion for the 2nd year in a row.  The service academies also made some waves with Air Force taking the West and earning promotion while the awful Army program earned their rightful spot in Tier 5 (no disrespect to our armed forces, of course).  Northwestern joined Indiana as the 2nd real-life Big Ten team in Tier 5.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Baylor 31, Duke 16 – Robert Griffin III led the way for the Bears, throwing for 327 yards and 2 TDs and rushing for a TD of his own.  Duke made it close in the 3rd (14-13) until Baylor blew it open
UCF 13, Colorado State 12 – Odd game here.  Colorado State took an early 12-0 lead after 2 FGs and a missed extra point.  UCF answered with a FG and TD of their own, but made the extra point.  This set up Nick Cattoi to hit the 45-yarder with 2 minutes to go to give UCF the win
Semi-Finals
Louisville 27, Baylor 13 – Louisville started the game up 14-0 following 2 Bilal Powell TDs.  After Baylor made it 14-13 the Cardinals didn’t look back. The Louisville defense did a great job shutting down RGIII, who only had 145 yards passing and negative rushing yards
Air Force 30, UCF 13 – In a game where both QBs had less than 100 yards passing, Air Force ran the ball much better (371 yards total), capped by a 64 yard TD run by Jonathan Warzecka and 65 TD yard run by Asher Clark
Championship
Louisville 27, Air Force 24 – In a back and forth game, Air Force scored a late TD to send the game to OT.  In OT, only Louisville managed to score a FG, which gave them the win.  Bilal Powell ran for 139 yards and a TD for the Cardinals

Tier 3
East Champ: Florida State (11-1)
West Champ: Hawaii (12-0)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Oklahoma State (11-1), Iowa (10-2)
Other Playoff Teams: Virginia (8-4), Maryland (8-4)
Relegated Teams: Toledo (3-9), Buffalo (3-9), Ball State (3-9), Kansas (2-10)
Notes on Regular Season:  The Florida State Seminoles, one of the best programs of the past 25 years but with not that much history to earn them a spot in a higher tier to start, finally woke up and moved up up in 2010.  In the West, Hawaii steamrolled the competition, scoring in the upper 40s or 50s in nearly every game to go 12-0.  Oklahoma State and Iowa also dominated, with OSU only losing to Hawaii and Iowa only losing to Hawaii and OSU.  The bottom was a complete mess. Kansas earned relegation with their 2-10 season, but 7 teams finished 3-9, setting up multiple tiebreaker games.  Tiebreakers were used to rank the East and West teams in their own divisions, then 3 cross-division games were played in a winner advances, loser is eliminated format.  Buffalo defeated Ball State in the first game, and in the 2nd, Tulsa defeated Buffalo, then Tulsa defeated Toledo in the 3rd.  As a result, Bowling Green, Purdue, and Minnesota avoided having to play in relegation playoff.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Iowa 53, Virginia 24 – The Hawkeyes demolished Virginia in this one.  They took an early 27-0 and were up 43-3 early in the 3rd quarter.  Virginia scored 2 garbage time TDs at the end.  Adam Robinson for Iowa ran for 231 yards and 2 TDs
Oklahoma State 59, Maryland 31 – The Cowboys win another Tier 3 blowout. Oklahoma State took a 31-17 lead into the half and didn’t stop there, adding 3 Kendall Hunter TDs in the 2nd half.  In total, Brandon Weeden had 372 yards and 3 TDs, Hunter had 188 yards and 4 TDs, and Justin Blackmon had 222 yards receiving and 2 TDs
Semi-Finals
Iowa 27, Hawaii 20 – Following an undefeated season, Iowa dealt Hawaii it’s first loss of the year.  Hawaii took a 20-3 lead into the 4th, and appeared to be in control until Iowa exploded for 3 TDs and a safety in the 4th, all 3 TDs were passes from Ricky Stanzi
Oklahoma State 31, Florida State 23 – The final score looks closer than it was. Kendall Hunter scored 2 early TDs and the Cowboys had a 21-3 lead.  Florida State’s comeback was stopped by a 40 yard TD by Justin Blackmon
Championship
Oklahoma State 31, Iowa 17 – The Cowboys are the Tier 3 champs.  Oklahoma State had a 20-6 lead in the 3rd before Iowa came back to make it 20-17.  a FG and the 2nd TD catch of the game by Justin Blackmon sealed the win for the Cowboys

Tier 2
East Champ: Auburn (10-2)
West Champ: Boise State (11-1)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Stanford (10-2), Syracuse (9-3)
Other Playoff Teams: North Carolina (9-3), Texas Tech (7-5)
Relegated Teams: Troy (3-9), Southern Miss (2-10), Fresno State (2-10), Navy (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: The real life national champs from 2010, Auburn, were only in Tier 2 this year, but their (less than) perfect season earned them a trip back to Tier 1 (for the record, they lost to Michigan State at home and at Clemson).  Boise State earned promotion yet again, and finally achieved their dream of playing with the “big boys” in Tier 1.  In a tiebreaker more fitting for the NCAA basketball tournament, North Carolina beat Michigan State to earn a playoff spot and in the much more balanced West, Texas Tech won a tiebreaker over Oregon State, Wisconsin, and Texas A&M to earn a playoff spot.  On the bottom end, BYU beat Troy (how were they even there?) to stay in Tier 2.  After getting relegated from Tier 1, Navy is on the move again, sliding to Tier 2.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Syracuse 38, Texas Tech 31 – Somehow, Syracuse is back in Tier 1.  In a back and forth game, the Red Raiders scored to take a 31-30 lead late in the 4th that was immediately answered by a 55 yard TD by Delone Carter to seal the win for Syracuse. Carter finished with 192 yards
Stanford 37, North Carolina 13 – Andrew Luck delivered a beating to the Tar Heels, taking a 34-3 lead into the half. In total, he through for 329 yards and 3 TDs
Semi-Finals
Boise State 51, Syracuse 6 – Beatdown city here.  Boise scored early and often.  Kellen Moore threw for 434 yards and 3 TDs
Stanford 37, Auburn 24 – In a nice showdown between Cam Newton and Andrew Luck, Luck got the upper hand.  After a Luck TD run in the 2nd to make it 17-7, Auburn was essentially 1 score behind for most of the rest of the game. Stanford’s defense kept Newton in check, which strongly contributed to the win
Championship
Boise State 34, Stanford 29 – The Broncos are the Tier 2 champs.  After taking an early 17-0 lead, Stanford fought back to make it 24-23.  A Titus Young TD put the game out of reach.  Doug Martin for Boise State ran for 164 yards and a TD

Tier 1
East Champ: Alabama (10-2)
West Champ: Oklahoma (10-2)
Other Playoff Teams: Virginia Tech (9-3), Ohio State (9-3), Arkansas (8-4), TCU (8-4)
Relegated Teams: Miami (FL) (3-9), LSU (3-9), Georgia Tech (2-10), Texas (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: A lot of parity near the top, as everyone had at least 2 losses and Arkansas and TCU (in their Tier 1 debut) made the playoffs at 8-4.  At the bottom, Penn State beat LSU (who were 11-2 in real life) in a playoff to remain in Tier 1.  The other 3 relegated teams were about average in real life, but their records indicate how much harder Tier 1 is than any current conference.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Arkansas 54, Ohio State 20 – The Razorbacks had their way with Ohio State’s D, led by Ryan Mallett’s 4 TDs and 197 yards and 2 TDs by Knile Davis
TCU 26, Virginia Tech 24 – The Horned Frogs are advancing.  Missed 2-point conversions sunk the Hokies.  After a Ryan Williams TD made it 23-18 TCU, VT missed the 2 pointer.  Following a TCU field goal and a Darren Evans TD with 38 seconds to go, VT missed another 2-pointer to lose the game
Semi-Finals
Arkansas 44, Alabama 37 – The Razorbacks 4th quarter heroics took them to the title game.  Alabama  took a 37-26 lead into the 4th until a Knile Davis TD followed by a 73 yard punt return put Arkansas in the lead 41-37.  Ryan Mallett outpassed Greg McElroy 402-353 and Knile Davis had 3 total TDs for Arkansas.  Julio Jones had 177 yards and 2 TDs in the loss
TCU 34, Oklahoma 24 – TCUs huge 2nd quarter, where they scored 20 points, led them to the win.  No one really stood out statistically.  Matthew Tucker from TCU probably had the best day with 96 yards and 2 TDs
National Championship
Arkansas 34, TCU 15 – The Razorbacks are the national champs!  After an opening Matthew Tucker TD for TCU, Arkansas scored 31 unanswered points, led by 2 Joe Adams’ TD catches.  Ryan Mallett had 316 yards and 2 TDs

2011 Division Alignment

Tier 1 East Tier 1 West Tier 2 East Tier 2 West
Alabama Arkansas Miami (FL) LSU
Virginia Tech TCU Georgia Tech Texas
Ohio State Oklahoma North Carolina Texas Tech
Notre Dame Missouri Michigan State Oregon State
Florida USC South Carolina Texas A&M
Pittsburgh Arizona Wisconsin Washington
Tennessee Oregon Boston College Colorado
Georgia California Clemson Arizona State
West Virginia Nebraska Cincinnati BYU
Penn State Utah Michigan Oklahoma State
Auburn Boise State Ole Miss Iowa
Syracuse Stanford Florida State Hawaii

 

Tier 3 East Tier 3 West Tier 4 East Tier 4 West
Navy Troy Toledo Kansas
Virginia Southern Miss Ball State Colorado State
Maryland Fresno State Buffalo San Diego State
Central Michigan Nevada Duke Mississippi State
Miami (OH) Houston Illinois Idaho
NC State UCLA East Carolina Louisiana Tech
Kentucky Vanderbilt Wake Forest SMU
Connecticut Minnesota Western Michigan Tulane
Rutgers Purdue Marshall Northern Illinois
Bowling Green Tulsa Middle Tennessee Utah State
Louisville Air Force FIU Kansas State
UCF Baylor UAB UTEP

 

Tier 5 East Tier 5 West
Northwestern Louisiana-Lafayette
Ohio New Mexico State
Army Washington State
South Florida San Jose State
Indiana Iowa State
Kent State UNLV
Memphis Rice
Temple Wyoming
Florida Atlantic North Texas
Akron Louisiana-Monroe
Western Kentucky Arkansas State
Eastern Michigan New Mexico

Following the Compass: Louisiana Tech – Texas San Antonio – Closer than expected

TechUTSA

In a game that seemed as though it was a strong defense versus an explosive offense, we instead had a half of good defense and a half of offense between UTSA and Louisiana Tech in Ruston. The commentators on FSN made note of the fact that this game, an 11AM start, was much earlier than either team is accustomed to, and that may actually account for the sluggish start offensively.

And make no doubt, it was sluggish early. The Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio slowly drove down the field for a field goal and an early lead, but otherwise, there were 4 punts and little to show for the first quarter, with only 29 yards gained, combined, between the two teams. The best sign of life came from UTSA in the second quarter, when third string quarterback Austin Robinson saw some space and scrambled for 53 yards.

Robinson was the starter because Tucker Carter, the starter, was battling shoulder injuries in both arms, and backup Blake Bogenschutz broke his hand last week. Robinson, a red shirt freshman, looked pretty good to me though. he threw for only 138 yards, and tossed two costly interceptions, but he did add an element the team didn’t have early in the season. He ran for 88 yards, including the 53 yard touchdown, and, if you remove the 39 yards he lost when getting sacked, he was the leading rusher for UTSA.

The long touchdown played a big role in UTSA having the momentum through most of the first half, but so too did Louisiana Tech’s lack of discipline. They kept getting whistled for being offsides, holding, pass interference and finally, some personal fouls, and their focus turned to the officiating rather than UTSA. Eventually, both teams started to get frustrated by their inability to move the ball and with each other, and after nearly every play, there was pushing and shoving. Louisiana Tech was falling apart, mentally, but at least they were dragging UTSA down with them as well.

I don’t like to declare officiating good or bad based on the quality of their calls, but the officials in this game were doing a bad job of controlling the game. There was far too much extracurricular activity. It ultimately worked to Louisiana Tech’s advantage though. By the time the second half ended, UTSA had lost their momentum to the mire the game found itself in. Skip Holtz did a better job of calming his players during the break, it appeared. Despite an early interception on the first drive that Louisiana Tech had in the second half, they remained poised. Robinson fumbled the snap at his own 2, and Terrell Pinson picked up the ball and walked into the end zone, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. Pinson also intercepted Robinson twice.

UTSA threw two more interceptions after the fumble (in what ended up being 4 drives ending in a row with a turnover) and each time, Lousiana Tech scored a touchdown, and seemed to blow the game wide open. It was 27-10 by the end of the 3rd quarter. The game had completely turned on it’s head.

Stumbling Louisiana Tech returned for the 4th quarter, but in truth, they were never that good offensively. UTSA was done turning the ball over, and started scoring some points, including a 35 yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Brady Jones to Kenny Harrison to pull the game to within 7. The explosive 3rd quarter was enough for Louisiana Tech to stave off defeat, and they remain in first place in Conference USA – West.

 

Links of the Day 10/19/14

Gooood morning. I’m up early today, just to make sure you have the freshest links.

In the game of the night last night, Florida State squeaked by Notre Dame. 

Nick Montana might not be as good as his dad. 

After Minnesota took a firm grip on the Big Ten West lead, you may be interested in these Bowl Projections.

SCOREBOARD
Football League Championship
Blackburn 1, Ipswich 1 – Ipswich has looked good so far this season, so this wasn’t a bad point to claim.
NCAAF
Florida Atlantic 45. Western Kentucky 38 – That FAU offense that we hadn’t seen in Wyoming seems to be back.
Louisiana Tech 27, Texas San Antonio 20 – More on this game later.
Minnesota 39, Purdue 38 – Minnesota was down 11 at the half. This was the first time under Jerry Kill that they overcame a halftime deficit.
North Dakota State 34, Indiana State 17 – These scores for NDSU haven’t been as impressive as I would have thought.

Not much left to do

RBK2nd

Rosenborg only has 4 games left this season, including their match tomorrow with Valarenga. They are likely locked into third place on the season. Molde has secured first place, but Rosenborg is 4 points behind Odd… and only 4 points ahead of Stromgodset. It’s likely they will finish 3rd, but they need to keep playing out the string if they want to ensure a place in Europe next season.

While in many leagues, getting to Europe is a laudable goal, for a team of Rosenborg’s pedigree, winning the domestic league is the only goal, and third place is fairly disappointing. With that in mind, it’s not too early to figure out what needs to be fixed for the 2015 season, and their journey through the Europa League

Defending
They seem to have attempted to address this during the summer transfer window, adding Holmar Eyjolffson to attempt to fill the spot lost when Cristian Gamboa went to West Brom in England, but they need more, fresher legs back there. As I said, they simply replaced Gamboa, but they also gave up 39 goals to this point in the season, which brings them back to the pack in goal differential. Molde has given up only 20 and Odd only 25. Mikael Dorsin is on the wrong side of 30, and they don’t have a firm 4th defender between Jergen Skjelvik and Stefan Strandberg. Work needs to be done to ensure that the copious goals they score aren’t for not. (Also, on the goal scoring note, can they PLEASE ensure that Tomas Malec stays in Norway at the end of his loan spell? Watching a lumbering giant is tremendous fun and tremendous fun for lumbering giants everywhere.)

Depth
Rosenborg did irreparable damage to their standing in the league with stumbling performances between their Europa League clashes. They dropped terrible games against Stabaek and Brann in August that I have to believe they would have been more competitive if they had fresh legs on the pitch. Since that time, they have only lost once.

Other things hurt RBK, most notably a slow start going 1-0-3 in the first 4 matches of the season, and terrible inconsistency. RBK has done a good job selling players at the peak of their value recently, and hopefully, they use their resources to bolster their roster for 2015 so they can be where Molde is right now.

Links of the Day 10/18/14

I have no idea why I called yesterday’s post “Links of the World” That was weird.

Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets yesterday. Apparently, it wasn’t a moment too soon for Seattle. 

Darcy Kuemper lost his shutout streak, but he had this awesome save last night.

Ryan Kesler went from the Canucks to the Ducks, which makes him a monster. 

SCOREBOARD
NHL
Anaheim 2, Minnesota 1 – And after all that, Anaheim defeated the Wild for their first loss of the season.

Following the Compass, Texas San Antonio vs Louisiana Tech, a preview

Tomorrow morning at 11AM, the Texas San Antonio Road Runners will kick off in Ruston, Louisiana against the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech in a Conference USA showdown. Not only is this game the second Following the Compass game of 2014, it’s also locally televised on FSN! What can we expect from this conference battle?

UTSAThe Road Runners made some waves early in the season by their near takedown of Arizona early in the season. Was Texas San Antonio actually a good team? Was there 26-23 loss to a good Wildcat team (albeit in San Antonio) the world’s introduction to a stout defensive team that could hang with the best teams in the country? Especially after a win over Houston by a score of 27-7, it was a question to consider. Losses to Oklahoma State and Florida Atlantic the following two weeks have silenced those questions. The scores were 43-13 and 41-37, respectively. I mean, the defense isn’t terrible, rating about average in points against, but it isn’t particularly special.

The offense is ground based by necessity. Their first two quarterbacks on the depth chart, Tucker Carter and Blake Bogenschutz have both suffered injuries in the last two weeks. Carter may be back against the Bulldogs, but Bogenschutz broke his hand against Florida International. That left freshman Austin Robinson to finish of the game, and he performed admirably, winning the Roadrunners’ first conference game.

The ground game is led by David Glasco, but only because of two good games, against FAU and Houston, where he ran for over 80 yards. Jarveon Williams is a smaller back, and has rushed for nearly as many yards despite significantly fewer carries. He an for 95 yards in the loss to New Mexico. If Robinson starts against Louisiana Tech, he will give them an additional threat out of the backfield. He ran for 64 yards against the Panthers last week, a week in which UTSA didn’t really have a feature back. They haven’t really had a workhorse all season, though Glasco has the most carries. Receiver Kam Jones is good for an end around or two in a given game as well. The Roadrunners will need to lean on their ground game because of QB injuries, but it hasn’t been very good this season.

LaTech

The home team looks like they are in good shape for this game. The only 2-0 team in the Conference USA West division, they also have a high scoring offense that will challenge the UTSA squad. They have also suffered an embarrassing loss to Northwestern State, but their only other two losses were to top 10 teams Oklahoma and Auburn, who beat them handily, by scores of 48-20 and 45-17, respectively. In Bulldog wins, the scores were as lopsided, but in the other direction. Tech beat UTEP two weeks ago by a score of 55-3.

When Louisiana Tech is rolling well, they are turning over their opposition, forcing 5 against the Miners last week. They aren’t necessarily a big play defense. They didn’t score any defensive touchdowns, despite the turnovers, last week, but they did manage t return a blocked field goal for a touchdown last week. On the other hand, their offense is a big play outfit. Their quarterback, Cody Sokol, was only 6-16 last week, but half those passes were touchdowns. He also ran for a 32 yard touchdown, part of his 60 yards on the ground. He has 13 passing touchdowns on the season though his rushing touchdown was his first on the season. His completion percentage is 59.5%, but with 1398 yards passing, a lot of the blame is likely due to a lot of deep passing downfield.

The Bulldogs have done a good job of allocating roles to good players. Whereas UTSA is doing everything by committee, the Bulldogs have one player dominating the statistics in their ground and passing game. I already mentioned Sokol, but Kenneth Dixon leads La Tech with 519 yards on the ground already this season, including a 99 yard touchdown against Louisiana Tech. he has gone over 100 yards twice on the season, against Lafayette and Northwestern State. On the receiving end of things,Louisiana Tech does distribute the ball a little better, but they also have 4 receivers, Trent Taylor, Sterling Griffin, Hunter Lee and Paul Turner with more receptions than the leading receiver for UTSA. Taylor has 23 for 301 yards and a touchdown.

Some outlets are predicting a close contest, but not me. I think with UTSA struggling with quarterback consistency and a bad ground game, going to Ruston to take on a quality offense, the Bulldogs are going to blow UTSA out of the water. I don’t think I would have thought that early in the year.

 

Links of the World 10/17/14

The world is without baseball until Tuesday. The Royals are in the World Series though, so we all need some time to cope with that.

The Giants took their spot in the World Series, and got there with a walk off home run by Travis Ishikawa. You know, noted power hitter Travis Ishikawa.

After yesterday’s post noting that Ned Yost’s strategy wasn’t so bad, here is something to demonstrate an actual bad strategy and misguided dedication to the old methods. 

Speaking of baseball in days gone by, here is David Eckstein, reading some mean things said about him.

SCOREBOARD
nada.

Managing like Ned Yost, a good idea or a bad idea?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels

The Kansas City Royals are in the World Series, and there is no hotter topic of conversation than manager Ned Yost. He is undefeated in the playoffs at this point, which seems to suggest that he’s doing something right. On the other hand, he’s bunting and stealing like crazy, a strategy that is becoming roundly accepted as foolish. Bunts give away outs, and attempting to stealing bases can be an unnecessary risk early in games. With the emphasis on not getting out preached in Moneyball, Yost seems like a typical “bad manager”.

Really, though, the point of Moneyball is one of financial efficiency, and using your monetary resources on investing a part of the game that is at present devalued. It used to be raw power that was devalued, and Billy Beane invested in on base percentage. Over the years, plodding on base machines started to see their value rise. Meanwhile, defensive specialists and speedsters were no longer highly sought after. The Royals have built their franchise around capitalizing on that inefficiency, using a small payroll and investing in speed, defense and a very strong bullpen (as well as some workhorse starting pitching).

It’s easy to manage when you are working with strong starting pitching and a very good offensive starting lineup. It’s tougher when you have to leverage non-traditional strengths, and Yost has been doing that. He has a history of doing so too. Compared to Davey Lopes before him and Ken Macha after him, the only spike in stolen base attempts the Brewers had while Yost was there was when noted speed demon Scott Podsednik was there, and he had 70 stolen bases by himself in 2004. He steals when he has the players on his team to do so.

It’s not particularly fair to look at his sacrifice total in Milwaukee since he had to deal with pitchers in the lineup, but we can look at the roster he has now to explain all the bunting. Not only are many of the players on the team lightning fast, but many of them simply aren’t good hitters. If a player is going to get out anyway, why not be productive? And if they are fast enough, why not try to make contact and get to first base the hard way?

Despite his strong bullpen, Yost continues to make questionable pitching changes, so it’s hard to label him as a great manager, but I will say that it’s entirely possible that he’s much better than many people are giving him credit for. It’s important, though, to note that bunting and stealing aren’t for everyone. What makes a good manager is recognizing the talent on your roster and leveraging it to the best of their abilities.

(If the Twins ask potential managerial candidates for their opinion on bunting, the appropriate answer is “only if we have the personnel”. The Twins don’t have the personnel. )