Sunday, October 19, 2014

ISU @ Texas, October 18, 2014

Somebody wanted my analysis of yesterday's game, so here it is.  The offense had a great game against what had been a very stout Texas defense.  Sam Richardson set a record with 37 completions last week and nearly matched it with 36 last night.  Richardson was accurate too, completing 65%, and pushing his season percentage to a very respectable 61%.  A Mangino-coached unit can be expected to throw the ball a bunch but this is unprecedented for Iowa State.  Sam is on pace to set season records in attempts (Wallace, 443), completions (Arnaud, 247),  and touchdowns (Bandhauer, 20), with an outside shot at completion percentage (Wallace, Jantz, .621) and yards (Wallace, 3245).  There's one more record he's on pace to break - lowest interception percentage.  Richardson's current percentage is 2.1%, ahead of Arnaud's 2.5% in 2008.  In other words, he could end up being the least turnover prone QB in ISU HISTORY.  That puts things in perspective a bit.

Mangino seems to be getting back into the play-calling groove.  It's improved every week and he's really starting to get the most out of all 'his' players.  People forget he hasn't called a game in 5 years, since he was at Kansas.  In his first year, he's had to make his scheme fit the existing players instead of finding players to fit his scheme.  Of everything about the Cyclones, his influence on the offense now and in the future excites me the most.

What worries me the most about the future is the continued stagnation of the defense.  Once again, two of our best defensive players (Knott, 3rd in tackles and Brackens, 8th in tackles) as of the middle of the season, weren't in the starting lineup the first game of the season.  The personnel decisions on that side of the ball have been suspect for the last couple years.  ISU needs to win their early games to go to a bowl game, and to win those games, they need to play their best players from the very first snap.

Jared Brackens is getting a bad rap for allowing the long pass late that gave the Longhorns the go ahead touchdown.  I think he did the best he could, but was put in a bad spot.  Brackens, a linebacker, shouldn't have had to cover Jaxon Shipley a senior wide receiver, without help over the top.  If the two corners were covering the outside receivers, one of the two safeties should have been available to cover the slot.  At the least, they should have had the safeties in a two-deep zone available to help the man coverage underneath.  Especially considering Texas needed about 30 yards in 28 seconds for a long field goal attempt.  The coaching on the defensive side of the ball needs to improve.

Updating a previous 'feature', I've got ISU projected for just over 4 total wins for the year.  I guess that'd be an improvement on last year.

New Feature!!! - I'd always wanted some way to measure ISU's football team against all others.  Similar to a kenpom for college football.  The closest thing is the former BCS standings, which were calculated for any team that was in the top 25 of either poll or the computer rankings.  The BCS is over, but the site still maintains the rankings, albeit with a slightly different formula.

ISU is not on the bcsguru list.  And rarely found itself on the BCS final standings.  So the best I can do is use the six computer rankings, which are available for every D-I team.  I'll use the same method the BCS used, throwing out the top and bottom rankings and averaging the remaining 4.  Using this method, ISU's current ranking is 80th, out of 128 FBS/Div I-A schools.  I wish I had context for that ranking but I don't.  Maybe my next project will be to calculate their year-end ranking as far back as I can.

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