Fri, 20 November 2015
Mike Sando (ESPN Insider) re-joins Dave to discuss some of the most surprising teams in the NFL. He explains how health and personnel have fueled the Bengals’ breakout season and how Miami and Oakland have gone in different directions with their developing quarterbacks. They discuss the disaster in Dallas and the value and trade-offs necessary to budget for backup QB’s and Mike breaks down how the Seahawks’ strangely poor record even while winning turnover battles bodes well for their chances later in the season.
Dave and Mike then go on to discuss Mike’s revised “Insider QB rankings” and look at some of the rising and falling stars at the position this season. Mike discusses the risk/reward trade-offs of Aaron Rodgers’ “second reaction plays” and explains how the player personnel framework of “can we win with this guy?” has led to the benching of Colin Kaepernick and Peyton Manning. Finally, Mike makes his case for why Cam Newton’s performance this year should be judged less on metrics like QBR and more on his ability to fulfill the role his team needs him to play in the offense. The show rounds out with a look at the key Jets at Texans match-up and what it means for the AFC playoff picture.
Links from this episode:
Thu, 12 November 2015
This week Sharon Katz (ESPN Stats & Info) is on the show to discuss the 2015 college football season and the upcoming college football playoffs. Sharon breaks down the metrics ESPN uses to rate college team performance and dives in detail into the seasons that Clemson and Iowa have had thus far. Sharon and Dave break down the upcoming slate for the key Big 12 contenders, and discuss this weekend’s showdown between the top two teams in FPI (Oklahoma vs. Baylor). Sharon breaks down this year’s College Football Playoff Committee's rankings and outlines the changes that she’s seen in year two of the committee’s work.
The episode rounds out with a look at the NFL, with Sharon explaining why the NFL FPI metric has been so strongly in favor of the Eagles performance. She dives into some key week 10 match-ups and highlights the most important NFL games to watch this weekend.
Thu, 5 November 2015
This week, we go back into the AFA Podcast archives to revisit an interview with Virgil Carter, the man many consider to be the founding father of advanced football statistics.
On the episode, Dave, Brian Burke and Virgil look back at Virgil’s playing days when he was suiting up at quarterback for the Bears while studying for his MBA at Northwestern in the off-season. It was there at Northwestern that he published his first paper, Operations Research on Football. That paper introduced the idea of expected point value based on game situation, an idea that is still at the core of advanced football analysis. Virgil also talks about what it was like to play under head coach Paul Brown, and why if it weren’t for him, Bill Walsh might have never needed to create his “West Coast” passing offense.
If you want to learn more about Virgil and his fascinating career both on and off the field, check out the following links:
-Sports Illustrated article from October, 1972: “Handy Pair of Brainy Bengals”
-Virgil’s graduate research paper: Operations Research on Football
-Pro-Football-Reference Player Page: Virgil Carter