Monday, July 13, 2015

Loss Leaders

A new video from Dartmouth football is centered around last month's Friends of Dartmouth Football golf outing:

Once again, a true stat geek has tried to quantify how much productivity every FCS team in the nation has returning. Taken into consideration are:

• Offensive starters lost
• Offensive line starts lost
• Percentage of positive net rushing yards lost
• Percentage of passing yards lost
• Percentage of wide receiver yards lost

Rushing and passing yards per game, lost and returning, put the losses in context.

Defensively, the workup includes:
• Percentage of defensive starters lost
• Percentage of defensive tackling performance
• Percentage of loss from the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs

There are 123 teams listed with No. 1 having the greatest percentage of returning production, and 123 the least. From the posting:
The ranking is not a team power ranking; only an indicator of which teams could be least affected by personnel losses and could show great improvement.
All that said, the Ivy League shapes up this way in 2105 regarding percentage of returning production (out of 123 teams):

8. Cornell
18. Columbia
20. Dartmouth
29. Harvard
42. Yale
77. Penn
92. Brown 
97. Princeton*
(Unofficial because roster has not been updated)

Here's how Dartmouth's nonconference opponents figure among the 123:

52. Sacred Heart
71. Georgetown (unofficial because the roster has not been updated)
113. Central Connecticut

No. 1 nationally for least impact from losses is Mercer of the Southern Conferenc,e followed by Pioneer Football League member Stetson, coached by former Dartmouth assistant and Princeton head coach Roger Hughes, at No. 2.

Taking the heaviest graduation loss according to this formula is Fordham of the Patriot League, coming in at 123. Tennessee State of the Ohio Valley is at 122.

Keep in mind that having your entire team back isn't necessarily a good thing if you weren't particularly successful the year before. Nor is graduating a ton of players necessarily a bad thing if you were unsuccessful the prior year.

The best case scenario? Returning the greatest percentage of your production from a team that was successful the year before, which makes the fact that Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale are in consecutive order very interesting.

Something else to keep in mind. The numbers do not factor in the freshman class, or transfers such as the top wide receiver coming to Yale from North Carolina State. Nor do they take into account when a talented player is stuck on the bench behind an all-time great, as some believe was the case with Candler Rich being the tailback-in-waiting behind Tyler Varga, again at Yale, and quarterbacks at Princeton behind Quinn Epperly. Players who missed the previous season because of injury, or had their season cut short, also distort the results.

In case you are wondering, here's how the teams ranked last year with the same formula. (Ivy League record and Ivy finish in parentheses.)

32 Yale (5-2, 3rd)
44 Princeton (4-3, 4th)
68 Dartmouth (6-1, 2nd)
82 Columbia (0-7, 8th)
94 Harvard (7-0, 1st)
99 Penn (2-5, 6th)
117 Cornell (1-7, 7th)
124 Brown (3-4, 5th)

Find the FCS Starters and Stats Lost page HERE.
In a Mike Slive retrospective, Chris Low of ESPN calls the Dartmouth graduate who has retired as SEC commissioner, "One of the most renowned forward thinkers at any level of athletics . . ." (LINK)

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