Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Jul 2010

FOA MEDIA: Interview With Clashmore Mike

Clashmore Mike is a Notre Dame football blog with a keen eye on statistics. (See their recent analysis of coaches over- and under-performing expectations, cast in terms of "clutch" versus "luck"). They were intrigued by our College FOA projections for the Fighting Irish and their opponents and sent us a handful of questions.

There are more than few Irish fans anticipating big results from a cakewalk schedule (five straight non-AQ opponents down the stretch), and recent Notre Dame coaches have had BCS-level success early in their ultimately doomed careers. We're projecting more modest success in Brian Kelly's first year, a step in the right direction if not a full blown "Return to Glory".

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 19 Jul 2010

2 comments, Last at 19 Jul 2010, 1:49pm by Brian Fremeau


by Jeff Fogle :: Mon, 07/19/2010 - 1:19pm

Brian, what did you think of CM's thesis about differences between expectations/reality reflecting mostly on the head coach in a way that was statistically meaningful?

I'm a fan of Kelly...but...

*They only had four wins last year that were by single digits.

*The first was an 8-point win over Fresno State when they were favored by 17. Cincy won the second half at home 21-17 in a 28-20 victory. It's "clutch" to find a way to win...but is it "clutch" when you have to do that as 17-point favorites?

*The second was a wild 47-45 win over UCONN, where Cincy was a 16-point favorite, and could only turn a 711-462 yardage advantage into a 2-point win. Again, they won (and UCONN scored very late so it was more like a 9-10 point win), but they were hosting an opponent they weren't supposed to sweat to that degree.

*The third was a 24-21 nailbiter over West Virginia, where Cincy was a 9-point favorite.

*The fourth was the big rally on the road at Pitt that CM went over in great detail.

That was a great comeback to be sure. How much was Kelly's clutchness? How much was Pittsburgh relaxing too soon? There's got to be some anti-Wannstedt in the mix too.

If you're not adjusting for the caliber of the opponent, it looks like a string of clutch victories. If you're accounting for market expectations...Cincinnati kept winning close home games against opponents they were supposed to beat by 1-2 touchdowns until that great finale. When they ran into an opponent they weren't supposed to compete with, they got squashed by Florida.

What's your take (and/or BC's if he's interested in commenting) on whether or not Kelly brings "clutchness" to the Notre Dame sideline?

by Brian Fremeau :: Mon, 07/19/2010 - 1:49pm

I had some of the same thoughts when reading that article. I had a few questions about the methodology as well. I think it is more fair to attribute the observations of performance above or below expectations to the team (coaches, players, situations) than to the head coach alone. Still, I do appreciate their digging in to some fairly in-depth data and analysis.

As for Kelly's "clutchness", I'm not sure that will have much to do with his success at Notre Dame. I've been most impressed with his ability to win consistently against the good if not elite competition, and to do so without an elite recruiting haul. Cincinnati ranks third behind USC and Texas in winning percentage against FEI top-40 opponents since 2007. Win those games at ND, and he'll be well respected. (It won't take much to have Richt/Beamer-level success). He won't be revered until he wins a championship, but first things first.