The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for the ‘Ohio State Buckeyes’ Category

Terrelle Pryor and Statistical Modeling

Posted by disappointmentzone on 11 February 2008

According to a statistical model created by economists at Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business and Economics highly touted high school quarterback Terrelle Pryor is most likely to attend Penn State. This after Pryor appeared ready to commit to Ohio State in the days leading up to National Signing Day.

What can a statistical model tell us about the likelihood of a high school player attending a particular university? That’s a good question. Turns out the biggest factors affecting a player’s decision are:

1) Whether the player visited the school

2) The distance from the player’s hometown

3) The size of the school’s football stadium

With Penn State now officially on Pryor’s short list it’s easy to see why PSU would be the likely choice according to the statistical model. Michigan still trails Ohio State (not surprisingly).

This year the model had an accuracy rate of 73%. Whatever your thoughts are about using economics to predict where high school football players attend college, you can’t argue with 73% accuracy. That seems quite high.

OSU fans probably should be rooting for a slightly lower accuracy rate in the coming weeks.


Posted in Ohio State Buckeyes, statistics | 4 Comments »

How OSU Gets to the BCS Title Game

Posted by disappointmentzone on 18 November 2007

There is no simple line for OSU back into the BCS Championship Game, but they are definitely still in contention. Looking at the standings the Buckeyes need any two of the following three things to happen in order to play in New Orleans come January.

* The Big 12 South Division champion wins the Big 12 Championship. This would ensure both Kansas (#2) and Missouri (#3) finish the season with another loss. Yesterday you were rooting for Oklahoma to lose. Now you want Oklahoma to win.

* West Virginia loses one of its last two games.

* LSU loses one of its last two games.

There is always a chance that even if two of the three happen that a team like Georgia could leapfrog the Buckeyes, maybe even Arizona State. If all three happen, however, then the Buckeyes should stamp their tickets to the Bayou. There is no way both Georgia and ASU pass OSU.

Posted in Ohio State Buckeyes | 3 Comments »

Disappointment Zone Power Rankings: November

Posted by disappointmentzone on 14 November 2007

My elite team of MIT-educated number crunchers has been busy working in a dimly lit basement somewhere in the lower-middle contiguous United States. The mixture of location and importance of purpose has forged in them a bunker mentality. Take that as a sign of how meaningful these rankings are. Take them seriously, if only to give the MIT-educated number crunches an additional modicum of self esteem.

1) The Cleveland Browns

They have captured the minds and hearts of the American sports-minded public, riding a 3-1 record over their last four games and averaging about twice as many points per game during that stretch than they averaged all last season. Though they’re currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, they have an insanely easy schedule to close out the season. The Browns should be favored in at least five of their last seven games, if not six, if not seven. Five wins puts them in pretty good shape for a Wild Card berth; six puts them in great shape; and seven wins might put them back in contention for the division crown. When the season began no one expected them to be doing nearly this well. They are essentially playing with house money at this point, and when you play with house money you cannot lose. That said, if the Browns miss the playoffs there will be a lot of broken hearts, but there’s something to be said for having your team crush your soul in the last week of the season as opposed to during the first week of the season. Of course, the Browns are in that rare position of being able to do both at once. Still, we’re holding out hope. The skies are sunny above Cleveland Browns Stadium.

2) The Cleveland Indians

The Indians lost to Boston in seven games of the de facto World Series, a series that very well might have been decided by home field advantage, which the Red Sox won in a tie breaker over the Indians when both teams finished with 96 wins, tied for best in baseball. The core of the team is returning next season, as is most of the peripheral help. The Indians have the option of being extremely selective this off-season; there are no holes. LF and 3B could use an upgrade, but even if neither is addressed the Indians will still be favored to win the Central Division and will be one of the early season favorites for the World Series. Oh, and CC Sabathia won the Cy Young Award. Not too shabby.

3) Aston Villa

Since being destroyed 4-1 by Man U back in mid-October the Aston Villa has run off a 2-0-1 record, leaving them firmly entrenched at #8 in the EPL standings. Villa has six wins so far this season, tied for fifth most in the EPL with four other teams, including Liverpool, whose undefeated. Not too shabby. Were it not for a spectacular run for the Browns Villa might still lay claim to supremacy among Cleveland-related football teams, for for the time being that distinction belongs to the Browns.

4) The Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs are 4-4 and coming off their toughest road trip of the season, a six game swing through the second tier of the Western Conference. Entering the season a 4-4 mark would have been considered a large success. After the first game of the season, however, a 4-4 mark would have been considered nearly impossible. When they’re not tired or unfocused, the team has shown the ability to play quite well. Other than poor free throw shooting LBJ has been a monster; Daniel Gibson is showing that last spring was no fluke; Devin Brown has been every bit as good as anyone hoped; Larry Hughes has missed a few games due to injury, which is probably a good thing; and both Z and Ilguaskas are having terrific seasons. All that’s left is getting Varejao signed, which one hopes happens sooner rather than later.

5) Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Boy does that loss to Illinois hurt. Too painful to write about. They better defeat Michigan or this might go down as one of the most depressing collapses in their fabled history.

6) Ohio State Basketball Buckeyes

The jury is out on this team until further notice, which is as generous an assessment as one can make after they lost to DII Findley. A finish in the upper half of the Big Ten and a 10-7 seed in the NCAAs would represent a good season. Lighty is a beast.

Posted in Aston Villa/English Premier League, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Sports, Ohio State Buckeyes | 10 Comments »

Two Timeouts

Posted by disappointmentzone on 11 November 2007

Illinois played a nearly flawless game, only committed one penalty, held the ball for over 13 minutes in the fourth quarter, rushed for over 200 yards, and blah blah blah. Illinois won. There’s nothing anyone can take away from them. They played better than OSU. Good for them.

Two gripes.

First, what is the point of having replay in college football if a play that resulted in a player fumbling the ball to the other team isn’t reviewed?

The Illinois RB breaks off an 80 yard run, gets knocked down, and apparently fumbles the ball into the endzone from the three yard line. None of the refs are in a position to make a definitive call on the play. The only people who are in position to make the call are the guys in the replay booth. The play should be reviewed.

It’s not as though Illinois could rush up to the line and snap the ball. Both teams had to jog down the field. The refs had to jog down the field. The chains had to be moved. Players had to be substituted. Illinois doesn’t rush the snap. The play clock ticks down towards zero. Still, no sign that the play is being reviewed despite the ample time to review the play.

In fact, there was so much time to review the play that ABC replayed the entire play before the next snap. You know what the ABC replay showed? The RB coughing the ball up as he was fell — a clear fumble.

The replay official should have buzzed down to the field to stop play, but why wasn’t there an assistant coach in Tressel’s ear yelling at him to call timeout so that the replay official would be compelled to review the play? The coaches cannot call for a replay in college football, but they certainly can do all in their powers to get a play reviewed. When your opponent breaks an 80 yard run that sets them up at your three yard line and the replay shows that the guy fumbled the ball — that’s a good time to do everything in your power to get the play reviewed. Calling a timeout is all Tressel had in his arsenal. He needed to call timeout.

Speaking of timeouts, the second gripe is Tressel calling timeout in the fourth quarter when Illinois had fourth and inches. Ron Zook was panicking and rather than risk botching a hastily called fourth down play he sent out his punt team. OSU was going to get the ball back…and then Tressel called a timeout. Was there any doubt that Illinois was going to go for it after gaining an additional minute to think things over? Zook is not a great coach but give him the benefit of another minute and he’ll arrive at the obvious, correct decision. OSU couldn’t stop Williams, the defense was tired from being on the field for basically the entire fourth quarter, Illinois had all the momentum, and a knock-out blow rested on gaining about two inches. Of course Illinois goes for it. Punting the ball was the wrong call. When Tressel called timeout he gave Illinois the opportunity to make the right call.

There is no good argument for calling timeout right there. When Illinois was set to punt all OSU should have cared about was getting the ball back. If there is no one back to return it — so what? If they had no good punt rush — so what? Better to drive 95 yards than risk never getting the ball back. As it turns out OSU never did get the ball back.

Who would have thought the Jim Tressel would be out-coached by Ron Zook? (1)

fn 1: Don’t get me started on the play calling. Inexcusably sub par.

Posted in Cleveland Sports, Ohio State Buckeyes | 3 Comments »


Posted by disappointmentzone on 24 October 2007

The World Series is the last major sports championship in 2007. Thank god. I mean, how much more heartache can a fan take?

* The Ohio State Football Buckeyes get whooped by Florida in the BCS Championship Game

* The Ohio State Basketball Buckeyes get whooped by Florida in the NCAA National Championship

* The Cleveland Cavaliers get whooped by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals

* The Cleveland Indians lose to the Boston Red Sox in the de facto World Series, the 2007 ALCS

2007 has been one of the most rewarding and painful years in recent memory. So many teams have come so close to the sweet taste of glory only to wind up on the wrong end of a trophy presentation. Fortunately we’re out of the woods.

Wait…. What’s that? The BCS standings are in? So what?…. Huh?…. Really?….. Oh…. Good grief!


At the start of the season few people gave the Buckeyes a shot of making a return trip to the BCS Championship, but here we are, eight weeks into the season, and there they are, atop the BCS standings. If there is kindness in the world the Buckeyes will face Boston College in the BCS Championship. Because let’s be real here: LSU is scary.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians, Ohio State Buckeyes | 2 Comments »

OSU #1? Damn straight.

Posted by disappointmentzone on 17 October 2007

The Ohio State Football Buckeyes emerged from the first BCS rankings at #1. They are #1 in both the AP and Coaches’ polls as well. Yet if you were to take a straw poll of AP voters and college football coaches and television pundits you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would unequivocally defend Ohio State as the best team in the country. Most would point to teams like LSU or Oklahoma, coming as they do from conferences that are undeniably better than the Big Ten. Though LSU and Oklahoma have indeed played tougher schedules than the Buckeyes, in a year in which nearly ever team has suffered an unexpected loss to a team coming out of nowhere, why should the relative ease of OSU’s schedule serve as red herring for how good the team actually is?

Is there not an argument to be made that in a season in which Michigan has lost to a D1AA school, USC lost at home to one of the worst teams in college football, Cal lost at home to an unranked Oregon State, Oklahoma lost to unranked Colorado, etc., etc., etc., that avoiding such a crippling and humiliating loss is actually a pretty solid defense of OSU’s current ranking?

A number of writers are trotting out the usual calls for a playoff, using the jumbled mess of the rankings and unpredictability of the season as the catalysts in what is probably the strongest argument from a playoff yet. Parity is the word on everyone’s tongue. The balance of power has shifted to the point where an unranked team knocking off a powerhouse should not be treated as necessarily that surprising. That’s just the age we are living in. Broader media coverage and fewer scholarships are driving athletes to schools that have never been considered elite or, in the case of South Florida, schools that just a few years ago didn’t even have a D1 football program. Parity is the word and it’s the word used to push through a playoff agenda.

I just want to say that no one who points to parity in college football should be allowed to decry OSU’s ranking on the grounds that they haven’t beaten anyone. It’s one or the other, guys. Either the difference between the top programs and the middle programs is so small that the only reasonable way to determine whose the best is to have them play it out on the field OR beating mid-level teams does not justify a high ranking in the BCS. It can’t be both.

Posted in Ohio State Buckeyes | 2 Comments »

Defaulting their way up to #1

Posted by disappointmentzone on 13 October 2007

Congrats to Ohio State for not losing this season. That’s all it took for OSU to land at the top of the polls only seven weeks into the season. USC, LSU, Cal, Oklahoma, Florida, West Virginia, etc., etc., etc. One by one they go toppling down. Unfortunately if the trend continues that means Ohio State will lose within the next two weeks, so let’s hope all the surprises for this college football season are out of the way.

Posted in Ohio State Buckeyes | Leave a Comment »

TV Highlights: Sept 28-30

Posted by disappointmentzone on 28 September 2007

Here’s a quick guide to maximizing your weekend sports viewing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Sports, media, Ohio State Buckeyes | Leave a Comment »

What’s the matter with Kansas? Week 4

Posted by disappointmentzone on 27 September 2007

What’s the matter with Kansas? is the Disappointment Zone’s weekly report on the voting of the 65 media members who cast ballots in the AP Top 25 College Football Poll.

After blowing out a completely underwhelming Northwestern squad last Saturday the Ohio State Football Buckeyes received no extra love in the AP Top 25 poll. They remain stuck at #8 heading into a prime time showdown with uninspiring Minnesota, owners of one of the worst defenses in the country to go along with an offense that shouldn’t exactly strike fear into anyone’s hearts. The game is on the road, though, so maybe with another convincing win the Buckeyes might be able to leapfrog a Texas team that is ranked #7 not for what they’ve done on the field but for where they started ranked in the preseason. Teams 6-1 are all demonstrably better than the Buckeyes, but four of those teams face each other in the coming weeks and so Ohio State are in a position to ride the misfortunes of others and a relatively easy Big Ten schedule to another BCS controversy. The Buckeyes have a legitimate shot at going undefeated but if the current trends hold and two other teams (Oklahoma and LSU, say) go undefeated as well then Buckeye fans can say goodbye to the BCS title game and hello to comparisons to the Auburn team from a few years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in media, Ohio State Buckeyes | Leave a Comment »

Disappointment Zone power rankings

Posted by disappointmentzone on 25 September 2007

Once again it is time to line up our favorite franchises and rate how powerful they are. Our group of sports experts and computer programmers and NASA scientists have been working very hard in a dingy and under ventilated basement somewhere near the Ganges River Delta (hey, if all other American companies outsource to India, why not us?). From their overworked and underpaid (oh yeah!) minds comes the latest in a continuing series of important DZ Power Rankings. Let’s take a look. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Aston Villa/English Premier League, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians, Ohio State Buckeyes | 4 Comments »