Podcast: Brian Fremeau on FEI College Football Rankings, Notre Dame

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, I’m joined by Brian Fremeau, creator of the FEI college football rankings based on points per possession. Among other topics, we discuss:

  • The game that so infuriated him that he started digging into college football numbers
  • How his points per possession approach back in 2003 was way ahead of its time
  • How he started writing for Football Outsiders and ESPN
  • A prediction for Notre Dame at Michigan State by both FEI and The Power Rank
  • The data visualization book that every data scientist should have

After the interview, I discuss how at this point in the season you have to balance a small sample size of games with preseason expectations, and how this applies to Duke at North Carolina. Listen at 29:02.

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Podcast: Drew Martin on Predicting College Football for Small Schools

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, I welcome Drew Martin from Sports Book Review. He’s also my co-host on the new show Man vs Machine, where we contrast his football based approach to handicapping with my numbers.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • Why he decided to leave JP Morgan to enter the sports world
  • How being a first team all county QB at a Florida high school helps his handicapping
  • His process for studying teams from the Sun Belt, Conference USA and the MAC
  • How the show Man vs Machine originated
  • The Florida team Drew thinks will have value in the markets

After the interview, I do my own segment on small sample size, and how it might affect the NFL games you want to watch in Week 2. Listen at 22:30.

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The reason you can’t avoid the curse of small sample size

Cincinnati opened the 2017 season with Austin Peay, a FCS team that went in 0-11 the previous year. It didn’t result in the expected blow out, as Cincinnati only won 26-14.

In contrast, Michigan looked good in their opener against Florida. It didn’t seem like Cincinnati had a chance in traveling to the Big House for week 2.

Instead, Cincinnati made it a game, as they trailed only 17-14 late in the third quarter before Michigan pulled away.

The Texas defense got gashed in their first game, allowing upstart Maryland to gain 8.3 yards per play. It seemed like miracle worker turned Texas coach Tom Herman had lost his touch in a 51-41 loss.

However, the Texas defense shut out San Jose State in week 2. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise, given that the defense ranked 34th in my adjusted yards per play in 2016 and brought back lots of talent.

The curse of small sample size. You know you shouldn’t make a quick judgment, even if you watched every play.

But somehow we all have problems with this.

In my article The Reason You Can’t Avoid The Curse of Small Sample Size, I discuss the human psychology behind why we have such a difficult relationship with randomness. It involves the very trait that makes us most human.

To check out the article, click here.

It also have some hilarious anecdotes from my volunteer teaching at the Summers-Knoll School in Ann Arbor.

Man vs Machine, College Football Week 2, 2017

Drew Martin of Sports Book Review is the man, I’m the machine. We discuss college football handicapping from different perspectives.

This week, we break down:

  • Hawaii at UCLA
  • San Jose State at Texas
  • Buffalo at Army

I’m really enjoying this show, and I particularly like the strength of Drew’s convictions on the game we disagree on.

Podcast: Bill Connelly on College Football Predictions for Week 2, 2017

It might as well be New Year’s Day with this week’s college football games.

  • Oklahoma at Ohio State
  • Stanford at USC
  • Auburn at Clemson
  • Georgia at Notre Dame

On the latest episode of The Football Analytics Show, I discuss the predictions for these games with Bill Connelly, college football analytics expert and SB Nation writer extraordinaire.

In addition to breaking down these games, we also discuss how he has written a preview for each FBS team for seven years running. Bill also describes his research on the importance of success rate in predicting football games.

After the interview with Bill, I come back with a short segment on the Oakland Raiders, a team that I think the markets have wrong. Listen at 36:00.

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