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P is for Pythagorized

After authoring this essay, I decided to engage in some hardcore rumination. Nothing earth shattering, but interesting nonetheless.

Considering the Syracuse football squad "overachieved" in 2004 by a single game, I was curious as to what the legacy of Paul Pasqualoni would be when viewed through the lens of the Pythagorean Model.

The Pythagorean Model, for the uniniated, creates a forecasting of the final record of a particular club by examining the differential between points scored and points scored against. It was created by uber genius Bill James, but has been applied to many sports by uber geeky James clones. Essentially, the model creates a benchmark that each team should reach. If the benchmark is not reached, a team is deemed to have underperformed; if the benchmark is surpassed, a team is deemed to have overperformed.

Got it? Great.

Special thanks goes out to James Howell for compiling all the record and points data. Without his diligent efforts, this affirmation of Pasqualoni's ineptitude would never had occurred.

Note: Unlike my previous post regarding the Pythagorean Model, the following includes post-season numbers.

Paul Pasqualoni - Pythagorized!

The record on Pasqualoni is really perplexing.

At the outset of Pasqualoni's tenure, Syracuse was the consummate overachiever. It would natually be assumed that a team would go through some growing pains under the watchful eye of an immature head coach. However, Syracuse never had that problem. With overachievement values in each of Pasqualoni's first four seasons, Coach P found ways to wins games he shouldn't have.

And then, for some unknown reason, it all evaporated at precisely the time it shouldn't have.

From 1995 up until 2001 Syracuse became chronic underachievers. Generally, it is reasonable to believe that teams tend to go into underachieving slumps when a team is unable to put great athletes onto the field. This may be due to poor recruiting, injuries, or other associated variables.

However, from 1995 through 2000, Syracuse may have had its strongest and most resiliant crop of pure athletes since the glory days of Ben Schwatzwalder. With McNabb, Johnson, Konrad, Mungro, and the rest, Syracuse's underachievement can't be blamed on lack of talent. There's only one explanation.

Congratulations, Coach P!

Now, this isn't saying that Coach P didn't put together nice seasons from 1995 through 2000. He did. Over that period, P went 48-24 for a .667 winning percentage. However, what the Pythagorean Model shows is that things should have been better virtually every year during that time.

Imagine the position Syracuse would have been in had those teams won just one more game each season. That's how powerhouses stay at the top; those teams are not plagued with long streaks of underachievement.

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