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Tipping Points?

[Preface]
A few years ago, writer Malcolm Gladwell burst onto the literary scene with a book entitled Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

In this tome, Gladwell asserts that the rules of existence are defined by isolated events as the transformation of an idea to reality is governed by the interconnectedness of small aspects of the whole.

To Gladwell, patterns are an important aspect of perception. As individuals become more knowledgeable about the particular aspects of a pattern or progression, "tipping points" may be defined to determine when a small idea has exerted its presence to create an eventuality. These triggering points provide the definition and context necessary to perceive the cause or remedy of epidemics and seismic realignment or change.

While the book is incredibly boring and has no overt connection to the game of college football, the abstract concepts underlying Gladwell's illustrations of perception and interconnectedness may be applicable in providing context to Syracuse’s 2005 football season.

Understanding that Coach Robinson is attempting to restore some of the glory that once was Syracuse football, examination of Syracuse's efficiency and production compared to both its opponents and to itself may shed some light on whether the Orange is approaching a "tipping point.”

There doesn't seem to be a magical formula for determining what may or may not be a “tipping point.” Therefore, I have taken the liberty of assembling a series of potentially telling statistical categories and lumped them together for review.

[Methodology]
Unlike many other analytical models, this analysis requires only minimal statistical gymnastics.

Without going into a drawn out methodological explanation, the statistical categories used for this analysis are the small aspects that may or may not be identified as “tipping points.” The Pythagorean values illustrated below serve as the overall picture or reality into which the “tipping points” have a material effect. When the Pythagorean value rises, there must be an explanation, and the explanation is likely found in the rudimentary aspects of the game of football.

[Data]
The data illustrated below certainly does not encompass the full range of statistical categories that could potentially be considered a “tipping point.” The reason the following categories have been considered is their value in illustrating efficiency and production. In viewing output in this fashion, it may be easier to identify material changes in production that could be defined as a “tipping point.”

Reading the tabular data below is fairly easy. The number in parentheses represents Syracuse’s opponent’s production in that particular statistical category. The number not isolated in parentheses represents the value applied to Syracuse’s output.

Legend:
Rushing
Y/R = Yards per rush
P/R = Points per rush

Passing
Y/PA = Yards per pass attempt
Y/PA(D) = Yards per pass attempt (differential)
P/PA = Points per pass attempt
Y/PC = Yards per pass completion
P/PC = Points per pass completion
PC% = Pass completion percentage

Drive Efficiency
Y/D = Yards per drive
DEF = Drive Efficiency Factor
TOB = Total Offensive Benefit
T/D = Turnovers per drive
3D% = 3rd down conversion percentage
RZ = Red Zone Efficiency
FG% = Field goal percentage

Pythagorean
PYT = Syracuse’s Pythagorean value

Tipping Points?
SeasonWVUUBUVAFSUUCONNRUPITTCIN
Rushing
Y/R2.966(3.931)0.692 (3.822)6.327 (1.724)2.222 (6.159)1.452 (3.222)4.353 (5.121)1.757 (2.641)3.324 (3.540)1.300 (3.872)
P/R0.205 (0.172)0.231 (0.000)0.436 (0.000)0.333 (0.273).194 (0.333)0.000 (0.310)0.000 (0.000)0.000 (0.240)0.300 (0.128)
Passing
Y/PA5.847 (6.509)2.742 (6.185)6.318 (2.704)6.615 (5.577)7.560 (11.000)4.032 (3.000)6.719 (7.250)3.423 (7.179)10.962 (6.000)
Y/PA(D)-0.663-3.4433.6141.038-3.441.032 -1.071-3.7554.962
P/PA0.112 (0.226)0.000 (0.000)0.000 (0.000)0.231 (0.231)0.240 (0.500)0.194 (0.000)0.000 (0.429)0.231 (0.214)0.000 (0.375)
Y/PC12.204 (11.795)5.667 (9.824)8.111 (13.9)10.118 (9.063)13.500 (18.000)12.500 (7.500)12.357 (15.615)9.889 (11.167)20.357 (9.375)
P/PC0.233 (0.410)0.000 (0.000)0.000 (0.000)0.353 (0.375)0.429 (0.818)0.600 (0.000)0.000 (0.923)0.667 (0.333)0.000 (0.375)
PC%0.479 (0.552)48.39 (62.96)45.46 (33.33)65.38 (61.54)56.00 (61.11)32.3(40.0)50.0 (46.43)34.62 (64.29)53.85 (64.00)
Drive Efficiency
Y/D17.717 (22.525)6.059 (19.941)32.467 (8.786)21.000 (34.667)15.600 (32.000)17.063 (21.375)13.222 (17.000)12.625 (22.235)30.636 (27.667)
DEF0.809 (1.287)0.034 (0.485)2.706 (0.161)1.75 (1.889)0.233 (2.167)0.672 (1.781)-0.009 (0.75)-0.198 (1.147)2.189 (2.306)
TOB97.167 (157.000)0.583 (8.25)40.583 (2.25)21.000 (22.667)3.500 (34.667)10.750 (28.500)-0.167 (13.500)-3.167 (19.5)24.083 (27.667)
T/D0.167 (0.148)0.118 (0.294)0.000 (0.143)0.000 (0.25)0.267 (0.125)0.188 (0.000)0.278 (0.167)0.313 (0.176)0.091 (0.000)
3D%18.6 (33.33)0.00 (7.14)31.25(17.6)33.33(58.8)26.7 (43.8)20.00(20.00)7.14 (33.33)0.00 (50.00)25.00 (28.57)
RZ1.000 (0.500)1.000 (0.000)1.000 (.8)1.000 (0.667)0.000 (1.000)0.667 (0.000)1.000 (0.667)1.000 (0.667)
FG%0.5833 (0.667)0.000 (0.667)0.333 (0.000)1.000 (1.000)0.000 (0.500)0.000 (1.000)0.750 (0.500)0.333 (0.667)1.000 (0.000)
Pythagorean
PYT0.263

[Analysis]
NOTE: The season totals are through the Cincinnati game.

West Virginia Game Analysis
Buffalo Game Analysis
Virginia Game Analysis

17 Responses to “Tipping Points?”

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  2. # Anonymous Matt Glaude

    Actually, Gladwell's book is premised on social change, in whatever form it may take.

    So, I guess you could argue that a "tipping points" analysis could be used in all aspects of social activity.  

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