Thursday, February 17, 2011

Above Average Averages

Marcellus Wiley led Columbia's top overall defense in 1996, (but Harvard was tops against the run)

A reader commenting on my list of the leading Ivy League rush defenses since 1992 asked whether the overall rushing yardage misers each season were also the top teams when it comes to fewest yards allowed per carry.

In all but two cases, the overall rushing defense leader was also the leader when comes to fewest yards allowed per carry.

The two instances occurred just two years apart and they involved the same two teams, Harvard and Penn. In both cases, Harvard was the overall rushing defense leader, but Penn actually allowed fewer yards per carry.

Here’s the year by year breakdown:

2010: Penn 2.4

2009: Penn 2.1

2008: Brown 2.6

2007: Harvard 2.5

2006: Harvard 2.2

2005: Cornell 2.5

2004: Cornell 2.9

2003: Penn 2.7

2002: Penn 1.9

2001: Penn 2.0

2000: Harvard 3.3

1999: Penn 2.4* (Harvard overall rushing defense leader)

1998: Princeton 2.1

1997: Penn 2.2* (Harvard overall rushing defense leader)

1996: Harvard 2.4

1995: Dartmouth 2.8

1994: Penn 2.7

1993: Penn 2.4

1992: Princeton 2.2

It’s interesting to note that a YPC average of about 2.5 usually gets a team the top spot in the league. Columbia came close to that number in 2008 when its rush defense allowed just 2.7 yards per carry. The Lions went 2-8 that season, but the defense was really not to blame and certainly not the rush defense. Remember that Columbia lost four games that year by a touchdown or less.


At Thu Feb 17, 08:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 1996 uniforms looked better and tougher than the ones we have now, and maybe that helped them to an 8-2 record. Time for a throwback!

At Thu Feb 17, 10:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the 1996 uniform looks tougher because Marcellus Wiley was wearing it! Seriously though, I remember that picture - they used it on a program cover.

At Thu Feb 17, 01:29:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning the uniforms. For no good reason that was ever explained to alumni, the uniforms were changed some years back to virtually eliminate the "blue" from the light blue-and-white.
I have no idea why. Blue has aways been our hallmark color. Now you have to look hard to find any. Even the helmets became white instead of blue. That really killed the whole thing. I'd like the previous uniforms revived. I wouldn't call it a throwback, just a return to our standard that should never have been changed.

At Thu Feb 17, 06:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know where the previous poster gets the idea that the blue has been virtually eliminated. Maybe in the away white uniforms, but the home unis still have too much light blue, not enough black or navy to toughen things up like in the pic of Marcellus. Let's bring back the black-bordered stripe on the helmet and pants, or get a new designer who's up to the challenge of making light blue and white more rugged-looking than it is now. Anybody in the AD listening?

At Thu Feb 17, 08:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smirf blue definitely needs to be changed. Even the Detroit Lions have realized the light blue scheme looks bad and just doesn't work. Just a change to a dark blue which I think their practice uniforms are would be great.

At Thu Feb 17, 09:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous ungvar said...

Nice to see that the City Planning Commission has approved 11-1 Columbia's Baker Field upgrades. Next on to the City Council for approval (which is all but assured) and then construction can begin. We'll finally get the weight room our athletes need not to mention the football suite that should help in the recruiting process.

At Thu Feb 17, 10:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our color is Columbia Blue.
Leave navy blue for Yale and Penn and black for Princeton.

Did Lawrence Taylor and Michael Jordan look like smurfs at North Carolina? Do light blue jerseys take away from the manly brilliance of Argentine greats Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta and Lionel Messi?

Carmelo Anthony now wears Columbia Blue jerseys in Denver. Bo Jackson wore light blue in Kansas City.

Something tells me that the color doesn't make the man.

At Thu Feb 17, 11:04:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I was the original commentator who suggested looking at rushing yards per carry in addition to yards per game. Thank you for your fine follow-up research.

Obviously, the second round of analysis supports your original contention that a great rushing defense is highly correlated with Ivy championships. Your first cut at the data was not simply a result of the fact that winning teams will run the ball in the second half of games and force their opponents to the air.

At Fri Feb 18, 04:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with the poster who says Columbia blue is our color and we should be proud of it!

How many of you correct people when they say "light blue" or they say our color is the same as Carolina's? I always make sure they know Columbia Blue is its own color and that Carolina Blue is entirely different!

At Fri Feb 18, 06:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article on incoming freshman quarterback and his classmates at Friendship Collegiate: Percef


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