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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fun With Numbers: The David Hale Curse

Since I announced I was leaving, I've had several of you inquire as to where you might find some other quality Georgia bloggery (I just made that word up). While I think there are plenty of good options (UGA fans are very lucky in that respect) and I'm feeling certain that the person taking over for me will pick up the slack (hey, everyone who loved David Ching thought I was gonna suck, too), I'd say that you'll be hard-pressed to find a more astute observer of all things Red and Black than our pal T Kyle King over at Dawg Sports.

To wit, his take on my departure, which you can read HERE.

To summarize, however, here is King's basic theory:

"To recap, things were good for Georgia, then David Hale was hired, then everything immediately started to suck, then David Hale announced he was leaving, then everything immediately started to get better. Coincidence? I think not!"

Harsh? Perhaps. I mean, I didn't hire Willie Martinez as Georgia's DC, I just happened to cover much of his tenure. But then again... part of what I've tried to do with this blog is to dig deeper rather than accept or dismiss an argument at face value. So, one last time, let's dig into the numbers...

As some of you South Georgians may recall, I covered UGA (although not via a blog) for The Albany Herald during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Then, after a year molding young minds as a journalism instructor, I returned for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. So, I figured we could go ahead and compare the Mark Richt era with me on the beat and without me on the beat to see if Mr. King's theory holds water.

First, Georgia's defense...

w/o Dave
Plays Faced 3314 4312
Yds Allowed
15,900 20,076
Yards/Play 4.80 4.65
Yards/Game 305.8 308.9

Then, the offense...

Stat w/Davew/o Dave
Plays 3205 4566
Yards 19,384 25,621
Yards/Play 6.05 5.61
Yards/Game 372.8 394.1

Hmm... this is pretty curious, eh? It would appear that during my time covering the team, the defense surrendered more yards per play -- but certainly not much more, and actually allowed fewer yards per game. On the other hand, the offense was more efficient, adding almost half-a-yard per play, but (in large part due to an NCAA rules chance) ran fewer plays per game.

But those are the underlying stats. Let's look at what matters.

w/o Dave
Pts/Game 28.77 ppg
29.46 ppg
Pts Allowed/Game 21.1 ppg 17.0 ppg
W-L (Pct)
36-15 (.706)
53-12 (.815)

So, let's look at this analytically. Without me on the beat, Georgia's offensive efficiency declined (ypp) and their defensive efficiency was only .15 ypp better. And yet, when we turn those into the raw numbers on the scoreboard, Georgia scored .75 more points per game without me around, and held opponents to four fewer points per game. But even those numbers wouldn't seem nearly as dramatic as the final results: An .815 winning percentage when I'm otherwise occupied, and just a .706 winning percentage when I'm covering the games.

This is tough to explain, and when the underlying stats simply don't add up to the final result, there's a clear indication that there is some larger force at work. And, I'm afraid, Mr. King has it right. That larger force is me. (And thanks to UGA's press box food, that force gets larger each year.)

Couple that with the fact that the basketball team has been brutal for much of my time here, the baseball team just had its worst season ever (and as Kyle notes, dropped its last two games in the CWS after my initial offer) and Georgia's football team is 0-4 against Florida during my tenure, and the evidence gets even more damning.

So there you have it, folks. Mark Richt doesn't need to be canned. Heck, maybe Willie Martinez could have turned things around if I had just left town a year earlier. In fact, I probably owe an apology to Bryan Evans for ruining his career. (I'm not sure, but I think Matthew Stafford left a year early in large part because he didn't like me, too.)

But all of this should be a nice little silver lining for those disappointed by my departure. It can only help the team.

Oh, and as a side note, I first began talking to my new employer about the Phillies gig in mid-May. Here are the Phillies numbers since May 18.

StatBefore May 18
After May 18
Games scoring
3 runs or less
13 20
Runs/game 5.73 3.71
Win-Loss 24-13 (.649)
15-19 (.441)

You're welcome, Braves fans.


UGA69Dawg said...

Well that explains our record against Vandy, Kentucky and the butt whippings UT has put on us.

Good Luck destroying the Phillies. Thanks for all the hard work it has been great to read your blog.

JRL said...

Any possibility you will be hired to cover the Gators?

Anonymous said...

You're close enough to cover the Mets too.

Kathleen said...

Love it! Like I said, your ticket to see Georgia play in the SEC championship game is on me as a thank you for making it possible...

ChicagoDawg said...

Sweeeet!!! A two-fer

CSA said...

Many a fan, including myself, lurked here, devoutedly reading your posts but never really contributing with comments. But your blog never went unappreciated, as it was always refreshing to read articles written by an outsider. Thank you so much, and you will be missed!

Anonymous said...

Here's one of your faithful readers who thinks King is a pontificating blowhard that believes intellectual superiority oozes out of every pore of his body, and very little else. Unfortunately, all fan bases have them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:02 I thought I was alone with that particular thought..............

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Trinton Sturdivant would love to hear this news.

Carter said...

5:02 & 7:58,

You are not alone. Kyle uses the maximum amount of verbiage to get a point across. I can only assume his style is some form of unrelenting intellectual exercise/ mental masturbation. I've always valued brevity. I respect Kyle's knowledge and he seems like good people, but his lawyerly prose are as fun to read as an instruction manual. I recommend the Senator, where I only have to skip past anytime he mentions the BCS in order to completely enjoy his work.

Muckbeast said...

2005 and 2006 don't count because you didn't have this blog.

Rerun the numbers now! :)

dawg1976 said...

Damn Yankee... get the hell out of town.

I never really liked you anyway

Anonymous said...

Please take Mark Richt with you!

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. But 2005 was the last year UGA won the SEC, and it was all down hill after that, UGA just cannot have that one small break or lucky bounce of the ball.

Thank you for your great blogs however.

Anonymous said...

To add to this supertitious crap, this may be the year that Sturdivant may finally be healthy -- may a sign of a lucky bounce of the ball this time around.

Anonymous said...

@anon hmmm...guess you have to know him to appreciate his style.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing a very good job while here, David. You will be successful at whatever you choose to do.

Anonymous said...

Phillies have been playing horrible baseball, as I said, and I cannot wait to hear what you actually have to say about their fans - the worst fans in all of sports.

There is no reason why we cannot go 12-2 this up-coming season, with only 1 ranked team on the schedule # 5 Florida.

I actually liked your blog - you dug deep like this blog and presented the facts whether we liked it or not - but, T. Kyle King and Bluto never have the news of the day, if they do their title for their blog has nothing to do with what their point is and they are always wrong on football.

Except your statement that Vandie and LSU are exactly equivalent football teams this coming 2010 season, you actually are right about Bulldogs' Football.

When you get up there to Filthadelphia, their fans will only be more knowledgeable about why they are so miserable. Anyway, it is not July 17 yet.

RC said...

YOU SUCK, HALE! Not really, but I just couldn't let you escape without at least one of those. You will be missed, as has been well-chronicled here.

Speaking of about that season premiere of Entourage last night???

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this blog at the beginning of the last season. It's been a pleasure to read. I was especially a big fan of your in game blogging. You had me laughing out loud many times. :)

Anonymous said...


I appreciate all that you have done covering the Bulldogs. I honestly do not know what I am going to do in my free time. I appreciate you answering all of my questions about the Bulldogs. I agree with JRL that you should go work for the Gators...

But good luck to you and I am going to miss your posts.