Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Empirical Data! (for real this time)


Already a miracle worker

After Columbia's disastrous 2013 season, (even by the worst Columbia historical standards), fans calling for major changes were told by then-Head Coach Pete Mangurian that "empirical data" proved the program was getting better. 

Of all the insults and delusional statements we had to endure from 2013-14, that was possibly the worst. 

But now that Al Bagnoli and his staff have thankfully taken over, what can we say about the real empirical evidence of improvement from 2015? 

As it turns out, we can say a lot. I admit this post has been a long time coming from me as it probably would have been best to document much earlier the amazing statistical improvements we saw last year compared to 2013 and 2014. Getting two wins in a season after two straight 0-10 records doesn't tell much of the story. The numbers you're about to see do.

Let's start with the real eye-popper. In 2013 Columbia had 519 net rushing yards. In 2014 that number moved slightly higher to 556. In 2015 the Lions rushed for 1,402 net yards, a 170.1% increase from 2013 and 152.1% increase from 2014. Amazing. 

Columbia scored just 73 points in 2013 and 103 points in 2014. The 143 points the Lions scored in 2015 are a 95.8% increase over 2013 and a 38.8% increase from 2014. 

Columbia averaged 24 minutes and 44 seconds per game in time of possession in 2013, and 28:40 in 2014. In 2015, the Lions held the ball for an average of 33:31 per game. That was a 35.5% improvement from 2013 and a 16.9% improvement over 2014. 

In 2013 Columbia converted just 17% of its 3rd downs, and just 28% in 2014. In 2015, that number jumped to a respectable 36%.

There was one offensive stat that fell compared to 2014, but not compared to 2013. In 2013, the Lions passed for 1,524 yards. In 2014, that number jumped to 2,185 yards, but fell to 1,565 yards last year. Of course, Columbia's strong turnaround in rushing the ball was the biggest factor in that but improving those passing numbers will still be a priority in 2016. 

Now to defense. And on that front, all the categories showed serious improvement. 

In 2013 Columbia allowed 5,141 total yards. In 2014 the Lions gave up 4,945. In 2015 that number plummeted to 2,901, which was 43.5% down from 2013 and 41.3% down from 2014. 

In 2013 Columbia allowed 2,429 rushing yards and an even worse 2,534 yards in 2014. In 2015 the Lions allowed just 1,032 rushing yards, down 55.9% from 2013 and 59.2% from 2014. 

In 2013 Columbia allowed 2,712 passing yards and 2,411 in 2014. That was down to 1,869 yards in 2015, a reduction of 31% from 2013 and 22.4% in 2014.

Columbia allowed 402 points in 2013 and 389 points in 2014. That fell to 198 points in 2015, a 50.7% decrease from 2013 and a 49.1% drop from 2014.

In 2013 Columbia allowed opponents to convert on 3rd down 43% of the time. That got worse in 2014 as opponents had a 47% 3rd down conversion rate. In 2015, that dropped to just 27%.

Finally, Columbia's turnover ratio has been improving too. In 2013 it was minus-15. In 2014 it was minus-14. In 2015 it was minus-10.

Just take a second and consider these numbers. They are stunning by any objective measure. I know we all wanted more wins last season, but these statistical improvements are beyond anything anyone could have hoped for. To make a similar set of statistical improvements on a percentage basis, Columbia would basically have to lead the league in every major offensive and defensive category.

So congratulations to Coach Bagnoli, his staff, and the players he so clearly inspired to transcend all reasonable expectations for improvement. Not many people outside of Columbia recognize what you have already done, but maybe now they will. 


oldlion said...

what makes this even more striking is that, with a few notable exceptions, this was done with Mangurian's former players.

LionAlum76 said...

Thoughts on the new 40 yardline kickoff rule? Effectively ends KO and KOR teams which is sad for the players who's main role on the team is contributing on those plays. We didn't have much firepower on Kickoff Return besides Fordham anyways so shouldn't hurt the team.

Alex S. said...

Thanks for the stats, Jake, which quantify what we all saw last season. Bottom line is that we were competitive in 9 of 10 games, which was a giant leap forward.
Alex Sachare

Chen1982 said...

We all saw the turn around in attitude, competitiveness and two actual wins....question is how many more wins will this system and these coaches and players produce this year. With the league growing more competitive, need to manage our expectations as to the pace of W/L improvememt

RLB said...

Yale at Columbia for night game on Oct. 28, 7:00