As I wait for the S&P stats to roll out for this week, I ran across and interesting article which got me thinking of an idea that many of us have thought about and certainly has been discussed throughout Corn Nation:
The Quarterback Position.
A hot topic issue at any school and certainly the case at Nebraska, I ran across the following article of Total Quarterback Rating: QBR and Winning Percentage
Grading a QB is typically a pretty tough job but many like to at least go with the QBR as a pretty good indicator of success and most would typically agree that while you don't HAVE to have a great QB to win big, it sure helps if you do.
This brings us to the article and Nebraska. The article proves the above sentiment to be correct. Football is a team game and the QB is just another spot on the team. Teams have won throughout history without great ones, it is possible, but it is easier to win with a great one and the teams with good QBR ratings tend to win more.
That brought me to Nebraska. Some love Taylor. Some loathe Taylor. Personally, when he bust onto the scene, I was enamored with the potential if used correctly. However, how did he rate out in his years and what winning percentage did that correlate to and what should it have been, based on the numbers?
Then, I wanted to look at the always second guessed Bo Pelini. Many, including myself, wondered what his teams might look like if he put a guy under center who wasn't recruited by most major programs as a safety?
What the Article Said
It kind of said what some might of thought. In fact, in 2009, the year before Martinez took over, we had a team QBR of 32.1 which translated out to about a 32.2% expected winning percentage with a rating like that. Of course, that year we went 10-4, lost the debacle of the Texas game in Big XII Title game and went on to shut out Arizona in the Holiday Bowl game proclaiming many to say we were back. Bo won 71.4% of the games and way over achieved with what our QB play gave us. (We won't touch play calling of course, that factors in as you all know!). By the way, that is the 3rd highest of scores since 2009 which this article dates back to meaning for that year, Bo coached his butt off and overachieved, or so that's what this stat would tell you. In 2009, most would agree.
The Martinez Era
2010 - With Taylor Martinez at the helm, we jumped from #108 in 2009, to #42 in 2010 with a rating of 58.7 (this includes all QB snaps, not just Taylor by the way). That was a winning percentage expected to be about 59%. The Huskers went 10-4 again that year, winning 71.4% of the games for the 2nd year running, coming up just short in the Title Game again and being defeated in the rematch against Washington. Still an overachieving year, according to the numbers with the QB we got.
2011 - We took a drop back the next year in overall rating dropping to #52 in the nation with a rating of 56.5 which said we should have had an expected winning percentage of approximately 57%. If you'll recall, that was our first endeavor into the B1G and we went 9-4 winning 69% of our games. By the numbers, a slight over achievement but not sure many were thinking that when we were living it.
2012 - Last year saw the QB position take a jump back up, which you could see with your eyes and didn't need a rating to tell you that though it may not have been as big as you'd thought as it was filled with inconsistent showings. In the end, it was ranked at #44 with a 63.2 and 65% expected winning clip. We again won at a 71% clip going 10-4, getting routed in the title game this time around and losing the bowl game. Taylor, to his credit, did have the #26 and #33 best individual performances against Ark St and Minnesota respectively but it wasn't enough to really jump up.
2013 - Obviously this year is far from a finished product at this point. We've played 3 QBs, one of them on a full-time basis, so it is hard to completely base anything off where we are right now. Our team rating has us at 69.7 which would be the highest of any of the previous years we've looked at but we still have the bulk, and grit, of our schedule remaining.
Martinez, as an individual, sits at 73.6 and is the only one qualified for the rankings based on minimum snaps taken. Ron Kellogg III doesn't have enough snaps yet to qualify for the rankings but if he did, he'd be leading the B1G at 89.9 and Tommy Armstrong sits at 54.6 who dropped like a rock after that Purdue performance.
As far as individual games, Tommy holds the highest qualified individual score with an 88.8 against SDSU which good for 6th best in the B1G this year. He also comes in 11th against Illinois with a 84.6. Martinez checks in at #18 against easily the best defense in UCLA with a 78.9, #23 against USM with a 72.1 and #26 against Wyoming with a 67.1 rating.
What Does It All Mean?
Well, Bo-Lievers could certainly take this and use it to say that he is coaching well despite substandard play of a Top-25 QB at this point. Of course, the counter-point to that would be to ask who recruited the QB position and continues to put players out there that might not be the best fit for what this team needs.
Either way, it is an interesting thing to look at, that is for certain and something that brings up a good discussion topic.
Team Ranks For The Rest of the B1G
- Ohio State - #23
- Michigan - #30
- Nebraska - #32
- Northwestern - #46
- Indiana - #54
- Illinois - #56
- Minnesota - #59
- Iowa - #62
- Wisconsin - #75
- Penn State - #79
- Michigan State - #84
- Purdue - #121