VPFL Draft

It’s at 5:30, not 7 PM. Just a reminder.

Changing odds

It wasn’t all that long ago when I wrote of my assumption that the Republicans were going to take the House and might take the Senate as well, thus leading to Obama’s eventual implosion in the 2012 Democratic primary. More than a few critics said that I was crazy. Of course, once it happens, everyone will believe that it was practically inevitable.

Typically cautious Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, is rocking the political world with a new “Crystal Ball” prediction: The GOP will win the House, making Ohio’s John Boehner speaker, might get a 50-50 split in the Senate, and will pick up some eight new governors.

The winds at Republican backs are more favorable than they were in 1994. If the idiot Republican establishment can merely avoid falling over their own feet and embrace the anti-government mood instead of attempting to tamp it down, they’ll clean up. But never underestimate Republican self-destruction.

It’s just about that time

Football Outsiders offers a refresher course in NFL statisticology:

You run when you win, not win when you run.

The first article ever written for Football Outsiders was devoted to debunking the myth of “establishing the run.” There is no correlation whatsoever between giving your running backs a lot of carries early in the game and winning the game. Just running the ball is not going to help a team score; it has to run successfully.

There are two reasons why nearly every beat writer and television analyst still repeats the tired oldschool mantra that “establishing the run” is the secret to winning football games. The first problem is confusing cause and effect. There are exceptions, usually when the opponent is strong in every area except run defense, like last year’s New Orleans Saints. However, in general, winning teams have a lot of carries because their running backs are running out the clock at the end of wins, not because they are running wild early in games.

The second problem is history. Most of the current crop of NFL analysts came of age or actually played the game during the 1970s. They believe that the run-heavy game of that decade is how football is meant to be, and today’s pass-first game is an aberration. As we addressed in an essay in Pro Football Prospectus 2007 about the history of NFL stats, it was actually the game of the 1970s that was the aberration. The seventies were far more slanted towards the run than any era since the arrival of Paul Brown, Otto Graham, and the Cleveland Browns in 1946. Optimal strategies from 1974 are not optimal strategies for today’s game.

And yes, I am very, very nervous about going into the 2010 NFL season with The Tavaris Jackson Experiment as the confirmed backup QB to a man who is on the verge of entering George Blanda territory. Come to think of it, I’d be more comfortable if it was George Blanda backing up Favre and he’s 83 years old.

VPFL UPDATE: It shouldn’t be necessary to worry about the exclusions in the VPFL draft tonight. Yahoo has added the ability to specify keepers and I have done so for everyone. Blackmouth is not keeping anyone, the Meerkats have only one keeper, and Winston is keeping two. The other seven teams are all keeping three.