Success Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be

Primetime blowouts, final Elo ratings, and a new article on why success ain't everything

Good morning and happy Thursday. Alabama are the 2020 National Champions, and that does it for a unique and difficult season. We’ll tidy some things up in this newsletter and then call it a wrap.

Kirk and Chris put on a brave face

It became a running joke by the end of the year that if Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler were calling the game, it was bound to be a blowout. Week after week, their games were out of hand by the second half, and sometimes the second quarter. This led to people blaming the year 2020, COVID, opt-outs, and anything else they could for an uncompetitive season.

As it turns out, every other game outside of primetime was more competitive, not less, in terms of margin of victory, than the previous season. The games in the primetime slots were blowouts, and that left an impression on fans that will affect how we remember the 2020 season forever.

While the primetime games were blowouts, the overall 2020 season was actually more competitive in terms of margin of victory than last year.

Final Elo Ratings

With the season finally complete, we present to you our final Top 25 based on Elo Ratings. As we said on the podcast, this Alabama team didn’t eclipse the highest Elo rating ever (of 2018 Alabama), despite being thrown in the ring as “best college football team ever”, a title I’m pretty confident is given to every national champion every year.

Despite not hitting the highest rating ever (you’d need a very long win-streak to do that), they did have the biggest separation from the field in terms of standard deviations above the average college football team’s Elo rating in a season, at 2.59. So they set themselves apart from the pack, and I think we can all agree it certainly felt that way by the end of the season. Nobody was beating ‘Bama.

Help us get better next season

Whether you’re a Staturdays podcast listener or not, we’d love to hear from you to get some feedback on how we did and what you want from us next season. It’ll take approximately 60-90 seconds, or your money back. We appreciate y’all.

Success Rate depends on the team

Check out Drew’s new article up on the site right now. Everyone talks about 3rd down conversion rate, but nobody talks about how long you have to go in the first place. That led Drew to investigate which teams get into the best situations on 3rd downs, and which teams convert best from different distances.

What else to look out for

Tomorrow, we’ll have an article up asking the question: Was the 2020 College Football Season a Success? We’ll analyze as much of the good and the bad that came from playing de jure amateur sports during a pandemic. It’s a long read, but I think it’s pretty thorough and fair. Let us know your thoughts (I’m sure you will) on Twitter after it’s out.

During the offseason, we’ll be posting articles covering topics we didn’t have time to get to during the season. Well also be working on improving a lot of our stats and offerings for next year.

Once again, we appreciate every one of our readers of this newsletter, and look forward to reconnecting on Twitter soon, and in your inbox again next season. Until then, have a great offseason and stay safe.

— Kyle