Friday, September 20, 2013

Realignment gap conference poster for NESSIS

Check out this post on the new version of Rink Stats. Tomorrow I'm going to be doing a poster presentation about the work on NHL realignment at the New England Symposium on Statistics in Sports. The conference is hosted by the Harvard Statistics Department and should be really fun. There's presentations about just about every sport, as well as discussions with people who have worked in statistics departments for teams.

Here's a bigger version of the poster that's easier to read. And check out my original post about my realignment work here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Should college football teams ever bring kickoffs out of the endzone?

Check out this post on the new version of Rink Stats.
The end of the summer was pretty busy for me, so I haven't had time to do any posts on here. But I'm back now, although with a short post about something that's not hockey related. Hopefully you'll still find it interesting.

While watching college football with friends last weekend, I was reminded of how frustrated I get when teams bring kickoffs out of the endzone but don't have at least a 25 yard return. For anybody unfamiliar with college football rules, any player who catches a kickoff in the endzone can kneel down, and his team will start their drive on the 25 yard line (20 in the NFL). The player also has the option to run the ball out of the endzone, and his team starts their next drive where he is tackled.

The main question here is, should a kick returner ever bring the ball out of the endzone, if he catches it there? If the average length of kickoff returns that start in the endzone is at least 25 yards, then it probably makes sense to run the ball out. If the average length is less than 25 yards, then he probably should kneel down and take the 25 free yards. From some basic analysis, I find some pretty compelling results that suggest that the latter strategy should be the dominant one. Specifically, I show that about two-thirds of all kickoff returns that start in the endzone do not make it to the 25.