Fun with Numbers: Danny Kanell-Style

I think the biggest difference between most college football analysts and us is that they get paid.  Danny Kanell helps to prove that point today.

So, Kanell believes Wisconsin’s Montee Ball’s numbers “blow away” Trent Richardson’s and that Ball faced better defenses.  Let’s just check it out to see if he’s right.

According to College Football Statistic’s, here are the numbers for both Ball and Richardson:

Ball’s numbers are indeed a bit better, but in no way blow Richardson’s away.  Ball has rushed for a mere 39 more yards than Richardson, which tranlates to a paltry 3.25 yards per game.  Richardson has run the ball 15 more times and averages .52 yards per less per carry.  Ball, meanwhile, has also scored 34 total touchdowns (29 rushing, 4 passing) to Richardson’s 23 (20 rushing, 3 receiving).

To be sure, these numbers are incredible for both players – especially the scoring numbers.  But do Ball’s “blow away” Richardson’s?  Hardly.

What about the assertion that Ball has played better defenses, too?  Well, that’s just baloney.

Take a look at these total defense rankings for each team’s opponent’s:


UNLV – 106
Oregon St. – 83
Northern Illinois – 91
South Dakota – n/a
Nebraska – 36
Indiana – 110
Michigan State – 3
Ohio State – 23
Purdue – 68
Minnesota – 77
Illinois – 8
Penn State – 11


Kent State – 19
Penn State – 11
North Texas – 105
Arkansas – 51
Florida – 10
Vanderbilt – 19
Mississippi – 88
Tennessee – 28
LSU – 2
Mississippi State – 42
Georgia Southern – n/a
Auburn 78

Total those defensive rankings up for their opponents and Wisconsin’s adds to 616 and Alabama’s 453.  That’s a fancy way of saying Wisconsin played easier defenses than Alabama did.

For further proof, note that Alabama and Wisconsin each played three top-11 defenses, but Alabama played six top 30 squads, while Wisconsin only played four.

And don’t forget that Richardson had 169 yards from scrimmage vs. the no. 1 team in the nation, LSU.

Like I said, they only difference between us and most analysts is that they get paid.