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Missouri underachieved its likely win total last year. That, uh, probably needs to change in 2017.

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

I posted my annual coaching overachievers and underachievers list at Football Study Hall yesterday. It basically compares year-end win totals to the win totals the stats thought were most likely (i.e. the Second-Order Wins listed on each team’s stat profile).

For preview purposes, I note when teams strayed pretty far from their win expectations, one way or the other, and in 2016 two teams strayed really far from expectations: Idaho overachieved by 2.3 wins, and Notre Dame underachieved by 3.2 wins, the fourth-highest (lowest?) in 12 years.

From year to year, this is a sign of randomness. The teams on the extreme ends are all but guaranteed to regress (or progress) toward the mean the next year. Notre Dame was the fourth team to underachieve its second-order win total by at least three games; the other Power 5 team on that list: 2013 TCU, which improved from 4-8 to 12-1 the next season.

Win Expectancy mostly addresses the randomness in results. But over time, it can tell us a little bit about certain coaches.

As I noted a couple of years ago, the coaches at the top and bottom of this list tend to be the ones fans say are particularly good or bad coaches..

Basically, my postgame Win Expectancy figure says “With these stats, you could have expected to win this game X% of the time.” I can then add up those percentages and then look at how many wins you were most likely to have at the end of the year. It’s my version of the Pyhagorean record.

The Overachievers list is basically the Bill Snyder list — Snyder and Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo always overachieve by about a game each year. Kevin Wilson, former Indiana head coach, was likely to underachieve by about a game.

On average, Gary Pinkel tended to overachieve by about half a game, which put him in the 91st percentile. Over his last three seasons, Mizzou overachieved by about 1.2 games per year, right up there with Snyder and Niu. There was both good fortune and good coaching involved.

The list doesn’t include one-year coaches, so Barry Odom’s not on there; that’s good for him because Mizzou underachieved its win total by about 1.2 games last year.

  • Against Georgia, the postgame stats suggested Mizzou would have won about 64 percent of the time. The Tigers lost, 28-27.
  • Mizzou’s postgame win expectancy was 49 percent against MTSU, a coin toss. Mizzou called heads, and it landed tails, 51-45.
  • Mizzou had 33 percent win expectancy against South Carolina and 18 percent against Kentucky. That means about a 50-50 chance of going either 1-1 or 0-2. Mizzou, of course, went 0-2.

Mizzou also won a statistical coin toss game against Arkansas, which helped. But add all this up, and Mizzou probably should have won between five and six games. The Tigers won four. (I wrote about this last November, too.) Hopefully that was more about bad fortune than bad coaching, but one year isn’t going to tell us what we need to know in that regard. One could certainly see a first-time head coach, with mostly new assistants and a team devoid of deep senior leadership, struggling with the little details out of the gates. Hopefully that doesn’t remain the case.


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