Forecasting: Data tops Feelings every time

On the day Stan Drayton signed on the dotted line to be the new head coach of Temple football, the most-often heard question from the fan base was about how fast he could turn around the won/lost record.

Too soon?

Yes, and even now, a couple of weeks into practice, it is too soon to tell.

The reason simple: Data tops Feelings every time.

We’re not talking about Zamani Feelings, the Owls’ terrific team photographer. If a guy named Joe Data tried to match him shot for shot, he’d air ball every photo.

I thought about data while filling out my NCAA brackets last week.

Some Temple football team stats at the end of last season.

When I won the Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2011 NCAA March Madness pool, it was 10 percent knowledge and 90 percent consulting and cross-checking the two full agate pages of every team’s score from every game. I haven’t been able to find a single newspaper that does that since. Holding a couple of broadsheet pages certainly beats going back and forth and clicking on each team.

This “best win, worst loss” capsule is for the birds when back then I could have easily identified five best wins and five worst losses just by turning my head. That really made all the difference. Easiest $2,400 I ever made, non-taxable and delivered in cash in a brown paper bag at Westy’s Tavern, 15th and Callowhill, after the 2 a.m deadline. (It was a very nervous early morning walk over to the parking garage.) Since then, the paper’s staff went from about 500 writers across all departments to about 1/10th that many so I don’t think the current haul compares.

The point is the more data you have at your disposal the better the forecasting.

What we do know about Temple football and the most recent data available is that cross-checking most of it doesn’t bode well for the 2022 won/loss record.

Of the 130 FBS teams, the Owls finished 112th in passing yards, 115th in rushing yards, and 122 in points against. The Owls special teams were 98th.

Ugh, as in ugly.

In other words, Drayton and staff have their work cut out for them this spring.

There is plenty of room for improvement and maybe too much room.

Still, a variable not on any NCAA stat sheet is the era of good Feelings Drayton has ushered in at 10th and Diamond. The Owls have improved the offensive and defensive lines and running game. They’ve probably fallen off in the area of pass receiving, having lost two good players in Jadan Blue and Randle Jones.

They haven’t improved the quarterbacking since they are probably one injury from a complete disaster and probably need to bring in an accomplished QB portal guy sooner than later and those guys are going fast.

While it’s still too soon to forecast any 2022 won/lost record, as Yogi Berra might say: “It’s getting late early.”

Friday: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

2 thoughts on “Forecasting: Data tops Feelings every time

  1. Maybe he’s not jumping at a QB in the portal because Trey Blair could fill in?

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