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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another method for ranking quarterbacks (and Manziel wins again)

If you needed any more convincing that Johnny Manziel was awesome in 2012, here it is. I started with the EPA (formerly the NEPA) for every quarterback in every game this season and then ranked performances by opponent - so, for example, the highest EPA against Alabama this season is ranked #1 (that would be Manziel) and the highest EPA against Oklahoma also is ranked #1 (again, Manziel). Players get points for being among the best against a particular opponent: 5 points for a #1 ranking, 4 for a #2, etc., and 0 points for 6th place and below. This gives us a look at how a player did relative to other player's against the same opponets. 

(Full disclosure: my inspiration for this post came from hearing people criticize Manziel's performance against Florida without recognizing, pre-bowl, it was the best performance by a quarterback against Florida all season.)

Manziel comes in at #1 with 56 points. Johnny Football had the highest EPA allowed by 9 of 13 opponents and was in the top 3 in all but 1, LSU. He was #2 in Texas A&M's other loss (Florida) after he was passed by Teddy Bridgewater, the only QB to really be successful against the Gators. Bridgewater tied also had 9 1st place finishes, good enough to finish tied for 2nd with Tajh Boyd. But even Bridgewater and Boyd fell well short of Manziel's consistently outstandingly consistent performance.

And co-Heisman finalist Collin Klein? Klein comes in at a less-than-distinguished 27th overall. At least one quarterback outperformed Klein against every Kansas State opponent this season, and Klein was in the top 3 in less than half their games (undoubtedly he would have finished in the top 3 against Oklahoma State without the injury to his noggin, but alas, he did get injured). I've said it before and I'll say it again - we gave the award to the right guy this season.

[Here's the same list, but I've removed FCS opponents and ranked players by points per game instead of total points. The result is the basically the same.]