Go For It!

Run Seniors Run - Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

I'd be upset about today's loss to Northwestern, but, what's the point? The loss was ugly, you can't turn the ball over 23 times or whatever it is and expect to win, it just sucked. Obviously Vannini has your full teeth-gnashing recap, but, there was one point I wanted to hit. Enough with the damn punting on "4th and the Game" with little time left on the clock.

I'd be upset about today's loss to Northwestern, but, what's the point? The loss was ugly, you can't turn the ball over 23 times or whatever it is and expect to win, it just sucked. Obviously Vannini has your full teeth-gnashing recap, but, there was one point I wanted to hit.

Enough with the damn punting on "4th and the Game" with little time left on the clock.

You might think this is a style thing. It isn't. Advanced NFL Stats has put together a Win Probability Calculator. You can enter down and distance, score differential, time left in the game and field position. In return, you get the win probability based off the input of thousands of NFL games. Obviously the major limitation of this calculator is that it uses NFL results instead of college results, but I don't think that's a dealbreaker.

Ohio State

MSU has the ball on it's own 32, 4th and 9 with about 4:16 left to go.

Odds of Converting 4th down: 36%

Odds of Winning By Going For It(Total): 25%

Odds of Winning By Punting(Total): 28%

Michigan(Part 1: 4th and Goal with 5:45 left)

MSU has the ball on Michigan's 1 4th and Goal

Odds of Converting 4th down: 68%

Odds of Winning By Going For It(Total): 66%

Odds of Winning By FG(Total): 54%

Michigan(Part 2: Punting with about 2 minutes left)

MSU has the ball on it's own 13, 4th and 5 with about 2:05 left to go.

Odds of Converting 4th down: 49%

Odds of Winning By Going For It(Total): 51%

Odds of Winning By Punting(Total): 58%

Nebraska

MSU has the ball on Nebraska's 39, 4th and 2 with about 1:27 to go.

Odds of Converting 4th down: 60%

Odds of Winning By Going For It(Total): 89%

Odds of Winning By Punting(Total): 89%

Northwestern

MSU has the ball on Northwestern's 42, 4th and 8 with about 2:46 to go.

Odds of Converting 4th down: 38%

Odds of Winning By Going For It(Total): 24%

Odds of Winning By Punting(Total): 16%

Interestingly, MSU would have upped their chances of winning more by going for it in the Northwestern game than in the Nebraska game. Part of that is that the Nebraska comeback was so damn unlikely in the first place though. Against Michigan, punting seemed pretty obvious when MSU was backed up into their own end zone.

In the Michigan game, a touchdown on 4th and goal gives you a 12 percent higher chance of winning than a field goal. Obviously MSU had to convert, but even trying to go for it put them in a better position than the FG.

Much has been made of "players needing to make plays" this season, there's certainly some truth to that. The coaches by minding the percentages of their fourth down calls could have put MSU in a better chance to succeed in the Northwestern and Michigan games. The Nebraska fourth down call was a push but a conversion ends the game.

Does that mean MSU necessarily wins these four games? Of course not, but, after watching Dantonio gamble the past couple seasons with the game on the line, Little Giants was "20 percent less likely" to work than a field goal, it's frustrating to watch the 4th down calls be so safe.

Anyway, vent away below and beat Minnesota fergodssakes.

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