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Old 01-10-2019, 12:24 PM   #1
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Default Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

Welcome to my two-part treatise on why you should give Will Muschamp at least 3 more years if you want to win championships at Carolina. Most of us can begrudgingly agree that Dabo has done what many thought was impossible at Clemson - he's won two national championships in 3 years and the team that was once a joke has now become a national powerhouse. I hate it as much as any of you, but it's a fact. Dabo is widely hailed nationally as one of the best coaches with one of the best programs in the country, so it might be easy for any of us to forget his humble beginnings. Juxtaposed with their success, Muschamp's current foibles here at Carolina look that much worse - why can't we just be as good as them? It wasn't that long ago that we were regularly destroying them at the end of the year, and here they are winning championships while we get blown out in bowl games.

However, a more interesting trend emerges if we drill down a bit deeper and look at the numbers here. You see, in many more ways than one, Muschamp's early career at USC is mirroring Dabo's early career at Clemson. I first started thinking about this when discussing with a friend how a lot of the fanbase wanted to run Dabo off after his third season, but they didn't and we all see the results. I've seen some similar sentiments around here, and it occurred to me we might all benefit from seeing the similarities between our own coach and one who has taken a program to national championships right down the road.

Let's start with the records. For this portion we're going to give Dabo credit for only the games he coached in the interim season and Muschamp credit for those he's coached so far.

Dabo year 1: 4-3. Muschamp year 1: 6-7.
Dabo year 2: 9-5. Muschamp year 2: 9-4.
Dabo year 3: 6-7. Muschamp year 3: 7-6.

This comes out to a win percentage of 55.8% for Dabo, and 56.4% for Muschamp. Advantage here is Muschamp.

"But wait, OP, you're forgetting about Muschamp's dismal record of 1-11 against ranked teams!" Actually, I'm not, but to explain, I need to make a brief disclaimer. I don't believe in giving credit to beating or losing to a ranked team based on their ranking at the time. This may seem counterintuitive, but doing this gives Clemson a ranked win in 2012 against #25 Auburn in the first game, a season in which Auburn finished 3-9. It's crazy to give them a ranked win in this case. Instead, we're going to look at both coaches' records against teams ranked at the end of the season, rather than the beginning. This gives us a much better indication of the caliber of teams played during the year rather than looking at it with a heavy bias applied towards preseason rankings, which are garbage anyway. With this metric, we see the records shift a bit. All rankings are derived from the AP end-of-season poll, since the CFP poll wasn't around for Dabo's early tenure.

Versus teams ranked at the end of the year:

Dabo year 1: 0-1. Muschamp year 1: 1-3.
Dabo year 2: 1-3. Muschamp year 2: 1-2.
Dabo year 3: 2-3. Muschamp year 3: 1-5.

Dabo ranked win percentage first 3 years: 30%. Muschamp ranked win percentage first 3 years: 23%. This difference is definitely an advantage for Dabo, but not a huge one. One more win (such as over Florida) would swing this in Muschamp's favor.

I know what you're thinking. Dabo's specialty isn't on the field stuff. It's the recruiting. And I've seen great dissatisfaction around here that "Flipper" hasn't been able to pull in top 5 classes every year, since that's what we need to build a foundation like Clemson's or Alabama's. But is that really true? Let's take a look and compare recruiting rankings to see how these two teams were recruiting at similar points in the coaches' tenures. For this comparison, I'm going to include both Dabo's interim year (as he was heavily involved in recruiting) and his third full year, since there's little difference in the overall average. I'm also not including Muschamp's first year, since he had like 2 months, instead substituting the 2019 class ranking (which I know isn't finished and could go up or down, but probably only up.)

Dabo year 1 (interim): Clemson 9th. Muschamp year 1: Carolina 21st.
Dabo year 2: Clemson 36th. Muschamp year 2: Carolina 18th.
Dabo year 3: Clemson 27th. Muschamp year 3: Carolina 21st.
Dabo year 4: Clemson 10th.

Let's look at the average rankings, using the first (or last) 3 for both coaches.

Dabo: Average position 24. Muschamp: Average position 20. Looking at this metric, Muschamp is out recruiting where Dabo was in his first years with the program. Building the foundation - a foundation that ultimately contributed to Clemson winning national championships, and doing it better.

I don't think any posters here would argue that Clemson would have had the success they've had running Dabo off after 3 years. So looking at the numbers, it would be very, very silly for us to do anything of the sort with Muschamp, since the trajectories of these coaches, statistically, are very similar so far.

"But OP, numbers aren't everything - you have to pass the eye test." For this exercise, I'm going to tell you something and I want you to tell me which coach this describes. Ready?

"This coach elected to go into his first two years with an offensive coordinator that he had prior experience working with but that wasn’t terribly innovative and proved not to be effective. After his first two years, this coach fired his OC and ultimately took a flier on a young, unproven but innovative OC that transformed his offense."

If you guessed Muschamp AND Dabo, you're correct! Just a fun little tidbit in there for you to take a break from all the math. A fun little tidbit that could shape the program for years in the same way that it did for Dabo.

So from recruiting, to coaching staff changes, to overall record, to record against ranked teams, we have two coaches with VERY similar starts at universities in the same state with the same talent pool and recruiting grounds, despite Dabo inheriting a better situation. This brings us to part 2 of my treatise, and something I've seen written here a lot: We have to see a huge leap in year 4 for them to follow the same trajectory, and next year's schedule is awful, so that throws that right out the window, right?

No. Treatise part 2: Clemson hasn't actually been very good until 2015. At which point, almost overnight, they became elite. To support this hypothesis, we're going to again look at teams that finished the year ranked. For a great while, the ACC was so bad that Clemson had no one to play and got destroyed when they played good out of conference teams. In 2011, for instance, Clemson finished 10-4, a record we would be thrilled with. However, they were 3-2 against ranked teams, beating #23 FSU and #21 VT but losing to #14 USC and #17 WVU (lol). In 2012, they were 11-2, but lost to #10 FSU and lost to #12 USC, finally beating #14 LSU in their bowl by 1 point. This marks the first time that Dabo beats a team in the top 15. In year FIVE. This is also Venables' first year. 2013 finds Clemson with a record of 11-2 and a top 10 AP finish, but they have blowout losses to #1 FSU and #4 USC before finally beating #7 OSU in their bowl. This, to me, is Dabo's signature win. Clemson was an underdog, this was a huge national stage, their return to the Orange Bowl after 70-33, and this win was a springboard. From this point on, they were elite. This signature win came in year SIX. For those of you mad that Muschamp doesn't have one yet in year 3, remember that the 2x national champion up the road took SIX years to get his.

We do suffer from a much tougher conference/schedule than Clemson, but this should improve your evaluation of Muschamp, not condemn it. Let's take 2012 as an example. Clemson was 11-2, matching our best record all time. If you average the win totals of the teams Clemson beat that year, it comes out to 5.7 wins. This year, if you do the same for the disappointing, blown out, insert negative adjective here Gamecocks you read about on this board, the win totals of the teams we beat averaged 5.5. 2/10ths of a win. Flip these schedules and Carolina is pretty close to an 11 win team. "But that doesn't matter! They're in the ACC and we have to be SEC elite!" Just remember Clemson just absolutely demolished the best the SEC had to offer. We played them better than Bama did. Bentley dramatically outplayed Tua, and Tua had run support.

So what's the take-home here? "Give me a TL;DR, I can't be asked to read this! It has numbers in it and I don't like that! It was a wall of text, I'd much rather be shouted at in all caps and epithets!" Glad you asked. Let's take a look at one final stat: continued recruiting rankings. Clemson 2012 20th, 2013 15th, 2014 16th, 2015 9th, 2016 11th, 2017 16th, 2018 7th, 2019 6th. The team that won a national championship 2 years ago cracked the top 10 1 time. Clemson has a formula, and it's one we're on pace to match. One they executed right under our noses while we were busy dominating them. A formula with two constants: consistency of staff and TIME. The time and trust from fans and administrators to execute the plan. They cracked the top 20 in recruiting rankings as often as possible, developed facilities, nailed player evaluations and developed them well, got a great set of assistants and paid them enough to keep them, and finally, got an elite QB. Now they're winning championships. So far, Muschamp is doing all of the above, pending Hilinski panning out, and having nearly identical results to Dabo's early returns along the way.

Logic and statistics dictate we should hang onto Muschamp and give him time to develop the program, and in the next 3-5 years we should be able to topple giants. If you don't think we should give him that kind of time, you must not want to win championships here. Time and consistency are the difference between programs like Clemson and programs like Tennessee. Which do you want us to be?
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Last edited by MrWongburger73; 01-10-2019 at 01:39 PM..
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

Good post. The Muschamp (and Tanner) haters won't like it though.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

while the starts are comparable, Dabo wasn’t faced with turning his program around with 2 recruiting juggernauts and top 5 teams in his own back yard. The climate for Muschamp is very, very, very different from what Dabo faced.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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while the starts are comparable, Dabo wasn’t faced with turning his program around with 2 recruiting juggernauts and top 5 teams in his own back yard. The climate for Muschamp is very, very, very different from what Dabo faced.
Actually, he was. WE were the recruiting juggernaut in-state when Dabo took over. We were in his own backyard, with a legendary, national championship winning coach, and Georgia was Georgia, still pulling in the caliber of recruits they always did. 2008 recruiting rankings per 247: Florida 5, Miami ONE, Georgia 7. 2009: Georgia 4, Florida 7, Miami 16. 2010: Florida ONE, Georgia 11, Miami 14. The circumstances are just flipped. We were locking down first round pick after first round pick and taking the best players in state consistently. When he took over, Florida was winning championships, with Urban and Tebow, and was a top 5 team. Miami was pulling in ridiculous recruiting classes and isn't a factor now. I don't think it's actually that much different at all.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

You left out one critical difference. Clemson has an AD and a booster network willing to do WHATEVER they need to in order to win. We do not.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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You left out one critical difference. Clemson has an AD and a booster network willing to do WHATEVER they need to in order to win. We do not.
The whatever, in this case, was building facilities and getting the best assistants and paying them as such, as well as giving the head coach time. What of that has our staff not done?
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Actually, he was. WE were the recruiting juggernaut when Dabo took over in his own backyard, with a legendary, national championship winning coach, and Georgia was Georgia, still pulling in the caliber of recruits they always did. The circumstances are just flipped. We were locking down first round pick after first round pick and taking the best players in state consistently. When he took over, Florida was winning championships, with Urban and Tebow, and was a top 5 team. I don't think it's actually that much different at all.
No. We had the 22nd class in 2008, 12th in 2009, 24th in 2010, 18th in 2011, etc.

By contrast, Clemson was 5th in 2015, 6th in 2016, 22nd in 2017 (very small class...14. But 3 were 5* and 6 were 4*), 8th in 2018 and 6th in 2019.

No comparison at all.

UGA has always been up there around the top 10, but they’ve been top 3 each of the last 3 years.

This is like nothing Dabo faced. I don’t diminish what Champ has done, it’s a MUCH steeper hill to climb than what Dabo had to.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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The whatever, in this case, was building facilities and getting the best assistants and paying them as such, as well as giving the head coach time. What of that has our staff not done?

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Old 01-10-2019, 12:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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No. We had the 22nd class in 2008, 12th in 2009, 24th in 2010, 18th in 2011, etc.

By contrast, Clemson was 5th in 2015, 6th in 2016, 22nd in 2017 (very small class...14. But 3 were 5* and 6 were 4*), 8th in 2018 and 6th in 2019.

No comparison at all.

UGA has always been up there around the top 10, but they’ve been top 3 each of the last 3 years.

This is like nothing Dabo faced.
Edited the original post with numbers. You're not remembering correctly. Florida was holding Georgia's top 5 spot and that's where Clemson gets a lot of their talent. Miami was also scoring some ridiculous classes and is a total non-factor now.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Don't lump the AD in with that. No reason to suspect that's at the AD's behest. Boosters I'll grant you, but surely none of us think that every school out there doesn't have a bag man, right? Blaming this on money is an easy out, one I've been tempted to take, but it's one that ignores the problems that hold us back and a lot of factors that prop teams like Clemson up. We need consistency.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

While agree with your post... I hope you're prepared for the others here who do not use logic and perspective when forming their opinions. Nice job with all of the research, that took quite a bit of time!
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Edited the original post with numbers. You're not remembering correctly. Florida was holding Georgia's top 5 spot and that's where Clemson gets a lot of their talent.
I didnít remember at all. Just pulled those #s from Rivals.

Youíre just kidding yourself if you donít think Champ is facing a drastically more difficult climate in which to turn the program around than Dabo faced.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

Another big difference, SEC is the toughest conference in the country. If USC was in the ACC the past 3 years you could add on 2 wins each year, that record is 8-5, 11-2, 9-4. Yeah we looked like trash against UVA, but throughout the year the SEC is always winning more OOC games, and winning more bowl games over a 5-10 year period.

Have to think He won the ACC division and then started winning Conferences. Not to mention he was grabbing out of state 5* players after a losing season. USC has to cheat as good as Clemson to have a chance.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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I didnít remember at all. Just pulled those #s from Rivals.

Youíre just kidding yourself if you donít think Champ is facing a drastically more difficult climate in which to turn the program around than Dabo faced.
And what I'm telling you is that the recruiting rankings don't support that hypothesis. You're not remembering where Florida and Miami were and how high Georgia was. I know you pulled the ones for Carolina, not claiming you didn't. Georgia being #3 one year for us and #4 for them doesn't make a meaningful difference. And the presence of Florida and Miami in the top 5/10 is a factor you're completely ignoring.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:56 PM   #15
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Versus teams ranked at the end of the year:

Dabo year 1: 0-1. Muschamp year 1: 1-3.
Dabo year 2: 1-3. Muschamp year 2: 1-2.
Dabo year 3: 2-3. Muschamp year 3: 1-5.
Which ranked team did UofSC beat this season?

http://www.espn.com/college-football/rankings

And since Swinney won 10 games his 4th season as HC, accordingly we should expect the same for 2019. Amirite?
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Originally Posted by Flameout12 View Post
Which ranked team did USofC beat this season?

http://www.espn.com/college-football/rankings

And since Swinney won 10 games his 4th season as HC, accordingly we should expect the same for 2019. Amirite?
No, we shouldn't. Part 2 addresses that. Dabo won 10 games like he won 11 games in 2012, because he had 11 chances against teams that were the same caliber of team we beat this year on average, where we only played 7 teams like that. If we had 11 games on the schedule like the 7 we won this year, we'd win 11. Missouri is the ranked team. I'm not using CFP "final rankings" because it wasn't around to compare to Dabo's tenure. All rankings in this discussion were derived from the end of season AP polls.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Don't lump the AD in with that. No reason to suspect that's at the AD's behest. Boosters I'll grant you, but surely none of us think that every school out there doesn't have a bag man, right? Blaming this on money is an easy out, one I've been tempted to take, but it's one that ignores the problems that hold us back and a lot of factors that prop teams like Clemson up. We need a slide.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

Wong, beautifully done and lots of things to discuss during the winter of our discontent. I had used the win-loss totals in discussions with Tillmanites previously, but you took it to a whole nuther level.

Dabo really took off in the 4th year/3rd full year of his tenure, 2011.

Earlier that year, he hauled in the best recruiting class at Clemson, the #10 group with three OOS 5* players. Curiously, that was coming off a 6-7 season with a season-ending loss to South Florida in their bowl game. It also was the same year that high 4* Mike Bellamy was shown flashing a wad of bills (thanks for the pic, guys), and also included accomplished pot-smoking WRs 5* Sammie Watkins and 4* Martavis Bryant.

With the talent influx, he went 10-4 in the 2011 season and was off to the races.

Three things to note when analyzing the early win-loss numbers:

One, Boom may not have a better record against ranked teams, but he played more and had tougher overall schedules. Which means that his teams actually out-performed Dabo's early squads.

Two, Boom inherited a worse situation, basically starting over due to weak recruiting and a completely new staff, except for Shawn Elliott. Dabo had the tremendous advantages of having better talent on hand, being familiar with the team, and having coaching continuity with the staff.

Three, Boom had amazingly bad luck with injuries at the end of his 3rd season, or the wins and losses would look much better. We certainly would have beaten another ranked team (UF, and we should have won regardless), would have had a shot against Clemson with a modicum of healthy Defenders, and would have had a much better chance against our bowl opponent (and would have been a little more pumped and motivated if we were healthy and in a better bowl at 8-4 or 9-3).

Come to think of it, there might be a 4th consideration, based on the comment on the injuries. Which is that Boom had the disadvantage of not using PEDs to prevent injuries or expedite the healing process.......
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

Good post, even thought there are way to many variables to consider when trying to compare the 2 coaches.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:54 PM   #20
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Default Re: Muschamp at Carolina and Dabo at Clemson are on the same trajectory through 3.

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Originally Posted by Flameout12 View Post
Which ranked team did UofSC beat this season?

http://www.espn.com/college-football/rankings

And since Swinney won 10 games his 4th season as HC, accordingly we should expect the same for 2019. Amirite?
Isnít Missouri ranked?
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