Before we dive into the 1998 season numbers, a few relevant notes on my research thus far:
- Unfortunately, play-by-play data is only partial for the 1998 season, as both the Kansas State and Mississippi State box scores are incomplete at MB-TF. That cripples any effort to chart Davis as completely as I'd like. The missing KSU box score is especially frustrating, as that was the game I was most interested in breaking down.
- Without complete play-by-play data, there's no way to review in detail Davis' performance on, say, third down. Or in the scoring zone.
- Looking ahead, I'm actively seeking play-by-play info for the following three 1999 games: Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Arkansas. If anyone has or knows where to find play-by-play data for those games, please get in touch with me.
- Other games I need: Oregon 2000, NMSU 2001, Missouri 2001, Baylor 2001, A&M 2001, Oklahoma 2002, K-State 2002, Nebraska 2002, Texas Tech 2002, North Texas 2004, Arkansas 2004.
- Equally frustrating, the NCAA's statistical database only goes back to 1999, which means national rankings are not available for Greg Davis' first season. Again, if anyone knows of a national stats databank for 1998, please get in touch.
Adding up all these obstacles, the game plan for my review has to change a bit. Sample sizes being what they are in college football, single season reviews for 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2004 can't be done in the detail that I'd like unless someone comes through with play-by-play data for the aforementioned missing games.
That's not the end of the world, but it does alter how I need to approach this. My thinking right now is that I'll use 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007 to do some really fun stuff with play-by-play data. This is a great time to note that Rock M Nation has already broken down Texas' play-by-play data for 2007 in fascinating detail. More on this soon, but I recommend every stat-hungry football geek take a look at what RMN's been doing as a taste of the kind of detail we can get into when play-by-play data is available.
For the incomplete seasons, I'm going to present season totals numbers and - for 1999 and beyond - compare those numbers to national averages, as well as other Greg Davis seasons. The focus of the review will shift a bit to looking at Davis' season total numbers over the past 10 years, comparing those years against one another and (1998 excepted) the national averages.
The other thing I'm going to do in light of these obstacles is pick a handful of games in which Davis has been particularly stymied (and for which we have play-by-play data) and see if we can find any trends within those games.
And that's that. This thing is more fluid than I'd hoped, but so it goes.