College Football’s Billy Beane?
Michael Lewis writes in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine about Mike Leach, the innovative coach of the Texas Tech football team. As Lewis describes it, Leach takes a totally different view of football and is on the cusp of revolutionizing the game.
It is a very interesting article, and beautifully written. As usual with Michael Lewis, there is a touch of not letting the facts get in the way of having a great story. For instance, Lewis makes a big deal in the article about how the the Texas Tech style wears down the other team and how Texas Tech offense learns and adjusts over the course of the game so that they completely dominate teams in the second half. Lewis highlights a series of games where this occurs to make his point. A quick glance at this year’s statistics shows, however, that Texas Tech this year has scored an average of 20.4 points a game in the first half and 21.7 points a game in the second half. Hmm…not so amazing after all. (Although in Lewis’ defense, in 2004 did do much better in the second half of games than in the first half.)
Like Moneyball, even though I am suspicious of parts of the argument, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.