Introducing DETMER, the first ever Sickos Committee CFB metric.
Sickos Committee Chairman Escalante here for the second installment of The Sickos Sentinel (we think we’ve settled on a name).
One thing the Sickos Committee has always struggled to do is to find a way to quantify the term “Sickos” as it applies to college football. Everyone has their own definition - scores, types of plays, weather, weird outcomes, etc.. We understand this is college football - it’s all about the endless debates, and it has been since the sport started in the 1800s. Our fans get into huge discussions about what games are more Sicko than others. We’ve even upset fans of certain teams when we don’t rank their game as the Sickos Game of the Week. It’s incredibly fascinating and hilarious at the same time.
The Sickos Committee has been on a mission to quantify the unquantifiable and define Sickos college football. Since the beginning of the 2021 season, we’ve brainstormed ways to measure players’ performances in various aspects of the game to see if we could dial on what we believe makes a true Sicko All Star. We’re proud to announce that we’ve made some progress towards this - at least in one aspect.
I’ll turn it over here to our Director of Sickolytics - Dr. Garage, and our Directrix of Sickolytics - Sarah.
Long has humanity yearned to understand the answers to a few fundamental questions about our existence: How did life begin? What happens after we die? And what exactly makes for a Sicko Quarterback? After eons (one season), the Sickos Committee has finally answered one such question. Yes, it’s obviously the Sicko Quarterback thing.
Like any fellow Sicko, I loved the great Cole McDonald during his run at Hawaii. He always seemed he was as likely to throw a touchdown as a pick-6, and no lead for either team was safe. It’s critical to note that McDonald was not a bad quarterback, but he loved to go out there and just let the ball rip. He threw for more than 3800 yards and 33 touchdowns in both his junior and senior years, leading the Rainbow Warriors to 8-6 and 10-5 records, respectively. What made him so thrilling to watch, however, was the aforementioned tendency to go big or go home, often on consecutive plays. He averaged a pick per game in his incredible senior year, with his masterpiece being in Week 0, where he threw for 378 yards, 4 TDs and 4 picks in a 45-38 victory over Arizona. He was even benched for his teammate Chevan Cordeiro, who threw the game-winning touchdown.
My growing obsession with performances of this style — huge yardage, lots of points, and lots of picks — ultimately led me back to the master of a passing game that explodes in all directions, the 1990 Heisman winner Ty Detmer. The BYU legend threw for 5,188 yards, 41 TDs and 28 interceptions in his successful campaign to be named most outstanding player in college football. And it is in his name that we present DETMER, a simple analytic for determining how entertaining a QB will be to watch, either good or bad. It is, of course, an acronym.
We present to you DETMER:
Downfield — Lots of yards!!
Eventful — TDs! Picks!
Throwing — They don’t call it roughing the scrambler.
Metric — This makes us sound smarter.
Encouraging — We’re optimists.
Rippin’ it — Just sling that ball around out there.
Now let’s get into math aspect:
The formula is very simple, relying just on those three headline numbers: passing yards, TDs, and picks. This metric is not worried about rushing yards or fumbles. We want QBs who just sling it everywhere without any regard.
Obviously, this metric can’t possibly tell the whole story. To understand this, you need look no further than former Auburn QB (and current Oregon Duck) Bo Nix’s 2019 and 2020 seasons. In those years, where he gained a reputation for being chaos incarnate, his DETMERs were just 0.978 and 1.738; the latter is above average, but only just, and the former is indicative of a quarterback who’s not all that interesting. So, what gives?
Well, as previously mentioned, this metric is for QBs who have no compunctions about just throwing the ball down the field. That doesn’t really work for someone who’s hardly even hitting 200 yards per game in a run-first offense. Plus the intangibles: a five yard pass is a five yard pass according to the stats, but that doesn’t tell you about Nix running for his life for 15 seconds before completing a pass into triple coverage.
Don’t forget the broken plays and designed runs that got Bo Nix many crucial first downs. They aren’t registered in calculating DETMER. Of course a chaotic QB is going to look predictable when you’re not even taking into account the capabilities that made him so chaotic. Future sickolytics research into quantifying ground-based chaos can be expected, though for now please enjoy the gunslingers.
The yardage part is simple — you aren’t even close to keeping pace with Ty unless you’re putting up 400 yards every game, as he actually put up 432+ every time he strapped on his helmet.
The second part of the formula separates the good from the bad from the Sickos. You threw for four touchdowns and no picks? Mediocre DETMER score.. You threw four picks and no TDs? Congrats, you’re starting for Cal in a bowl game. You threw for four TDs and 4 picks with almost 400 yards like our hero Cole McDonald? Hoist that astonishing 7.56 DETMER score over your head — you are in the rarefied air of the true Sicko. McDonald also managed a very solid average DETMER of 3.47 for the season. For comparison, in his 1990 Heisman year, Ty averaged a 5.32 DETMER.
On the other hand, both excellent and terrible QBs get fairly low scores in DETMER. Last year’s Heisman winner Bryce Young was undeniably great, throwing for 4,872 yards, 47 TDs, and 7 picks. But that excellent TD:Int ratio massively hurts him in DETMER, reflecting that he’s far too good to ever lead a Pac-12 After Dark match-up. His 2021 season number? A paltry 1.07.
We’ve run the numbers on a lot of QBs both good and bad, and the vast majority of college QBs good enough to be a starter for a whole season wind up somewhere between 0.8 and 1.5 DETMER score. Those who crack 2 DETMER are noteworthy. Anyone above a 3 DETMER average is appointment television.
Here are the highest DETMER scores from the 2021 Season:
Here are the lowest DETMER scores from the 2021 season:
We’ll be keeping track of the weekly and season DETMER leaders throughout the season so we can crown the one, true DETMER winner – the QB who comes closest to achieving the heights of the one and only Ty Detmer, king of throwing that ball over them mountains, come hell or high water.
Also, we’re thrilled that our pals at Game on Paper have now added DETMER to their game stats, so you can look up any game in recent years to see how sick and depraved a particularly QB performance you hazily remember from a 2 am match-up between Cal and Wazzu was.
Thank you for reading,
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I don't know how I've just now stumbled across this masterpiece. But...
"You threw four picks and no TDs? Congrats, you’re starting for Cal in a bowl game. "
...shots fucking fired, sheesh. But fair. Still too soon though lol