Earlier this week I bought a PDF download of the Football Outsiders Almanac 2009 today (available here) because their big thing this year is expanded coverage of college teams. As someone who's bought every edition of Football Prospectus dating back to 2007, I was planning on making the purchase to begin with, and wanted to see what kind of additional insight they would provide as far how our Bear alums in the pros would do, but how our Bears on campus would do as well.
Peep the info after the jump.Honestly, they didn't have a lot to offer. There was some internal debate among the Marshawnthusiasts and Jahvidtician about what's off limits - would it be kosher to C&P the whole thing or just highlight specific parts? Then I got around to reading what was actually there about our Bears, and let's just say that Phil Steele's preview was a million times more insightful. If you've read a single team preview before now, or if you follow the blog even casually, you already know much more about the team than you would be reading the preview of our Bears in the Almanac.
What was interesting, however, were some of the higher order statistics regarding how the team played in 2008 and how they project to play in 2009. As expected, the team came in in the middle of the pack (and Pac-10) in just about every offensive category. The team ranked 65th overall in offense (after adjusting for quality of defenses faced), 60th in unadjusted offense, 50th in total offensive S&P (Football Outsiders' proprietary metric involving success rate of each play + points per play), 38th in rushing S&P, and 64th in passing. On standard downs the team ranked 28th and 48th on passing downs.
Things were a lot brighter on the defensive side of the ball with the Pain Train running things. The defense ranked 16th after adjusting for the quality of the offenses faced, 9th in unadjusted defense, 18th in defensive S&P, 29th in rushing S&P, 13th in passing S&P, 14th on standard downs, and 25th on passing downs.
As stated before, the analysis offered is mostly superficial ("If any team can knock USC off the Pac-10 throne, it figures to be California, led by a defense that will keep the Trojans from running away with things."), but it does reinforce what we already knew about our Bears. As for 2009 projections, the team has an overall strength rating of 15 (hence the team being ranked 15th by Football Outsiders), a strength of schedule of 49th, offensive rank of 51, and defensive rank of 6. Also, the team is projected to have a mean of 9 wins, with 6.5 of those in the Pac-10. That honestly is a little lower than I'm hoping for, but the overall strength isn't something I'd complain about.
So how do our Cal Bears already in the pros project to do this upcoming NFL season? Glad you asked. Note: all projections assume 16 games played...except for Marshawn, of course.
Aaron Rodgers - 295/505 for 3696 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 13 interceptions; 48 rushes for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns; 6 fumbles; 275 fantasy points
Marshawn Lynch - 167 rushes for 655 yards and 3 touchdowns; 32 receptions for 224 yards and 1 receiving touchdown; 1 fumble; 110 fantasy points
Kyle Boller - 168/275 for 1743 yards, 9 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 30 rushes for 88 yards and 1 touchdown; 6 fumbles; no fantasy points listed
J.J. Arrington - out for the year with microfracture knee surgery; definitely not enthusiastic about doing an interview for us
DeSean Jackson - 63 receptions, 1006 yards, 7 touchdowns
Lavelle Hawkins - 11 receptions, 111 yards, 1 touchdown
Craig Stevens - no projection
Justin Forsett - 35 rushes for 163 yards and 0 touchdowns; 11 receptions for 102 yards and 1 receiving touchdown; 2 fumbles; no fantasy point projection
If you feel like reading more about our Bears, as well as short discussions of every single skill position player in the NFL, by all means do click the link provided in the header and buy the book. It's available now as a downloadable PDF for 12 bucks, or on paperback in the near future from Amazon.com and other retailers. After all, anything that calls DeSean Jackson one of the top up-and-coming wide receivers in the NFL can't be wrong!