Football: Hec 2010, part 2 (evaluating the nominees)

Okay, I'll admit Part 1 is a little irrelevant at this point, since Brad Sinopoli was already chosen over Kyle Quinlan as the OUA nominee for the Hec Crighton Trophy. So just pretend you read that Sinopoli-Quinlan piece two weeks ago, before "Sinopoli = OUA MVP" was official.

But we'll certainly get this next piece done before tonight's All-Canadian banquet, since the heavy lifting is already done.

The nominees are Jahmeek Taylor (receiver/returner, SMU), Simon Charbonneau (receiver, Sherbrooke), Sinopoli (QB, Ottawa), and Laurence Nixon (QB, Saskatchewan), and as with last year's two-parter (1, 2), we'll go through the players and figure out who deserves the trophy.

First, let's deal with the pair of quarterbacks. They didn't play any common opponents -- unless you count Western's exhibition game in Saskatoon, which I don't -- so we have to revert to the surplus passing and rushing rankings.

  • Nixon: 333 surplus passing yards on 225 attempts (1.5 per pass), 2.5 fewer interceptions than expected, 30 fewer rushing yards on 15 attempts (-0.5 per rush)

  • Sinopoli: 467 surplus passing yards on 280 attempts (1.7 per pass); 2.0 fewer interceptions than expected, 296 surplus rushing yards on 39 attempts (7.6 per rush)
As with his Quinlan comparison, Sinopoli's rushing puts him over the top here too, dwarfing Nixon's running game. Though the extra 130 passing yards help too.

(Note: the "fewer interceptions" is based on the same per-attempt methodology. Sinopoli was not actually that INT-prone; for example, he threw 67 passes against the Laurier and Guelph defences and wasn't picked off; all other QBs would have thrown about three interceptions given that many attempts.)

Since Sinopoli comes out ahead of Nixon, we can eliminate the latter and move on to comparing the other three.


How about the Taylor-Charbonneau comparison? Charbonneau, you'll recall, was previously ranked here as the #1 receiver, so maybe that's our answer already...
  • Charbonneau: 418 surplus receiving yards on 55 receptions (7.6 per catch)

  • Taylor: 86 surplus receiving yards on 21 receptions (4.1 per catch), 103 surplus rushing yards on 26 carries (4.0 per attempt); 337 surplus punt and kick return yards on 55 returns (6.1 per return)

Adding up the raw yardage gives a 526-418 advantage to Taylor, or you could do a quick per-attempt rating and give the crown to Charbonneau, but it's not that easy due to the differences in position. Not to mention that we still have Sinopoli sitting alone in the green room, waiting to be called on stage. So maybe we need a different approach here.

Last year, we tried to handle the Erik Glavic-Gary Ross comparison by imagining how each player would perform if he were given all of the passing/rushing/receiving opportunities for an average CIS team. It didn't really work, because nobody handles the ball all the time.

So instead of giving them the ball in 100% of the average team's chances, let's give the players the same playing time their counterparts received on each others' teams. It's more realistic in terms of opportunities (if not exactly correct), and it attempts to somewhat figure out how these players would perform if placed on other teams.

We'll give Sinopoli the average playing time of the other teams' top QBs, Micah Brown and Jean-Philippe Shoiry, which was 209 pass attempts and 28 rush attempts. That means Sinopoli is awarded +349 yards in passing and +212 in rushing for a +561 overall.

Charbonneau's counterparts are Steven Hughes and Kevin Walsh, who averaged 41 attempts between them. So it's +308 for Charbonneau, and he comes in behind Sinopoli. Now it's down to Taylor.

Jahmeek Taylor's counterparts are a little more complicated. We need the No. 2 receiver and No. 4 rusher in addition to the top returner. As it turns out, Taylor's return counterparts (Chayce Elliott, Raphael Gagné) averaged 55 returns, same as Taylor, so he keeps his +337 in that area. Then we figure his receiving stats per 49 catches, which gives him another +200, or +537 total so far. That's getting close to Sinopoli, and Taylor's rushing total is enough to put him over the top: his counterparts rushed for an average of 23 carries, meaning +91 yards for Taylor, which puts him at +628 overall.


So we've made some assumptions and showed that Taylor was worth 67 yards more than Sinopoli. That's hardly a firm conclusion: not only is the difference too small to matter statistically, we could change our inputs (more pass/rush attempts for Sinopoli, fewer receptions for Taylor) and make Sinopoli rise to the top again.

Much like last year, when we were faced with the "top QB or all-purpose receiver" debate, the more defensible choice is the quarterback: Sinopoli faced tougher competition and wasn't suspended from a playoff game. And I think there isn't enough evidence to overturn the same conclusion as 2009, which means the QB is coming out on top again.

Brad Sinopoli is the most deserving of the nominees, and I fully expect his name to be added to the list of Hec Crighton winners by the end of the evening.

Years ending in zero have often been good to the Gee-Gees; QB Paul Paddon won the school's first Hec in 1970, the Gee-Gees reached the Vanier Cup in 1980 and won it all 2000 behind the leadership of Phill Côté, the '99 Hec honouree.)
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