Which is the Best Team in the Land? It all Depends on Who Plays Whom : Offensive and Defensive Strengths and Weaknesses Result in Paradox Outcomes

Who is the best college football team in the land? and how can it be that team A beats team B, team B beats team C, and then team C beats team A? Maybe there is often no true national champion but simply a mix of top teams.

A good example here is the triumvirate of games in the 2008 college football season between Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, where Texas beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, and Texas Tech beat Texas. What accounts for this?

In some cases it is simply serendipity chance, but in others, it can be explained very simply by looking at the matchups in terms of each team’s strengths and weaknesses.

A strong running team, for example, will run over a team having the best pass defense in the country, but a weak rushing defense. A strong passing team, on the other hand, can beat a team with a weak pass defense, even if that same team is otherwise superior.

For example, the Texas Longhorn loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the current football season was not a fluke in this context, as we examine the football statistics for the 2008 college football season that we recently posted. Texas is clearly the stronger team in almost all statistical categories, but it has one of the weakest pass defenses among the top teams. This does not match the Longhorns well against top passing teams like Texas Tech.

If we want to know how a super team like the Florida Gators lost to the good – but clearly not as good – Mississippi Rebels, we find the answer in the statistic that Florida, which ranks nationally at the top in nearly every statistical category, ranks number two in the nation in yards per play gained on rushing offense, whereas Mississippi, otherwise not ranked that highly in any other statistical category, ranks number two in the nation in yards per play allowed on rushing defense.

Hence, facing stiff running defense, Florida lost three fumbles to Mississippi, which cost them the ball game 31-30 in which they were otherwise clearly the dominant team, outgaining Ole Miss 443 yards to 325. But the Gators gained only 124 yards rushing against the Rebels as compared to their average of 237 yards per game (10th in the nation).

Consider that, even though Alabama beat Mississippi 24-20, Mississippi outgained the Crimson Tide, 350 yards to 326. As written about that game by AP Sports Writer John Zenor, “The Tide has the league’s top running game and rush defense, but was outgained 158-107 on the ground.

But the Rebel passing defense is weaker, so that a good passing team like South Carolina could beat them, 31-24.

Accordingly, in analyzing any given college season, and any game in the regular season or any postseason bowl, one has to look at the matchups very closely in terms of the head-to-head battle between offenses and defenses.

Texas, for example, would fare well against Alabama because of the Longhorn’s strong running defense and strong passing attack. Their own main weakness, a weak passing defense, would not hurt them much against the Crimson Tide, since Alabama is not a strong passing team.

Similarly, against Alabama, USC would fare quite well as the Trojans are ranked at the top in both rushing and passing defense, while their own not overly potent offense would not be a great hinderance to them against a team with a much weaker offense.

Florida, on the other hand, which relies on its strong rushing game, could have more trouble with Alabama than expected this weekend, because the Gators have to reckon with achieving much less rushing yardage than normal, which then has to be made up for in the passing game, where Florida ranks only 61st in the nation in total passing yardage, i.e. no better than average. However, the Gators rank 5th in the nation in yardage gained per pass play, so that the potential is there to pass more in order to counter the expected stiff resistance on the ground.

Leaders Unite! A Worldwide Online Community for Leadership Research : SSRN (Social Science Research Network) announces MRN Leadership Research Network

In case you did not know it, the leading download at SSRN, referenced below, is ‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy, by Daniel J. Solove, George Washington University Law School. Join SSRN (for free) to download it.
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We just received the announcement below from MRN, the Management Research Network at SSRN, the Social Science Research Network, concerning the creation of LRN, the Leadership Research Network, a worldwide community for research in leadership.

We pass it on to you in the certainty that it will interest many of our LawPundit subscribers and readers (we have removed the email links in order not to serve the email spammers and have added some emphasis in text size and color for important points):

Announcing New MRN Leadership Research Network‏….

We are pleased to announce the creation of the Leadership Research Network (LRN) within the Management Research Network. It will provide a worldwide, online community for research in all areas of leadership studies, following the model of other subject matter networks within SSRN.

We expect LRN to become a comprehensive online resource for research in leadership studies, providing scholars with access to current work in their field and facilitating research and scholarship.

LRN’s founding directors are:

Nitin Nohria, Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean and Director of Faculty Development at the Harvard Business School

Rakesh Khurana
, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at the Harvard Business School

See below for a complete list of LRN Advisory Board members.

Initially, LRN will begin with the following 7 subject matter eJournals, and subscriptions will be free during the start-up phase until June 2009.

MODELS OF LEADERSHIP
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/Models-of-Leadership.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=Models-of-Leadership

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: Models of Leadership includes working and accepted papers examining leadership in the following topics: Attributes of Leaders; General Theories of Leadership; Leadership Behavior; Leadership, Management, & Authority; Leadership Teams; Levels of Leadership; and Types of Leadership. ML Other Models of Leadership contains materials relevant to models of leadership that are not included in the prior topics.

COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF LEADERSHIP
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/Comparative-Studies-Leadership.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=Comparative-Studies-Leadership

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: Comparative Studies of Leadership includes working and accepted papers examining leadership in the following topics: Comparative Organizational Studies of Leadership (across different organizational settings that vary by size, life-stage, industry, for-profit or not-for-profit, private or public sector, etc.); Cross Cultural Studies of Leadership (variations across national cultures); and Diversity Studies of Leadership (variations across race, gender, and other demographic categories). CSL Other Comparative Studies of Leadership includes papers that do not fit in the prior topics.

CONSEQUENCES OF LEADERSHIP
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/Consequences-of-Leadership.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=Consequences-of-Leadership

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: Consequences of Leadership includes working and accepted papers examining leadership in the following topics: the Performance Consequences and other Intended Effects of Leadership (such as increased commitment, a greater sense of purpose and meaning, a stronger commitment to values, etc.); Evil Leadership, which is aimed at accomplishing ends that violate the moral, ethical, or legal codes of a group, culture, society, or governmental authority (Although it is traditional in scholarly research to avoid normative judgments about what is good, bad, or undesirable, it handicaps our ability to analyze leadership if we refuse to deal with these issues. In dealing with them we must, however, be clear as scholars what values we are dealing with, that is with what group, culture, society, or governmental authority are the moral, ethical or, legal codes associated. And we must be specific as to the content of those codes); and Unanticipated and Unintended Consequences of Leadership (such as dependency of followers, suppression of alternate perspectives, difficulties for successors, etc.) CL Other Consequences of Leadership includes papers that examine the performance consequences of leadership that do not fit in the prior topics.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/Leadership-Development.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=Leadership-Development

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: Leadership Development includes working and accepted papers examining leadership in the following topics: Becoming a Leader, Developing Leaders, and LD Other Leadership Development, which contains materials relevant to leadership and development that are not included in the prior topics.

LEADERSHIP SELECTION & COMPENSATION
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/Leader-Selection-Compensation.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=Leader-Selection-Compensation

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: Leadership Selection & Compensation includes working and accepted papers examining leadership in the following topics: Compensation of Leaders, Selection of Leaders, and LSC Other Leadership Selection and Compensation, which contains materials relevant to leadership selection and compensation that are not included in the prior topics.

LEADERSHIP EDUCATOR: COURSES, CASES, & TEACHING
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/LRN-Educator.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=LRN-Educator

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: Leadership Educator: Courses, Cases, & Teaching of leadership including: Case studies in leadership, Courses in leadership (course materials including syllabi, exams, exercises, and lectures), and EDU Other Leadership Educator: Courses, Cases, & Teaching, which contains materials relevant to the teaching of leadership or courses in leadership that do not fit in the prior topics.

LEADERSHIP PROFESSIONAL & PRACTITIONER
View Papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/LRN-Professional-Practitioner.html
Subscribe: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=LRN-Professional-Practitioner

Editors: Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (both of Harvard University – Organizational Behavior Unit)
Description: The Leadership Professional welcomes thoughtful contributions by other professionals interested in leadership, including practitioners and consultants, to promote a dialogue across theory and practice. Contributions can include surveys of leadership, as well as papers and other intellectual products that deal with any of the issues outlined above.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
You can subscribe to the eJournals by clicking on the “subscribe” link listed below the each journal’s name. You can also subscribe to all of the eJournals at once by clicking here: http://hq.ssrn.com/jourInvite.cfm?link=LRN-all-inclusive-journal.

Individual subscriptions to the LRN eJournals will be free during the start-up phase, ending June 2009. After that, individual subscriptions, for all LRN eJournals, will be $60 per year. Organization Site Subscriptions will also be available.

You can modify your subscriptions by going to the SSRN User HeadQuarters: http://hq.ssrn.com….

LEADERSHIP RESEARCH NETWORK ADVISORY BOARD
The members of the Leadership Research Network (LRN) Advisory Board are:

Bruce J. Avolio
Clifton Chair in Leadership, UNL Director, Leadership Institute Senior Research Scientist, University of Nebraska at Lincoln – Management Department

Ronald Burt
Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy, University of Chicago – Graduate School of Business

Jennifer Chatman
Paul J. Cortese Distinguished Professor of Management, University of California, Berkeley – Organizational Behavior & Industrial Relations Group

Jay Conger
Henry R. Kravis Research Chair in Leadership Studies, Claremont Colleges – Claremont McKenna College

Paul DiMaggio
Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University – Sociology Department and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Walter A. Friedman
Research Fellow; Co-Editor of the Business History Review, Harvard University – Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Marshall Ganz
Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government; Lecturer on Social Studies, Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government

Mauro F. Guillen
Dr. Felix Zandman Professor in International Management; Professor of Management and Sociology, Director, Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies, University of Pennsylvania – Management Department

Donald C. Hambrick
Smeal Chaired Professor of Management, Smeal College of Business, The Pennsylvania State University

Herminia Ibarra
Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, INSEAD – Organisational Behavior

Mansour Javidan
Dean of Research and Garvin Distinguished Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management, University of Calgary – Haskayne School of Business

Michael C. Jensen
Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Harvard Business School; Senior Advisor, The Monitor Company; Chairman, Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.

Barbara Kellerman
James McGregor Burns Lecturer in Leadership, Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government

Roderick M. Kramer
William R. Kimball Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Morgan McCall
Professor of Management and Organization, University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business

Joel M. Podolny
Dean, Yale School of Management

Deborah Rhode
Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Michael Useem
William and Jacalyn Egan Professor, Professor of Management, Director – Center for Leadership and Change Management, University of Pennsylvania – Management Department

Laura Veldkamp
Associate Professor of Economics, New York University, Stern School of Business

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries
Clinical Professor of Leadership Development; Raoul de Vitry d’Avaucourt Chaired Professor of Leadership Development; Director – INSEAD Global Leadership Centre (IGLC), INSEAD – Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise

SUBMITTING PAPERS TO SSRN
Authors are invited to submit papers to the eLibrary without charge through SSRN’s User Headquarters at http://hq.ssrn.com.

Additionally, departments, centers, and other institutions may host their own institutional Research Paper Series to showcase and distribute faculty research….

SSRN’s eLIBRARY
SSRN’s searchable electronic library contains abstracts, full bibliographic data, and author contact information for more than 212,400 papers, over 104,100 authors, and full text for more than 172,900 papers. The eLibrary can be accessed at http://papers.ssrn.com.

Authors may upload papers to the eLibrary without charge through the SSRN User HeadQuarters at http://hq.ssrn.com. All author-uploaded papers are available for worldwide free downloading.

Downloads from the SSRN eLibrary in the past 12 months total approximately 6.5 million, with approximately 24.8 million downloads since inception. Downloads are currently running at a rate of 7 million per year.

SSRN’s PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY
Searching on an individual’s name in the author field on our search page at http://papers.ssrn.com provides the best single professional directory of scholars in accounting, economics, finance, law, and management. Complete contact information for authors, including email, postal, telephone, and fax information, is available there.

SSRN’s DOWNLOAD POLICY
SSRN provides worldwide free access to all papers included in all of our institutional Research Paper Series and all other papers uploaded to the eLibrary directly by an author.

SSRN’s MISSION
SSRN’s objective is to provide rapid, worldwide distribution of research to authors and their readers and to facilitate communication among them at the lowest possible cost. In pursuit of this objective, we allow authors to upload papers without charge. And, any paper an author uploads to SSRN is downloadable for free, worldwide.

Sincerely,

Michael C. Jensen
Director
Management Research Network

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