Mathematics professor Efton Park and head football coach Gary Patterson teamed up — pardon the pun — on Wednesday to discuss Park’s mathematical analysis of fourth down statistics. The study determined, based on numbers from the Advanced NFL Stats website, what the best action would be on a fourth down from a certain yard line in a football game based on probability of success.
Statistics have always had their own place in sports, and in-depth analysis of statistics can bring fans, players and coaches more enjoyment and a better understanding of the details of the sports we obsess over. Park’s analysis allows for another area of scrutiny for coaches to study and to help them make sound decisions during games, ones backed up by numbers rather than an educated guess.
It is great that Patterson decided to provide a coach’s perspective on Park’s analysis as well. With all of the success the TCU football team has seen in recent years, it might be easy to lose sight of how important academics are for student-athletes, but Patterson’s actions in this case demonstrate he still deems performance in the classroom to be as important as performance on the field.
The very best of TCU was on display in Park and Patterson’s presentation — academic research and athletic excellence — and the fact that both parts can combine on campus so well speaks volumes about the quality of TCU overall.
Associate/opinion editor Marshall Doig for the editorial board.