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Tom Osborne made the WRONG decision in the 1984 Orange Bowl


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Tom Osborne going for 2 against Miami has always been lauded as our great coach going for the win.  I always agreed with that decision, but it's easier to say that after NU won 3 National Championships in the 90's.  However, Dr. Tom was wrong in the order in which he went for 2.  If Tom knew he was going to try for 2 at the end of the game, he should have gone for 2 after NU scored a TD in the 4th quarter to make the score 31-23.  If Osborne went for 2 after the first TD, he would have given NU a 50% chance to win, 25% chance to tie, and 25% chance to lose.  Below is a chart, which shows the math behind the decision.  If you ignore the final column, it applies to Osborne's decision in the 1984 Orange Bowl.  This topic came up during the Indy - Buffalo playoff game this past weekend, when Frank Reich went for 2 after a score in the 4th quarter.

 

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There was no OT then. It was win, lose or tie. Osborne's cojones were too big to go for a tie.   Win: 50% Lose: 50% Tie: not an option   Doesn't matter when you go for tw

Tom Osborne going for 2 against Miami has always been lauded as our great coach going for the win.  I always agreed with that decision, but it's easier to say that after NU won 3 National Championship

Here's a short video where Tom Osborne agrees that not going for two earlier was a mistake.

6 minutes ago, MinnwiscowaSker said:

There was no OT then. It was win, lose or tie. Osborne's cojones were too big to go for a tie.

 

Win: 50%

Lose: 50%

Tie: not an option

 

Doesn't matter when you go for two if you're only outcome is win or lose.

I agree there was no OT then, that's why I said to ignore the last column.  If TO had big cojones, he goes for 2 after the first TD.  If he does that, the win probability is still 50%, but TO also could have had a 25% chance for a tie by going for 2 a second time (after failing the first time), and the loss probability falls to 25%.  

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6 minutes ago, ColoradoHusk said:

I agree there was no OT then, that's why I said to ignore the last column.  If TO had big cojones, he goes for 2 after the first TD.  If he does that, the win probability is still 50%, but TO also could have had a 25% chance for a tie by going for 2 a second time (after failing the first time), and the loss probability falls to 25%.  

To play devil's advocate, what if Miami scores a field goal on their possession. Now it's 34-23 and that second missed 2 pt try means 34-29 and you need a third TD to win instead of a FG to tie.

 

I see what you're saying and follow the math. Makes sense and I doubt ever crossed his mind. I'm just wondering what else was on his mind in those last 7-8 minutes, or if he was moved by the moment to go for 2 and it wasn't something he was thinking about earlier. Maybe he felt his guys were playing well enough at that point that the likelihood of converting was 75-80%, where it wasn't earlier. Maybe coaches saw something late in the game?

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9 minutes ago, MinnwiscowaSker said:

To play devil's advocate, what if Miami scores a field goal on their possession. Now it's 34-23 and that second missed 2 pt try means 34-29 and you need a third TD to win instead of a FG to tie.

 

I see what you're saying and follow the math. Makes sense and I doubt ever crossed his mind. I'm just wondering what else was on his mind in those last 7-8 minutes, or if he was moved by the moment to go for 2 and it wasn't something he was thinking about earlier. Maybe he felt his guys were playing well enough at that point that the likelihood of converting was 75-80%, where it wasn't earlier. Maybe coaches saw something late in the game?

I have always wondered why the pass - as they say when you pass 3 things can happen and 2 are bad

1.  catch it

2. don't catch it

3. interception

I always thought some counter play that offset Miami's speed could have worked.   While I understand that the box is much tighter from the 3 yard line, our running game was starting to wear Miami down.  

 

Regardless, I am glad Tom went for it.  As noted above, easier to say after he won 3 NC.  He is really deserving of 6 (82,83,93)

 

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1 hour ago, TGHusker said:

I have always wondered why the pass - as they say when you pass 3 things can happen and 2 are bad

1.  catch it

2. don't catch it

3. interception

 

Just like running the ball:

1 - gain yards

2 - lose yards

3 - fumble

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1 hour ago, ColoradoHusk said:

Tom Osborne going for 2 against Miami has always been lauded as our great coach going for the win.  I always agreed with that decision, but it's easier to say that after NU won 3 National Championships in the 90's.  However, Dr. Tom was wrong in the order in which he went for 2.  If Tom knew he was going to try for 2 at the end of the game, he should have gone for 2 after NU scored a TD in the 4th quarter to make the score 31-23.  If Osborne went for 2 after the first TD, he would have given NU a 50% chance to win, 25% chance to tie, and 25% chance to lose.  Below is a chart, which shows the math behind the decision.  If you ignore the final column, it applies to Osborne's decision in the 1984 Orange Bowl.  This topic came up during the Indy - Buffalo playoff game this past weekend, when Frank Reich went for 2 after a score in the 4th quarter.

 

Definitely interesting. I've heard it talked about a lot over the last few years.  I think I finally saw someone actually do it (go for 2 down 8) once this year.

 

I can't imagine basically anyone had ever really thought about it in 1983.

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8 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

Definitely interesting. I've heard it talked about a lot over the last few years.  I think I finally saw someone actually do it (go for 2 down 8) once this year.

 

I can't imagine basically anyone had ever really thought about it in 1983.

Agree that I am applying a more recent issue to something which happened nearly 40 years ago.  I just enjoy thinking about math and analytics and how they apply to sports.  It's unfortunate when many coaches get lambasted by media and fans when they do something which makes sense mathematically, but goes "against conventional thinking".  

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1 minute ago, ColoradoHusk said:

Agree that I am applying a more recent issue to something which happened nearly 40 years ago.  I just enjoy thinking about math and analytics and how they apply to sports.  It's unfortunate when many coaches get lambasted by media and fans when they do something which makes sense mathematically, but goes "against conventional thinking".  

 

Also, it appears they just put in a generic 50% both ways as a simple succeed/fail.  I wonder what the actual conversion rates are now.  And in 1983.

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23 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

Also, it appears they just put in a generic 50% both ways as a simple succeed/fail.  I wonder what the actual conversion rates are now.  And in 1983.

Well looking at our stats we never made a 2 point conversion that year.

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32 minutes ago, Mavric said:

 

Also, it appears they just put in a generic 50% both ways as a simple succeed/fail.  I wonder what the actual conversion rates are now.  And in 1983.

Here's a chart I found on the interweb, so it looks most years the conversion rate is between 40-50%.  I have always assumed a 50% conversion rate.

 

NCAA_2_point_conversion_graph.jpg

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