Final Update for College Football Performance as Affected by Distance from Home

The moment of truth: is college football performance affected by distance from home? As far as I can tell, the answer is no.

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Update #2: College Football Performance and Proximity to Home

How do you measure football performance? How can you compare Ndamukong Suh, a defensive tackle that played for Nebraska from 2005 to 2009 with Cooper Rush, Central Michigan’s quarterback from 2013 to 2016? These questions are incredibly difficult to answer, especially given the nature of the sport. It is impossible, at this point, to accurately and fairly quantify every player’s contribution to the result of a play, much less a game. Advanced statistics in football is always improving and decoding the game, but it is still far behind simpler sports like baseball and basketball.

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First Update on College Football Recruiting Analysis

The necessary preliminary procedure for any data analysis project is data collection and compilation. So it is for my project, which is to determine the impact of distance from home on college football player performance. Fortunately, the website 247sports.com has a fairly complete database of recruits, as well as their rating, position, hometown, and college. Unfortunately, the website has this information in a very unfriendly format for data scraping. The major challenge of this first segment was implementing a program that took those attributes from the website and created a spreadsheet with this information in a workable format (Microsoft Excel). I successfully implemented this program and created the necessary databases by utilizing the BeautifulSoup module in Python to scrape the data from the website, as well as the xlwt package to write it out to Excel.

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The Impact of Proximity to Home on College Football Performance

I want to determine whether football recruits perform better if they stay closer to home to go to college. The conventional wisdom is that football players will play better if they go to colleges near their house. Thus, college football teams by and large have players from their own state. Still, high school football talent is not spread evenly across the nation, so many teams located outside the hotbeds of the Southeast and the West Coast extend far from home to get the top talent. But is it worth it? Would it be better for Nebraska to have a team full of highly talented recruits from Florida and California, or a team full of less highly regarded recruits from Nebraska and surrounding states? Conversely, should a highly-touted recruit from Miami try to stay in Florida or cross the country to play football? I will statistically analyze the performance of college football players as a function of how far from home they play.