Thursday, November 29, 2007

Comparing Tom Brandstater and David Carr (yes it can be done)

by nsc

In 2001 we all remember the magic ride the Fresno State Bulldogs embarked on to begin the season. The Dogs opened up with three straight wins over BCS schools and were awarded the #8 ranking in the nation for doing so. David Carr had an amazing season as he threw for over 4000 yards and 45 td's leading the Bulldogs to an overall record of 11-3. Today it seems that regardless of how good or bad our teams are we continually compare them to that 2001 team. The other day I wrote a blog on Tom Brandstater and how he has matured over the season. I wrote that I feel his development is ahead of where David Carr was at the same point in his Junior season. I am quite sure many of you do not feel the same way as I do so I decided to use opposing team's record, common stats, and team schedules to try and further prove that Tom Brandstater is right where we need him to be at this point in his career. Brandstater had a very tough 2006 season but I cannot use that in comparison because David Carr was not our starter his sophomore season. While many awful things were said about Tom during our 4-8 season last year he was only a sophomore and there is no way to reference that for any type of comparison. Instead I will use Tom's Junior season and the records from the teams we play his senior year to compare the two QB's side by side. Now don't get me wrong, David Carr was an absolute godsend for this program as he helped put the Dogs into the national spotlight. All I am trying to say here is that Brandstater may be on the same maturation level as Carr was when he blossomed into one of the best QB's in college football. Let's begin the comparison by referencing Carr's Junior season and how he did during that season.

In 2000 Carr led the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record as they lost in the Silicon Valley Bowl to Air Force 37-34. In that game David Carr showed us glimpses of what he would become in 2001. Carr threw for 388 yards and five td's while bringing the Dogs back from a 34-7 halftime deficit. For the season Carr finished with the following stat line:

216 for 349 for 2,729 yards 62% completion rate 27 td's

What is far more interesting about the Bulldogs 2000 season is the record of the teams that Carr won and loss against. The teams Carr led the Bulldogs to victories over had a combined 26-56 record. The teams Carr and the Dogs lost to had a combined record of 41-19. In other words the teams the Dogs beat that season were teams they were supposed to beat. The Dogs did not lose to anyone they shouldn't have lost to with respect to team record and the Dogs did not beat anyone they shouldn't have beaten. Now let's take a look at Brandstater in 2007 and how he has fared against believe it or not very similar competition overall. Brandstater's line to date is as follows:

178 for 288 for 2,164 yards 62% completion rate 14 td's

Remember that Brandstater still has two games remaining. No Brandstater will not throw for 13 td's in the next two games but it is possible that he may throw for 500 yards and say five td's. If that does happen he will end up with 2650-2700 yards passing (right where Carr was) and around 18-20 td's. Now let's take a look at the win-loss records of the teams the Dogs have played in 2007. Against teams the Dogs have beaten the opponents record is: 23-47. The teams the Dogs have lost to have a combined 36-10 record. You can try and make a case that the teams we lost to in 2000 are superior to the teams we have lost to this season but a further look shows this to be untrue. In 2000 we lost to Ohio State which is comparable to this year's Oregon team (record wise). In 2000 we lost to UCLA which is comparable to this year's TAMU team (record wise also). However, in 2000 the only other team that was anywhere near as good as this year's Boise and Hawaii team's would have been TCU. Air Force was not a dominating force in 2000 nor was UTEP. If this is not enough in the comparison arena for those who read the blog let me take a look at Carr's 2001 season to further prove that Brandstater will have a chance to show he can be our next star QB.

In 2001 Carr had what many consider to be the best QB season in Bulldog history. We know his stat line was astonishing and there is no way Brandstater will ever match what Carr did in 2001. However lets take a look at the win-loss records of the opponents Carr faced in 2001. The teams Carr led the Bulldogs to victories over had a combined 57-71 record. The teams Carr and the Dogs suffered a loss to had a comnined 24-12 record. As of right now the team's Brandstater will take the field against in 2008 have a combined 68-75 record. In 2001 Carr led Fresno State to three straight victories over BCS teams. In 2008 the Bulldogs also open the season with three consecutive games against BCS teams. I realize that comparing stats of two players is quite hard to do. I know that Carr and Brandstater are playing in different eras of Fresno State football. While we ran the ball in 2001 we realized that our QB could win games for us and our offense allowed Carr to do just that. In 2008 I expect much of the same from our offense. I expect early on that J-Mac and Hill will realize that if we have to we can win games by throwing the ball we will. I expect the offense to put trust in Brandstater and ride his back to victories from time to time. As I said earlier Tom will not achieve the stats Carr did in 2001, that's just not possible in today's Bulldog offense. However, if Fresno State finishes 10-2 or 11-1 and Brandstater throws for say 30 td's with 7 int's or so and 3000 yards won't that be enough to say Brandstater was just as successful as Carr was as our starting QB? Remember you cannot compare their sophomore seasons, that is not fair to either QB due to starting time and the team surrounding each QB. If the Dogs can come through in 2008 and finish 10-2 TB will have a record of 18-6 (assuming we beat NMSU this Friday and not counting our bowl game this season). Carr had a 18-8 record as our starter in 2000-2001. To me that sounds eerily similar. If you do not see the connection that is fine. I realize many of you loved David Carr and cannot fathom Brandstater as the type of QB Carr was for this program. However, if you take the time to look at the numbers and compare the two you might find out they are much more similar than at first glance.


Anonymous said...

Brandstater is not Carr, and that is neither good nor bad, it just is. They are different QBs with different skill sets. I got roped into challenging your last column (in a weak moment), but I won't do so here.

Why is it you are so set on making TB out to be the new DC? Isn't Tommy good enough for you just being Tommy?

Steve Burnes

Steve Burnes

Anonymous said...

He is doing a good job this year. But come on, he is his own person. It seems like you really want people to realize he is much better than last year, and so you compare him to Carr.

Just let the numbers and wins speak for themself. This really is starting to seem like you are beating the dead horse on this topic.

Also, just comparing stats doesn't mean he is as good skill wise as Carr. Burnes is right, different skill sets. Different people.

I hope he does an even better job next year. Maybe then he will get the admiration you seem to think he deserves.

nsc said...

Well ok then he is not Carr. I grant all of you that. You know why I make this comparison? Because David Carr to me was not the greatest QB we have ever had. Because to me Carr had a problem staring down receivers. Because to me Carr had many of the same problems Tom had at the starting of the year. In fact every QB the Dogs have had has these same problems when they first started at QB. Yeah many of them threw for a shitload of yards but who wouldn't when you throw the ball 35-40 times a game.

I guess in the end Steve I am sorry that you feel I was challenging you. I wasn't asking you to respond to me in any way. You usually have some insightful things to say to me but the fact you feel like I am pushing to challnege what you believe well just sucks. I don't want to upset people, I am just damned tired of reading "Well Brandstater had a good game but he is no Carr". What the hell is Carr then? Is he some god that cannot be matched? Was he so good there is no way we will ever have a team that lives up to the 2001 Dogs? Come on, that damn team lost three games and did not finish ranked.

So in the end that is why I write the articles. 2001 was six years ago and anytime we refer to the the Dogs and their strong QB's we mention Carr, Volek, Dilfer and so on. But no one says anything about the guy we have right now. I am sorry you guys took it the wrong way. I don't want Tom to be Carr, but if I write a column saying "Tom is just Tom" I guarantee someone will respond by saying "But he is no Carr".

Anonymous said...

So we lost three games because of Carr in 2001? It sounds like you are implying that and that's just laughable. Our defense chocked down the stretch, and their was nothing the offense could do about it.

Anonymous said...

marcus riley is the third bulldog to ever get the defensive player of the year award! will you write about him. He's been outstanding all year long and the coaches noticed and awarded him. As the official bulldog blog, somebody dropped the ball!

Anonymous said...


hugo said...

tommyt is a heck of a person/player on and off the field ... if he were giving the oppurtunity he wouldnt compare nor judge as you do to him ! everyone here in good ol'turlock is behind you tommy,keep up the bulldog spirit and the good job !


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

lets do it and win it.

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