Below are our defensive ratings for the 2012 season. There is some interesting information here, some affirmations (Alabama #1 defense), some surprises (Clemson middle of the pack?) and some hilarity (Louisiana Tech was #1 in our offensive ratings, but comes in dead last in the defensive ratings).
These ratings are the reverse mirror image of the offensive ratings, meaning that offensive ratings depend on more plays and more yards per play, the defensive ratings are based on fewer plays run (3 and outs) and less yards per play. On offense the higher the rating the better, while on defense the lower the rating the better.
Similar to the offensive ratings these numbers do not include a strength of schedule component which I believe is an issue and which I intend to correct in 2013. For example, in the ratings below South Carolina and Boise State are exactly tied at #11. But, you would be hard pressed to make me believe that South Carolina, who played Clemson, Georgia and Arkansas didn’t play a tougher schedule (offensively speaking) than Boise.
Some observations from these numbers:
·Three highly rated offensive teams – Arizona, Baylor and Louisiana Tech, pull up the rear in the defensive rankings lending credence to the theory that hurry up, no huddle offenses cause defensive issues for a team.
·On the flip side of that argument, Oregon comes in at 46th, while Texas A&M, Clemson and Oklahoma come in as “average” on defense. Again, I have some work to do on strength of schedule (SoS) to make these ratings a more apples to apples comparison.
·The offensive ratings suggested Clemson faced some bad offenses in 2012, with Auburn, Maryland and Wake among the worst offenses. These numbers also suggest Clemson faced some bad defenses – Duke (108), Ball State (102) and Boston College (101) all ranked in the bottom 20 in defense.
·On the other hand, Clemson also faced 5 top 20 defensive teams – Florida State (2), LSU (8), South Carolina (t-11th), Virginia Tech (18) and Maryland (20).
·Clemson’s defensive rating was very slightly above “average” (average is 100.00). The Tigers gave up a slightly below average number of plays per game (a good thing) and a slightly above average gain per play (not so good).
·Clemson averaged 11.54 more plays per game than its opponents.
·Florida State was the only defense to give up less than 4 yards per play.
·Alabama was #1 in least plays per game allowed and #2 in yards per play given up.
These rankings closely mirror the NCAA’s “Total Defense” rankings – not necessarily a good thing – and my instincts lead me to believe that adding a Strength of Schedule component, as planned, would provide a more realistic picture on both sides of the ball.