December 18, 2018

CFB Trends: Part 6

Other than points, perhaps the most important metric in college football – yards per play. Out of all the metrics I track, none has a higher winning percentage than winning the yards per play advantage over your opponent – not even winning the turnover battle.  The gap has held relatively steady – starting at 1.25 in 2011 and sitting at 1.26 in 2016, though there have been some swings (2013!) along the way.

But again, year in and year out, the fact remains – more plays, more yards and especially more yards per play = winner.

Previously in Series:
CFB Trends Part 1 – Home field advantage?
CFB Trends Part 2 – Vegas knows – favorites win
CFB Trends Part 3 – You’re not imagining it – scoring is up
CFB Trends Part 4 – Everybody runs 70 plays a game
 CFB Trends Part 5 – Yards, yards and yards

CFB Trends – Part 5

Yards matter. Sure, there’s games where the team with less yards win, but it’s more likely that the team with more yards is going to win the game – which makes the stat we just looked at – plays per game – important and the one up next – yards per play – even more important.  The graph below makes the big picture clear: Teams that gain more yards than their opponents win.

Not only that, but the margin is getting larger.  In 2011 there was a 100 yard difference on average between winners and losers.  By 2016 that number had grown to 104.1.

Previously in Series:
CFB Trends Part 1 – Home field advantage?
CFB Trends Part 2 – Vegas knows – favorites win
CFB Trends Part 3 – You’re not imagining it – scoring is up
CFB Trends Part 4 – Everybody runs 70 plays a game
 

College Football Trends – Part 4

The numbers below are derived from 4,339 college football games between 2011-2016 that involved 2 FBS teams.

Remember when Chad Morris came to town and said 70 plays means Clemson wins?  Turns out he was right the vast majority of the time, but now “everybody” runs 70+ plays a game in college football.  One thing, however, has been consistent: Teams that run more plays on offense win more than than teams that run less.

Previously in Series:
CFB Trends Part 1 – Home field advantage?

CFB Trends Part 2 – Vegas knows – favorites win

CFB Trends Part 3 – You’re not imagining it – scoring is up

 

Clemson Minute: Defense must contain big plays

Opponents completed only 48.5% of their passes against Clemson during the 2015 season, but 48 of those passes, an average of 3.2 per game, went for 20 or more yards, including 7 in the National Championship Game vs. Alabama.

Listen in below as we detail just how costly those 48 plays were and how losing 3 defensive backs is likely to effect these numbers.

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Clemson Spring Game Info and Links to Podcast & Free Apps

The Clemson Spring Game is here and so are your links to the latest information and FREE SUR podcast and Apps.

Spring game podcast

Spring game roundtable

The new SUR Podcast is now available for download via iTunes and Soundcloud.

SUR has free apps available which include push messages on scores, updates and recruiting, for both the iPhone and Android devices.

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Respect for Clemson was hard earned, but could easily be lost

The morning after Clemson’s loss to Alabama I woke to something I hadn’t felt in a long time: Clemson football had earned the respect of the College Football World. Except for college football’s lunatic fringe, the Tigers were almost universally praised for their performance in Phoenix.

As I tweeted at the time, it’s incredibly ironic that Clemson earned respect for a game they ultimately lost and not for the 14 in a row they won and that speaks volumes on how different college football teams are viewed nationally.

Post CG Tweet

The Tigers will begin the 2016 season at or near the top of the rankings with the requisite publicity accompanying the lofty ranking. Players will be named to preseason All-Conference, All-American and all of 73 “watch lists”.

There are teams across college football that get the benefit of the doubt. Teams like Stanford, who lost twice as 10 point favorites in 2015, yet somehow remained in discussion for the college football playoff up to the end. Or Oklahoma, Clemson’s trash-talking playoff opponent, that lost to a 5-7 Texas team as a 16 point favorite, beat every team with a backup quarterback and played no conference championship game, yet was awarded a playoff spot, which in retrospect looks suspect at best.

Clemson won’t get those advantages despite their 2015 season and the post championship game respect bestowed upon them. One loss likely dooms the 2016 Tigers playoff hopes.

If that loss comes in the opener at Auburn the respect that was so hard earned slowly and incrementally over the last 4 years will disappear into thin air. The masses will utter worn out catchphrases so as to not tax their brains with analysis and turn their attention to the next big thing or, more likely, to the Stanfords and Oklahomas that continuously underperform and are rewarded handsomely for doing so.




College football is a “what have you done for me lately” proposition, at least for most teams. There are teams that can lose repeatedly as favorites, deflect those losses like Teflon and “impress” with 50 point wins over undermanned teams and end up in the playoff because of their name, coach or conference.

Clemson isn’t one of them.