I think it was Gus Malzahn that said he had never lost a game in which his offense had run 80 plays from the line of scrimmage. I’m here to tell you that plenty of other coaches have. As a matter of fact, last year excluding overtime games, 99 teams ran 80 or more plays and lost (but not Auburn) topped by Baylor running 105 plays (to 63 for the winning Oklahoma State team) and Texas Tech with the same number against Texas A&M.
Not only does 80 plays not equal a win, but in fact it equals a loss in over 14% of non-overtime games.
With the advent and growth of the spread offense there are more powerful teams that score quickly and efficiently. Oklahoma State and Oregon come to mind immediately.
During the Bowl season the winners averaged less time of possession and less plays than the losers and the winners only had more time of possession in 42.86% of the games and only had more plays 38.24% of the time.
Looking at the big picture of last season, 59.20% of the time the winning team runs more plays – again, less of an advantage than simply being the home team.
Even more illuminating is this fact: For the 2011 season (713 games) winners averaged 70.91 plays while losers averaged 68.60 plays. Winners averaged only 2.31 more plays per game than losers, hardly a huge advantage that ensures a victory.