clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bored Blognerds and Downtrodden Football Teams Don't Mix

One of the funny (funny strange, not funny ha-ha) things about cheering for a football team that's decidedly worse than you anticipated is that you find your expected weekly routine thrown all out of whack.  Subconsciously, I had been looking forward to diving into the numbers to explain just how dominant the offense was, how Crompton was an unstoppable passing machine, how the rushing attack couldn't be stopped, and how the SEC sat back in fear and awe as the presumed heir-apparent to Fulmer ran roughshod over all opposition.  (That heir-apparent would be Clawson, for those of you who don't remember that rhetoric during the offseason.  My, how we jumped to conclusions.)  Instead, being the eternal optimist and numbers-freak, my days devolved into something more like this:




[peeks at rushing stats, blinks]


[peeks at passing stats, whimpers]


[peeks at defensive stats, mmmm.....Berry....]


[twiddles thumbs]



[peeks at special teams stats, cries]



[ ]


[peeks at Vandy stats, feels guilty for thoughts of infidelity]


[plays Hedgehog Launch]

Yeah, that's about it.  It's not a lot of fun making grown men cry (much less myself), so I turn instead to some projects whirring in the back of my head.  So, being waaaay more uncool in real life than my geeky internet self, I decide to play around with some of the features on Excel to see if I can create more pretty charts and graphs to learn more about the team than normally gets printed.  You've seen some of the results in previous posts, but I've decided to use the blog as a forum to trial-run some other pet projects.  The following charts are the first bits extracted from some data mining attempts I'm venturing into.  Throughout the rest of the season, I'm hoping to work on these techniques and develop them to where I can spend the football offseason refinng them into something that's actually useful.  (Hope that made sense, there.)

Aaaaanyway, here are some offensive trends across the SEC.


You've seen similar charts before.  Here, the yellow line represents the average gain per pass play; the blue line represents the average gain per rush play; and the green line represents the average gain for all plays.  The red line in the Auburn graph represents the coaching change; in the upcoming Tennessee graph, it'll represent a QB change.  The interpretation is pretty self-evident, but here are my bullet comments:

  • Alabama:  The passing game is somewhat spastic.  I haven't watched through a 'Bama game yet, so I don't know why it's so, but it's like they have a great game, get cocky, have a poor game, get screamed at, have a great game, etc.  But the real strength is the rushing game; those are some very high rushing averages.
  • Arkansas:  Once Arkansas played some actual football teams, their passing game became very pedestrian.  Even against Auburn, the passing average was nothing special.  The rushing game has improved, though, and will likely buoy this team in the second half of the season.
  • Auburn:  Ugh.  The rushing game has been consistently atrocious, and the passing game has been inconsistent.  Not that you needed a reminder.


Continuing with the bullets:

  • LSU:  LSU's offensive performance has been very good.  Rushing averages over 4 are the goal, and passing averages over 8 are good.  Having a n00b QB may be the reason for the inconsistency in passing, but the real concern is the steady downward trend.  A part of that is difficulty of opponents; still, LSU will want to get that corrected soon before it becomes a liability.
  • Mississippi:  Oddly enough, Ole Miss's offense has been the model of consistency.  They've maintained around 4 yards per rush and 8 yards per pass in every game, which is enough to be successful.  They've also played some decent teams in there.  Houston Nutt has had a very positive effect on this unit.
  • Mississippi State:  MSU has been somewhat consistent as well, but not as good as Ole Miss.  The rush game has been decent in some games, but the passing game just isn't there.  If I were UT, I'd commit heavily against the run on Saturday.

Now for the East:


  • Florida:  Yikes.  On the bright side, Florida's offense was worst against Teneessee (woo!).  On the not-so-bright side, they appear to be improving from an already impressive mark.  Their rushing average is nearly 6 yards per play, which is better than several teams' passing averages.  Let that sink in.
  • Georgia:  For all the hype over Knowshon, the Georgia rushing attack has been average at best against decent competition.  Chalk a lot of that up to injuries.  The passing game has been decent, though susceptible to an off day every now and then.  But right now, the Georgia offense is running a little below acceptable (4 yards/rush and 8 yards/pass).  Gee, if only an opposing offense were available to exploit that...
  • Kentucky:  Ugh.  That is one bad passing attack; they have yet to break 6 yards/pass in a game.  The running game did well against two creampuffs, but has been absent otherwise.  Kentucky is an improved team, but this level of offense is not sustainable in the long term.

And last but not least.  (Or so we hope):


  • South Carolina:  Whoever has been handling the QB duties in the last two games should stay in.  The passing game is meager, but beggars can't be chooser at this point.  Unfortunately, the rushing game appears to be headed in the opposite direction.  I would imagine our Gamecock brethren are as frustrated as we are right now.
  • Tennessee:  Hey, at least the graph gets a pretty orange tint.  The offense is all over the map, and not in a good way.  Defenses have starting focusing on the rushing game to great effect.  Had that game against Georgia been any worse, I would have to redo all the axis ranges to handle negative numbers.  But hey, at least the passing has been serviceable over the last two games.  Maybe it'll stick around when the running attack decides to come back.
  • Vanderbilt:  Yes, that's Miami (Ohio) for the first opponent, not Miami (Florida).  The QB injury might not be as significant of an injury as you'd expect for an offense; it's not like Vandy was tearing it up on the field in the first place.  Overall, this offense is getting less productive, and we're to the point where their magnificent turnover ratio might not be able to make the difference.  They'll get bowl eligible, but the second half of the season may not be as kind as the first half.  But perhaps the MSU effort can be chalked up to post-Auburn fatigue.  Hey, GameDay visits and you lose the next week.  Yeah, that's why UT's avoiding GameDay.  Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket.

Well, as I said before, this is the product of some experimentation on my part.  If you see anything in the charts, please leave some feedback.  I plan on posting up defensive charts next.  The special teams charts may or may not happen; I haven't found a format for the data that I like yet.