Some thoughts on Georgia’s opener

David Ching has a post up at his blog analyzing Oklahoma State’s offensive performance from 2006. After sifting through it, I’m not sure I’m on board with all of the conclusions he draws from the data.

Here’s what he takes from the info:

* Much has been made of OSU’s averaging 200 rushing and 200 passing per game last year, but they actually only accomplished that three times — versus Nebraska, Division I-AA bottom feeder Missouri State and an Alabama team playing with a lame duck coach.
* So with all of THAT said, here’s an important distinction Bryan made in his analysis:
*** Against top 50 defenses, Oklahoma State averaged 175 rushing yards and 177 passing yards, good for a total of 352 total yards per game.
*** Against defenses ranked 50th or worse, OSU averaged 236 rushing, 223 passing and 459 total.
*** That’s a pretty substantial difference. How big of a difference? Louisiana-Monroe averaged 350 yards per game last year. West Virginia averaged 460.

As to the first point, so what? I don’t think a competent offensive coordinator (which Fedora is) goes into every game thinking he has to get 200/200 rushing/passing yards to have a successful game plan. You take what a defense gives you. Over the course of a season, that kind of balance on average would seem to be a good indication that you’ve got a clue about what you’re doing. If it wasn’t that big a deal, more than two teams (which finished #2 and #7 in scoring, BTW) would have accomplished that.

Now as to the rest of that, doesn’t it seem pretty intuitive that an offense would do better against weaker defenses than it would against the better performing ones? The more relevant data would be to show whether OSU’s offense did better against the defenses it played than did other opponents. (Matt’s numbers would suggest that to be the case, at least for OSU’s conference games.)

Taking a look at the other side of the coin, I ran a similar analysis on Georgia’s 2006 defense. Here’s the breakdown, leaving out 1-AA WKU:

Team/Rush yds/Pass yds/Total/NCAA offense rank

  • S. Carolina/126/67/255/20th
  • UAB/69/94/163/95th
  • Colorado/173/140/313/102nd
  • Mississippi/156/87/243/111th
  • Tennessee/115/268/383/36th
  • Vanderbilt/101/190/291/52nd
  • MSU/64/234/298/103rd
  • Florida/156/163/319/19th
  • Kentucky/147/204/351/31st
  • Auburn/136/35/171/76th
  • Georgia Tech/146/42/188/67th
  • Virginia Tech/42/147/189/99th

Against top 50 offenses, Georgia’s defense allowed 113.25 rushing ypg, 213.75 passing ypg and 327 total ypg. Against the rest, the figures were 110.88 rushing ypg, 121.13 passing ypg and 232 total ypg. That pretty much parallels the results of Ching’s data. (Although perhaps it’s noteworthy that OSU’s yardage numbers change almost equally on passing and rushing, while Georgia’s differ almost completely in passing alone.)

And for what it’s worth, OSU over the course of the season faced a defense ranked on average as the 52.25 best in D-1. Georgia faced on average the 67.58 best offense in D-1.

That all being said, I do think Ching is on more solid ground when he posts

Let’s keep in mind here that Georgia loses a lot of key defensive players this season. Let’s also keep in mind that, after finishing 49th in total defense in Mark Richt’s first season in Athens, the Bulldogs have finished no worse than 18th in any season since. They were eighth last year, one of three times they’ve been eighth or better in Richt’s six seasons. I’d be shocked if they weren’t a top-20 total defense again this year, despite the youth.

I would be too. The question is, though, will they play like a top 20 defense tomorrow?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Some thoughts on Georgia’s opener

  1. kckd

    Well, slap them in the face one more time. Over the past five years this defense has proven itself over the long haul. It’s been ranked top 20 every year. Yet, our fans continue to question their play, one even going as far as to say last years LB corp was the worst he’s ever seen play for UGA. I’m assuming he’s older than 12.

  2. Who’s slapping them in the face? Ching thinks they’ll be a top 20 defense again this year, and so do I.

  3. kckd

    Because of the schedule. Swell

  4. The schedule?

    On paper, at least, I would think Georgia is facing better offenses in 2007 than it did in 2006. OSU is certainly a far better offensive team than Colorado and MSU drops off for ‘Bama.

  5. Hobnail_Boot

    So what does it say that the disparity in yardage allowed comes almost exclusively from the pass D?

    Given that INT’s have gone up drastically under Martinez, seems to me that he schemes to ‘bend, not break’. Try to keep them in front of you and make them execute 10+ plays to get in the endzone. This creates more opportunities for the opposing offense to screw up. This is further evidenced by the way we’ve covered the few elite receivers we’ve seen lately (C. Johnson, S. Rice)

  6. So what does it say that the disparity in yardage allowed comes almost exclusively from the pass D?

    Good question. I have no idea.

    Your explanation is a good one for the overall numbers – a poor offense is one that’s more likely to make a mistake to end a drive than a good one – but I don’t see how that would account for all the difference appearing in the passing numbers.

    Any other thoughts out there about this one?

  7. kckd

    well, just my experience from math class. But I think you take two games off where the team allowed less than 50 yards passing, almost unheard of, and the rest of the numbers would be about the same, or a lot closer.

    I’d say those two games with Tech and Auburn skewed the numbers a bit.