The hidden game

Year2 takes a look at the yardage that doesn’t show up in the total offense/defense stats.

We all know about total yards and total defense, but teams rack up other kinds of yards through a football game.  For lack of a better term, I’m calling them “Other Yards” today. The formula is simple:

Other Yards = Punt Return Yards + Kickoff Return Yards + Interception Return Yards

If you look at his chart of the SEC, you’ll see that some of the information he’s gathered is more useful than other parts there.  Alabama is last on the list, for example, mainly because it’s deep in the hole due to kicking off a lot more than its opponents have.

Still, it’s interesting to tie his data in with our old friend, yards per point.  It’s reasonable to figure that teams which have an advantage in punt return net yardage, turnover margin (reflected to some extent in his net interception yardage numbers) and net penalty yardage are going to wind up being more efficient scorers, because all of that translates into more advantageous field position.

So here’s how the SEC ranks in order of yards per point after three games:

TEAM POINTS YARDS YPP
Florida 103 957 9.29
Kentucky 133 1492 11.22
LSU 86 969 11.27
Georgia 85 1022 12.02
Alabama 134 1626 12.13
S. Carolina 96 1177 12.26
Arkansas 106 1451 13.69
Ole Miss 89 1238 13.91
Auburn 96 1380 14.38
Tennessee 80 1158 14.48
Miss. St. 70 1083 15.47
Vanderbilt 52 867 16.67

It’s early, and every school has played at least one cupcake, so the numbers are a little better overall than we’ll see by year’s end, but if you’re looking for an explanation about how Florida’s offense can look so pedestrian, yet still score enough to get out to a 3-0 start, it’s because they haven’t had to strain themselves so far.  Same thing with LSU.  Auburn, however, is making Gus Malzahn earn his keep.

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7 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

7 responses to “The hidden game

  1. Mike

    The great thing about college football, and even football in general, is that there are a lot of different ways to score points. Points can be scored by the offense, the defense and by special teams.

    A program that consistently emphasizes aggression in all three aspects can struggle in one, but if they are good in the other two, they can still win a lot of games.

  2. JaxDawg

    I like this efficiency ratio, and if I recall, UGA led the conference in YPP in 2009. This is why despite Bobo’s occasional brain fart, it’s hard to argue with the results.

    My thought coming into this year was that if we could keep this efficiency/productivity going on O and make some strides on the D, we could screw around and win 10 games. With our OL, TE’s, WR’s, RB’s, et al, there was no reason not to believe that.

    So to say the offense has been a disappointment is an understatement.

  3. Xon

    How could UGA have led in YPP last year, with their all-time horrible turnover margin? Was our red zone efficiency so good it made up for the giveaways, and were the giveaways generally early in drives (before we had racked up a lot of “zero result” yards)? Need to see the numbers…

    Phil Steele, as most of us know I’m sure, treats YPP as similar to Turnovers: a largely random number that is likely to flip from one year to the next. Teams that are significantly below or above the ~15 ypp average in any given year are likely to have a better or worse record the next season. Not quite as likely as when they have a significantly low/high turnover ratio, but still an indicator of future performance nonetheless.

    Clearly there are things that good teams do which should lower their ypp. But it also isn’t automatically a sign of a truly “efficient” offense. Sometimes, teams with low ypp’s are just “lucky,” and will very likely regress to the mean the next year, even with the same personnel and scheme, etc.

  4. Xon

    Of course, turnovers so obviously are going to feature into the ypp number, as part of the complexity of what is going on, that perhaps I’m being less profound than I thought at first. :-)