Yesterday we learned that Georgia’s offense belongs in the SEC’s balls-out group: “In the SEC East, Kentucky and Tennessee join Missouri and Georgia as teams that are going to go as fast as possible.”
So you know what you’re gonna hear today, right? Yep – Georgia was one of the fifteen slowest AQ teams in the country last year.
Now as it happens, if I have to choose definitions between those two, I prefer the latter, simply because it’s based on plays per game instead of total plays run in a season. But even that still paints with too broad a brush for me. For one thing, it doesn’t take into account starting field position. It also ought to exclude garbage time stats, as most teams with big leads late are going to slow things down to run out the clock.
But the other thing I’m wondering, and I seriously doubt I’m the first one to think of this, is why doesn’t somebody break this stat down to an even smaller increment, by taking plays run and dividing those into time of possession to get an average time per play? For example, last season Georgia averaged 66 plays per game and its average time of possession was 28:07.29. That works out to an average time per play of 25.57 seconds.
For comparison’s sake, here are some other 2012 per play averages: Texas A&M, 21.41 spp; Ole Miss, 22.75 spp; Clemson 22.77 spp; Georgia Tech, 27.64 spp; Alabama, 30.19 spp; Florida 30.60 spp. (By that measure, Georgia looks pretty middle of the pack.) This isn’t perfect either, as it doesn’t peel off garbage time play, but at least it takes field position out of the equation. There’s one more thing that bugs me, though. If we’re attempting to measure pace, that is, how quickly an offense can run its plays in a game, shouldn’t we take the time it takes to run each play out of the math? That is something far beyond my meager analytical skills to attempt, but I do think it’s relevant.
Does this make any sense to anybody else? And how much should we care about it anyway?