Football cliché #6

This is what comes from boredom and a slow day at work – the mind wanders and random thoughts enter unbidden.

“My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” Well, sometimes, maybe…

Anyway, for some reason, I wonder “does running the ball and stopping the run really win championships?

Interestingly enough, as football clichés go, this one has some legs to it.

If you go to the NCAA D-1 football statistics website, here’s what you find where the MNCs for each year beginning in 2000 were ranked nationally in rushing offense and rushing defense:

  • 2000 (Oklahoma): 68 R/O; 23 R/D
  • 2001 (Miami): 21 R/O; 40 R/D
  • 2002 (OSU): 31 R/O; 3 R/D
  • 2003 (LSU): 27 R/O; 1 R/D
  • 2004 (USC): 33 R/O; 1 R/D
  • 2005 (Texas): 2 R/O; 33 R/D
  • 2006 (Florida): 38 R/O; 5 R/D

Over that seven year period, national championship teams have averaged 31st nationally in rushing offense and 15th in rushing defense. And in each of the last five years, a national champ has ranked in the top five in either rushing defense or rushing offense nationally. That looks like a pretty decent indicator to me.

By the way, the national passing rankings from that same period aren’t quite as consistent a measure as the rushing rankings are:

  • 2000 (Oklahoma): 13 P/O; 9 P/D
  • 2001 (Miami): 35 P/O; 2 P/D
  • 2002 (OSU): 92 P/O; 95 P/D
  • 2003 (LSU): 43 P/O; 18 P/D
  • 2004 (USC): 13 P/O; 34 P/D
  • 2005 (Texas): 40 P/O; 8 P/D
  • 2006 (Florida): 28 P/O; 33 P/D

Check out those ’02 rankings. Larry Coker is probably still trying to figure out how he lost that Fiesta Bowl.


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