Bringing ’em down to their level

You want to know a concern about Georgia that may be overrated?

Penalties.  It’s not that there aren’t a lot of them – Georgia’s last in the conference in both the number of penalties comitted and in average penalty yardage per game – it’s that Georgia’s opponents are just as bad.

Here’s the tale of the tape:

1. Tennessee 7 33 259 37.0
2. Ole Miss 7 36 292 41.7
3. Florida 7 40 296 42.3
4. LSU 7 43 331 47.3
5. Kentucky 7 37 333 47.6
6. Alabama 8 47 423 52.9
7. Vanderbilt 8 56 433 54.1
8. Miss. State 8 52 461 57.6
9. Auburn 8 55 481 60.1
10. South Carolina 8 56 515 64.4
11. Arkansas 7 58 487 69.6
12. Georgia 7 65 523 74.7
1. Georgia 7 60 507 72.4
2. South Carolina 8 59 501 62.6
3. Alabama 8 52 446 55.8
4. Arkansas 7 50 389 55.6
5. Florida 7 48 381 54.4
6. Miss. State 8 53 423 52.9
7. Ole Miss 7 51 354 50.6
8. Kentucky 7 44 349 49.9
9. LSU 7 44 345 49.3
10. Tennessee 7 39 332 47.4
11. Vanderbilt 8 43 365 45.6
12. Auburn 8 39 311 38.9

The net effect is less than two yards per game.  Compare that with Auburn, which is losing more than 20 net penalty yards per game.

It sure makes for some messy games.  If Richt were more like Lane Kiffin, he might claim that he planned it that way.

None of this is to say that the timing of some of the calls aren’t important.  But as a factor in something like average field position, I’m not sure how easy it is to argue that there’s been much of an impact from penalties so far.



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

6 responses to “Bringing ’em down to their level

  1. Not only that, but penalties as a whole have a slight positive correlation with winning percentage. It’s so slight it’s probably small enough to count as not statistically significant (it’s been a while since I cracked open that part of a stats textbook), which would mean penalties overall are insignificant.

    On a situational basis, they can be huge whenever the nullify touchdowns, turnovers, or give teams first downs. In that sense, penalties do matter. But, in the grand scheme of things they really don’t since the best teams can overcome them regardless and the worst teams can’t overcome themselves, much less any flags.


  2. 69Dawg

    What your stats really show is that the SEC has refs that think the game is about them and their face time. SEC refs do not call holding on a pass play unless there is a take down. They do love to call it on a run and especially runs to the outside. I would love to know the percentage of holding calls by position. I bet TEs and WR as a group exceed OL calls.

    Oh yea and the reason our opponents have so many calls is the refs are busy making Makeup Calls so the real game screwers on us are not so obvious.


  3. Procyon

    I’d love to see penalty yardage stats for each officiating crew…


  4. Macallanlover

    Interesting information, and a solid point Senator. Net yardage is certainly relevant but while penalties are something to always work on, it is WHEN the penalty hits you that really matters. You change the penalty on AJ against LSU to a no call and you only move the UGA average down 2 yards per game, but you change an L to a W….and take a conference loss away which would still give UGA control over their own destiny in the East. (No, I don’t think we would, or should, be in the title game this year, but the feel is totally different. And the players have a little more zip in their step.)

    Same with the penalty on the punt return against Oklahoma State, or the Personal Foul missed call at the goal line against Reshad in the same game, or the bad mark on the 4th and goal which game OSU an extra TD? Any, or all of those, could easily change the result of that opening game, yet the yardage against our average would still look bad even without them.

    Florida was a leader in penalty yardage last year and won the SEC. While we all want to reduce penalties, they yardage isn’t the best way to measure. Some 5 yard penalties negate a 75 yard bomb, and others just mean you pooch kick from the 45 yard line and not the 40. Some days every penalty kills momentum or negates scores, while other games they are just nuisance plays.


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