“This is sort of the way of the world now.”

It’s still hard for some of these stats to sink in.

Entering Week 6, less than a third of FBS teams are holding opponents to fewer than 350 yards a game. An increasing number of offenses are doubling that number.

Through last weekend there were 12 games in which an FBS team netted 700 or more yards of offense, according to the NCAA. There were 21 such games in the entirety of last season.

Last season there were eight 500-yard passing performances. That mark already has been reached this season.

If there was any doubt, there shouldn’t be any more.  We’re in a new era of college football offense.

So how do you judge a defense in a pace world?  Take it away, Boom.

Fourteen FBS teams are averaging 80 or more offensive plays a game, led by Western Kentucky, which has averaged 91 plays in its 2-2 start. Just seven teams averaged that number of plays last fall, and only three teams reached that mark as recently as the 2011 season.

Florida’s Will Muschamp, formerly a defensive coordinator at Texas, Auburn and LSU, says the faster tempo has made total yardage less relevant. “I think it’s more about yards per play in the run game, yards per play in the pass game,” Muschamp said. “That’s a little bit more reflective of how you’re playing defense.

In case you’re wondering, by that measure, Georgia ranks fourth in the SEC in rushing defense and ninth in passing defense.  Both are better than Florida’s.


Filed under College Football

15 responses to ““This is sort of the way of the world now.”

  1. Dawginexile

    Dynamic pricing: Reminds me of the “friend’s” brother who offered to sell us Springsteen tickets at $200 above face value, which he was paying.


  2. uglydawg

    A good running game with ball/clock control will counter this trend. Georgia is in great position to do this. This strategy will keep your defense out of the mad race that is hunh football today, so they don’t get run down in the fourth quarter.
    Hold on to the ball as long as possible. Run the clock..keep the game down.
    Kind of like “4 corners” strategy in basketball.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Not sure I’d agree. Those offenses are getting off a zillion plays, with an emphasis on scoring as many points as possible. Do opponents even care about controlling the clock or time-of-possession? And do we help or hurt ourselves if we run 40 seconds off the clock for every play? I agree we have the appropriate players on O to counter the trend – just as long as the O is focused on scoring, and not just killing clock/controlling the ball. But personally, I’d rather see us use the hunh. CJP is right about conditioning and keeping players fresh. I don’t care about CMB’s emphasis on ‘balance’ as long as we’re scoring. Not sure slowing the game down helps us that much, and it doesn’t appear that’s the kind of approach we’re instituting. I think a great example of the different approaches was last week’s a&m vs. arky game.


      • uglydawg

        More than one way to skin a cat, I suppose W Cobb…Of course you want to score on every posesssion, but pounding their defense for long running drives while their offense cools it’s heels on the bench is good in several ways. In the fourth quarter, their defense will be worn down and then you go “hurry up”. Georgia has the offense to operate this way…and I believe we will see it work out that way. Agreed..we can’t just tell Gurley or Chubb to take a slide after a reasonable gain..if you can take it to the house, do it.


      • Americus Dawg

        Those offenses are getting off a zillion plays, with an emphasis on scoring as many points as possible.
        I watched the Arizona – Oregon game last night and the pace of play was dizzying … to the point where I wished they would slow down so the announcers had enough time between plays to break them down. Easily the fastest paced game I’ve ever seen.


        • Interesting talk, boys.

          …pounding their defense for long running drives while their offense cools it’s heels on the bench is good in several ways.

          It is. And getting defensive stops does the same thing. Their offense can’t get in a rhythm, the defense tires, and running game becomes even more effective. I really like a combination of both.

          But I suppose I favor going up tempo for this offense, because it’s when we’re the most effective. We’re not as fast as some, and don’t need to be. But we haven’t been able to do much of it in recent games because of our passing game combined with our lack of depth at WR (at least that’s what I suspect). For sure, we can’t run as much of the offense as we’d like because the young guys aren’t that far along (in what they know).

          But maybe JSW and MM can give us some reps tomorrow. And if so, maybe we’ll be able to speed it up some.


  3. Bulldawg165

    Could this rise in offensive firepower be caused by something other than just simply “innovation?” Have the rules for offensive holding been relaxed or anything of that nature? Considering that it is well known that high scoring games appeal much more to the casual fans, and that the NCAA is all about the benjamins, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear.

    Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here, I just have a hard time believing so many offensive coordinators have magically gotten smarter so quickly.


    • 165, I agree with you. The lack of consistent enforcement of the rules on the offensive side of the ball and the tilt of the rules toward the offense have completely changed the game. Holding is pretty much legal now as long as you don’t take your guy to the ground and keep your holding limited to the front of the jersey between the shoulder pads. Offensive pass interference never gets called now. Aaron Davis was in perfect position to intercept a pass last Saturday until one of the Vol receivers just lunged at his feet to trip him up. That call would have gone the other way if the DB had done the same thing. The “outside the tackle box” version of intentional grounding is also a joke whose purpose is just to save yardage for the offense (it has nothing to do with player safety). Finally, the ability to block downfield on passes thrown behind the line have pretty much taken the place of the sweep. Don’t even get me talking about targeting …

      Everyone says the game lasts too long now especially with all of the TV timeouts. I would say here are some places to bring the relevance of the defense back to the game and shorten the game back to where it should be (around 3 hours).


      • paul

        “Holding is pretty much legal now as long as you don’t take your guy to the ground and keep your holding limited to the front of the jersey between the shoulder pads.” It’s not pretty much legal. It is legal. If you recall at the SEC confab we were treated to the head of referees giving a presentation clarifying this very point. And he said it straight up. Whatever you do between the shoulder pads is legal. It will not draw a flag. This includes fistfuls of jersey. It doesn’t get called because, according to the rules, it’s no longer illegal.


      • Bulldawg165

        Very well put. I was suspecting a lot of things similar to what you said so I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks that.

        It’s kind of a bummer but I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Offense sells tickets


        • Yes, and I agree with you guys it’s gotten ridiculous (the holding rule).

          There are other enabling rules too, implemented over the last 10-15 years. I kinda think it’s a culmination of all of them, plus some other things, like HS kids doing football 12 months/year, 7-on-7 and QB camps galore, and such like.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Rules? Holding?…I don’t think either of those words mean what you think they mean. Or what they used to mean…unless you bust a long run.


  4. Russ

    Arizona and Oregon played a good game last night with a good mix of offense and defense. Defense in general will rise again some day.


  5. Arena league, here we come! Weeeeee!