Bill Connelly looks at three-and-outs.
As I put it in the Illini piece, creating and avoiding three-and-outs is merely step one toward having a good offense or defense. Purdue, for instance, was pretty good at moving the chains once and pretty iffy at everything else. Still, it’s something we draw reference to here and there, but it’s not a list I share frequently enough.
We’ll start with offense. Here’s a list of FBS teams and their three-and-out rates for 2016. I’m also including what I call three-and-out-plus, which features all possessions that ended in three or fewer plays and didn’t include points. That means a few end-of-half possessions for everybody, but more importantly, it includes quick turnovers, maybe the most deadly kind of possession in existence (and something Illinois was particularly bad at avoiding last year).
If you want the tl;dr version, skip straight to the end.
Best three-and-out margins in the country:
(As in, defensive percentage minus offensive percentage.)
- Clemson +19.7%
- Southern Miss +18.4%
- Alabama +15.9%
- Tulsa +14.9%
- Michigan +14.6%
- Temple +13.9%
- Appalachian State +13.8%
- Virginia Tech +12.4%
- Oklahoma +12.4%
- Toledo +12.3%
Worst three-and-out margins:
- North Texas -16.8%
- Rutgers -14.4%
- Illinois -13.1%
- Fresno State -11.9%
- UConn -11.6%
- Charlotte -10.3%
- Buffalo -10.1%
- UNLV -9.8%
- Arizona -9.6%
- Marshall -9.1%
Combined record of the top 10 teams: 111-31, with five conference titles and both spots in the CFP final.
Combined record of the bottom 10 teams: 30-89.
I believe there might be a correlation there.
Hmmm… he may be on to something there.
Georgia, in case you’re wondering, finished a tick under plus-two percent, mainly because of the offense.