Is there a revolution upon us?

Per Dennis Dodd:

Defense wins championships? Think again. LSU’s title in 2019 may have marked a turning point in an era we already knew had arrived.

The five highest scoring seasons in college football history have all come since 2012.

The offensive revolution continued this past season with all-time highs being set nationally in completion percentage, passing yards per attempt and yards per play.

LSU in particular proved that it is becoming more efficient to outscore opponents on your way to a national championship. The Tigers ended the season with the third-“worst” total defense of any national champion since the beginning of the wire service era in 1936. Only Auburn in 2010 and Penn State in 1982 allowed more average yards among all titlists since polls began deciding things 84 years ago.

LSU also finished third-worst all-time for a champion in total defense, allowing 21.9 points per game. That’s behind only Ohio State in 2014 (22.0) and Auburn in 2010 (24.1).

Read between the sidelines: Scoring a lot trumps defending a lot. Five of the 10 all-time worst defensive performances by a national champion (yardage and points allowed) have occurred since 2010. None of those five finished lower than seventh nationally in scoring.

I don’t think that means defense is obsolete, but I do think Gene Chizik may be on to something when he says this:

“Here’s what I always say. … If you want to win big, one of two things [has to happen]. Offensively, you need a difference maker at quarterback, first-round draft pick guy, a total difference maker in college. Or you better surround him with a bunch of first- and second-round draft picks,” Chizik said.

Again, it’s something that makes me wonder what Kirby Smart’s been pondering for the last three months or so.

25 Comments

Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!

25 responses to “Is there a revolution upon us?

  1. Justin

    Does something exist for CFB that’s kind of like OPS+ in baseball? It’s so easy to gawk at the overall numbers but people often leave out relative context. Either way, I’m pretty versed in stats and I’ve never seen something that normalizes statistics based off of division wide averages.

    Like

    • FisheriesDawg

      I think you’d have to go with relative ranks, though it would be fascinating (and fairly simple, I’d think) to develop a statistic to show how much better or worse an offense was to its historical peers.

      Like

    • Will (the other one)

      There are certainly better defensive metrics than yards/game given up. Yards per play and yards per point are a few simple ones. Football Outsiders had Opponent Adjusted Defensive Efficiency rankings here: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ncaa/fei/overall/2019 (not sure why they don’t do DVOA for college too.)

      Like

  2. Am I right in thinking that all they have to do is start enforcing the 3 yard downfield rule for ineligible receivers in order to completely change this narrative?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just go back to the rule. Ineligible players cannot go downfield unless the ball is thrown behind the line of scrimmage.

      The rules are so ridiculously tilted toward the offense, and the rules that are in place for the defense are so inconsistently enforced or unenforced.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

      You are correct. This is the « revolution ».

      Like

  3. FisheriesDawg

    “The five highest scoring seasons in college football history have all come since 2012.”

    Ejection was added to targeting in 2013. It seems obvious to me that rule changes due to safety concerns have come almost exclusively at the expense of defense. Not saying I’m against these changes, but there should be more emphasis put on scrutinizing the offense when it comes to rule violations like picks and OLs being downfield that are currently flaunted by the modern offenses that really developed once defensive backs became handcuffed from closing down the open field.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uglydawg

      Great point…esp. with the added penalization of sitting out the first half of the next game. Pickens was one offensive outlier though..and it hurt against LSU.

      Like

  4. RangerRuss

    Kirby has accomplished the “surround him with first- and second-round draft picks” segment. Recruiting,training and retaining that difference making QB is certainly an attainable objective. Establishing UGA as a destination for top rated QB’s will require a series of offensive trend setting coordinators. Make UGA a destination for them also.
    I’m also available for pointing out flat tires and arterial bleeding.

    Like

  5. DawgPhan

    It’s like Justin Fields is Knowshon 2.0

    Richt knew he shouldnt have redshirted him and I am sure Smart watched all of last season knowing he made a mistake with Fields.

    Like

  6. I think it would be interesting to see what effect rule changes and officiating has had on this topic as well.

    Like

  7. DawgByte

    We live in an age devoid of common sense. Chizik’s remark is the biggest “Duh” I’ve ever seen. A difference maker at QB has ALWAYS been extremely important in the game of Football and always will. By extension, a great QB has to have guys he can throw to who can make plays. Another giant “DUH”.

    Moreover, the stats on LSU’s Defense are a bit misleading. They had key players missing due to injury early in the season. When they got those players back their defense played extremely well.

    Lastly, common sense suggests that good defense will ALWAYS be important.

    Like

    • Will (the other one)

      Well, yeah, but even a crap defense paired with a great offense can make the playoffs (see OU). And a great defense plus a merely good offense did win a title in the playoff era, but it has the asterisk of needing to turn to Tua in the 2nd half to get there.
      Last time a mediocre at best offense and great defense won a title? I’m thinking OSU back in 2002.

      Like

    • Down Island Way

      Chizik’s remarks are boarder line “Capt. Tony of the S.S. Obvious” statements…..

      Like

  8. AlphaDawg

    This is kinda lazy reporting concerning LSU, they had some major defensive contributors hurt early in the season and did not get them back until later in the season. If you look at their last 4 games, that defense was playing as well as any defense in the nation.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      Yep..and one huge reason that their offense was so prolific is the defense made sure Burrow got on the field a lot and with good field position.

      Like

  9. Cosmic Dawg

    I still think you should play defense. What else are all those guys gonna do?

    Like

  10. Hobnail_Boot

    “Or you better surround him with a bunch of first- and second-round draft picks,”

    Chubb
    Michel
    Thomas
    Wynn
    Hardman
    Ridley
    Swift

    How am I doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Macallanlover

      Yes, but we didn’t lose because of our QB. That theory still worked in 2017, ask anyone who saw that game (that wasn’t wearing Crimson blinders.)

      Like

  11. Down Island Way

    Don’t know if there is a revolution under foot, just believe in CKS’s heart, the lsu thumping didn’t sit well….despite a season full of dropped passes, eight man fronts, injuries plus some coaching/play calling issues

    Like