Bill Connelly($$)has a good piece up about college teams’ turnover luck last season. Turnovers per se aren’t entirely a matter of luck of course. But their frequency (or lack thereof) usually is.
Every football coach in existence preaches the importance of turnovers and turnover margin. But while you can impact your own turnover margin to some degree with how well you teach ball security and ball pursuit, how aggressively you go after the opponent’s quarterback, how aggressive your own offense is, et cetera, there’s still a massive amount of fortune involved here. And USC’s fortune meter was turned all the way up.
In the first five USC games of 2022, there were nine fumbles, and the Trojans recovered all nine. Fumble recoveries revert to 50% over a long enough period of time, but USC got to an 11-1 record by having recovered 18 of 23 (78%). While a team typically intercepts about one pass to every four pass breakups, their regular-season ratio was 1-to-1.9, and their interceptions total was seven higher than national averages would suggest.
The Trojans were mediocre in every sense of the term defensively, but they bailed themselves out with turnovers. That’s not a sustainable formula for success. (Although I have to mention those absurd Pete Carroll USC teams that managed three straight seasons of >+20 turnover margin, something I doubt we’ll ever see again.)
Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff to glean in his piece. He ranks D-1 teams in order of how much their turnover luck generated in points per game, so it’s a handy chart if you’re looking to get a handle on 2023’s teams most likely to regress to the mean.
Georgia, by the way, is a middle of the pack 54rh.
Auburn used multiple tight end sets 42.7 percent of the time in 2021, and South Carolina used them on 31.6 percent of plays in 2020. The last offense Bobo had at Colorado State in 2019 used double tight ends only 11.8 percent of the time, but that one tight end tended to be Trey McBride, who was the team’s third-leading receiver (45 catches, 560 yards, four touchdowns). McBride was a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in last year’s draft.
The production and usage totals for the past three offenses Bobo coordinated:
Well, if nothing else, I’d say Brock Bowers’ job is safe for now.
The average of 28.38 points per team was not only down for the second consecutive year, but it was lowest average since the 2011 season when teams averaged 28.29 points per game. That year saw the beginning of the offensive explosion that continues despite this statistical downturn. It was just six years ago that teams averaged 30.08 points per game, an all-time high. For the first time since 2004-05, scoring has decreased in consecutive seasons.
You probably didn’t notice the 2.3% scoring decline because it was hard to see with the naked eye. Still, that number is further indication it’s getting harder to move the ball in general. Total offense (393.75 yards per game) and rushing yards per play (4.33) were also the lowest since 2011. Average rushing yards were the fewest in 13 years (159.80 yards).
Just a reminder:
Georgia’s scoring improved, season over season, from 38.6 ppg to 41.1.
Total offense improved, season over season, from 442.9 ypg to 501.1.
Same with rushing yards, from 191.07 ypg to 205.33.
Yards per play increased, from 6.98 to 7.17.
All that behind a former walk-on quarterback who was the opening day starter for the first time in his college career. Not too shabby, Todd. No wonder you were back in NFL demand.
The other day, when I posted that Bobo gets to call plays without worrying about Willie Martinez or Todd Grantham screwing it up, I wasn’t exaggerating. Consider this:
One thing that'll help Mike Bobo in 2nd stint as #UGA OC is having consistent defense.#UGA gave up 30+ points 5 times (2-3 record) over past 3 years. One of those was LSU in 2022 SECCG — game was in hand.
From 2012-14 it gave up 30+ points 17 times with a 9-8 record.
Good post over at MGoBlog charting 2022 FBS Tempo Data (“I’ve removed Garbage Drives, using Fremeau’s definition, plus two-minute drill situations were excised. Punts are also removed, mostly (by the schools themselves)”).
In terms of running plays, Indiana was the fastest paced team in the country last season, knocking out 3.532 plays per minute, while Air Force, as you might expect, was the slowest, at 2.102. (Kentucky was just ahead of them, for what that’s worth.)
Anyway, what I found interesting was where the CFP field finished.
Ohio State 2.612 (74th)
TCU 2.599 (78th)
Georgia 2.383 (114th)
Michigan 2.357 (118th)
Obviously, hurry up no huddle wasn’t a key to unlocking the playoff door in 2022. Outlier, or nah?
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