Saturday, October 13, 2007

Overstating the Obvious

Close observers of the Gators know that last year's BCS Championship was the result of a stingy defense and not offensive fireworks. I've been having an ongoing debate with a friend about the reasons for the the two Gator losses we've suffered this year. I contend that the fault lies largely with the defense, while my friend blames the offense.

Certainly the offense didn't do anything to help in the 4th quarter against LSU, producing a 3 and out and 2 turnovers. But UF scored 24 points on one of the best defenses in the country. Meanwhile LSU went for FIVE 4th down conversions in the game and made all FIVE. One stop by the Gator defense and the outcome would most likely have been a Gator win. All that said, I wanted to compare the statistics for both the offense and the defense through 6 games of 2006 and 2007.

First let's look at the schedules:

2006: Southern Miss, UCF, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and LSU.

2007: Western Kentucky, Troy, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Auburn and LSU

The schedules are pretty comparable. In both years, at this point, the Gators had played 4 conference games. And two of the opponents are common to both years. Now lets look at the stats.

2006 - Stat - 2007
257.8 Passing Offense 246.7
155.5 Rushing Offense 202.8
413.3 Total Offense 449.5
29.0 Scoring Offense 39.7
202.8 Passing Defense 230.2
56.8 Rushing Defense 94.0
259.7 Total Defense 324.2
9.5 Scoring Defense 21.0

As you can see the 2007 Gators are better than the Championship Gators in Rushing Offense, Total Offense, and Scoring offense. Only the Passing Offense number is slightly down (11 yards per game).

If you look at the defensive stats you can see the story is much different. The Gator defense is giving up significantly more yards and points than last year.

Now one can argue that we knew the defense was going to be the weak spot on this team and that the offense should be performing even better than it is. But I keep thinking that if they had stopped LSU on just one of those 4th downs that the Gators would still be in control of their own destiny in the SEC East instead of needing a team the Gators already beat (Tennessee) to lose again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I can't wait for you guys to come up with an adjustment factor, a fudge factor, to account for the rules changes in 2007.

Clearly the new (old) clock rules and the new kickoff rule have affected the scoring offense (at a minimum) and scoring defense (obvious). A secondary effect would be total offense and total defense, as teams open up their playbooks after a kickoff, since it is now outside of the shadow of their goalposts.

It may take a season to get this kind of data though.