Saturday, January 10, 2009

How bad was Oklahoma's defense in 2008?

I know that sounds like a harsh question, after all the Sooners were the top ranked team in the nation scarcely 24 hours ago, but I have some numbers that shed some light. Last season we Gator fans were exasperated by our defense. In a year where our QB won the Heisman and our offense lit up opposing defenses we lost 4 games by giving up an average of 25.46 points per game. At the time we noted that in order to find a worse Gator defense in the record books you had to go all the way back to 1971. That's right the 2007 defense gave up more points per game than the previous 35 Gator defenses.

Well this season's version of the Sooners, as we have pointed out already, surrendered an average of 24.5 points per game. That's within a point of one of the worst Gator defenses ever. Perhaps if voters in the coaches and Harris polls looked at things rationally they would have selected another team, perhaps USC to appear in last nights game. But this system doesn't care about rationality. It's a popularity contest, an election, plain and simple.


Spencer said...

I think everyone is missing the boat on OU's defense. Any Gator around in 96 knows that Stoops can field a competent defensive unit. And they held us to, I don't know exactly, but probably 20 points under our average! Their defense is not the reason they lost the game. We were simply a better team.


Henry Louis Gomez said...

Any Gator around in 96 knows that Stoops can field a competent defensive unit.

And any Gator around in 2006 knows that Charlie Strong can field a competent defensive unit too. But what happened to the Gators in 2007? They simply didn't have the players to be good.

By any measurement Oklahoma's defense was not good this year. 24.5 PPG has never been championship caliber and it's not this year. Just because they were "good enough" to keep them in the game doesn't mean they were good. Yes they held Florida way under their scoring average but didn't Florida's defense hold them down even more?

That's championship defense.

jamie a. said...

also, keep in mind....oklahoma had the highest scoring offense of all-time. therefore, you can argue that oklahoma gave up its share of meaningless pts. during garbage time. it skews the data.

in other words, the difference in giving up 25 pts. and 35 pts. means very little when you consistently score 60.

to this gator, oklahoma proved that their defense was very good. they were as tough, if not more so, than alabama was in the secc game. i was impressed by their approach.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Jamie, maybe you're not paying attention but the garbage time excuse is horseshit. Are you telling me that none of the previous 8 BCS champs gave up garbage time scores in games they were way ahead in?

No BCS champion ever came close to giving up the kind of points OU gave up this season. 57th ranked scoring defense isn't championship material. They gave up their exact average to the Gators and would have given up more if Tebow hadn't gotten flagged on the last drive. OU was out of gas. The knew Tebow was going to carry the ball on every play of the last drive and they still couldn't stop him.

The two Tebow interceptions were purely his fault. They weren't athletic defensive plays like the two the Gators got on defense. If Tebow had simply played a mistake free game we would have won by three TDs.

jamie a. said...

i am paying attention henry. they didn't shut us down, true. but, who did?

i'm not saying anything about the previous 8 bcs champions either. all i am saying is, they turned out to have a better than average defense...

they gave up their average to the gators. so what?! most teams were giving up way more than their average against us.

we have a very good offense. we're hard to match up against. their d-line played very well. the coulda shouldas go both ways. the whole thing about tebow playing 'mistake free' and winning by 3 take away a couple long runs by harvin, and their stat sheet didn't look so bad. give them just one td out of the two missed opportunities, and we could've lost

it was a great game. we beat a great team. we're both gators....but to suggest i'm not 'paying attention' is false. i still think that oklahoma had a better defense than alabama.

Henry Louis Gomez said...


all i am saying is, they turned out to have a better than average defense...

Actually during the season they had the 57th best defense in the country out of 119. That's smack dab in the middle or in other words "average".

During the season they gave up 24.5 points per game. Against the Gators they gave up 24 points. They were right on their average which is college football's average.

The Gators had the 5th best scoring defense in the country going in, averaging 12.8 PPG allowed. They gave up 14 to the most prolific offense in the country.

Both defenses proved that they were exactly what their statistics indicated going in. OU's is average (lousy by championship standards) and Florida's was outstanding (by any standard).

To quote Dennis Green, "they were who we thought they were."

jamie a. said...

if oklahoma had a merely average defense, we'd have hung 50 on them. they held us way below our average.

stats aside, i saw, with my two eyes, a good defensive squad, especially their front 7. but, in the end, this is why the sport is so interesting, b/c it can't always be boiled down to pure stats. of course, this is my view again...i enjoy the blog, but don't always agree with the methodology.

i guess we'll have to agree to disagree. cheers.

MC said...

You're not looking at the whole picture. Florida dominated OU's defense the entire game.

Time of possesion was nearly 10 minutes difference in favor of UF. They couldn't get our offense off of the field.

Another stat to look at is the rushing numbers. OU was 20th in the nation against the run averaging an allowed 116 yds per game. Florida ran for 249 yards.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

The one thing I would say is that OU did a good job on defense in the FIRST HALF. That's where they got their two turnovers, held the Gators to 7 points and the time of possession was relatively even. It was the second half where the Gators ran and threw on them. The Gators scored 17 points had no turnovers iced the game.

Scott said...

Henry, you're ignoring the fact that OU's hurry up offense results in many more plays per game. Adjust for that fact and you'll see they are not great but not terrible either.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

I'm not ignoring anything. If they have the ball for more plays they can't be giving up points. OU's defense just wasn't championship material PERIOD. UF proved it once they made halftime adjustments. If you look at the stats by half you'll see what I mean. OU's defense was average and average isn't championship.