Friday, October 19, 2007

The Worst Ever?

Notre Dame's 2007 offense may be one of the worst ever in Division I-A college football.

We aren’t just talking about the worst this year, which they clearly are. We are talking about a Notre Dame team led by purported offensive genius Charlie Weis on track to be the worst offense in college football in the past decade.

In preparing my piece for this week’s “Suckies”, I was so shocked by what I found regarding the Irish offense that I knew immediately it deserved its own post. First, as noted, where Notre Dame ranks thus far in 2007 –

110 Mississippi St. 301.29
111 Duke 299.29
112 Virginia Tech 298.86
113 Akron 288.57
114 Eastern Mich. 288
115 Army 285.57
116 Syracuse 262.14
117 Utah St. 260.83
118 Florida Int'l 211.67
119 Notre Dame 190.86

We are talking about being significantly behind teams like Syracuse and FIU. We are talking about a drop-off from even competent offensive performances so severe that the Irish average 110 less average yards per game than the 110th worst offense in college football (Mississippi State).

To graphically depict just how inept Notre Dame is on a national basis, look at the following chart

The chart shows the relatively gradual decline in yards per game from the top ranked offenses to Army’s at 115th. Then the remaining 4 fall off a precipice, declining 23 ypg from Army to Syracuse, and yet another 71 yards per game from Syracuse to Notre Dame.

At the present rate, the Irish are on track to be the worst offense over the past 9 years, or as far back as I could readily find data. Starting last year, the worst offenses in Division I-A going back to 1999 were (with yards per game) –

2006 Temple – 215.67
2005 Temple – 247.45
2004 Duke - 266.45
2003 SMU – 260.67
2002 Rutgers – 214.00
2001 Rutgers – 241.64
2000 Baylor – 221.82
1999 South Carolina – 228.64

Presently the Irish find themselves 23 yards per game behind the worst of this lot, the 2002 Rutgers team. They are 46 yards per game behind the average of these worst offenses (237 ypg). Were they to end the year less than 200 yards per game, they would be the sole offense in the past 9 years to have less than a 200 yard average.

Can the Irish avoid this fate?

Maybe. The easiest teams on their schedule remain ahead. After facing USC this weekend, Notre Dame plays Navy, Air Force, Duke and at Stanford. Assuming their yards per game doesn’t get any worse after this weekend against the Trojans (which is generous), they will need to average about 225 yards per game against the final four teams to just break the 200 ypg average for the season. Considering they gained only 122 yards against Georgia Tech, 203 against Michigan State, and 140 in beating UCLA, they might not be able to do it.

To get ahead of that 2002 Rutgers team, they will need to average 265 yards per game in the final four games after USC. And that is assuming they get at least 190 against USC.

Pencil it in now – Notre Dame will be the worst offense in the past 9 years, and may not even break the 200 yard per game mark.

Which would make them one of the worst. Ever.


Anonymous said...

It should be noted that ND has played one of the (If not the) hardest schedules to date. I don't really beieve they're worse than teams like FIU.

Erik Tylczak said...

They've played two, count 'em, two games over opponents ranked at the time. LSU (just to pick an example) has played four.

Are you joking?

Anonymous said...

"Ranked at the time" ? What on earth does that have to do with it?
Colley puts them at the toughest schedule. My personal rankings also put them at the toughest schedule. Even the retarded NCAA method of calculating SoS puts them at 4th.
They have not played a team with a losing record.

Mergz said...

While they probably are not "worse" than FIU, they might end up with record low offense. Even after they play their patsies. That should'nt happen to a genius.

Erik Tylczak said...

What does playing ranked opponents have to do with strength of schedule...

Again, are you joking? Toughest schedule in the nation? Really?

Henry Louis Gomez said...

To be fair to Notre dame, their SoS to date is among the hardest in the country. But that's not the point of Mergz' post. In each of the last 9 years, some team had the hardest schedule in the country and none was worse on offense than this year's Notre Dame team coached by the "offensive genius".

Anonymous said...

As a student at Notre Dame, I have painfully watched all of the games. Most of them twice. The Georgia Tech game three times. This offensive ineptitude is of course partially the fault of Charlie. How can someone who consistently got Darius Walker solid rushing ypg not do anything with James Aldridge and Armando Allen? The offensive line. It's horrible. Really bad. ONE senior. one. no juniors. Find me one other program in the nation with only one member in those two classes and you will point out poor offenses. But these guys are talented, and with some creative hiring (e.g. firing the offensive line coach, and getting someone good) Notre Dame has the talent and recruiting to be good in a couple of years. And hopefully we don't lose to Navy.

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame's offense does suck this year...hard to argue that. That said, they do have a tough schedule. In addition to playing teams ranked in the top 25, Notre Dame has played some outstanding defenses (with the exception of Purdue and Michigan State). Couple that with a very young offense and bad things will follow.

Anonymous said...

Navy will defeat ND this year. Make all the excuses you want. The point is that Weis has had 2 full years in the program, if he couldn't develop any of the existing talent into decent Div IA ball players to date, then history will repeat itself. WEIS IS NOT an offensive genius...though he may eat offensive geniuses for breakfast...

Anonymous said...

Hard to "developing the existing talent" when there is no one to develop. Not only did the prior coach not recruit well, he didn't recruit at all. When Weis arrived in 05, they had as many scholarship players as SMU did *after* its NCAA sanctions.