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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Explosive Plays: Johnny Football sets the pace

[I have resolved the mysterious disappearance of West Virginia. Thanks for the note!]
[Welp, this is embarrassing. In trying to figure out where West Virginia had disappeared to I found another hiccup in the computer code. Sorry.The problem is now resolved.]
The stat below is explosive plays per possession. An explosive play is any offensive play that goes for more than 25 yards or kickoff return for more than 45 yards.

By this metric the country's most explosive team is Texas A&M. Considering the Aggies have also played two of the three teams that are best at preventing explosive plays, this is remarkable . . . but still unsurprising: Sumlin-led Houston teams were always explosive and Johnny Football is a human highlight reel. Aggie fans have a lot to be excited about - winning in the SEC, smashing Arkansas, having the best player in college football (tied with Collin Klein) - but after Sherman called for a gazzilion quick outs last year with an NFL franchise quarterback and talented wide receivers, 42 explosive plays for every 100 possessions has to be near the top of the list.

Other notable results below Texas A&M are Alabama and Kansas State both in the top 12 and Oregon 23rd.

Finding Florida State, LSU, and Florida at the top of the list at preventing explosive plays is not surprising. Notre Dame and Alabama filling out the top six is to be expected. But Oregon at #5 does stand out. Contrary to popular opinion, the Ducks and Texas Tech are actually better at preventing explosive plays than creating them. Texas, a team with a very talented defense on paper (but not in practice) is 99th in explosive plays allowed. That isn't very good.