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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Statistical Review: Oklahoma State #25

Not all quarterbacks, not even all "system quarterbacks", are created equal. Gundy used three different quarterbacks significantly, sometimes in the same game. Lunt started the season, made a fairly quick exit, and had a midseason cameo, Walsh took over for games two through six, and Chelf took the last half of the season. All three were generally successful - OSU scored 30+ points in all but one game. But Walsh racked up 91.9 schedule adjusted expected points added to Chelf's 68.1 and Lunt's 15.2. He did this despite fewer overall attempts than Chelf and 60%  more attempts than Lunt (and he outscored him by 6x). Walsh was the country's 3rd most efficient passer; Chelf ranked 22nd and Lunt 61st.

Like Baylor, Oklahoma State was a much more balanced offense than its Big 12 reputation would suggest. They ran the ball 50% of the time. And this wasn't the A&M-style, pseudo (though very effective) balance built on quarterback scrambles. The three OSU quarterbacks had 82 carries and 493 pass attempts, and 12 of those carries were actually sacks. More importantly, the offense was balanced in production as well. Before adjusting for schedule, the OSU was ten in EPA/rush, even better than when they were throwing the ball.

OSU was balanced in another way. Unlike Baylor, the defense was not a deficiency. When you adjust for schedule, they were top 30 in EPA and yards per pass and rush and top 25 in preventing explosive plays. The two critical shortcomings for the Oklahoma State defense were 11.2 turnovers per 100 possessions and 4.7 points per red zone possession. The latter is still above average but the latter is quite poor. Given the style of offense, improvement in these areas could have reaped huge rewards. As it is, the Pokes finished 20th in EP3+

OSU lost 5 games in 2012. The model has them favored in all but two if they were to replay the season (Kansas State and Oklahoma), and would project them to 10, not 8, wins. With the key losses at OU and KSU, Oklahoma State would improve their odds in those games as well. But OSU has its own question marks, and we can't forget that every day brings us one day closer to Gundy's eventual emotional meltdown. This puts the Pokes in the same territory as TCU and Baylor (but with an critical head start): the pieces are on campus and they are led by a coach with a long track record of success on one side of the ball. The question is will those pieces fall in place in time to make a run.
The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions of the stats used in the table below.

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