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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Statistical Review: Texas Tech #36

If you were to show me the chart below without the team name on top I bet I could have guessed it was Tech. They were average in the ground game, didn't get a ton of explosive plays, especially considering they threw the ball 60% of the time. But they had an efficient passing attack, rarely gave up sacks, were good on third downs and in the red zones, and were among the top 20 nationally in points per possession.

Seth Doege was fantastic at quarterback. He was more efficient per pass than Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyler Bray, Matt Barkley and Colby Cameron. He completed more than 70% of his passes, but was less effective when going further down field. He completed 60% on 3rd and long and averaged just 11 yards per completion. He had six games in the top 32 best passing performances nationally in 2012, and his 25.1 passing EPA+ against TCU was one of the ten best passing performances of the season. But he did not finish the season on a high note after throwing seven interceptions in his final three games. 

The defense was average except in one particular area: they generated only 27.5 points from turnovers. The FBS average is around 63; Tech was 36 points, just under 3 per game, below that mark. Add in that the offense was not as careful as one would hope with the football, and Texas Tech had a -60 EPA turnover margin in 2012, which gets us close to 5 points per game. This could have mattered more if Tech had lost more close games. Instead, they lost five games and three of those by three touchdowns or more. 

I'm not sure I want to suggest that Kliff Kingsbury might be overrated, but he made a name for himself with Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel behind center. How much was Kingsbury and how much was Keenum/Manziel is yet to be determined, but Kingsbury can quickly earn his stripes in 2013. Texas Tech has options at quarterback, but with Doege out, they lack experience. He won't be making a Manziel out of Michael Brewer, but we'll know he, and Tech, are destined for great things if he can get close to a Nick Florence. Doing it without Darrin Moore would also be notable.

After quarterback, the two biggest questions are consistency and turnovers. Few players in college football are 60 points better than the next best alternative on campus, but that's what turnovers cost the Red Raiders. If they can pull an average turnover margin in 2013 it would be personnel equivalent of bringing in Eddy Lacy and TJ Yeldon to play running back or EJ Manuel to play quarterback or returning Darrin Moore, and four Darrin Moore clones, at wide receiver. As for consistency, inconsistency has been a Tech hallmark for a decade. I'm not sure anyone can change that.

Tech started 2012 as one of the nation's best according to the per play and per possession stats. They slipped as the season progressed, but they could have been better than 8-5. While they have suffered some major personnel losses after 2012 so has most of the Big 12. Kingsbury should have Tech competitive but well short of conference championship caliber.
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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