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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Statistical Review: Florida #9

When comparing defenses by EP3+, Alabama and Florida are in a tier unto themselves (within which Alabama had a slight lead). Florida had the country's best pass defense by both schedule adjusted EPA/pass and yards/pass. No team allowed fewer explosive plays/pass than Florida, and no team allowed fewer explosive plays/run. There are really only two areas where the Gators could have been much better: sacks and high leverage turnovers. They forced turnovers at a decent rate but didn't get big returns from those turnovers.

And then there's the offense. Where the defense was only above average on sacks/pass, the offense was 123rd (ahead of Auburn). They were 122nd on sacks per pass on passing downs (ahead of Auburn and Navy). When they did throw the ball they averaged 5.6 yards per attempt (110th) and an explosive play on 4.3% of attempts (105th). Jeff Driskel racked up a spectacular 4.2 expected points added for the season - and when I say spectacular, I mean to say that 4.2 is spectacular for a single play. For a season, 4.2 is good enough for 119th among qualified quarterbacks.

The Gators were much more effective when they chose to run the ball, but even Gillislee was 87th among qualified running backs in EPA+/rush. Ironically, while Driskel was a below average passer even after adjusting for schedule, he alone boosted Florida's rushing efficiency numbers up to respectability.

Florida had four huge wins in 2012 and one major dud. You probably couldn't design a better defense to face Texas A&M, and they got Manziel in his first ever collegiate game. They scored 44 points on 183 yards against SC; turnovers might have had something to do with that, and they also had half as many yards on special teams returns as on offense, but did it with three plays. Florida State gave the ball away five times. And against LSU they rushed for 176 yards while allowing 1.7 per carry. In other words, what Florida did best in 2012 was win; we'll see if that carries over to 2013.
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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