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Monday, August 12, 2013

Statistical Review: LSU #14

One of the great mysteries in college football in this: how does LSU not have an explosive offense? First, I should establish the premise. LSU was 47th in explosive plays per pass and 51st per rush in 2012. Some of that is schedule induced, but after adjusting for schedule they are still outside of the top 30.

Now, why do I think LSU should have an explosive offense. 1) LSU has athletes. Athletes=explosive plays. The two go hand in hand. 2) Les Miles ain't scar'd. And I don't just mean he'll call the fake field goal. He's hired innovative characters to run his offense. And LSU's defensive philosophy is far from conservative. 3) Alabama and Georgia Tech have explosive offenses. Yes, LSU wants to establish the run - and they should. Elite programs should exploit the advantage of being able to recruit more and bigger football players. But Alabama also runs the ball, and Alabama had the country's second most explosive pass offense (schedule adjusted, 4th not adjusted).

And this isn't a new phenomenon. Adjusting for schedule, LSU worked their way into the top 30 in explosive plays in 2011 and 2010, but never inside the top 20, and they've been outside the top 40 since at least 2008 without adjusting for schedule.

Unlike 2011, LSU just wasn't that good across the board on offense, and they allowed way too many sacks.

The defense, on the other hand, was elite. They, Alabama and Stanford were the only teams in the top 10 in both EPA+/pass and EPA+/rush, which makes their 7th place finish in EP3+ allowed a little of a disappointment. They forced turnovers and kept teams out of the red zone, but were actually below average once teams made it in the red zone. The game against Texas A&M was probably the best defensive performance of the season by any team.

If the players on roster play the same as they did last year, LSU could be looking at a disappointing season. On the other hand, there is enough talent to compete with the best if one piece can fall in to place. In 2012, Mettenberger turned in a negative EPA for the season but a 13.9 against Alabama. If the latter Mettenberger shows up consistently in 2013, LSU will be a tough out.
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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