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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Statistical Review: Stanford #11

Stanford had an elite defense. They were 12th in points/possession and 5th in EP3+. Teams running against the Cardinal crossed the line of scrimmage on only 75% of attempts. They were also 5th in sacks per pass; no team forced more negative plays than Stanford. Against the pass they allowed less than 10 yards per completion, but, on the flip side, they did allow a fairly high completion percentage. As a result, they allowed more plays/possession than you'd expect from an elite defense. Florida and Notre Dame had the same problem, but all three kept the yards/possession low.

The Stanford offense was not good. They scored less than 2 points per possession (78th nationally) and were 81st in yards/possession. They were 64th in yards/pass and 69th in yards/rush. They were well above average at avoiding TFLs, but the Cardinal were not elite in any area offensively.

Which brings us to the quarterbacks. No surprise, Hogan is leaps and bounds better than Nunes. Statistically, Hogan looked a lot like Everett Golson: a slightly less efficient passer, a slightly more efficient runner. And given that Stanford and Notre Dame were similar defensively - very similar EP3+ allowed, relatively high plays/possessions, Notre Dame was much better close to the end zone - it is reasonable to say that Stanford with Hogan for the season may have looked very much like Notre Dame.

After just saying that Stanford could look very much like Notre Dame, and recognizing that Notre Dame just played for a national championship, I still think Stanford is coming in to 2013 overrated. Hogan was 38th in passing efficiency among qualified quarterbacks, and the team was 33rd in EPA+/rush. Last year, Alabama scored higher than Stanford in EP3+ allowed and Kansas State, Oregon, Florida State and Georgia were all within in spitting distance, and all had much better offenses. We did see what happened to Notre Dame against Alabama, right?
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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