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By the Numbers: 2014 FBS Best Offenses

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Offensive Efficiency and Consistency

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The last series of articles focused exclusively on college defenses. This is the first of a series focusing on offensive performance from 2014. Last season the top 5 teams in total offense were: Baylor, Marshall, Oregon, Western Kentucky, and TCU.

While the number one offense in the nation (based on the NCAA methods of tracking total offense) has not won a national title since 1997, nearly all of the national title holders had a top 30 offense.

The analysis that follows is derived from drive data from 2014. (www.fbsdrivestats.com) Only FBS opponents were used and all garbage drives (Where the game is out of reach, taking a knee, etc..) were eliminated. This will give a clearer picture of how teams actually performed versus running up the score on a weaker opponent.

The approach used here, will use primarily measures of offensive efficiency and consistency. The top 10 teams in several categories will be looked at: Yards per Drive above Expected; Points per Drive above Expected; Scoring Rate; % Drives to Red Zone; and, % Drives into Scoring Position. A power rank was developed with the Top 25 teams listed. (Both unadjusted and adjusted for strength of schedule)

Efficiency

This is simply a measure of yards and points gained (or scored) above the expected amount given their starting field position.

Top 10 – Yards/ Drive above Expected

Rank YPD

Team

YPD>Ex

1

Oregon

13.83

2

Georgia Tech

12.91

3

Western Kentucky

12.38

4

Georgia Southern

11.17

5

Ohio St.

10.83

6

Baylor

10.48

7

Auburn

10.40

8

Marshall

9.97

9

East Carolina

8.21

10

Michigan St.

8.11

Not surprisingly, Oregon tops the list; what is surprising is Baylor (#1 by NCAA Statistics) is down to number 6, and TCU is not in the top 10. What is interesting is Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech are in the top 10 in yardage efficiency and ranked 16th and 20th in the NCAA Total Offense, respectively.

Top 10 – Points/ Drive above Expected

Rank PPD

Team

PPD>EX

1

Oregon

1.65

2

Western Kentucky

1.44

3

Georgia Tech

1.38

4

Marshall

1.38

5

Baylor

1.36

6

Ohio St.

1.27

7

Michigan St.

1.13

8

Georgia Southern

1.04

9

Colorado St.

1.04

10

Alabama

1.03

Once again Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech are in the Top 10 in scoring efficiency. According to the NCAA, Baylor was the top scoring offense in the FBS, but rank number 5 in scoring efficiency. TCU (#2 in NCAA), did not make the Top 10.

Efficiency is one of the components used to predict games and point spreads; it is particularly useful when teams have a history of blowing out weaker teams and /or play a weaker strength of schedule. Aggregate statistics in those cases are misleading.

Click here for all 128 FBS Teams’ Efficiency Numbers

Consistency

Consistency measurements are not typically looked at my most statistical sites. It gives an added element of how an offense performs on each drive. By looking at three key areas, a very good depiction of a team can be gathered.

Top 10 -- Scoring Rate

The percentage of drives that result in scores.

Rank

Team

Score Rate

1

Oregon

58.9%

2

Baylor

55.0%

3

Marshall

54.1%

4

Western Kentucky

54.1%

5

Georgia Tech

52.5%

6

Ohio St.

51.9%

7

Michigan St.

50.4%

8

Georgia

49.5%

9

Georgia Southern

49.5%

10

TCU

48.8%

The NCAA Average is 46.9% of drives result in scores. Only 7 FBS teams are above 50%. It is no real surprise of who is at the top, but their efficiency numbers are very impressive. To illustrate this, take Oregon versus an average FBS team in scoring rate: In any given game, Oregon is 26% more likely to score than their opponents.

Red Zone Percent

This is the percentage of drives that made it to the Red Zone. This is one of the "X"-factors in looking at teams.

Rank

Team

RZ Drive %

1

Georgia Tech

45.9%

2

East Carolina

44.6%

3

Oregon

44.2%

4

Georgia Southern

43.8%

5

Georgia

43.1%

6

Kansas St.

40.9%

7

Western Kentucky

40.4%

8

North Carolina St.

40.2%

9

Boise St.

40.1%

10

Ohio St.

39.7%

Click here for the Red Zone and Scoring Rates for all 128 FBS Teams

Notice a pattern in efficiency and consistency developing? The NCAA average for drives to the red zone is 28.1%. Georgia Tech, for example, would give themselves 3-4 more opportunities to score than the average team. In P5 conference, especially, this is critical and typical of the teams who finish in the top portion of their conferences.

Scoring Opportunity

Percentage of drives that finish inside the opponent’s 35 yard line. This measurement is not used much by folks who predict games, this is probably as critical as red zone drive rate. Teams that finish in this area would be looking to at least attempt a field goal of 51 yards or less. While it is not the red zone, it can be looked at as a "go" zone.

Top 10 – Scoring Opportunities

Rank

Team

Scoring Pos

1

Oregon

68.2%

2

Marshall

64.7%

3

Georgia Tech

63.1%

4

Michigan St.

62.6%

5

Baylor

62.6%

6

Western Kentucky

61.6%

7

Ohio St.

61.5%

8

Georgia

60.6%

9

Georgia Southern

60.0%

10

Auburn

58.7%

Click here for scoring opportunity percentage of all 128 teams

This is a bit more telling as it is easy to see the considerably higher percentage of drives that got teams into scoring position.

How to they Rank

Top 25 Offenses Based on Efficiency and Consistency (Unadjusted for SOS)

Rank

Team

P_R*

1

Oregon

96.1

2

Georgia Tech

95.7

3

Western Kentucky

95.4

4

Marshall

95.1

5

Ohio St.

95.1

6

Georgia Southern

94.7

7

Baylor

94.7

8

Michigan St.

93.8

9

Auburn

93.4

10

Georgia

93.0

11

Boise St.

91.4

12

Navy

91.0

13

Wisconsin

91.0

14

Alabama

90.4

15

Mississippi St.

90.3

16

Colorado St.

89.9

17

Kansas St.

89.9

18

Toledo

89.8

19

Old Dominion

88.8

20

East Carolina

88.8

21

TCU

88.7

22

Notre Dame

88.6

23

Florida St.

86.8

24

Pitt

86.7

25

North Carolina St.

86.0

*P_R = Power Rating

Top 25 Offenses Based on Efficiency and Consistency (Adjusted for SOS)

Rank

Team

P_R

1

Ohio St.

679.0

2

Oregon

666.0

3

Western Kentucky

659.9

4

Georgia Tech

637.1

5

Auburn

635.1

6

Notre Dame

611.1

7

Alabama

609.0

8

Boise St.

605.1

9

Michigan St.

593.8

10

Baylor

586.0

11

Wisconsin

580.3

12

USC

578.9

13

Georgia

578.0

14

Mississippi St.

574.8

15

Marshall

574.6

16

Oklahoma

570.7

17

Kansas St.

570.0

18

Florida St.

569.1

19

Arizona

550.7

20

UCLA

542.9

21

Navy

529.1

22

Arkansas

513.1

23

TCU

507.6

24

South Carolina

506.4

25

Arizona St.

494.4

It is not a surprise with the consistent Top 10 appearances of Ohio St., Oregon, WKU, and Georgia Tech in the individual metrics, that they would finish as the top 4 in the overall SOS adjusted rankings.

For the full 128 team rankings, click here.

The next series will look at a breakdown of rushing versus passing games, plus, where Louisville ranks.