2018 Texas Football Season Review - Post Sugar Bowl - NinosCorner™ Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2018 Texas Football Season Review - Post Sugar Bowl

2018 Texas Football Season Review - Post Sugar Bowl
by B.R. Battle

BattleStat Number Definition
The BattleStat Number (BSN) for the analysis of a team showcases how efficient a team is by calculating the offensive and defensive productivity of a team. These numbers are categorized into two sections…Offense (BSN-OFF) and Defense (BSN-DEF). To calculate the BSN-OFF and BSN-DEF, Offense and Defense Success Rates (OSR and DSR) will be analyzed to illustrate how successful and effective a team is.  OSR and DSR are calculated by accomplishing successful plays.  Successful plays occur when a play gains enough yardage to keep an offense progressing towards a 1st down (50% of yardage on 1st down, 70% on 2nd down, or 100% on 3rd/4th down).  A higher number equates to a better overall score.

BSN Analysis Year End Review
Over the last 2 years of compiling data to calculate our unique BSN, BattleStat Sports is pleased to state that our calculations have been pretty spot on showcasing whether a team wins or loses a contest.   In regards to the BSN-OFF score, teams that posted a higher BSN-OFF won their respective game 86% of the time.  The BSN-DEF score fared even better.  Teams with a higher BSN-DEF score over the course of a game won that respective game 89% of the time.  Now, when a team posts a higher BSN-OFF and BSN-DEF over their opponent, their win probability jumps to 92%.

These scenarios suggests that defense holds a slight advantage over offense when determining the outcome of a game.  This has been really apparent throughout this college football season, especially for The University of Texas....and speaking of Texas, let's dig into the Longhorn's season review.

Texas Football Season Review

The Longhorns finished with a 10-4 record this season; their best win total since 2009.  The NCAA average BSN-OFF composite score is 40 points.  Texas posted a season BSN-OFF average of 54.4 points.  Tom Herman and Tim Beck developed offensive game plans that were a complete 180 degree turn from last year's team.  Led by sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger, the Longhorn offense kept this Texas team competitive in each game this season.  Coming into this season, I doubt many Texas supporters would have assumed this to be true for this team.

The Longhorns finished above the NCAA BSN-OFF average in 13 of their 14 games.  Of those 13 games, Texas won 10 of them.  Additionally, the Longhorns posted a BSN-OFF score higher than their opponent in 10 of their contests this season.  Of those 10 games, Texas won 9 times.  This stat truly shows that the Big XII conference is full of explosive offenses.  More often than not, Big XII conference games are tight contests  that persist into the fourth quarter.  In most cases, whichever team has the final possession, usually wins the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Longhorns were not as efficient as they were last year; however, the Texas defense limited their opponents to point totals less than their season average in 11 of their 14 games.  In fact, for the entirety of the season, the Longhorn defense limited their opponents point total by an average of 9 points per game in their 10 wins...as opposed to 0.65 points in their 4 losses.

The BSN-DEF average NCAA composite score is 45 points.  Texas posted an above average 50.9 BSN-DEF score. Of the Longhorn's 14 games, their defense tallied BSN-DEF point totals higher than their opponent on 11 occasions, resulting in 10 wins during those contests.  What is significant about the Texas defense is that, although they did not play as well as they performed in the 2017 season, they still exhibited elite defense in 7 of their 14 games (USC, TCU, Kansas St, Baylor, Iowa St, Kansas, Georgia).  Of these 7 teams, none of the quarterbacks that played for these teams were true "dual-threat" quarterbacks...meaning their quarterback accounted for rushing yardage that would rank in the top 2 of their team's rushing statistics.  During this 7 game span, the Longhorns BSN-DEF was 61.3 points...an astounding 16 points above the NCAA average and 11 points above the Texas season average.

The Big XII is full of high potent offenses that are hard to stop by any team in the nation.  For as great as Alabama's defense was this year, Oklahoma was still able to gain 471 yards of total offense (163 yards above Alabama's defense yards per game average) and score 35 points (20 points above Alabama's defense points per game average).  The Alabama defense was no more successful against Oklahoma than Texas during the Big XII championship game this season, where the Longhorns gave up 39 points and allowed 508 yards.

So if Alabama and Texas posted similar defensive numbers against a common opponent, the real question is whether the defenses in the Big XII are inferior to other conferences or are the Big XII offenses just that "good?"  In my opinion, the Big XII offenses are just really good.  Additionally, some of the defenses (not all...just as with other conferences) are really good.

For instance, the Longhorn defense played extremely well against the Georgia Bulldogs.  They truly dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball against the SEC's 2nd best team...a team that many thought was the 3rd best team in the country.  How could this be?  My theory on this is that Big XII offenses, primarily rooted in the "spread and air raid" systems, move extremely fast, scoring touchdowns at a rapid pace.  These offenses spread defenders across the field while incorporating a no huddle approach that does not give defensive players the ability to substitute positions or adjust schemes. If ran properly, the pace in which the air raid thrives tires out any defense. In contrast, Georgia did not run an air raid offense in the Sugar Bowl.  This allowed the Longhorns to settle into their defense and diagnose the offensive scheme.  The Texas defense was able to perform in a proactive manner, as opposed to becoming reactionary to the quick twitch Big XII offenses.

With Texas being a certified "Blue Blood" program, they are able to recruit talent equal to the talent of SEC teams.  The Longhorn's ability to have this level of talent allows them to match up quite well against the likes of a team like Georgia, as well as any other team in the country.  Texas' BSN-DEF numbers are somewhat skewed in a negative manner by playing in the "offense-happy" Big XII; however, as stated above, the Longhorns have the talent to adjust and match other top teams in each conference.

If we're being honest, the Big XII has birth the new NFL (yes I said NFL) movement of high powered offenses.  The Kansas City Chiefs moved up in the draft to select Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes in the first round of the draft.  This selection paired Mahomes with fellow Big XII alum Tyreek Hill...resulting in the duo setting the league on fire.  The Cleveland Browns drafted Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the 1st pick of the 2018 draft.  Many thought this was a mistake; however, in just one year, Mayfield propelled The Browns to win 7 more games than their 0 - 16 campaign in the previous year.   

Other "Spread & Air Raid" quarterback disciples that have been successful as of late are Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams), Case Keenum (Denver Broncos), and Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles & Super Bowl MVP).  Even Kliff Kingsbury, despite having a 35-40 overall college head  coaching record at Texas Tech, is rumored to be in the mix for an NFL head coaching job for either the Arizona Cardinals or New York Jets.  This showcases how prolific the offenses Texas, as well as other Big XII teams, face each week.  Other conferences are finding out how hard it is to defend against this, which is evident with the Big XII having the highest bowl winning percentage over the last 3 seasons.        

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