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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nebraska and Offensive Efficiency - Part II

In the first part of this series I introduced to the concept of the Scoreability Index. I explained the value of this statistic as a measure of offensive efficiency and attempted to prove that it was worthwhile to track in college football.

In Part II, I will take a closer look at the national rankings in this statistic, with particular attention paid to Nebraska’s offensive efficiency.

First, you can check out the entire Scoreability Index spreadsheet here. This should give you access to how this statistic is calculated and what the rankings look like for all 119 Division I-A teams.

Let’s start by looking at the Top 10 teams in the Scoreability Index:

1. Boise St. 10.60
2. Texas 10.90
3. Ohio St. 11.11
4. Virginia Tech 11.42
5. Rutgers 11.59
6. Oklahoma St. 11.63
7. Pittsburgh 11.72
8. SMU 11.80
9. West Virginia 11.88
10. Nevada 11.89

Right away, you will notice a few surprises, including Pittsburgh, SMU(?) and Nevada. However, all of the teams in the Top 10 had a .500 record or better and combined for an overall record of 94-34 (.734).

Overall, Boise State had the most efficient offense in 2006. The undefeated Broncos scored one touchdown for every 64 yards of offense they generated. You can watch their proficient offense at work in these Fiesta Bowl highlights.

The least efficient offense in 2006 belonged to the Golden Panthers of Florida International. FIU managed just one touchdown for every 146 yards of offense they generated. That’s exactly how you go 0-12. No wonder they was always fightin'.

Now let’s turn our attention to the Huskers. Nebraska finished a modest 43rd nationally in the Scoreability Index, obviously meaning they were the 43rd most efficient offensive unit in 2006. The Huskers produced 428 points, and 5804 yards. This produced a Scoreability Index of 13.56. Thus, the Huskers scored one touchdown for every 81 yards of offense they generated.

If we look at this statistic on a game-by-game basis (this is a less exact science), we can see our offensive efficiency in each match-up. Let’s start with our least efficient offensive performance. I managed to guess this one, and I have a feeling you might have as well. That cold night in KC for the Big 12 Championship, turned out to be our least efficient offensive performance and by quite a margin. In that game, the Huskers generated just 7 points off of 366 yards. That equates to a Scoreability Index of 52.29. In other words, Nebraska needed to produce 314 yards for the equivalent of one TD (six points) against the Sooners. Our other inefficient offensive performances came against USC (21.10), Texas (17.00), KSU (16.95), and Auburn (16.43).

Nebraska’s top three offensive efficiency performances came against non-conference opponents Nicholls St. (8.89), Troy (10.66), and Louisiana Tech (11.92). The Huskers’ most efficient offensive effort in conference play came against Missouri (12.32). The only odd finding overall related to the Scoreability Index came in the Kansas State game. That was the Huskers least-efficient offensive performance in which they managed a win. If we think back to the findings for the Bendability Index, we will notice that the KSU game just happened to be our most efficient defensive performance of the year. See how these statistical measures interplay?

We can put the performance of Nebraska in perspective by examining how the Big 12 shakes out in terms of the Scoreability Index in 2006.

1. Texas 10.90
2. Oklahoma St. 11.63
3. Oklahoma 12.17
4. Kansas 12.90
5. Baylor 13.36
6. Nebraska 13.56
7. Texas Tech 13.80
8. Kansas St. 13.84
9. Missouri 14.15
10. Texas A&M 14.27
11. Iowa State 16.88
12. Colorado 17.84

There are a few surprises here, but first things first. When discussing the Bendability Index, I noted that while Nebraska had a more efficient defense in 2006, the Sooners still won the head-to-head matchup. Now we know a little more about why. Overall, the Sooners offense (even with a WR at QB) was more efficient than that of the Huskers. In addition, see above for an explanation of just how awful our offense was in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Another surprise is Baylor listed ahead of us. That stings obviously, but don’t be too quick to discredit the Scoreability Index as a viable measure. If we look at the teams ahead of us (and that we played in 2006) on this list, you’ll notice that we lost to all but one of them. The one game we won against a team with a better Scoreability Index was Kansas, and we needed OT to sneak by the Jayhawks at home. That trend actually applies to our entire 2006 schedule, as every team Nebraska lost to in 2006 had a more efficient offense than the Huskers.

Still think this Scoreability Index doesn’t matter?

In Part III of this series I will again take a look at Nebraska’s historical performance as it relates to the Scoreability Index.