Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Offensive indicators of victory

Over the past 3 seasons, Michigan has compiled a 29-9 record. This has included some great wins and some heart breaking losses. I thought it would be interesting to look at the performance of the offense in wins and losses as judged by yards/pass attempt and yards/rush attempt as measures of efficiency. I could have looked at yards rushing and yards passing, but those get heavily influenced by the number of attempts. I thought yards/attempt was a better measure of the effectiveness of the offense in each area.

In the 29 victories, Michigan has had a mean of 7.3 yards/pass and 4.3 yards/rush. Pretty good numbers and what you'd expect in victories. In the 9 losses, Michigan has had a mean of 5.4 yds/pass and 2.0 yds/rush. So while a lot of losses get pinned on the defense, it's blatantly obvious that Michigan's offense has tended to not hold up their end of the bargain in losses.

Furthermore, I wanted to look at some ranges of numbers and what they predicted for wins or losses:

In games where Michigan averaged 7.0 yards/pass or more, they compiled a record of 18-1 with the sole loss coming at Iowa in 2003.

In games where Michigan averaged 4.0 yards/rush or more, they compiled a record of 16-1 with the sole loss coming in the Rose Bowl to Texas.

In games where Michigan averaged 6.0 yards/pass or less, they compiled a record of 7-5.

In games where Michigan averaged 3.0 yards/rush or less, they compiled a record of 7-6.



Now 1 yard per pass or 1 yard per rush might not seem like a lot, but it has had a huge impact on the record of the team. I would guess that this has to do with how effective the offense is at getting first downs and sustaining drives and resting the D. No way to really prove it, but I thought the numbers were interesting. I chose 3 years simply to get enough losses to perhaps approach some sort of credibility for the numbers. 9 is still a pretty small sample size and it'd be interesting to see if it held up over 5 or 10 years. It'd also be interesting to see how the average gain allowed by the D on rushes and passes correlated with wins and losses.

Perhaps I'll get to them someday, but for now I'll be pretty damn happy if the offense hits 7 yds/pass and 4 yds/rush. Michigan has only hit both those numbers in the same game 9 times in the past 3 years, but they are 9-0 when they do.

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