For the third year, we're going to look at the Virginia Tech Hokies' efficiency stats in conference play. There are two primary schools of thought with efficiency stats. There's the drive-based formula devised by Brian Fremeau and the play-based formula used by SBN's own Bill Connolly of Rock M Nation. Both formulas can be found over at Football Outsiders.
I use a very, very watered down set of efficiency stats that are a little easier to understand. Basically, we're going to compare how yards the Hokies gained in games compared to what they should have gained based on how many plays they ran in that game. You can go back and look at the 2009 numbers and 2008 numbers for a comparison to what we're about to see.
Note: These stats are from conference games only. Non-conference games are outliers because scheduling philosophy varies from school to school. You take the yards per play allowed by the opponent and multiply it by Virginia Tech's plays in that game to get the Hokies' expected yards. Then, you compare it to the yards the Hokies actually racked up. If you meet expectations, your efficiency will be 1.000, the higher the number the better.
Raw data from the amazing cfbstats.com.
First up, rushing.
Abbreviations: YPC - opponent's yards per carry allowed without sacks; Rush - VT carries minus sacks; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT yards with sacks taken out; Eff - VT efficiency. Sacks are removed from these stats because the NCAA counts sacks as rushing attempts from some ungodly reason.
2009 Rushing Efficiency: 1.146
2008 Rushing Efficiency: 0.994
Here's the passing stats.
Abbreviations: YPA - opponent's yards per attempt allowed; Pass - VT pass attempts; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT actual yards; Eff - VT efficiency.
2009 Passing Efficiency: 1.568
2008 Passing Efficiency: 0.911
And finally, put them all together to get offensive efficiency and scoring efficiency.
Abbreviations: YPP - opponent yards per play allowed; Plays - VT plays; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT actual yards; Eff - VT efficiency. PPP - opponent points per play allowed adjusted for non-offensive points; Plays - VT plays; ExPts - expected points for VT; Points - VT points minus non-offensive points; Eff - VT efficiency.
2009 Offensive Efficiency: 1.170
2008 Offensive Efficiency: 0.903
2009 Scoring Efficiency: 1.376
2008 Scoring Efficiency: 0.810
It should come as no surprise that the rushing and passing numbers were similar considering how balanced the Hokies were in 2010. What also isn't surprising is that the number wound up being favorable for the Hokies since all of these games were wins.
For the Curious (Using Full Season Stats)
vs. Boise State
Rush Eff: 0.856
Pass Eff: 1.599
Total Eff: 1.196
Rush Eff: 1.068
Pass Eff: 1.086
Total Eff: 0.850
Against Boise State, Tyrod saved us from our early season offensive line disaster by having a nice game through the air. The Broncos stopper our ground game cold, which teams have tended to do early in the season against us. The offensive line hasn't clicked at the beginning of the regular season since probably 2005, which is one of the reasons we keep losing early games, along with scheduling.
As for Stanford, you'll noticed we actually performed above expectations in the individual rush and pass games, but that the total efficiency is well below what we should have had. That's because the astounding 70 sack yards we allowed gets factored back in. Again, the offensive line failed us in a game against a team with top talent.
Amazingly, our two worst games efficiency wise against ACC play came against two defenses we probably should have destroyed -- Georgia Tech and Virginia. This I think you can blame on conservative play calling. I think we held back against the Wahoos to save guys for the ACC title game and I have no idea what on earth we were doing in that Georgia Tech game, but it sure didn't work.
The Hokies rolled through ACC play because they never really allowed a team to make them one-dimensional. And the one time they were, they found both extremes. The lowest single rating, rushing or passing, was passing efficiency against NC State. But in that same game they blew the doors off their expected yards on the ground, helping them come back to beat the Pack.
We were an extraordinarily efficient team against our own league, but talent deficiency caught up with us against the two top teams we played outside the league, primarily on the offensive line. You can blame play calling all you want, but the Stanford game came down to having a poor game plan rather than individual play calling. We met our expected yards, but had no answer or adjustment for Stanford's pass rush.
And as for the Boise State game, a lot of people point to the decision to throw the ball on third-and-eight as the reason Virginia Tech lost. But look at those efficiency numbers. We were having a lot of success through the air, but they were crushing our run game. A first down and the game's over. So if you make the decision to try and end the game, you're going to do so with the your senior quarterback's arm, who had been having success against the opposing defense. Of course you throw it.
If you run it, you're going to get stopped short of the first down and take 40 more seconds off the clock, giving the Broncos the ball with about a minute to play. Well, they only needed 38 seconds to score anyway.
Why did I just re-live all that? Good grief I have a problem.
Anyway, back on point with the stats and the efficiency and the thing and the stuff.
Yeah, we were pretty good against our league. Not quite as good as last year, but good compared to what was expected. There's not going to be a change on the offensive staff, so you're just going to have to deal with it.
Last year I wrote that if we could put together an offensive line that the numbers we had in 2009 could be duplicated. I don't think this year's line was as good as last year's, but they put together a season that was about 150 yards (in nine games) away from duplicating the previous season's efficiency stats.
For the second consecutive year, the passing efficiency was better than the rushing efficiency thanks to Tyrod. I doubt that will be the case next year with a new quarterback under center, meaning the rushing efficiency is going to have to improve, even from the current numbers, for the Hokies to win another conference title.