Efficiency stats are starting to take root in college football. Brian Fremeau's Efficiency Index is drive-based and weighted for strength of schedule. Bill Connolly of Football Outsiders and SB Nation's own Rock M Nation also looks at college football stats from a different colored lens.
The efficiency stats I'll look at the next couple of days compares how Virginia Tech did against its ACC opponents compared to what was expected of it. You can see last year's numbers here, but I'll warn you that it's ugly. After the jump will be much happier news as we look at this year's results.
These efficiency stats are pretty straight forward. First, these stats are from conference games only. Non-conference games are outliers because you can play a really tough non-conference schedule like Virginia Tech did or a really weak one like some other teams did. 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.
Most of the raw data comes from cfbstats.com.
First up are the rushing numbers. This gets a little tricky because you have to take out the sacks and sack yardage because for some ungodly reason the NCAA counts sacks as rushing plays. Last year these numbers were pretty average and our efficiency for the whole year was 0.994.
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.
Update: The rushing attempts and yards I originally posted were the raw data without sacks taken out. They did not effect the efficiency, I just posted numbers from the wrong column in my Excel sheet. I apologize for the confusion.
The only games where the Hokies underperformed against expectations came against Duke and NC State, teams who sold out to stop Ryan Williams and the Tech rushing game. The most surprising number comes from the Georgia Tech game where the Hokies supposedly had trouble establishing the run game. This game saw Tech's fewest rushes because they were trailing in the second half and Georgia Tech held the ball for over 22 minutes in that half.
Up next are the passing stats, where the Hokies and Tyrod Taylor grew by leaps and bounds. Last year the Hokies passing efficiency came in at 0.911. This year, the numbers speak for themselves.
Abbreviations: YPA - opponent's yards per attempt allowed; Pass - VT pass attempts; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT actual yards; Eff - VT efficiency.
Holy hell, Tyrod. Of course, the Hokies kept feeding Ryan Williams all year since he was busy having the best rushing season by a freshman in ACC history. But while people weren't looking, Tyrod was putting up impressive numbers himself. Too bad we didn't throw more often than we did. The Hokies exceeded expectations in every conference game they played, which led the Taylor being the highest rated passer in the ACC and among the best in the country in yards per attempt. However, what kept him from putting up eye-popping numbers was the fact that Tech threw the ball fewer times than any team except Georgia Tech.
Next, let's take a look at total offense and scoring offense. Last year, these numbers were embarrassing.
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.
Efficiency wise, Tech's worst game all the way around was NC State, not the two losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina. I'll dive into those two games a lot more in the 2009 postmortem later. But the Hokies were had an incredibly efficient offense this year and I think that credit needs to go to Bryan Stinespring, who as the season went on learned to just get out of his offense's way. My problem with Stinespring has always been as a playcaller, but these numbers speak to the fact that he's a very good organizer and coordinator of the offense. And if he can put together an offensive line, there's no reason these numbers can't be repeated next year.
The points per game improved dramatically thanks in large part to a dramatic improvement in red zone offense. This year the Hokies scored 5.3 points per trip to the red zone in ACC games. That was tied for first with NC State. Last year, Tech scored 4.1 points per red zone possession, 11th in the ACC.
There's a lot more that goes into an offense than just how they did compared to expectations, but that's a discussion for later on. For now, we can just look at these numbers and be optimistic for 2010 after the incredible improvement we saw this season compared to 2008.