so much for that
Behind the Numbers (9/16)
UPDATE: Part Two is here. Includes an alrernative to Passing Efficiency.
Today's Stat: Passing Efficiency(Full NCAA Rankings)
Players of note: Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (1st, 210.25); Jimmy Clausen, ND (3rd, 196.31); Kirk Cousins, MSU (6th, 186.71); Tate Forcier, Michigan (21st, 161.69); Terrelle Pryor, OSU (79th, 116.92)
Why it's important:It's pretty much the golden standard for measuring the (wait for it) efficiency of a quarterback. It's not flawless by any means, but overall is a pretty good indication of how good a quarterback is. Once there's a good sample size (at least 100 attempts), it's pretty safe to say that a player in the top 20 of the efficiency ratings is a good quarterback, and a player outside the top 50 isn't quite as high-caliber.
Why it's flawed:Passing Efficiency measures just that -- efficiency. How efficient something or someone is usually boils down to how much of 'x' they can do in 'y' amount of tries. It's no different in the world of college football. The equation for Passing Efficiency in College Football is as follows:
(Completions x 100) + (Yards x 8.4) + (Touchdowns x 330) - (Interceptions x 200)
So while all of that stuff on top is really important, it really boils down to how many passes the quarterback has attempted. For example:
Quarterback A plays basically the whole game and racks up some pretty good numbers, but in the red zone gets bruised up and comes out for a play.
Quarterback B comes in for that one play and throws an eight yard touchdown pass, and is right back on the bench, and remains there for the rest of the game.
Quarterback A's stats: 28/35, 310yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Quarterback B's stats: 1/1, 8yds, 1 TD
Go ahead and take a stab at each quarterback's rating. Or just scroll down a bit and look at the actual answers, you cheater.
Quarterback A's Efficiency Rating: 246.2
Quarterback B's Efficiency Rating: 497.2
Quarterback B, the backup who came in for one play, isn't necessarily a better quarterback than Quarterback A.. there's actually a good chance that he's a good deal worse. His efficiency rating, however, is more than twice that of Quarterback A, who had a damn good day throwing the ball. However because that one pass attempt that he did have was a successful one, his Efficiency Rating is about 287 points higher than the current highest rating in Division 1.
Applying this to current statistics:Ryan Mallett: 17/22, 309yds, 1 TD (210.25)
In the one game he's appeared in so far, Mallett has only attempted 22 passes (remember, the smaller the sample size the more skewed the rating), and completed 17 of them. A 77% completion percentage is second only to Sean Canfield (OSU, NTOSU), who has the 14th highest efficiency rating. He only has the one touchdown and has yet to throw a pick (not as important as you'd think, as you'll see later). Not stellar numbers by any means, but he did pretty well against Missouri State.
Jimmy Clausen: 40/60, 651yds, 7 TDs (196.31)
Not too much to say here, the efficiency rating is pretty well deserved so far. Quite the interesting comparison to Mallett's numbers, however. Clausen's numbers are obviously superior in every way but completion percentage. Clausen is clearly the superior quarterback here, yet because of the small sample size in Mallett's case, he has the higher rating.
Tate Forcier: 36/53, 419yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT (161.69)
Tate's numbers compared to his rating are also pretty interesting. He actually has a higher completion percentage (67.9) than Clausen (66.7), has a respectable touchdown percentage (9.43% of his passes are touchdowns, compared to Clausen's 11.7%), and only has the one interception. However even if we take that interception away (it wasn't even his fault!), Forcier's rating doesn't improve too dramatically. If the pass fell harmlessly to the ground, his rating would be a 165.5, good for 17th. If the pass was completed for a 15 yard gain his rating would be a 169.7, putting him in 16th.
The TakeawayQuarterback Efficiency Rating is an effective way to rank the overall efficiency of quarterbacks, especially later in the season once there is a decent sample size of attempts to go by. Until then, however, it's a stat that's easily skewed by a few attempts going for big yards and touchdowns. We all know Quarterback A in the example above had a better game than Quarterback B, but the formula for efficiency rating doesn't. Quarterback B did complete 100% of his passes, and 100% of his attempts went for touchdowns.. the thing is there was just the one attempt. Therein lies the flaw.
Just for fun, try to guess which stat line would garner the higher efficiency rating. Answers are at the bottom of the post.
Situation 1 Situation 2
A. 25/30, 250yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs l A. 30/40, 300yds, 1 TD
B. 15/17, 140yds, 1 TD l B. 10/12, 100yds, 2 TDs
A. 20/24, 200yds, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
B. 20/40, 250yds, 5 TDs
Behind the Numbers will be back soon with another look at a stat from the world of College Football. Any stats you want to be examined a little closer? Or even just a stat you've been interested in for a long time? Let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to get to it in the next few installments of BtN. Thanks for reading!
Situation 1- A: 162.0 B: 176.8; Situation 2- A: 146.2 B: 208.3;
Situation 3- A: 147.5 B:143.75