We all know that Hoke has tried to emphasize time of possession (TOP) this season, as evidenced by his comments along the lines of "the defense plays best when they're on the sideline." So, I thought I'd take a look at the TOP numbers from this year and compare them to last year, to see if Hoke has achieved what he wanted to.
Before I get into it though, a few clarifications:
- This isn't meant to spark a debate about whether or not you think TOP is an important statistic. While that is an interesting debate, the level of importance of TOP as a stat is irrelevant right now, since I'm just trying to see how well Hoke has achieved his goal.
- This isn't meant to be a back-handed jab against RR, either. I am only comparing this year's TOP numbers to last year's to see the progression from one year to the next. Again, Hoke has made it a point of emphasis to try to control the ball on offense, and I'm just trying to see if he's achieved that goal.
- I am certainly not a math wiz, so I may be off by a few seconds in some of my calculations. I converted the "minutes:seconds" format listed in the box scores into seconds, so that I could more easily figure out totals and averages, and then converted the seconds back into minutes:seconds format to make the numbers more readable; things may have gotten jumbled in the process. If you would like to see a table with all of the numbers, I can provide that.
- My sources were ESPN's boxscores for this year, and the boxscores on MGoBlue.com for last year.
Without further ado, here's the overview:
In 13 games (I included the Gator Bowl and UMass), there were a total of 780 minutes played. Of those 780 minutes, Michigan's offense possessed the ball for 353 minutes and 14 seconds, or roughly 45% of the time. The most our offense possessed the ball in a single game was 36:52, in our opener against UConn. The least we possessed the ball in a single game was 18:13, in our win over Indiana.
As an aside, our second-lowest single game TOP came against UMass at 22:22, which is why I didn't throw out that game. Games against FCS teams typically get thrown out because they would schew things in our favor; this actually does the opposite.
Our average TOP per game was 27 minutes and 20 seconds.
In 12 games played so far, there have been a total of 703 minutes and 33 seconds played (keep in mind the WMU game didn't go the full 60 minutes. They only played for 43 minutes and 33 seconds). Of that time, Michigan's offense has possessed the ball for 384 minutes and 47 seconds, or roughly 55% of the time. The most our offense possessed the ball in a single game was 41:13, against Nebraska. The least we possessed the ball in a single game (not counting WMU) was 22:59, against Notre Dame. Our average TOP per game, not including WMU, is 33:35. If you include the WMU game, our average per game comes out to 31:10.
What does this mean?
Well, basically that Brady Hoke came out and accomplished one of the things he wanted to accomplish. Our offense increased their total TOP by 10%, which can't be a bad thing. Other than that, I don't think it really means much at all. Just another reason for Hoke and his staff to slap each other on the back and say "Good job."
What say the rest of ye?