If you managed to watch any football with Michigan off last weekend, you probably saw a lot of offense. Unless, you were gritting your teeth and hoping for the Buckeyes to
beat not lose to Michigan St. West Virginia and Baylor set a dramatic tone for the day with 133 points and 1507 yards between the two. The game nearly had two 600 yard passers and featured six different receivers go over 100 yards. Pretty much the kind of day you expect Andrew Maxwell to put up if his receivers had actual hands instead of giant clubs.
But the undercard also had some big days. Miami hit a last second deep ball to avoid overtime against NC st and win 44-37. As has been well documented here, Georgia out-gunned the Bray 51-44. All in all teams in matchups between FBS teams averaged 423 yards per game, the most in the last ten years, and possibly of all time. The week narrowly edged out the bowl season of 2005 which averaged a fraction of a yard less per team per game.
In fact, 2012 has set a blistering pace for offensive output. Week 5 is ahead of week 3 and week 2 as the top three offensive outputs in terms of yardages of all time. 2012 is only five weeks old and already has the three best offensive weeks of the last decade. Even week 1, a traditionally low offensive output week, cracks the top 20 regular season weeks and is easily the best opening week of offensive in my database.
No matter what Nick Saban thinks about the pace, the trends hold up on a per play basis.
Yards/Play Through the First Five Weeks of a Season
After a gradual increase from 2003-2010, offensive output made a big jump in 2010 and appears to be on the verge of another jump in 2012. Beyond the video game type games like West Virginia/Baylor, this change in output fundamentally alters a lot of the nature of football. As has been discussed here many times, the fourth down calculus and even the onside kick decision process has to be accounted for. And as we’ve seen in the Alabama/LSU era, it puts a strange premium on defense. If no one else but you can play quality defense, it can be a major advantage.
With Michigan off, I thought I’d throw on a couple of other games for the week.
Ohio St/Michigan St
So far this year Purdue has put up 48+ points against three overmatched opponents in Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall while putting a scare into Notre Dame in South Bend for their only loss.
Going into the season I had Michigan pegged as a touchdown road favorite for their first Big Ten game. Based on in season performance which is still pretty muddy, at this point, the teams are about even. The Vegas line of Michigan –3 seems about right to me.
Michigan 31 Purdue 28