Big Ten Red Zone Efficiency, 2009

Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Via Friend of the Blog Craig Ross, offensive and defensive red zone efficiency in last year's Big Ten:


  • Opp = number of redzone opportunities.
  • FGM = made field goals.
  • Poss Pts = possible points
  • RZEff = Pts / Poss Pots
  • Trad = The traditional, stupid way of calculating red zone efficiency: (TD + FGM) / Opp.



Team Opp TDs %TDs FGM Pts Poss Pts RZEff Trad
Wisconsin 32 24 75% 6 186 224 83% 94%
PSU 25 17 68% 7 140 175 80% 96%
Purdue 22 15 68% 4 117 154 76% 86%
Minnesota 28 18 64% 3 135 196 69% 75%
Illinois 22 13 59% 3 100 154 65% 73%
Northwestern 26 13 50% 9 118 182 65% 85%
OSU 23 13 57% 4 103 161 64% 74%
Iowa 20 9 45% 8 87 140 62% 85%
MSU 24 10 42% 11 103 168 61% 88%
Indiana 30 15 50% 7 126 210 60% 73%
Michigan 30 12 40% 6 102 210 49% 60%

Note how dumb the traditional measures of redzone efficiency can be: Michigan State finished ninth in the league in points gained as a percentage of the maximum and third by traditional measures.

It doesn't matter which metric you use, though: Michigan is thunderously last in this category. That's not a huge surprise when you're as turnover-plagued as Michigan was. Add on the First And Goal Of Doom against Illinois and there you go.


Team Opp TDs %TDs FGM Pts Poss Pts RZEff Trad
OSU 18 9 50% 3 72 126 57% 67%
PSU 19 9 47% 5 78 133 59% 74%
Wisconsin 21 10 48% 6 88 147 60% 76%
Iowa 19 9 47% 6 81 133 61% 79%
Illinois 33 18 55% 7 147 231 64% 76%
Northwestern 26 14 54% 6 116 182 64% 77%
Purdue 34 18 53% 9 153 238 64% 79%
Indiana 32 20 63% 4 152 224 68% 75%
Minnesota 24 16 67% 5 127 168 76% 88%
Michigan 31 19 61% 11 166 217 76% 97%
MSU 25 17 68% 6 137 175 78% 92%

No surprises here. Defensive red zone efficiency seems much better correlated with overall performance than the offensive variety, Illinis respectability nonwithstanding. Michigan isn't last by a mile this time, but they're not far off the bottom. No fancy explanations needed here: the defense sucked anywhere on the field last year.

Combined Totals

Just start screaming now. It will save time. PPT is "points per trip," and it hates you:

Team OREff DRZEff Delta PPT Diff
Wisconsin 83% 60% 23.2 1.6
PSU 80% 59% 21.4 1.5
Purdue 76% 64% 11.7 0.8
OSU 64% 57% 6.8 0.5
Illinois 65% 64% 1.3 0.1
Iowa 62% 61% 1.2 0.1
Northwestern 65% 64% 1.1 0.1
Minnesota 69% 76% -6.7 -0.5
Indiana 60% 68% -7.9 -0.6
MSU 61% 78% -17.0 -1.2
Michigan 49% 76% -27.9 -2.0

On average, Michigan gave up 2 more points per redzone trip than they got. Over the course of the season this cost them 122(!!!) points relative to the opposition.

I don't have any idea how much year-to-year correlation there is in this stat, but if I had to guess I'd say there was a moderate amount. It's not as loopy as turnover margin, certainly—Wisconsin's always going to be good inside the five—but I bet crazy numbers like Michigan's have a tendency to head for average the next year. Let's hope so, anyway.



April 9th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

Posts like this right before lunch are a great way to kill my appetite. Michigan football - helping me to lose weight and save money at the same time.


April 9th, 2010 at 12:22 PM ^

I still can't believe the plays we called, the personnel we used, and that we didn't score, and then lost that game - which lead to a deflating season. Can we have a column for "Point we really really REALLY should have scored, but didn't, causing our team to collapse into a pit of despair"?



April 9th, 2010 at 12:10 PM ^

Does Opp count number of possessions that begin with 1st down in the red zone, or all possessions that moved into the red zone? In otherwords, if it is 2nd and 10 from the 24 and you pick up 5 yards, you are now in the "red zone", but are facing 3rd and 5 from the 19. That's a big difference from 1st and 10 from the 19. There is a big TD expectation differential between the two scenarios.


April 9th, 2010 at 12:12 PM ^

we had trouble converting in short yardage and trouble stopping the other team in short yardage...


I just said this to someone else, 'keeping my expectations low but my hopes high'.




April 9th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

We were actually decent under ten yards last year if I remember correctly, but terrible between ten and twenty, when our lack of anything resembling a competent secondary hurt us... I wonder what those #'s look like in comparison. We were probably one of the better in the conference under ten yards, but the worst between ten and twenty.


April 9th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

I find it amazing that we had more opportunities in the red zone than every other team except for Wiscy and tied for second with Indiana. I don't think I would've believed, without seeing it in this chart, that those were the top 3 teams in red zone opps. It's depressing because it makes me think what might have been and encourages me to think what might be, this season. The defensive statistics-Good God, that all i can say there.


April 9th, 2010 at 12:22 PM ^

When does the 1st "that's why the spread won't work in the Big Ten" comment get posted?

This stat will change a "ton" with more experience at qb.


April 9th, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

Should we be using 7 as the factor here?

8 points are possible.

I would consider removing the after touchdown uncertainty altogether and use 6 for the factor.

Defensively, we were worse still when you throw in all the big plays against that were scores outside the redzone. Greenzone scoring would be interesting as well.


April 9th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

But, did we really need this information in advance of a weekend

I dont think any of us here didnt think Michigan left a ton of points on the field last season.

Every improvement made on O last year was muted a bunch by true freshmen QBs....this stat, and a host of others, will take a leap forward in 2010 just from QB experience


April 9th, 2010 at 1:14 PM ^

Is there a chart for percentage of points earned from non-redzone sources? Maybe a measure of the relative explosiveness of the offense and opportunistic-ness of the defense would be the percentage of a team's total points come from drives that never made it to the red zone and defensive scores.

With enough long TD's and defensive scores, I could be perfectly happy if the offense doesn't even visit the red zone this year.


April 9th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

Some notes:
1. This is by total number of points from each location, not total number of scores.

2. I performed this for all 120 teams and I didn't have the exact data for the breakdown of which TD's were accompanied with made or missed PATs, converted or failed 2pt attempts. I therefore calculated the FBS average and added 0.930 points per TD. There is accordingly a rounding error with every teams totals.

3. Unless I've missed something, the NCAA doesn't record defensive fumble recoveries that are converted as TDs. TD interceptions are recorded. I assume they are grouped with the total TDs category.

Red Zone Scores (TDs, FGs, and XPs): 54.9%
21+ yard Off. TDs & Defensive FR for TD (incl. XPs): 35.2%
Special Teams TDs (incl. XPs): 3.92%
38+ yard FG: 3.39%
Defensive INT for TD (incl. XPs): 1.96%
Safeties: 0.00%
(XPs rounding error): 0.63%

What I found is that there was no magic "rate of points" from a specific location that indicated in favor or against success. In fact, Michigan's percentages matched up pretty evenly with Alabama's. Wisconsin found success with 79% of its points from the red zone. Rutgers found success with 46% of its points from the red zone.

Really, at the end of the day the best thing to do is just score more points than the other guy from wherever you are. Nothing earth-shattering there.


April 9th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

Although sickening to see just how futile our offense could be at times last year, this chart gives me tremendous hope for this season and beyond.

Yeah, we pissed away a lot of opportunities but at least we were in position to score. There is no way, NO WAY, we will be this futile this upcoming season when you consider that our QB's, O-line and WR's have much more experience running the offense than last year. One more year of Barwisizing can't hurt either.

Heads held high, gentlemen...we will see massive improvement this year.


April 9th, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

that is the one glimmer of hope in those charts - the amount of times UM was inside the opponents red zone. They did it the hard way too - the offense had to get the ball into the opponents red zone. There weren't to many times where the defense caused a turnover and set the offense up inside the opponents red zone.


April 9th, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

So that means we were above average in the other 80 yards.

I'll take that, because in year 1 we were above average nowhere. At this rate, we'll be above average in all 100 yards in no time!

Of course, 8th in defensive opportunities is not good either. And part of that is a result of the turnovers in our end.


April 9th, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

No, Michigan was tied for second in having the most scoring opportunities in the red zone; that's a good thing. Only two off of the leader Wisconsin, who had the number 1 offense in the league. This info is aggravating but shows that the team should be able to raise it's scoring average pretty easily next season. The parts are in place, just need to tighten up a bit.

Even if the team improves to just average redzone conversion (65%), that translates to about 3 points per game!


April 9th, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

after seeing the "avert your eyes" in the 'File Under' bullet below the title? Because, obviously, I must've needed a good f-ing cry. That's why. Sonofabitch.

I'm going to the game next Saturday. Don't do this shit to me next Friday, Brian.


April 11th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

I'd like to know what our RZ efficiency on offense was when Molk was healthy, and what it was after he went down. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a noticeable statistical difference.