Some Characteristics Of Highly Rated Passing Offenses In The Big Ten: 2000-Present

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on March 1st, 2013 at 1:13 PM

“SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF HIGHLY RATED PASSING OFFENSES IN THE BIG TEN: 2000-PRESENT”

In a companion diary to my last entry, I took a similar dive into the passing statistics of the Big Ten since 2000 to see what some of the characteristics of the highly rated passing offenses were. In an attempt to be a little more thoughtful as well, I also looked at the passing efficiency data, particularly since TD and INT percentages are part of the calculation of efficiency ratings. I like to believe that these two percentages really matter more than the average total yards in that they provide insight into what a team does with the yards they managed to accumulate. This is also the reason that the selection process for this exercise varies a little from the method employed when looking at rushing offenses.

Some high-level trivia:

  • Since 2000, a Big Ten quarterback has thrown the ball to someone else 53,905 times, and on 31,128 of those occasions, someone caught it. That’s good for a 57.7% completion percentage and 381,792 total yards.
  • When the ball was caught, teams averaged 12.27 yards per completion. When it was not, it was thrown an average of 7.08 yards.
  • For all that passing, 2,640 touchdowns were produced, or an average of 1.5 passing TDs per game. There were also 1,646 interceptions thrown, or 0.93 INTs per game.
  • The touchdown percentage of the Big Ten in that space was 4.06%. The interception percentage was 3.09%. Michigan fell slightly above the average in both cases, incidentally.
  • The cumulative passer efficiency rating of the Big Ten in this timeframe is 127.59
  • The average yards per game passing in this time turns out to be 216.69 yards
  • The cumulative winning percentage of the conference? 0.562

So, once again, I laid all this out in an egregiously large spreadsheet and then put it aside to do some actual work at work. I came back to this later and decided to pay particular attention to four factors which are considered in the efficiency statistics. In this case, I thought it would be interesting to use the following – average yards per game, touchdown percentage, interception percentage and completion percentage.

As it turns out, there were only 27 passing attacks in the group which were above average in all four areas, but here is what those teams were typically capable of doing:

  • Average completion percentage: 61.02%
  • Average interception percentage: 2.22%
  • Average touchdown percentage: 6.30%
  • Average yards per game: 248.16
  • Average passer rating: 142.65
  • Average yards per attempt: 7.68
  • Average yards per completion: 12.59

These are noticably better than the grand means in each category. Another interesting improvement is in total years for the season. For the entire sample, it was 2,669 yards, but for this statistically elite group, it was 3,102 yards. Further, the cumulative winning percentage of this group is 0.653, so having an efficient passing game gets perhaps one more win each year in the Big Ten.

I eased the restrictions a little for the next sort just to see if I could squeeze out a list of the best of the best, if you will. For the next step, I took teams from the smaller sample that were above average in at least two of the four statistics and managed to get a group of 13 teams. Their means are:

  • Average completion percentage: 62.40%
  • Average interception percentage: 1.97%
  • Average touchdown percentage: 6.65%
  • Average yards per game: 262.17
  • Average passer rating: 148.89
  • Average yards per attempt: 8.00
  • Average yards per completion: 12.82

Those teams that made the final cut under these assumptions are:

 

Year

Team

National Rank

COMP. %

Int. Pct.

TD Pct.

Avg. Yards / Game

2011

Wisconsin

2

71.04

1.52

10.37

234.29

2011

Northwestern

13

71.01

2.21

6.39

254.23

2005

Ohio St.

6

64.90

1.66

5.96

225.67

2011

Michigan St.

28

63.86

2.22

5.76

252.50

2010

Iowa

11

63.31

1.68

7.28

234.54

2007

Purdue

48

62.12

2.19

5.05

307.15

2004

Purdue

10

61.11

1.65

7.82

321.17

2005

Iowa

26

60.64

1.98

5.69

257.75

2003

Michigan

36

59.66

2.10

5.46

270.77

2012

Penn St.

59

59.65

1.10

5.26

273.58

2009

Michigan St.

17

59.34

2.84

6.62

269.38

2001

Michigan St.

8

58.59

2.82

6.76

284.91

2000

Michigan

4

58.33

1.67

8.00

225.27

 

TL;DR CONCLUSION:

Like the rushing version of this from earlier in the week, the point of this was to simply run through a short exercise on finding a potential way to discover from a large set of data which teams stood out among their peers in the conference in a specific set of statistics. I chose to go with statistics that I thought pointed towards an efficient passing attack, not necessarily the most prolific, although the two do in fact overlap somewhat. There are probably better ways to think through this, but I was working with easily available data.

It is also rather intriguing that, at least under my own assumptions in doing these two diaries, having an efficient passing attack and an effective rushing game produce the same typical bump in winning percentage, at least when looked at separately like this.

RANDOM ENTERTAINMENT:

Because I was missing "Animalympics" earlier...

Comments

MikeCohodes

March 1st, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

so that's 82k more yards than in the rushing stats, but still a pretty good balance in the conference between the two. I'm surprised it wasn't closer to an exact 50/50 given how run-heavy some teams are, but I guess they're balanced by the pass-first teams like Purdue.

Neither of those stats is enough yardage to reach the moon however, I think you had that wrong in the last diary.  The moon is over 238,000 miles away from earth, and there's 1760 yards to a mile, so that would be 418,880,000 yards away.

Keep up the great work on these though, they're always interesting and insightful.

LSAClassOf2000

March 1st, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

Someone else mentioned it and I went and checked and I did flub the math on that one, mixing up yards and miles. Thanks for the correction, of course - I'd rather the right information appeared somewhere. My fail - I have crossed out that particular sentence in the previous diary.

74polSKA

March 1st, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

I knew Wilson was good at Wisconsin but damn!  Makes me even more excited about Speight since he attends Wilson's alma mater (assuming there's a correlation between the staff and Wilson's success!). 

ChicagoGoBlue

March 1st, 2013 at 3:25 PM ^

seeing them on the top teams twice surprises me, I don't normally associate them with strong passing offenses. No surprise seeing Purdue and NW on here though, with how pass-happy they tend to be.

Did you look at Nebraska at all for this or no since they weren't in the conference then?

LSAClassOf2000

March 1st, 2013 at 4:39 PM ^

For added consistency, I made the decision to use only teams that had been in the conference for the entire timeframe. Part of the behind the scenes charting (for I couldn't help myself) was breaking this down by team, and as there are only two sets of data points for Nebraska, it didn't seem right to use them.