Some Interesting Facts About Big Ten Scoring Offenses: 2000Present
SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BIG TEN SCORING OFFENSES: 2000PRESENT
I find the things I am uncovering to be interesting (hopefully, you do as well), I am extending this series another week, and this time, we are going to poke around at some of the historic stats on scoring offense in the Big Ten. I even included Nebraska this time.
Since 2000, the conference’s football teams have scored 49,281 points over a stretch of 692,579 yards of total offense, or roughly the distance from Detroit to Springfield, Illinois. The conference has also amassed 5657 PATs to go with 6,168 touchdowns, as well as 2,076 field goals and 4,776 total yards per year. Actually, here’s a small chart with the four most common scoring types and their relative occurrence:
SCORING EVENT 
POINTS 
% TOTAL 
TOUCHDOWN 
37008 
75.1% 
EXTRA POINT 
5657 
11.5% 
FIELD GOAL 
6228 
12.6% 
SAFETY 
148 
0.3% 
In the 1,792 games that all this encompasses, the Big Ten has managed to maintain an average rate of 27.5 points per game and 386.5 yards per game, which is not the West VirginiaBaylor game of recent note but is also not bad. It still means an average ranking nationally in the mid50s, which essentially means there have been about as many terrible offenses in this stretch as there have been good ones, but slightly fewer bad ones. Yes, very technical statement there.
It doesn’t look like it on the field sometimes, but take thirteen years of data and do a table of “percent of total” for a few things and you get this:
TEAM 
Yards 
TDs 
Points 
Extra Poins 
Field Goals 
Safties 
Ohio St. 
8.79% 
9.73% 
9.91% 
9.93% 
11.08% 
12.16% 
Nebraska 
1.64% 
1.73% 
1.76% 
1.82% 
1.88% 
1.35% 
Northwestern 
9.39% 
8.80% 
8.63% 
8.63% 
7.66% 
8.11% 
Indiana 
8.27% 
7.70% 
7.62% 
7.37% 
7.18% 
13.51% 
Michigan 
9.15% 
9.94% 
9.72% 
9.97% 
8.29% 
6.76% 
Wisconsin 
9.66% 
10.62% 
10.44% 
10.84% 
9.10% 
9.46% 
Penn St. 
8.75% 
8.54% 
8.69% 
8.52% 
9.59% 
13.51% 
Purdue 
9.23% 
9.03% 
8.98% 
9.16% 
8.72% 
8.11% 
Minnesota 
8.98% 
8.98% 
8.87% 
8.75% 
8.19% 
2.70% 
Michigan St. 
9.20% 
8.90% 
9.03% 
8.82% 
9.87% 
9.46% 
Iowa 
8.43% 
8.48% 
8.68% 
8.70% 
10.07% 
8.11% 
Illinois 
8.51% 
7.54% 
7.66% 
7.50% 
8.38% 
6.76% 
Nebraska is, of course, the anomaly here. Illinois and Indiana show their protracted stretches of relative ineptitude even here, as the difference between Wisconsin and Illinois, for example, means a veritable sh*t ton on scoring over 13 years even if the percentage is small. For the most part, things are more even than I would have thought, but again, fractions of a percent here hide off seasons.
Here are the totals / averages by team from 2000 to the present:
TEAM 
Games 
Yards 
Avg. Yards Per Game 
Avg. Points Per Game 
Points 
TDs 
Extra Points 
Field Goals 
Safties 
Win 
Loss 
Win Pct. 
Avg. National Rank 
Nebraska 
27 
11390 
421.9 
32.1 
866 
107 
103 
39 
1 
19 
8 
0.704 
19 
Wisconsin 
169 
66875 
395.7 
30.4 
5146 
655 
613 
189 
7 
115 
54 
0.680 
44 
Ohio St. 
163 
60893 
373.6 
30.0 
4884 
600 
562 
230 
9 
132 
31 
0.810 
44 
Michigan 
161 
63402 
393.8 
29.8 
4790 
613 
564 
172 
5 
106 
55 
0.658 
42 
Purdue 
160 
63897 
399.4 
27.7 
4425 
557 
518 
181 
6 
84 
76 
0.525 
54 
Michigan St. 
161 
63688 
395.6 
27.7 
4452 
549 
499 
205 
7 
88 
73 
0.547 
52 
Minnesota 
160 
62215 
388.8 
27.3 
4373 
554 
495 
170 
2 
74 
86 
0.463 
57 
Penn St. 
161 
60632 
376.6 
26.6 
4283 
527 
482 
199 
10 
101 
60 
0.627 
64 
Northwestern 
160 
65033 
406.5 
26.6 
4255 
543 
488 
159 
6 
84 
76 
0.525 
61 
Iowa 
162 
58366 
360.3 
26.4 
4277 
523 
492 
209 
6 
98 
64 
0.605 
60 
Indiana 
153 
57268 
374.3 
24.5 
3756 
475 
417 
149 
10 
49 
104 
0.320 
72 
Illinois 
155 
58920 
380.1 
24.3 
3774 
465 
424 
174 
5 
61 
94 
0.394 
71 
It may or may not be the variation you would expect. I sorted the table by average points per game and was not entirely shocked by the order of the teams myself. All things considered, maintaining an average ranking of 42, in our case, which would be the upper reaches of the second quartile of teams, is not that bad at all when compared to the grand mean of 56.
So, similar to the other two diaries that I did recently, I asked myself the question – which of these nearly 150 teams in this spreadsheet were very good at scoring, in relative terms? Using a similar method, I decided to create from the excessively large table a small table of teams which were above average in at least four of the following: Total yards, TDs, FGs, PATs, and Points.
You get 63 teams that compare as follows:

ALL TEAMS 
TEAMS ABOVE AVG. IN AT LEAST FOUR METRICS 
AVG. TOTAL YARDS 
4776.4 
5329.8 
AVG. YARDS / GAME 
386.5 
416.1 
AVG. NO. OF TDs 
43 
52 
AVG. NO. OF PATs 
39 
49 
AVG. NO. OF FGs 
14 
15 
AVG. NO. OF POINTS 
340 
407 
Here, from a historic average of 27.5 points per game, you jump to 31.8 points per game for the teams that fit the criteria for this table. I then did the same thing with the remaining teams, and you see the following from the remaining 23 teams:

ALL REMAINING FROM FIRST ELIMINATION 
TEAMS ABOVE AVG. IN AT LEAST FOUR METRICS 
AVG. TOTAL YARDS 
5329.8 
5622.7 
AVG. YARDS / GAME 
416.1 
431.2 
AVG. NO. OF TDs 
52 
59 
AVG. NO. OF PATs 
49 
56 
AVG. NO. OF FGs 
15 
15 
AVG. NO. OF POINTS 
407 
459 
These teams were scoring at an average rate of 35.2 points per game, or slightly more than 1 TD per game more than the Big Ten grand mean in this time period.
Not shockingly, being able to actually get the ball across the plane or through the uprights on a consistent basis makes a considerable difference. The Big Ten’s cumulative winning percentage since 2000 has been 0.564, but when I did the first elimination, that jumped to 0.686, and then on the second one, it leapt to 0.753. Essentially, it is the difference, in scoring terms, between 7 and 9 wins in a season based on historic numbers.
TL;DR CONCLUSION:
Once again, this was an exercise conducted under an admittedly arbitrary set of assumptions, but it is interesting to see the improvements that mere points will bring in numerical terms and give an added dimension – hopefully – to what occurs on the field and how much it means to, well, score.
Comments