Is there a more overrated stat than time of possession? Holding onto the ball is supposed to grind down the other team while allowing the defense to rest, but it clearly doesn’t always work out that way.
Exhibit A: The 2013 Florida Gators controlled the clock for 33:49 of each game yet they finished the season 4-8, proving that simply holding onto the ball doesn’t necessarily translate into points (18.8 per game) or wear out the other team. The Gators managed only 4.79 yards per play, worst in the SEC by a wide margin. Florida was the only team in the league that didn’t average at least five yards per play.
The Gators were among the bottom feeders in the league in snaps per game. Florida managed 793. Only Arkansas (775) and Kentucky (774) were worse but even the lowly Hogs and Wildcats – the only two teams in the league to go winless in the SEC – managed 5.53 and 5.29 yards per play respectively.
Florida did dominate time of possession (32:56) in 2012 when the Gators averaged 26.5 points per game and 5.25 yards per play, which was next to last in the league (Missouri was 4.93 per play). The Gators did get off 827 plays, best they’ve done in the Will Muschamp era, but that was 12th in the league.
The best year for yards per play in the last three years was 2011 when Charlie Weis got 5.42 yards per play from 797 snaps. The Gators averaged 28:18 in time of possession but they did score 25.5 points per game.
Contrast those numbers to the ones Kurt Roper put up at Duke the last two years running an up-tempo, no-huddle attack.
Last season Duke ran off 1,016 plays with an average time of possession of 29:03 per game. The Blue Devils averaged 5.87 per snap while going 10-4. Duke went lost to eventual national champion Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game while averaging 32.8 points per game. Opponents averaged 26.6 points and 5.67 yards per play.
In 2012, Duke got off 990 plays during a 6-7 season that took the Blue Devils to the Belk Bowl, their first bowl game since 1994 when former Gator Fred Goldsmith led them to the Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham. Duke averaged 31:07 in time of possession and 5.37 yards per play. The Blue Devils averaged 31.5 points per game. Offense wasn’t the problem. The defense gave up 36.0 points and 6.68 yards per play.
Duke did have a poor 2011 when the Blue Devils limped home at 3-9. The offense still got off 858 plays, more than any Florida offense the last three years, while holding the ball an average of 30:56 per game. Duke averaged 5.12 yards per play and 22.5 points per game, but the defense stunk. Duke gave up 31.2 points per game and 6.55 yards per play in a 3-9 season.
From Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Penn State linebacker Mike Hull discussed the evolution of Nittany Lion football from Joe Paterno to Mike O’Brien to James Franklin: “Yeah, I’ve seen the whole evolution. Joe didn’t know what Facebook was, O’Brien called Facebook ‘Spacebook’ and now, Coach Franklin probably has every social media there is. It’s crazy.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on staying consistent with a two-back offense while it seems everybody else on the planet is going to the spread: “Sometimes old school is a good school.”
This should tell you about how hot Brady Hoke’s seat is at Michigan. Hoke said Monday, “Some of the proudest moments I’ve had have not been on the field.”
Hoke on freshman Jabril Peppers, who comes to Michigan with the hype and ego to apply for statehood: “Let’s anoint him when he does something, right? I mean, let’s see what he can do.”
Former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, entering his second year as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, is no fan of the NFL Draft, calling the pre-draft hype “insane” because fans automatically expect the first round pick to be the franchise “savior.” While discussing the learning curve that takes place from college to the pros, Kelly told TheMMBQ.com, “If you take a job at Wells Fargo when you get out of college, your first day on the job they don’t say, ‘Hey, he’s our first round draft pick, he’s the savior of the company.” Kelly does have a point. Why is it that the NFL and all the professional sports are willing to invest millions into kids who have never played the game at the next level while neglecting proven talent?
It’s official. Charles Barkley and Tiger are divorced as friends. “We’re not friends anymore,” Barkley told CBSSports.com. Barkley says it has everything to do with Tiger’s obsession – a “one track mind” Barkley calls it – with trying to break Jack Nicklaus’ record for winning 18 majors.
Barkley said, “Golf is just a game. Your life don’t suck ... but I think when you put yourself in a situation where your whole life revolves around how you’re doing on a golf course you’re gonna develop a negative attitude to a certain degree instead of saying, ‘I’ve got it pretty good.’ It’s like people who say I never won a championship. I understand that. I accept that but it ain’t like I’m sitting around saying, ‘Oh my God, my life sucks. This is so miserable.”
LSU freshman offensive lineman Trey Lealaimatafao is the hands down winner of the dumb and dumber award. Last week he was hospitalized last week with serious cuts on his wrist after punching through a window. It’s called glass. When you break it you can get cut. Monday he was cited for theft after police recognized him on surveillance video around the LSU library heisting a bicycle out of the racks. He told nola.com and investigators that “he thought it was permissible if the bike was not secured.” This guy makes Jameis Winston seem like a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship.
NCAA president Mark Emmert says recent criticism of the enforcement division are “inaccurate.” Inaccurate? Is that what you call losing that slam dunk, impossible to lose case against the University of Miami? They made a movie about the NCAA back in the 1960s. Did you see “Send in the Clowns”? ... An autographed Johnny Manziel jersey from his Heisman Trophy season of 2012 is expected to fetch $100,000, the highest amount of money ever paid for a college football jersey ... Oklahoma freshman Joe Mixon has yet to be charged with a crime but a 20-year-old OU co-ed says Mixon punched her in the face over the weekend ... A Los Angeles judge ruled Monday that Donald Sterling’s ex-wife has the right to sell the team for $2 billion. Sterling bought the team originally for $12.5 million.
1. Prescription drug commercials. If the drug is supposed to help you so much, then why do they spend 30 seconds of a one-minute commercial warning you that if you take it you could die of a stroke or your body could be eaten up by a rare and aggressive form of cancer?
2. Flo. I can’t bear to watch a Progressive Insurance commercial. I guess she’s supposed to be witty. Either it went right over my head or else those commercials are about as dumb as any 10 boxes of rocks.
3. The Gecko. His sell-by date expired about 10 years ago.
4. Cialis or Viagra. We know that if you take Cialis or Viagra you can get the power plant running, get your horses to pull the truck and trailer through the mud, start a fire on the beach and that you might kill your wife if the blood flow lasts four or more hours.
1. The newest AFLAC with the duck firing away with the nail gun.
2. The latest Dos Equis where we are told The Most Interesting Man in the World once gave a pep talk so inspiring that both teams won.
Should first round draft picks command large bonuses and starting salaries when they haven’t proven anything at the next level?
Next up on Altered States of Consciousness Week is Jefferson Airplane. I saw Jefferson Airplane play for free in Golden Gate Park, two years past the historic “summer of love.” I still can’t imagine that they did anything in Golden Gate Park to more of an excess in 1967 than what I saw in 1969. I can’t go into all the details. Just a couple weeks before I was singing in a church choir and there I was watching people do things you aren’t supposed to do in public as folks wandered around selling hits of acid for a quarter. The song I remember best from Jefferson Airplane that day was “White Rabbit” which seemed quite appropriate considering the activity going on at the park.