Pac-10 stats – how the Cougs stack up

Interesting stats so far from the quarter-turn of the ’05 season. Granted, WE HAVEN’T PLAYED ANYONE YET, blah blah blah, but still, some interesting trends, both individually and as a team.

Team ratings:
OFFENSE:
Cougs are currently 4th in the conference in scoring offense, 47 ppg. USC is an amazing 66.5 PPG, followed by UCLA at 49.3, and ASU at 48.7. Oh yeah, the worst scoring offense? UW at 22.7 PPG.

Cougs are 5th in the conference in passing offense at 276 ypg, but that can be misleading when you consider 2 of our 3 games were completely out of hand in the 3rd quarter, leading to a lot of running the ball. ASU is averaging – AVERAGING – 401 YPG! Look out Beavs.

Cougs are 4th in rushing offense at 219 ypg. Cal is #1 at 264, USC #2 at 234 YPG (in two games, however, Cal has done that in 3 games). Lawson was right on OSU and not being able to run the ball – so far the Beavs are dead-last in rushing offense at (get this) JUST 67.3 YPG! That’s 35 yards LESS than the 9th place team, Arizona! That’s just plain brutal.

Total offense? ASU is #1 by a hair over USC at 630 YPG (wow, think about that number, imagine averaging 630 yards per game after 3 games??). USC is at 627 ypg, but that’s again in two games. But, the Cougs? 3rd in the conference in total offense at 495 YPG. Not too bad. Oregon is right behind the Cougs at 490 YPG. Oh yeah, the worst offense in the Conference? Try Stanford at 304 YPG in two games, however one vs. a I-AA team! Brutal.

DEFENSE:

Cougs stack up EXTREMELY well defensively, at or near the top in many categories (but not in one key category, we’ll touch on that in a moment):

Rushing D: Cougs lead the conference, giving up just 74 YPG, only 2 yards per attempt. That can be misleading obviously, as sacks are big in regards to subtracting from rushing yards. Plus all 3 games had the Cougs with large leads, so the opponents were playing some catch-up (38-19 early in the 4th vs. Idaho, 48-7 vs. Nevada in the 3rd, 41-7 vs. Grambling in the 4th). Oregon and Cal are tied for 2nd place with 81 YPG on the ground.

Passing D: Cougs are 3rd in the conference in pass efficiency defense, with a rating of 112.8 (the formula is complicated, but it takes completion %, TD’s and int’s among other things to get that number). #1 in the conference is Cal at 104.6, followed by Arizona at 106.1.

Total D: Cougs are #1 in the Pac-10 in total D, averaging a total of 285.3 YPG. Cal is the only other Pac-10 team holding a team under 300 YPG (298.3). Everyone else is over 300 YPG. However this number can be VERRRRY misleading. For example, USC is just 7th in the conference in total D, giving up 381 YPG. Why? Well, it might have something to do with being up 42 points in the 3rd quarter! They more or less call off the defensive dogs and the 3rd stringers are playing half the game, so it’s easy to expect they will give up yards. I’d rather see the ratings show something like “first string total D” so you get an idea of how the starters are doing, but that will never happen.

A couple more very encouraging (and a bit surprising) stats:
Cougs lead the Pac-10 in sacks, at 16! Second is UCLA and UW, both tied with 10, in 3 games. As much as I’ve read people questioning the pass-rush, how can they when you see that?
Cougs also lead the the conference in opponent 3rd-down conversion %, at just 26%. You have to like both of those numbers, in that they are getting to the QB in sacks and, probably, some of that pressure is leading to incompletions on 3rd down! Very good thing to think about heading into the PASS-10.

The discouraging team stat? Turnover margin. The Cougs are 9th on the season at -2. That’s not good, and really, not characteristic of Akey’s defense. Think about 2003 and the havoc the D caused with all those fumbles and INT’s. Will that pick up now that conference play is about to start? It makes you wonder if we couldn’t get many TO’s vs. inferior talent, what will happen when it’s conference play?

I guess you could argue that either way. One way to look at it is maybe Akey and company are just keeping things extremely vanilla defensively right now, knowing they can just “out-talent” the teams on their schedule. I mean why show your hand right now? I saw maybe two blitzes at all vs. Grambling, but hey, we know Akey and Doba, and we KNOW the kind of fury they can unleash! I guess I’m not TOO worried about this trend – yet – but it does kind of raise your eyebrows that we have only seen TWO interceptions in THREE games?

By the way, UCLA is #1 at +7 on the year. In fact, right now, they have ZERO turnovers of their own, and 7 takeaways. Pretty impressive.

PLAYERS:

Harrison still leads the conference in rushing yards with 399 and 5 TD’s. Reggie Bush is 3rd, but on only 20 carries he’s got 211 yards or 10.6 YPC! Wow. Brink is just 7th in passing yards per game at 231, but again, we weren’t putting it up with him when it was 48-7! Better things are coming, for sure. Hill is 3rd in receptions per game, 2nd in total receiving yards and first in receiving TD’s with 6.

Defensively, Adam Braidwood is tied with Manase Hopoi for first in sacks, with 3.5. Mkristo is 5th with 2 sacks. Combined, Braidwood and Bruce are #1 in the conference as a duo with 5.5. Braidwood has also done well overall, with 2 forced fumbles, #1 in the conference.

In tackles, Derting is leading the team with 6.3 tackles per game, but that’s just good for 22nd in the conference. Thing is, Derting hasn’t played a whole lot, as the coaches have wisely pulled him in all 3 games when the outcome wasn’t in doubt. He played I think 2 series vs. Grambling, and that was it. Things will change there come 10/1!

Eric Frampton is tied for 3rd with total passes defended, with 2 breakups and a pick.