Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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(Note: A Momentary Stat of Reason will run each week and features a new or updated stat that we think is somewhat underrated.)

This week's topic: Punt Team and Special Teams as a Whole

In case you missed last weeks post, find it here. This was the first part of our special teams overview. We'll wrap up that topic today by discussing what punt team brings to the equation and also put the whole picture together.

First, let's take a look at punt return average (team/yards per/returns per game)
  1. LSU/18.85/2.1
  2. Florida State/16.96/1.8
  3. Oklahoma/16.26/3.3
  4. Arizona/15.31/1.2
  5. Alabama/15.05/2.8

Next we'll look at what I'll call punting margin, which is essentially the same as kick margin. Punting margin is punt return average - punt coverage average. This will give us a picture of how good the punt coverage is.

  1. LSU/14.85
  2. Oklahoma/14.5
  3. USC/11.55
  4. UCF/9.67
  5. Central Michigan/9

In contrast to what we found on kickoff teams, the data seems to conclude that punt team is not a very important factor in determining the success/failure of a team. The top-5 in this list went a combined 46-20, with the Chippewah's being the headliner of the group at 12-2. No other team had fewer than 4 losses.

My next question would be, what teams had the most success with their punt team relative to their record. This would show how good their punt team is and would disregard the rest of the equation. We'll call this PTRR.

The formula for this would be: (average yards gained per PR - average yards allowed per punt)/wins over the national average.

  1. Florida State/ 29.06
  2. Wyoming/ 25.10
  3. Southern Mississippi/ 24.91
  4. Kentucky/ 19.07
  5. Marshall/ 12.97

When we add these numbers from punt team to kick team we get the following results which we'll call STRR:

  1. Southern Mississippi/ 42.81
  2. Florida State/ 27.08
  3. Wyoming/24.19
  4. Kentucky/ 24.13
  5. Iowa State/23.38

When looking at the complete results and comparing them to the rest of the data, this appears to be the best way to measure how important special teams are to the success or failure of a team.

Just to let you know where some prominent teams finished in the metric:

7. Oklahoma, 8. LSU, 24. TCU, 35. USC, 66. Ohio State, 73. Alabama, 104. Florida, 114. Auburn, 120. South Carolina

UGA ranked just ahead of Florida at 103 in STRR.

Here is a run-down of where the Dawgs fell in line in the other stats:

Punt Return Average: 35. 11.09/1.8

Punting Margin: 58. .57

PTRR: 70. .43

From our findings last week as well as this week, this just goes to show you that no matter how much Lee Corso talks about how important Special Teams are to your team they really don't mean as much as you think.

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