Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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Today's Stat: Red Zone Performance

We all hear that the best teams typically put the ball in the endzone when they're inside the twenty -- this should not be a groundbreaking discovery. But what aspect of the 'Red Zone' should be important?:

1. Red Zone Scores: This is just the raw number of times a team scores (or allows a score) in the red zone.

2. Red Zone Attempts: Pretty obvious -- just the number of times a team (or its opponents) make it to the red zone.

3. Red Zone Percentage: Simply measures how many times a team (or opponent) scores divided by red zone appearances. Pretty simple. But it does have a flaw -- for instance, if your opponents only make it to the red zone 15 times all year, shouldn't that be more important than the percentage of successful attempts?

4. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, is whether a team scores a field goal or a touchdown...

So, let's look at last year's leaders in each category (with their corresponding records):

Red Zone Scoring Percentage (offense):

1. Oregon State 96.43% (8-5)
2. Arkansas 95.92% (8-5)
3. Auburn 95.12 (8-5)
3b. LA Tech 95.12 (4-8)
5. Georgia 94.29 (8-5)

Red Zone Attempts (offense):

1. Houston: 84 (10-4)
2. Boise State: 79 (13-0)
3. Bowling Green: 69 (7-6)
4. Florida: 68 (13-1)
5. Central Michigan: 66 (12-2)

Red Zone Scores (offense):

1. Houston: 73 (10-4)
2. Boise State: 67 (13-0)
3. Central Michigan: 60 (12-2)
4a. Oregon State: 54 (8-5)
4b. Texas: 54 (13-1)
4c. BYU: 54 (11-2)

Houston, Boise, and Central Mich. also led the nation in 'red zone touchdowns' (56, 49, 48 respectively). Alabama scored the most 'red zone field goals with 23.

Now, let's look at the defensive red zone leaders (with each team's record):

Red Zone Scoring Percentage (defense):

1. Nebraska 57.14% (10-4)
2. Iowa State 66.0% (7-6)
3. Alabama 66.67% (14-0)
4. Ole Miss 68.18% (9-4)
5. Penn State 68.97% (11-2)

Red Zone Attempts (defense):

1. Alabama 24 (14-0)
1b. TCU 24 (12-1)
3. Ohio St. 27 (11-2)
4. Nebraska 28 (10-4)
5. Penn St. 29 (11-2)

Red Zone Scores (defense):

1. Nebraska 16 (10-4)
1b. Alabama 16 (14-0)
3. TCU 18 (12-1)
4. Penn St. 20 (11-2)
4b. Ohio St. 20 (11-2)

Red Zone TD's (defense):

1. Alabama 8 (14-0)
2. Nebraska 11 (10-4)
3. Penn St. 11 (11-2)

Clearly, by looking at the numbers, a team's red zone performance is important, especially on defense. Obviously however, red zone does not include "big plays" that take place outside the red zone. That being said, it is obviously important to score when you have your opponent on their heels, as well as to "hunker down" when the other team is on the move. There is one more stat I want to show: "Red Zone Scores" minus "Red Zone Scores Allowed:

1. Boise St. +44 (13-0)
2. Alabama +35 (14-0)
3. TCU +33 (12-1)
4. Houston +27 (10-4)
5. Florida +26 (13-1)

And here are Georgia's numbers with their national rank:

RZ Scoring %: 94.29 (5)
RZ Attempts: 35 (109)
RZ Scores: 33 (88)
RZ TDs: 22 (92)

RZ Scoring % Defense: 82.93 (81)
RZ Attempts Defense: 41 (36)
RZ Scores Defense: 34 (45)
RZ TDs Defense: 22 (41)

RZ Scores - RZ Scores Allowed: -1 (75)




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