The Toolbox: Adj. Pace

Since we're constantly referring to Adj. Pace in the daily Summer Vacation pieces, I figured it would probably make sense to dive into both the definition and overall rankings.

I wanted to keep things simple when coming up with a pace figure, but i wanted it to go beyond simply "How many plays did the team run?"  So here's what I did:

We start with the basic plays-per-game measure, but since teams that pass more are naturally going to end up running more plays (more clock stoppages), it was best to factor in each team's run-pass ratio. A simple regression formula was used to determine how many plays a team would be expected to run given their run-pass splits. The teams were then ranked according to the difference between their actual plays and their expected plays.

Of course, there are, as always, mitigating circumstances. If your defense is good and forces quite a few three-and-outs, then that could have an impact on the number of plays you run. (At the same time, if you are allowing a lot of quick touchdown drives, one could say the same thing.) Your field-position advantage, or lack thereof, could also play a role. But the goal was not to complicate matters much, not yet anyway.

Basically, pass-heavy teams like Oklahoma and Tulsa are going to be naturally inclined to run more plays than, say, the Oregons, Air Forces and Georgia Techs of the world, but that doesn't say much about their pace -- it just says they pass a lot.  Factoring in a level of expectations based on run-pass ratio, you get rid of some of that influence.

The full rankings are after the jump, but I wanted to do a little bit of categorization here.  Of the 120 FBS teams, 78 were within one standard deviation of average expectations for plays per game.  That leaves just 42 that were out of the ordinary in some way, and it means that, say, the teams ranking 30th and 70th really weren't that far apart ... while the teams ranked 10th and 30th were to some degree.

Here are the teams who were at least one standard deviation removed from the average pace. First the slower ones; 23 teams played at a pace demonstrably slower than most.  There are, as would be expected, good and bad offenses in this group. This is a stat based on personality and philosophy, not quality.

Minus-1 Std. Dev.: Akron, Boston College, California, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Hawaii, Iowa, Kent State, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, Ohio, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, San Jose State, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming.

Hawaii is a bit of a surprise, but few others are, really.

Now, the faster teams.  Fifteen teams were faster than average, but not ridiculously so:

Plus-1 Std. Dev.: Air Force, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, N.C. State, Nevada, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, Tulane, Tulsa.

Again, few surprises here, though you see Air Force and Georgia Tech showing up on the "fast-paced" list; if we used simple plays per game, we wouldn't see them ranking too high.

Plus-2 Std. Dev.: Oregon, Southern Miss, Texas Tech.

Tommy Tuberville swore he would not change too much about Texas Tech's Airraid offense, and while the play-calling (and quality) changed, the pace did not.  They still played at a very fast level of execution, as did the new Pace kings, Oregon.  But Oregon was really only the pace runner up.  The crown did not leave Norman.

Plus-3 Std. Dev.: Oklahoma.

The Sooners were still the standard bearers when it came to pace.  They were, as always, magnificent at cruising along in fourth gear, then shifting into fifth when they moved the chains.

Full rankings after the jump.

Offense Plays/Gm Rk Rushes/
Game
Passes/
Game
Expected
Plays
Diff Rk
Oklahoma 86.5 1 39.7 46.8 69.8 +16.7 1
Oregon 78.8 5 47.8 31.0 67.9 +10.9 2
Texas Tech 80.9 2 31.8 49.1 70.7 +10.3 3
Southern Miss 79.2 4 41.7 37.5 69.0 +10.2 4
Texas A&M 79.5 3 37.1 42.4 69.8 +9.6 5
Tulsa 77.4 6 39.2 38.2 69.6 +7.8 6
Air Force 70.5 40 57.2 13.3 62.9 +7.5 7
Troy 76.7 8 34.6 42.1 69.6 +7.1 8
Georgia Tech 70.7 37 56.7 14.0 63.9 +6.8 9
N.C. State 77.2 7 32.5 44.7 70.4 +6.8 10
Nevada 74.4 13 47.0 27.4 67.8 +6.6 11
East Carolina 76.1 9 26.5 49.6 70.1 +6.0 12
Tulane 74.7 11 33.8 40.8 68.7 +6.0 13
Houston 74.5 12 33.2 41.3 68.7 +5.8 14
Michigan 72.3 22 41.8 30.5 67.0 +5.3 15
Louisiana Tech 74.1 14 37.3 36.8 68.8 +5.3 16
Oklahoma State 75.5 10 33.8 41.7 70.3 +5.2 17
TCU 71.5 31 45.3 26.2 66.6 +4.8 18
Texas 73.1 17 34.6 38.5 68.3 +4.8 19
BYU 72.8 19 38.3 34.5 68.2 +4.7 20
Offense Plays/Gm Rk Rushes/
Game
Passes/
Game
Expected
Plays
Diff Rk
Miami 72.0 25 36.8 35.2 67.5 +4.5 21
UL-Monroe 72.8 20 36.8 36.1 68.5 +4.3 22
UAB 73.4 16 33.8 39.6 69.4 +4.0 23
Duke 72.6 21 29.8 42.8 68.7 +3.9 24
Arizona 73.8 15 31.0 42.8 69.9 +3.9 25
Northwestern 72.2 23 39.6 32.5 68.3 +3.8 26
Virginia 71.7 26 33.0 38.7 68.2 +3.4 27
Utah State 70.9 35 41.9 29.0 67.5 +3.4 28
Arkansas State 71.3 32 33.1 38.2 68.0 +3.2 29
Arizona State 73.0 18 31.8 41.2 69.9 +3.1 30
Army 66.6 68 55.4 11.2 63.6 +3.0 31
Baylor 72.1 24 34.5 37.6 69.1 +3.0 32
Rice 71.2 33 38.9 32.3 68.3 +2.9 33
Middle Tennessee 69.9 43 38.7 31.2 67.2 +2.8 34
Buffalo 70.5 38 34.4 36.1 67.8 +2.7 35
Illinois 69.5 50 45.7 23.8 66.8 +2.7 36
Mississippi State 69.7 47 45.9 23.8 67.1 +2.6 37
Western Michigan 71.6 28 29.5 42.1 69.6 +2.0 38
Stanford 70.3 42 40.7 29.6 68.4 +1.9 39
USC 71.5 29 35.4 36.2 69.6 +1.9 40
Offense Plays/Gm Rk Rushes/
Game
Passes/
Game
Expected
Plays
Diff Rk
Kentucky 69.9 43 33.2 36.7 68.0 +1.9 41
Central Michigan 71.5 30 29.1 42.4 69.7 +1.8 42
Florida International 69.7 47 38.6 31.1 67.9 +1.8 43
UL-Lafayette 70.8 36 31.3 39.6 69.2 +1.6 44
Colorado 70.5 38 35.8 34.8 68.9 +1.6 45
Indiana 71.7 26 27.9 43.8 70.1 +1.5 46
Minnesota 68.6 55 35.7 32.9 67.3 +1.3 47
Boise State 69.8 46 36.6 33.2 68.5 +1.3 48
West Virginia 69.8 45 38.4 31.5 68.7 +1.2 49
Iowa State 68.9 51 35.3 33.7 67.7 +1.2 50
Kansas 68.6 55 36.1 32.5 67.4 +1.1 51
Ole Miss 68.8 53 40.2 28.6 67.6 +1.1 52
Ohio State 68.8 52 40.4 28.4 67.7 +1.0 53
Missouri 70.5 40 31.1 39.4 69.9 +0.6 54
New Mexico State 68.8 53 35.8 32.9 68.2 +0.6 55
Navy 65.2 83 52.5 12.7 64.7 +0.5 56
Cincinnati 69.7 49 30.8 38.9 69.3 +0.4 57
New Mexico 67.1 62 34.5 32.6 66.8 +0.3 58
Florida 67.9 60 36.8 31.1 67.7 +0.3 59
Idaho 70.9 34 25.4 45.5 70.7 +0.2 60
Offense Plays/Gm Rk Rushes/
Game
Passes/
Game
Expected
Plays
Diff Rk
Eastern Michigan 66.1 75 40.8 25.3 66.0 +0.1 61
Auburn 67.6 61 44.9 22.7 67.6 +0.1 62
North Texas 66.9 64 38.4 28.5 66.9 +0.0 63
Wisconsin 66.2 73 43.8 22.3 66.4 -0.3 64
UCLA 66.8 66 38.1 28.8 67.4 -0.5 65
Arkansas 68.2 59 30.2 37.9 68.7 -0.6 66
Western Kentucky 66.1 75 39.3 26.8 66.9 -0.8 67
Nebraska 65.1 84 43.0 22.1 65.9 -0.9 68
Penn State 66.9 63 33.6 33.3 68.0 -1.1 69
Notre Dame 68.5 57 30.2 38.3 69.8 -1.3 70
Bowling Green 68.3 58 27.2 41.1 69.6 -1.4 71
Washington 65.8 79 35.2 30.6 67.4 -1.7 72
Kansas State 65.0 87 40.2 24.8 66.8 -1.8 73
Clemson 66.5 69 33.6 32.9 68.4 -1.9 74
Washington State 66.7 67 30.5 36.2 68.8 -2.1 75
Purdue 66.2 72 35.4 30.8 68.3 -2.1 76
San Diego State 66.3 71 33.1 33.2 68.5 -2.2 77
Connecticut 65.8 79 37.4 28.4 68.1 -2.3 78
LSU 64.3 92 39.5 24.8 66.7 -2.4 79
Fresno State 65.8 78 35.2 30.6 68.3 -2.5 80
Offense Plays/Gm Rk Rushes/
Game
Passes/
Game
Expected
Plays
Diff Rk
Northern Illinois 65.0 87 40.6 24.4 67.5 -2.5 81
Toledo 66.2 73 36.4 29.8 68.7 -2.5 82
Virginia Tech 65.1 84 38.3 26.8 67.8 -2.8 83
Vanderbilt 65.0 87 32.1 32.9 67.8 -2.8 84
Colorado State 65.4 82 29.0 36.4 68.4 -3.0 85
North Carolina 66.5 70 31.0 35.5 69.6 -3.2 86
Miami (Ohio)
66.9 65 28.7 38.1 70.2 -3.3 87
Louisville 64.2 93 35.0 29.2 67.8 -3.5 88
Central Florida 63.9 95 41.6 22.3 67.4 -3.6 89
South Carolina 65.1 84 35.1 29.9 68.8 -3.7 90
Wake Forest 63.4 101 36.1 27.3 67.5 -4.1 91
Rutgers 64.0 94 32.0 32.0 68.2 -4.2 92
SMU 65.4 81 26.4 39.0 69.6 -4.2 93
Ball State 62.8 107 35.8 27.0 67.1 -4.4 94
UTEP 64.6 90 30.3 34.3 69.0 -4.4 95
Georgia 62.6 108 33.1 29.5 67.2 -4.6 96
Alabama 63.6 98 33.3 30.3 68.4 -4.7 97
Pittsburgh 63.6 98 34.4 29.2 68.4 -4.8 98
California 63.4 101 33.8 29.6 68.3 -4.8 99
Florida State 63.9 95 33.9 30.0 68.7 -4.9 100
Offense Plays/Gm Rk Rushes/
Game
Passes/
Game
Expected
Plays
Diff Rk
UNLV 61.9 112 32.2 29.7 66.9 -5.0 101
Utah 63.5 100 32.1 31.5 68.6 -5.1 102
Kent State 64.4 91 30.1 34.3 69.6 -5.2 103
Oregon State 63.3 104 29.3 34.0 68.5 -5.3 104
Hawaii 66.0 77 19.2 46.8 71.4 -5.4 105
Florida Atlantic 61.8 114 30.5 31.3 67.4 -5.6 106
Syracuse 62.5 110 32.0 30.5 68.1 -5.6 107
South Florida 62.2 111 35.3 26.8 67.9 -5.7 108
Michigan State 62.8 106 32.2 30.5 68.7 -5.9 109
Maryland 63.2 105 31.6 31.6 69.3 -6.1 110
Marshall 63.8 97 27.7 36.2 70.0 -6.2 111
Tennessee 63.4 103 28.0 35.4 69.7 -6.3 112
Akron 61.8 113 30.0 31.8 68.4 -6.6 113
Temple 60.6 117 33.8 26.8 67.6 -7.0 114
Boston College 62.5 109 33.3 29.2 69.5 -7.0 115
Iowa 61.6 115 32.8 28.8 69.3 -7.7 116
Ohio 58.9 119 36.5 22.5 67.3 -8.3 117
Memphis 59.8 118 28.8 31.0 68.4 -8.6 118
San Jose State 60.6 116 24.6 36.0 69.6 -8.9 119
Wyoming 57.4 120 30.9 26.5 66.7 -9.3 120
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