Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: Arizona State - Locking In On Targets

Arizona State's top three receiving targets in 2010 -- Kerry Taylor, Mike Wilie and T.J. Simpson -- were targeted only a combined 40.5% of the time, third lowest in the country.

Lowest Combined Target Rates For Top Three Receivers, 2010
1. Middle Tennessee (37.2%)
2. Idaho (38.4%)
3. Arizona State (40.5%)
4. UL-Lafayette (41.9%)
5. Colorado State (42.3%)
6. Utah State (44.2%)
7. North Carolina (44.3%)
8. Rice (44.7%)
9. Southern Miss (44.9%)
10. UTEP (45.4%)

At first blush, one can spin this in either a positive or negative direction.

Positive: This shows depth and unpredictability!

Negative: Either because of injuries or ineffectiveness, the quarterback had no idea where to go with the ball.

What do the numbers think about having the exact opposite of a go-to Big Three?  Let's first start by looking at the teams who had the highest Big Three target rates.

Highest Combined Target Rates For Top Three Receivers, 2010
1. SMU (74.6%)
2. Western Michigan (73.7%)
3. Missouri (72.3%)
4. Navy (70.3%)
5. Indiana (69.0%)
6. Washington (68.6%)
7. Washington State (67.3%)
8. Auburn (66.7%)
9. Michigan (66.6%)
10. Cincinnati (66.3%)

The average Passing S&P+ ranking of the ten teams on the "Lowest" list: 81.7.
The average Passing S&P+ ranking of the ten teams on the "Highest" list: 35.6.

Now, the overall correlation between Top Three Target Rate and Passing S&P+ ranking is just 0.206, suggesting a rather mushy middle. But at the extremes, we appear to have something here.  Not every team with what seemed like multiple go-to guys had a good passing attack -- Western Michigan ranked 79th, Washington State 67th, SMU 58th.  Having a set Big Three does leave you open to predictability.  But not having any sort of Big Three does appear to be a hindrance.  Of the teams on the "Lowest" list, only Arizona State (47th) and North Carolina (44th) ranked in the Passing S&P+ Top 50.  And if we stretch it out further, only one of the 25 "lowest" teams ranked in the Passing S&P+ Top 30 -- Texas Tech, who ranked exactly 30th.

Complete list after the jump.

Rk Team Comb. Target Rate,
Top Three Receivers
Passing S&P+ Rk
1 SMU 0.746 58
2 Western Michigan 0.737 79
3 Missouri 0.723 34
4 Navy 0.703 26
5 Indiana 0.690 41
6 Washington 0.686 18
7 Washington State 0.673 67
8 Auburn 0.667 1
9 Michigan 0.666 5
10 Cincinnati 0.663 27
11 Hawaii 0.663 28
12 Florida Atlantic 0.660 71
13 San Diego State 0.660 24
14 Buffalo 0.658 110
15 Nebraska 0.656 63
16 Army 0.654 94
17 LSU 0.635 59
18 Illinois 0.635 73
19 Minnesota 0.632 51
20 Iowa 0.631 23
21 Connecticut 0.631 96
22 California 0.630 106
23 Miami-FL 0.630 38
24 Kentucky 0.628 33
25 Rutgers 0.625 92
26 San Jose State 0.624 88
27 Oregon 0.624 21
28 Central Florida 0.620 50
29 Kent State 0.617 113
30 Ohio State 0.616 16
31 Oklahoma 0.616 7
32 Bowling Green 0.615 114
33 South Carolina 0.615 9
34 West Virginia 0.615 42
35 Boise State 0.611 3
36 Duke 0.606 57
37 Pittsburgh 0.602 25
38 USC 0.600 37
39 Toledo 0.600 60
40 Wake Forest 0.599 103
41 Alabama 0.596 4
42 Houston 0.593 65
43 Western Kentucky 0.592 116
44 Tennessee 0.590 43
45 Nevada 0.587 12
46 Georgia Tech 0.586 104
47 Oklahoma State 0.586 8
48 Texas A&M 0.586 36
49 Miami-OH 0.585 91
50 Colorado 0.582 40
51 Kansas 0.580 120
52 East Carolina 0.579 32
53 Temple 0.578 90
54 Virginia 0.578 80
55 Virginia Tech 0.576 10
56 Florida State 0.570 11
57 Wyoming 0.569 84
58 New Mexico 0.568 119
59 UL-Monroe 0.565 89
60 Ohio 0.564 62
61 Mississippi State 0.563 55
62 New Mexico State 0.562 115
63 Baylor 0.560 13
64 Oregon State 0.555 15
65 Akron 0.553 118
66 Syracuse 0.551 100
67 Northern Illinois 0.549 46
68 Arkansas State 0.548 82
69 South Florida 0.547 81
70 Notre Dame 0.547 35
71 Air Force 0.545 29
72 Northwestern 0.544 77
73 TCU 0.544 17
74 Penn State 0.540 54
75 Georgia 0.536 22
76 Michigan State 0.535 20
77 Central Michigan 0.535 93
78 North Texas 0.532 102
79 Ole Miss 0.532 49
80 Iowa State 0.530 75
81 Maryland 0.529 39
82 Florida International 0.522 64
83 Fresno State 0.522 52
84 Eastern Michigan 0.519 70
85 Kansas State 0.516 48
86 Wisconsin 0.515 14
87 Stanford 0.515 2
88 UNLV 0.514 66
89 Purdue 0.514 109
90 Texas 0.513 107
91 Troy 0.511 53
92 Arizona 0.510 31
93 Utah 0.503 19
94 Arkansas 0.499 6
95 BYU 0.496 86
96 Clemson 0.496 72
97 Boston College 0.492 97
98 Louisville 0.491 56
99 Marshall 0.491 78
100 Tulsa 0.490 69
101 Tulane 0.486 101
102 Memphis 0.486 105
103 Vanderbilt 0.485 117
104 NC State 0.484 45
105 UCLA 0.483 111
106 Texas Tech 0.481 30
107 Ball State 0.472 108
108 Louisiana Tech 0.464 83
109 Florida 0.463 61
110 UAB 0.457 68
111 UTEP 0.454 98
112 Southern Miss 0.449 74
113 Rice 0.447 76
114 North Carolina 0.443 44
115 Utah State 0.442 99
116 Colorado State 0.423 87
117 UL-Lafayette 0.419 95
118 Arizona State 0.405 47
119 Idaho 0.384 85
120 Middle Tennessee 0.372 112
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