Sieves On Passing Downs (Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: South Florida)

South Florida's defense was one of the 20 best in the country when it comes to preventing big plays on standard downs, and one of the 20 worst when it comes to preventing big plays on passing downs. If you can figure out how that happens, let me know, because I'm somewhat at a loss.

Below is a list of the 25 teams with the biggest differences in defensive performance on standard and passing downs. Evidently this phenomenon can mean one of two things. If you are a young team (and therefore return quite a few starters the next year), then this could be a sign that you have some misplaced, youthful aggression issues that are likely to improve the next year. The average improvement for all teams with a) at least a 20-spot difference between Standard Downs S&P+ and Passing Downs S&P+ and b) at least six starters returning the next year is higher than the average improvement of teams based solely on returning starters. Meanwhile, the regression for teams returning five or fewer starters is stronger too. So basically, this Standard Downs > Passing Downs phenomenon is a multiplier of sorts. It probably means good things for a USF team that returns six starters, but we'll see.

I've had close, personal experience with a couple of the teams on this list. The 2009 Missouri defense was absolutely loaded with freshmen and sophomores, which made their passing downs breakdowns both predictable and explainable. With a good pass rush and an experienced secondary in 2010, Mizzou flipped things around quite well. USF wasn't quite as young as 2009 Mizzou, but quite a few redshirt freshmen did seem to make an impact.

School Std
Downs
PPP+ Rk
Pass
Downs
PPP+ Rk
DIFF Std
Downs
S&P+ Rk
Pass
Downs
S&P+ Rk
DIFF Next Yr
Def. F/+ Chg
Next Yr
Ret St
2010 South Florida 18 107 -89 20 105 -85 6
2007 Virginia 20 90 -70 18 93 -75 -2.5% 5
2009 Minnesota 32 76 -44 27 93 -66 -11.1 2
2008 Michigan 39 91 -52 17 80 -63 -5.9 5
2010 Kansas State 69 119 -50 59 120 -61 6
2007 Air Force 53 109 -56 49 110 -61 +8.1 5
2008 New Mexico 8 76 -68 12 70 -58 -15.1 3
2009 Arizona 28 102 -74 30 85 -55 +0.2 4
2008 Illinois 22 75 -53 23 77 -54 -10.2 5
2007 Boston College 23 70 -47 24 78 -54 +5.6 4
2007 Wake Forest 22 83 -61 21 74 -53 +5.8 9
2006 Colorado 34 84 -50 34 87 -53 +2.9 6
2010 Fresno State 62 94 -32 40 92 -52 5
2010 Oklahoma State 16 68 -52 18 70 -52 5
2006 Michigan State 62 99 -37 47 97 -50 +3.2 6
2009 Nevada 67 106 -39 54 104 -50 +7.0 6
2006 Missouri 19 90 -71 32 82 -50 -0.2 5
2009 Missouri 30 86 -56 42 91 -49 +12.6 8
2008 Arizona State 12 42 -30 11 60 -49 +3.3 6
2008 Southern Miss 37 101 -64 52 100 -48 -4.1 9
2010 Minnesota 84 117 -33 67 115 -48 9
2007 Nebraska 58 96 -38 54 102 -48 +7.5 6
2006 Toledo 57 109 -52 58 105 -47 -9.3 8
2009 Army 65 117 -52 68 115 -47 -6.3 8
2009 San Diego State 76 111 -35 65 111 -46 +5.0 7

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