Study Hall: West Virginia 70, Clemson 33

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: (L-R) Matt Lindamood #38 Willie Milhouse #85 and Paul Millard #14 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrate against the Clemson Tigers a during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

With a complete set of 2011 data in my possession, it hit me that it might be interesting to go back and look at some of the games (bowls and otherwise) that didn't receive the Study Hall treatment. We start with a ridiculous offensive performance that led to, among other things, Brent Venables ending up in Clemson. I'm taking suggestions on what other games to revisit...

West Virginia 70, Clemson 33

Clemson WVU Clemson WVU
Close % 57.1% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 47.3% 44.9% Success Rate 44.9% 60.0%
Leverage % 66.2% 73.0% PPP 0.34 0.56
S&P 0.786 1.156
TOTAL
EqPts 24.2 45.3 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 45.5% 63.3% Success Rate 36.0% 41.7%
Close PPP 0.35 0.59 PPP 0.31 0.38
Close S&P 0.809 1.218 S&P 0.668 0.798
RUSHING TURNOVERS
EqPts 11.9 13.8 Number 4 1
Close Success Rate 43.8% 68.2% Turnover Pts 27.0 4.2
Close PPP 0.46 0.41 Turnover Pts Margin -22.8 +22,8
Close S&P 0.894 1.097
Line Yards/carry 2.99 3.15 Q1 S&P 0.896 1.089
Q2 S&P 0.713 1.341
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.488 0.945
EqPts 12.4 31.5 Q4 S&P 0.844 0.778
Close Success Rate 46.4% 59.3%
Close PPP 0.30 0.72 1st Down S&P 0.927 0.916
Close S&P 0.761 1.316 2nd Down S&P 0.569 1.208
SD/PD Sack Rate 3.6% / 9.1% 0.0% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 0.414 1.150
Projected Pt. Margin: West Virginia +43.9 | Actual Pt. Margin: West Virginia +37

Five Thoughts

  1. We will now officially overreact to West Virginia's offensive potential over the offseason, though that wouldn't necessarily be smart. Bowl performances have very low correlations with the next year's success; what does have a decent correlation is late-season performance -- November and onward, to generalize. WVU was only decent to above average in November.

    (Still ... this was just ridiculous to watch.)

  2. Clemson committed 22.1 equivalent points' worth of turnovers in the second quarter alone. An interesting game turned into a disaster awfully quickly.

  3. WVU turned the game on second down. The teams were basically equal on first down, but WVU either turned second downs into first downs or manageable third downs while Clemson was infinitely more likely to fall into third-and-long situations.

  4. WVU's rushing numbers here surprised me. Shawne Alston and Andrew Buie combined to average just 3.7 yards over 33 carries, but a) they were fantastic while the game was "close," and they were incredibly efficient even when they weren't gaining huge yardage.

  5. More at The Numerical.

Quick glossary (complete with national averages) after the jump.

A Quick Glossary

F/+ Rankings: The official rankings for the college portion of Football Outsiders. They combine my own S&P+ rankings (based on play-by-play data) with Brian Fremeau's drives-based FEI rankings.

Field Position %: The percentage of a team's plays run in their opponent's field position. National average: 43%.

Leverage Rate: A team's ratio of standard downs to passing downs. National average: 68%. Anything over 68% means a team did a good job of avoiding being leveraged into passing downs.

Passing Downs: Second-and-7 or more, third-and-5 or more.

PPP: An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game. National average: 0.32.

S&P: Think of this as an OPS (the "On-Base Plus Slugging" baseball measure) for football. The 'S' stands for success rate. The 'P' stands for PPP, an explosiveness measure that stands for EqPts Per Play. S&P is measured for all non-garbage time plays in a given college football game. Plays are counted within the following criteria: when the score is within 28 points in the first quarter, within 24 points in the second quarter, within 21 points in the third quarter, and within 16 points (i.e. two possession) in the fourth quarter. For more about this measure, visit the main S&P+ page at Football Outsiders. National average: 0.747. Standard downs S&P average: 0.787. Passing downs S&P average: 0.636.

Standard Downs: First downs, second-and-6 or less, third-and-4 or less.

Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down. National Average: 42%.

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