For the past five years we’ve tried to bring you sets of numbers and statistics that provide a different glimpse into the world of SEC football. One of the most telling stats we’ve come up with is what we call the “Quick Strike” measure.
The goal in football is to put up as many points as possible. Obviously. The fewer snaps it takes a team to do that, the less chance for errors like penalties and turnovers. Quick Strike provides a simple look at how many points each offensive snap is worth to a given team. Literally, it reveals the number of points scored per offensive play run.
But Quick Strike is not just an offensive measure. Special teams scores and long returns can speed up how quickly a team piles up points. Turnovers can provide short fields for offenses. Defensive touchdowns are even more valuable as a team does not even need to run an offensive play and risk a turnover or penalty in order to put points on the scoreboard.
Turns out, we aren’t the only math geeks out there who like this stat. A bigger math geek than we here at MrSEC.com — and we mean that in a good way — has tested our numbers, applied them to the Big Ten, and found that there’s a clear correlation between a good Quick Strike number and wins in that league as well. You can find the analysis of ElevenWarriors.com here.
Now, the deeper we get into the season, the more telling this statistic will become. Eventually, we’ll begin using only numbers from SEC-versus-SEC games. For now, however, we must use the points scored and plays run against all FBS opponents.
For those who wish to argue a certain point — someone always does — we already know that a) the season is in its early stages, b) some teams have played more FBS opponents than others, and c) some teams have played better FBS opponents than others. There’s no need to make those cases. Take the numbers or leave the numbers, we just believe that at the quarter-pole of the season, it’s a good time to start eyeballing them. No one’s trying to inflate or deflate the work done so far by your favorite team. The numbers speak for themselves.
So without further ado, here are the Quick Strike numbers to date for the SEC’s 14 teams versus FBS competition.
|| Pts/Scored vs FBS
|| Off. Plays vs FBS
|| Pts/Off. Play
| S. Carolina
| Miss. State
| Ole Miss
| Texas A&M
So what does that mean all mean? Well, against FBS opponents Alabama is scoring about 7/10ths of a point for every offensive snap the Tide runs. In comparison, Vanderbilt is only scoring about 2/10ths of a point. As a team, Vanderbilt — offense, defense, special teams — has to work a helluva lot harder than Alabama to score points.
The biggest surprise so far is Ole Miss’ ranking, but again, it’s early. The UTEP game helped the Rebels’ numbers and once we get deeper into SEC play, we’ll dump those kinds of nonconference stats altogether.