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 our Quick Strike measure.
Obviously, the goal in football is to put up as many points as possible. 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 those of us 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 about halfway through the SEC season, we’ll look only at the stats and numbers from SEC versus SEC contests.
Without further ado, our Quick Strike measure:
|School||Pts Scored Vs SEC||Off. Plays||Points/Play|
|Texas A&M (2-1)||105||218||.481|
|S. Carolina (4-1)||142||312||.455|
|Ole Miss (1-2)||82||212||.386|
|Miss. State (3-0)||82||223||.367|
* Not a lot of surprises in this one. The more efficient the team and the more easily they put points on the board… they more likely they are to win games. The top six teams in this measure are a combined 17-6 in SEC play so far.
* On the other end of the spectrum, the bottom four teams in the league — three of which are scoring less than .2 points per play — are a combined 1-15 in league games.
* The lone standout in terms of the really good point-producers is Tennessee. The Volunteers are fifth-best in the SEC in terms of points per play, but their defense is so remarkably bad that it makes no difference. UT is still 0-3 in the league.
* The polar opposite of Tennessee is LSU. The Tigers have scored just 41 points in three conference games combined. They are closer to dead-last Kentucky than they are to ninth-place Arkansas. So how are they 2-1? Unlike the Vols, the Tigers’ defense has been outstanding. Even in LSU’s lone loss at Florida the Tigers held the Gators to 14 measly points and got no help from their offense, the injury bug or — ahem — the humidity. If your worst performance when worn down is allowing two whole touchdowns, you’re pretty darn good.
* Imagine if LSU had Tennessee’s ability to score points. Or if Tennessee had LSU’s stout and sturdy D.
* Mississippi State falls somewhere between UT and LSU. The Bulldogs are certainly not flashy on offense, yet their defense is not spectacular. So how does a team that scores just .367 points per game make it to 3-0 in the SEC? Turnovers. The Bulldogs don’t give the ball away and they take it away from their foes as well as anyone. At plus-13 in turnover margin, State it ties with Alabama for the best mark in the league in that category.