Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Thoughts on Run-Pass Balance, Part II

So, a couple days ago I wrote about run-pass balance, starting with the extreme ends---teams with playcalling mixes of 60% run or 60% pass.  Now, let's look at what happens when teams have more "balanced" playcalling patterns.

First, let's look at teams that "lean" to the run--meaning they run the ball between 50-60% of the time.  There were 46 teams in this category, and 21 of them scored above league average.  Clearly, if the most productive position to be in is to run the ball effectively 60% of the time or more, then this is second best.  Even so, being in this group is no guarantee of success.  In fact, in the aggregate, it scores just slight above the national average.

Boise is the best team in the group in terms of scoring.  Unlike the more extreme running group, running effectively is not much of a key indicator.  Teams with yards per running play more than 10% above the FBS average scored about FBS average 7 times out of 12. Teams between 4% and 8% above outscored the FBS average 10 times out of 10.

Finally, we get to the teams that passed the ball between 40% and 50%.  There were 45 of them and only 17 were above the FBS average.  This is 37.8%, which is slightly worse than the teams that passed the ball more than 60% of the time.  These teams were, in aggregate, more than one point below the FBS average.  On these measures, this is the category you don't want to be in.

It doesn't mean you cannot succeed...UC was in this grouping, as was Texas.

(As an aside, I would have thought in the beginning that this would have been an attractive category.)

To conclude:

  • I started off looking at this because I believe that play mix is not the best way to measure balance.  
  • I was a little surprised to find out that it does matter a little--teams with run-heavy play mixes are more likely to score more than teams with pass-heavy play mixes.
  • However, with the exception of teams running the ball more than 60% of the time, there does not appear to be any category which produces teams even scoring above the FBS average.

Next, I will look at yards per play balance, which (I theorize) is the better indicator.

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