Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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You've just been awarded an NFL expansion team and must build your personnel department. How would you do it? Matt Waldman takes on the exercise.

12 Dec 2013

Varsity Numbers: Isolating Explosiveness

by Bill Connelly

As I've mentioned before, baseball stats came first with me. I always liked baseball stats more than baseball itself, but I loved the sensibility and generally intuitive nature of many baseball concepts. I have, to some degree, attempted to duplicate them in my use of college football stats: Success Rate and EqPts Per Play, the two measures that serve as the basis for S&P, are pretty clear imitations of on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Sure, I've built off of things from there in a very football-specific way, but the concepts are obviously quite sound.

One concept I've found myself thinking about lately is raw power, or raw explosiveness. With Success Rate, the goal is to measure efficiency, and with PPP, the goal is explosiveness. But the bottom line is, as in baseball, a lot of your explosiveness stats can come from your efficiency.

As a way of distilling a player's power in baseball, someone came up with the idea of Isolated Power, or ISO. There are a couple off different ways to measure that, but the simplest idea is to simply subtract a player's batting average from his slugging percentage. After all, if you batted 1.000 while hitting nothing but singles -- something that, as a lefty, I was able to do pretty well in slow-pitch softball: I walk up, everybody yells "LEFTY!" and shifts toward right field, and I poke a ball down the left field line and walk to first base -- you would also have a 1.000 slugging percentage. That's powerful! Only, it's not. You're never hitting for extra bases and have proven no power whatsoever.

It's the same thing with PPP. If a team gets exactly five yards per play on first down (50 percent of needed value), then gets four yards on every second down and three yards on every third down, it will have produced a 100 percent success rate. And by simply keeping the ball moving forward, its PPP average will be pretty good, too.

Since Success Rate and PPP are measuring two different things -- one looks at down-and-distance and deems a given play a "success" or not, while the other is working from a scale based on the equivalent point values of each yard line on the field -- we can approximate the same idea. What happens if we subtract a team's success rate from its average PPP to create an IsoPPP measure of sorts. What will that tell us?

Offense

Below are 2013 FBS offenses, ranked in order of IsoPPP (success rate and PPP, unadjusted for opponent, are also listed). We'll break things out by Rushing IsoPPP and Passing IsoPPP, as well.

Offense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Florida State 56.1% 1 0.81 1 0.25 1 52.0% 10 0.58 10 0.06 27 59.9% 1 1.03 1 0.43 2
Baylor 48.0% 20 0.72 3 0.24 2 48.4% 25 0.51 32 0.02 56 47.5% 21 0.97 2 0.49 1
Oregon 51.6% 4 0.75 2 0.23 3 53.8% 4 0.68 1 0.14 2 49.4% 13 0.83 6 0.33 6
Miami 46.0% 36 0.67 7 0.21 4 47.5% 31 0.52 22 0.04 38 44.3% 42 0.83 5 0.39 3
LSU 48.3% 18 0.68 6 0.20 5 46.2% 43 0.53 19 0.07 18 50.8% 7 0.87 3 0.36 4
Indiana 45.0% 46 0.64 15 0.19 6 46.5% 37 0.59 7 0.13 6 43.7% 51 0.68 30 0.24 32
Boston College 38.6% 99 0.57 37 0.19 7 38.0% 107 0.55 16 0.17 1 39.6% 76 0.62 58 0.22 44
Maryland 38.3% 103 0.57 44 0.19 8 38.6% 103 0.47 53 0.08 13 37.9% 92 0.67 36 0.29 15
Missouri 46.6% 27 0.64 14 0.18 9 48.6% 22 0.58 11 0.09 11 44.5% 38 0.72 25 0.27 22
Wisconsin 48.3% 17 0.65 13 0.16 10 50.0% 16 0.64 5 0.14 3 46.2% 26 0.66 39 0.20 57
Georgia 47.6% 23 0.64 16 0.16 11 45.7% 47 0.49 39 0.03 43 49.4% 11 0.78 9 0.29 14
Texas A&M 54.4% 2 0.71 4 0.16 12 55.0% 3 0.56 13 0.01 72 54.0% 4 0.83 4 0.29 13
Auburn 50.8% 9 0.67 9 0.16 13 55.6% 2 0.65 4 0.09 10 39.8% 75 0.72 24 0.32 9
Ohio 40.1% 86 0.56 48 0.16 14 35.8% 120 0.41 93 0.05 29 44.4% 40 0.71 26 0.26 23
New Mexico 44.9% 47 0.61 24 0.16 15 48.9% 20 0.60 6 0.11 8 32.4% 122 0.63 49 0.31 10
Alabama 51.3% 5 0.67 8 0.16 16 53.5% 6 0.58 8 0.05 35 48.9% 16 0.76 15 0.27 20
Northern Illinois 50.3% 11 0.66 11 0.16 17 53.3% 8 0.65 3 0.12 7 46.1% 29 0.67 35 0.21 53
Fresno State 49.4% 12 0.65 12 0.16 18 50.4% 15 0.47 52 -0.03 114 48.9% 14 0.73 20 0.24 31
Ball State 51.0% 6 0.66 10 0.15 19 45.7% 48 0.53 21 0.07 19 54.9% 3 0.76 16 0.21 49
San Diego State 39.1% 94 0.54 57 0.15 20 40.0% 97 0.46 63 0.06 24 38.1% 91 0.63 50 0.25 27
Ohio State 54.3% 3 0.69 5 0.15 21 57.6% 1 0.67 2 0.10 9 49.6% 9 0.72 23 0.23 39
Notre Dame 43.8% 62 0.59 31 0.15 22 43.4% 67 0.44 74 0.01 73 44.2% 46 0.72 21 0.28 16
Clemson 48.3% 19 0.63 18 0.15 23 47.6% 30 0.45 70 -0.03 114 48.9% 15 0.80 8 0.31 11
Stanford 46.5% 30 0.61 22 0.14 24 46.4% 38 0.48 42 0.02 59 46.7% 25 0.81 7 0.34 5
Kansas State 47.6% 22 0.62 20 0.14 25 47.5% 32 0.51 31 0.03 45 47.8% 19 0.78 10 0.30 12
Offense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
UAB 39.2% 93 0.54 63 0.14 26 42.6% 74 0.48 49 0.05 30 35.4% 108 0.60 65 0.25 29
San Jose State 46.6% 29 0.61 23 0.14 27 48.0% 27 0.41 94 -0.07 121 45.3% 33 0.77 12 0.32 7
Wyoming 43.2% 67 0.57 40 0.14 28 42.2% 79 0.55 15 0.13 4 44.1% 48 0.59 70 0.15 90
South Carolina 46.1% 35 0.60 26 0.14 29 46.0% 45 0.48 50 0.02 66 46.2% 27 0.74 19 0.28 17
Houston 40.9% 80 0.55 54 0.14 30 43.8% 64 0.44 72 0.01 79 38.8% 87 0.62 54 0.23 33
South Alabama 43.7% 64 0.57 38 0.14 31 43.2% 71 0.46 64 0.02 52 44.2% 44 0.70 28 0.26 24
Troy 44.1% 54 0.58 34 0.14 32 42.4% 77 0.42 84 0.00 86 45.5% 30 0.70 27 0.25 28
West Virginia 36.4% 117 0.50 85 0.13 33 33.1% 124 0.42 87 0.09 12 39.0% 85 0.56 87 0.17 71
Utah 36.9% 114 0.50 83 0.13 34 37.4% 111 0.40 99 0.02 57 36.4% 101 0.61 61 0.25 30
Colorado State 44.5% 51 0.58 32 0.13 35 45.1% 53 0.50 37 0.05 37 44.0% 49 0.66 40 0.22 41
Central Florida 49.3% 14 0.62 19 0.13 36 47.2% 33 0.48 51 0.00 82 51.3% 6 0.77 14 0.25 26
UL-Lafayette 47.6% 24 0.61 25 0.13 37 49.0% 19 0.49 38 0.00 81 45.5% 31 0.77 11 0.32 8
USC 40.4% 83 0.53 64 0.13 38 40.8% 87 0.45 67 0.04 39 40.0% 74 0.62 55 0.22 42
Bowling Green 51.0% 7 0.64 17 0.13 39 52.3% 9 0.52 23 0.00 89 49.6% 10 0.77 13 0.28 18
BYU 42.0% 72 0.55 54 0.13 40 42.8% 73 0.56 14 0.13 5 41.0% 69 0.54 97 0.13 107
Arizona State 46.5% 32 0.59 28 0.13 41 47.0% 35 0.49 41 0.02 65 46.1% 28 0.69 29 0.23 38
Ole Miss 44.1% 55 0.57 45 0.13 42 46.4% 40 0.48 48 0.01 69 42.2% 61 0.64 46 0.22 45
Old Dominion 43.9% 61 0.56 47 0.13 43 50.5% 14 0.51 29 0.01 77 40.8% 70 0.59 69 0.18 67
Oregon State 44.5% 52 0.57 43 0.13 44 45.4% 51 0.35 116 -0.10 126 44.1% 47 0.67 32 0.23 36
Boise State 46.8% 25 0.59 30 0.12 45 43.4% 67 0.51 24 0.08 16 50.1% 8 0.66 37 0.16 77
UCLA 44.6% 50 0.57 46 0.12 46 45.4% 50 0.48 45 0.03 50 43.6% 52 0.67 33 0.23 34
Washington 46.1% 34 0.58 33 0.12 47 45.1% 52 0.50 35 0.05 33 47.3% 22 0.66 38 0.19 60
Oklahoma State 45.6% 42 0.57 42 0.11 48 47.0% 34 0.47 55 0.00 88 44.3% 41 0.67 34 0.23 40
Oklahoma 42.6% 69 0.54 60 0.11 49 45.0% 55 0.51 27 0.06 23 39.0% 83 0.58 78 0.19 62
UTEP 38.7% 98 0.50 84 0.11 50 41.4% 82 0.46 65 0.04 41 34.3% 113 0.57 80 0.23 37
Offense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Utah State 39.9% 87 0.51 80 0.11 51 39.2% 99 0.45 69 0.05 28 40.4% 71 0.56 83 0.16 79
Middle Tennessee 42.3% 70 0.53 65 0.11 52 44.7% 58 0.51 30 0.06 25 39.4% 81 0.56 85 0.17 74
Texas 40.2% 85 0.51 78 0.11 53 40.2% 94 0.42 82 0.02 62 40.2% 73 0.62 57 0.22 46
Marshall 46.5% 31 0.57 39 0.11 54 45.9% 46 0.49 40 0.03 48 47.0% 23 0.65 43 0.18 66
Rutgers 40.8% 81 0.52 72 0.11 54 40.5% 89 0.41 91 0.01 71 41.1% 68 0.61 62 0.20 58
Louisville 50.8% 10 0.61 21 0.11 56 46.0% 44 0.47 58 0.00 80 55.1% 2 0.75 17 0.20 56
North Carolina 44.8% 48 0.55 50 0.11 57 44.8% 57 0.38 112 -0.07 122 44.9% 35 0.72 22 0.27 21
Georgia State 35.0% 121 0.45 109 0.10 58 37.3% 112 0.40 96 0.03 51 33.2% 120 0.49 108 0.16 80
Colorado 38.8% 97 0.49 91 0.10 59 34.2% 122 0.31 123 -0.03 113 42.8% 58 0.64 45 0.21 48
Washington State 41.6% 75 0.52 71 0.10 60 43.6% 66 0.42 79 -0.01 97 41.1% 67 0.54 96 0.13 106
Toledo 49.0% 16 0.59 29 0.10 61 53.5% 7 0.58 9 0.05 36 43.5% 53 0.60 64 0.17 75
Michigan 41.6% 76 0.52 74 0.10 62 38.7% 101 0.39 105 0.00 83 44.7% 36 0.66 42 0.21 52
Mississippi State 43.7% 63 0.54 62 0.10 63 43.3% 69 0.50 36 0.06 22 44.2% 44 0.58 76 0.14 102
Illinois 45.9% 37 0.56 49 0.10 64 47.6% 29 0.45 66 -0.02 109 44.7% 37 0.64 48 0.19 61
Texas Tech 45.3% 45 0.55 51 0.10 65 45.0% 55 0.43 77 -0.02 103 45.4% 32 0.61 59 0.16 81
Kent State 39.3% 92 0.49 88 0.10 66 40.0% 97 0.48 47 0.08 17 38.6% 90 0.51 105 0.12 108
Western Kentucky 49.3% 13 0.59 27 0.10 67 51.2% 11 0.50 33 -0.01 92 47.5% 20 0.68 31 0.20 55
SMU 41.5% 78 0.51 76 0.10 68 36.0% 119 0.42 86 0.06 26 44.0% 50 0.56 91 0.12 110
UL-Monroe 37.0% 113 0.47 105 0.10 69 36.3% 116 0.40 97 0.03 42 37.4% 95 0.51 101 0.14 100
Kentucky 39.1% 94 0.49 94 0.10 70 42.0% 80 0.50 34 0.08 14 36.0% 105 0.47 114 0.11 112
Cincinnati 48.0% 21 0.58 35 0.10 71 46.5% 36 0.40 101 -0.07 123 49.4% 12 0.75 18 0.26 25
California 38.2% 104 0.48 99 0.09 72 36.2% 118 0.36 115 0.00 86 39.1% 82 0.53 98 0.14 98
Rice 41.5% 77 0.51 79 0.09 73 44.7% 59 0.46 60 0.02 67 36.4% 102 0.58 73 0.22 43
Florida Atlantic 39.8% 88 0.49 90 0.09 74 40.1% 96 0.44 73 0.04 40 39.4% 79 0.55 93 0.15 83
Southern Miss 34.4% 122 0.44 113 0.09 75 33.7% 123 0.32 121 -0.01 97 34.7% 111 0.49 109 0.14 95
Offense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Duke 44.7% 49 0.54 61 0.09 76 46.4% 39 0.45 68 -0.02 106 42.8% 59 0.64 47 0.21 51
UTSA 45.6% 42 0.55 56 0.09 77 48.5% 24 0.54 18 0.05 31 42.7% 60 0.56 89 0.13 105
Hawaii 39.5% 91 0.49 95 0.09 78 40.5% 88 0.39 107 -0.02 107 38.8% 89 0.56 86 0.17 70
Eastern Michigan 40.2% 84 0.49 89 0.09 79 43.7% 65 0.46 62 0.02 54 36.4% 100 0.53 100 0.16 78
North Texas 44.1% 56 0.53 66 0.09 80 43.2% 70 0.42 85 -0.01 96 45.1% 34 0.65 44 0.20 54
Arkansas 42.9% 68 0.52 72 0.09 81 46.2% 42 0.48 44 0.02 55 37.7% 94 0.57 82 0.19 64
Texas State 39.6% 90 0.48 97 0.09 82 41.4% 83 0.46 61 0.05 34 36.9% 97 0.51 102 0.14 93
Virginia Tech 38.0% 107 0.47 104 0.09 82 35.8% 121 0.34 120 -0.02 102 40.2% 72 0.59 71 0.18 65
Georgia Tech 46.6% 28 0.55 52 0.09 84 50.7% 12 0.53 20 0.02 58 34.3% 113 0.62 56 0.28 19
South Florida 28.8% 126 0.37 124 0.09 85 27.8% 126 0.34 119 0.06 21 29.7% 124 0.40 123 0.11 114
UNLV 45.5% 44 0.54 59 0.08 86 43.8% 63 0.47 57 0.03 47 47.0% 23 0.61 60 0.14 101
Temple 45.8% 40 0.54 58 0.08 87 50.6% 13 0.48 46 -0.03 111 41.8% 62 0.60 66 0.18 69
Akron 38.6% 100 0.47 102 0.08 88 37.6% 110 0.38 110 0.01 74 39.4% 79 0.55 94 0.15 84
Syracuse 38.0% 106 0.46 106 0.08 89 40.2% 95 0.47 55 0.06 20 35.5% 107 0.46 115 0.11 115
New Mexico State 40.7% 82 0.49 92 0.08 90 38.1% 106 0.39 109 0.01 76 43.1% 56 0.59 68 0.16 82
Central Michigan 42.2% 71 0.50 82 0.08 91 41.1% 85 0.42 83 0.01 70 43.2% 55 0.58 74 0.15 86
Army 46.7% 26 0.55 53 0.08 92 49.5% 17 0.55 17 0.05 32 34.2% 115 0.56 90 0.22 47
Nevada 43.9% 60 0.52 69 0.08 93 40.3% 92 0.42 79 0.02 61 47.9% 17 0.63 51 0.15 89
East Carolina 49.2% 15 0.57 41 0.08 94 45.6% 49 0.43 76 -0.02 108 51.5% 5 0.66 41 0.14 96
Idaho 37.6% 109 0.45 108 0.08 95 41.2% 84 0.40 95 -0.01 91 33.8% 117 0.51 104 0.17 73
Penn State 44.0% 58 0.52 70 0.08 96 46.2% 41 0.41 92 -0.05 116 41.6% 65 0.63 53 0.21 50
Michigan State 41.9% 73 0.50 86 0.08 97 44.6% 60 0.43 78 -0.01 101 38.8% 87 0.57 81 0.18 68
TCU 39.6% 89 0.47 101 0.08 98 40.3% 93 0.39 104 -0.01 97 39.0% 83 0.54 95 0.15 85
Louisiana Tech 37.9% 108 0.46 107 0.08 99 43.1% 72 0.51 27 0.08 15 33.6% 118 0.41 121 0.07 123
Western Michigan 36.0% 119 0.44 114 0.08 100 38.7% 101 0.38 113 -0.01 95 33.9% 116 0.48 111 0.14 94
Offense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Arkansas State 43.9% 59 0.51 75 0.08 101 44.4% 61 0.46 59 0.02 64 43.2% 54 0.58 77 0.15 88
N.C. State 37.4% 110 0.45 110 0.07 102 38.3% 105 0.39 106 0.01 78 36.5% 99 0.51 103 0.15 91
Arizona 45.9% 39 0.53 67 0.07 103 49.2% 18 0.51 26 0.02 60 41.4% 66 0.55 92 0.14 103
Minnesota 41.2% 79 0.48 98 0.07 104 42.4% 75 0.44 75 0.01 68 38.9% 86 0.56 88 0.17 72
Navy 50.8% 8 0.58 35 0.07 105 53.6% 5 0.56 12 0.03 49 39.6% 77 0.63 52 0.23 35
Tennessee 41.7% 74 0.48 96 0.07 106 48.9% 20 0.51 25 0.02 53 33.5% 119 0.45 118 0.11 111
Nebraska 45.6% 41 0.52 68 0.06 107 48.6% 22 0.47 54 -0.02 104 41.8% 63 0.58 75 0.16 76
Iowa State 38.8% 96 0.45 111 0.06 108 41.5% 81 0.39 108 -0.03 112 36.2% 104 0.50 107 0.14 99
Buffalo 43.3% 66 0.49 93 0.06 109 42.4% 78 0.42 89 -0.01 90 44.3% 42 0.56 83 0.12 109
Florida 38.5% 101 0.44 112 0.05 110 40.5% 89 0.39 102 -0.01 100 35.7% 106 0.51 106 0.15 87
Kansas 33.6% 123 0.39 122 0.05 111 37.7% 109 0.40 99 0.02 63 28.4% 125 0.38 125 0.09 119
Iowa 44.5% 53 0.49 87 0.05 112 48.2% 26 0.42 81 -0.06 118 39.5% 78 0.59 67 0.20 59
Northwestern 45.9% 38 0.51 81 0.05 113 44.3% 62 0.44 71 0.00 84 47.9% 18 0.59 72 0.11 113
Memphis 38.2% 105 0.43 115 0.05 114 38.4% 104 0.42 88 0.03 44 37.9% 93 0.45 119 0.07 124
Tulsa 37.2% 112 0.42 117 0.05 115 40.4% 91 0.38 111 -0.03 110 33.1% 121 0.47 112 0.14 97
Tulane 37.2% 111 0.42 116 0.05 116 39.1% 100 0.39 103 0.00 85 35.4% 108 0.45 117 0.10 118
Air Force 46.5% 33 0.51 77 0.05 117 47.8% 28 0.48 43 0.01 75 41.8% 64 0.61 63 0.19 63
Florida International 30.5% 125 0.35 125 0.04 118 30.8% 125 0.30 126 -0.01 94 30.1% 123 0.41 122 0.10 117
Virginia 35.5% 120 0.40 120 0.04 119 36.8% 115 0.40 98 0.03 46 34.4% 112 0.40 124 0.06 125
Pittsburgh 43.5% 65 0.47 100 0.04 120 42.4% 75 0.42 90 -0.01 93 44.4% 39 0.53 99 0.08 120
Connecticut 36.9% 115 0.41 119 0.04 121 36.3% 116 0.35 117 -0.02 105 37.3% 96 0.45 116 0.08 122
Wake Forest 38.5% 102 0.42 118 0.03 122 41.0% 86 0.35 118 -0.06 120 36.6% 98 0.47 113 0.11 116
Vanderbilt 44.0% 57 0.47 103 0.03 123 45.0% 54 0.37 114 -0.08 125 42.9% 57 0.57 79 0.14 92
Massachusetts 36.0% 118 0.39 121 0.03 124 36.9% 114 0.31 125 -0.06 119 34.9% 110 0.49 110 0.14 104
Purdue 36.6% 116 0.39 123 0.02 125 37.0% 113 0.32 122 -0.05 117 36.2% 103 0.44 120 0.08 121
Miami (Ohio) 33.3% 124 0.30 126 -0.03 126 37.8% 108 0.31 124 -0.07 124 28.2% 126 0.30 126 0.02 126

Maryland has been a terribly inefficient team in 2013, with a woeful success rate, a 55 percent completion rate, and three running backs combining to average 4.4 yards per carry. But they can rip off big plays; injured receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long combined to average 16.3 yards per catch, Levern Jacobs has averaged 13.5, Nigel King 13.8, and Amba Etta-Tawo 15.5. For the season, six of the seven receivers with more than six catches have averaged at least 13.5 yards per catch, and all six players have at least one catch of 32 yards or greater. Plus, quarterback C.J. Brown has shown some explosiveness running the ball as well.

With IsoPPP, we get a better idea both for Maryland's explosiveness and for how far the Terps have been slowed down by inefficiency. While only 44th in raw PPP, thanks partially to success rate, Maryland is eighth in IsoPPP -- 13th in rushing and 15th in passing. Good Maryland plays are great Maryland plays; there just aren't many of them.

The same goes for Boston College, at least on the ground. Big Andre Williams has posted sensational numbers this fall considering the lack of help; receiver Alex Amidon is good (67 catches, 895 yards), but the next three leading receivers have caught a combined 33 passes for 256 yards, and backup running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse are averaging only a decent 5.2 yards per carry. With all defensive eyes on Williams, he has occasionally struggled to find room to run, and BC's rushing success rate is a pretty awful 38.0 percent. But when he gets open field, he uses all of it. As a result, BC ranks first in Rushing IsoPPP, and Williams is a Heisman finalist.

On the flip side, you've got teams like Ohio State (fifth in PPP but 21st in IsoPPP), Alabama (eighth in Rushing PPP, 35th in Rushing IsoPPP), Navy (12th in Rushing PPP, 72nd in Rushing IsoPPP), and Louisville (17th in Passing PPP, 56th in Passing IsoPPP), good, efficient offenses that might not be as explosive in certain ways as the numbers would suggest.

Now let's look at the same (large) data set from the defensive side of the ball.

Defense

I've used iffy success rates and solid PPP numbers as a pretty easy sign for picking out bend-don't-break defenses in recent years. The IsoPPP concept allows me to go even further down that road. Hello, UCLA (90th in Success Rate, first in IsoPPP), Notre Dame (99th, second), Vanderbilt (94th, third), Navy (123rd, fifth), UTSA (88th, eighth), and MTSU (98th, also eighth). You are the nation's leading benders.

Defense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
UCLA 44.3% 90 0.46 21 0.02 1 44.0% 69 0.40 30 -0.04 13 44.8% 95 0.53 24 0.08 6
Notre Dame 46.1% 99 0.48 36 0.02 2 47.5% 97 0.42 49 -0.05 7 44.5% 93 0.56 39 0.11 14
Vanderbilt 44.9% 94 0.48 29 0.03 3 49.1% 107 0.45 64 -0.05 10 41.0% 60 0.51 15 0.10 7
Iowa 38.2% 26 0.41 5 0.03 4 38.6% 34 0.35 7 -0.04 14 37.9% 27 0.48 10 0.10 11
Navy 52.5% 123 0.56 86 0.03 5 54.1% 125 0.46 74 -0.08 2 50.6% 122 0.67 97 0.17 51
Florida State 31.1% 2 0.34 1 0.03 6 30.5% 2 0.32 3 0.01 56 31.7% 4 0.37 1 0.05 1
Stanford 39.1% 32 0.43 9 0.03 7 37.0% 22 0.36 14 0.00 38 40.6% 55 0.47 8 0.06 2
UTSA 44.1% 88 0.48 31 0.04 8 46.7% 92 0.40 31 -0.06 4 41.7% 70 0.55 37 0.13 24
Middle Tennessee 45.9% 98 0.50 50 0.04 8 47.4% 96 0.43 58 -0.04 12 44.0% 91 0.57 53 0.13 23
Bowling Green 41.8% 56 0.46 22 0.04 10 45.0% 82 0.47 79 0.02 60 38.9% 33 0.45 7 0.06 3
Louisville 35.3% 8 0.40 4 0.04 11 37.2% 23 0.34 4 -0.03 23 33.6% 9 0.44 6 0.11 13
Kansas State 43.6% 81 0.48 33 0.05 12 45.6% 84 0.41 42 -0.05 11 41.5% 64 0.56 40 0.14 30
Northwestern 44.6% 92 0.49 47 0.05 13 45.9% 86 0.43 52 -0.03 19 43.5% 87 0.55 38 0.12 16
Toledo 47.2% 104 0.52 69 0.05 14 48.7% 106 0.46 73 -0.03 25 45.2% 98 0.59 67 0.14 27
Ole Miss 43.5% 77 0.49 40 0.05 15 44.2% 71 0.41 38 -0.03 17 42.7% 82 0.58 57 0.15 35
LSU 43.7% 84 0.49 42 0.05 16 47.8% 100 0.45 65 -0.03 18 39.5% 41 0.53 28 0.14 26
SMU 47.6% 107 0.53 73 0.05 17 49.4% 110 0.41 37 -0.09 1 46.2% 106 0.63 86 0.17 56
Cincinnati 37.9% 19 0.43 11 0.05 18 36.6% 20 0.34 6 -0.02 27 39.0% 34 0.51 16 0.12 15
Wisconsin 36.6% 17 0.42 6 0.05 19 38.4% 32 0.35 9 -0.03 20 34.9% 13 0.48 9 0.13 21
Houston 42.7% 67 0.48 34 0.05 20 42.3% 55 0.39 25 -0.04 16 43.1% 85 0.57 52 0.14 29
Utah State 36.6% 18 0.42 7 0.06 21 35.5% 16 0.29 1 -0.07 3 37.7% 26 0.55 36 0.17 62
Michigan State 29.7% 1 0.36 2 0.06 22 30.0% 1 0.31 2 0.01 51 29.5% 1 0.40 2 0.10 9
Missouri 42.4% 63 0.48 35 0.06 23 43.4% 65 0.47 88 0.04 85 41.6% 65 0.49 12 0.07 5
Nebraska 43.7% 83 0.50 51 0.06 24 47.0% 94 0.44 61 -0.03 22 39.7% 42 0.56 47 0.17 54
East Carolina 38.2% 25 0.44 15 0.06 25 36.3% 18 0.37 17 0.01 49 39.7% 43 0.50 14 0.10 12
Defense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
South Florida 43.4% 73 0.49 48 0.06 26 43.1% 61 0.41 41 -0.02 28 43.7% 88 0.58 62 0.15 33
Purdue 51.9% 122 0.58 103 0.06 27 55.2% 127 0.50 97 -0.05 9 48.2% 115 0.68 100 0.20 79
Miami (Ohio) 53.6% 124 0.60 108 0.06 28 54.9% 126 0.52 106 -0.03 24 52.2% 124 0.69 104 0.17 55
Washington 39.8% 36 0.46 23 0.07 29 44.9% 79 0.44 62 -0.01 37 35.3% 15 0.48 11 0.13 20
Boise State 41.7% 54 0.48 37 0.07 30 38.2% 28 0.37 18 -0.01 34 45.5% 99 0.60 75 0.15 34
Oklahoma State 35.6% 10 0.42 8 0.07 31 34.5% 11 0.34 5 0.00 41 36.6% 19 0.50 13 0.13 22
Memphis 40.5% 42 0.47 26 0.07 32 41.2% 46 0.36 12 -0.05 8 39.9% 47 0.58 54 0.18 63
North Carolina 42.3% 61 0.49 46 0.07 33 43.7% 67 0.43 55 -0.01 35 40.4% 53 0.58 56 0.17 59
Marshall 38.2% 24 0.45 18 0.07 34 40.7% 44 0.38 21 -0.03 25 35.1% 14 0.54 30 0.19 69
Wake Forest 40.5% 43 0.48 28 0.07 35 40.2% 42 0.40 29 0.00 39 41.0% 59 0.56 41 0.15 37
Alabama 36.5% 16 0.44 12 0.07 36 36.4% 19 0.35 10 -0.01 32 36.7% 20 0.52 21 0.16 41
Ohio State 40.8% 48 0.48 32 0.07 37 41.3% 48 0.35 11 -0.06 5 40.4% 51 0.57 50 0.17 53
Michigan 41.8% 55 0.49 43 0.07 38 42.0% 52 0.41 35 -0.01 31 41.6% 69 0.58 55 0.16 46
Maryland 38.3% 27 0.46 19 0.08 39 35.4% 14 0.40 32 0.05 94 41.2% 61 0.51 18 0.10 10
Duke 42.7% 67 0.50 58 0.08 40 46.7% 93 0.43 56 -0.04 15 38.2% 30 0.59 65 0.21 86
Virginia Tech 31.4% 3 0.39 3 0.08 41 32.1% 4 0.35 8 0.03 73 30.7% 2 0.43 4 0.13 19
Central Michigan 47.8% 108 0.56 88 0.08 42 51.0% 119 0.54 114 0.03 75 43.8% 90 0.58 59 0.14 28
South Carolina 40.3% 39 0.48 38 0.08 43 42.4% 56 0.43 52 0.00 44 37.9% 28 0.55 35 0.17 58
Louisiana Tech 41.0% 51 0.49 44 0.08 44 43.6% 66 0.41 36 -0.03 21 37.6% 24 0.61 77 0.23 97
Syracuse 41.6% 53 0.50 52 0.08 45 41.3% 47 0.41 43 0.00 40 41.9% 72 0.58 58 0.16 41
Ball State 43.6% 79 0.52 68 0.08 46 44.7% 75 0.48 91 0.03 76 42.4% 75 0.56 44 0.14 25
Oregon 39.2% 34 0.48 27 0.08 47 39.2% 36 0.41 44 0.02 61 39.1% 35 0.55 33 0.15 40
BYU 35.5% 9 0.44 13 0.08 48 35.4% 13 0.36 13 0.01 52 35.5% 16 0.51 19 0.16 44
USC 34.2% 6 0.43 10 0.09 49 34.0% 9 0.41 46 0.07 109 34.3% 11 0.44 5 0.10 8
South Alabama 42.0% 58 0.51 60 0.09 50 43.4% 64 0.49 95 0.06 100 40.5% 54 0.53 23 0.12 17
Defense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Baylor 35.8% 13 0.45 17 0.09 51 37.6% 25 0.37 15 -0.01 33 33.9% 10 0.53 27 0.19 72
Air Force 54.8% 125 0.64 116 0.09 52 53.8% 124 0.56 120 0.02 69 56.5% 125 0.76 115 0.20 76
Minnesota 42.2% 60 0.51 63 0.09 53 44.4% 74 0.46 77 0.02 62 39.9% 48 0.56 46 0.16 49
Northern Illinois 44.4% 91 0.54 77 0.09 54 46.6% 90 0.41 39 -0.06 6 42.5% 77 0.65 90 0.23 92
Arkansas 48.3% 111 0.58 99 0.09 55 50.6% 113 0.49 96 -0.01 30 45.9% 102 0.66 96 0.20 82
Tulsa 42.1% 59 0.52 67 0.09 56 44.1% 70 0.47 84 0.03 74 40.2% 49 0.56 43 0.16 45
Texas State 40.1% 38 0.50 49 0.10 57 40.7% 43 0.41 45 0.00 47 39.5% 39 0.56 48 0.17 57
Miami 43.9% 85 0.53 76 0.10 58 45.2% 83 0.47 85 0.02 63 42.2% 73 0.61 76 0.19 70
Western Michigan 46.9% 102 0.56 92 0.10 59 50.1% 111 0.54 113 0.04 84 41.8% 71 0.60 74 0.18 66
San Diego State 40.6% 44 0.50 56 0.10 60 38.0% 27 0.39 27 0.01 57 42.6% 81 0.59 68 0.17 52
Central Florida 40.4% 40 0.50 55 0.10 61 42.8% 60 0.46 75 0.04 79 38.7% 32 0.53 26 0.14 31
Florida Atlantic 34.5% 7 0.44 16 0.10 62 36.0% 17 0.48 92 0.12 123 32.7% 7 0.40 3 0.07 4
Penn State 38.6% 29 0.48 39 0.10 63 35.5% 15 0.40 34 0.05 97 41.6% 67 0.56 42 0.14 32
Oklahoma 38.5% 28 0.49 41 0.10 64 41.1% 45 0.45 67 0.03 78 36.2% 17 0.52 20 0.16 48
Texas Tech 43.5% 76 0.54 77 0.10 65 45.8% 85 0.51 101 0.05 94 40.9% 58 0.57 49 0.16 43
Kentucky 48.4% 113 0.59 104 0.10 66 48.2% 103 0.53 108 0.04 89 48.5% 117 0.66 95 0.17 60
Tulane 35.7% 11 0.46 20 0.10 67 34.6% 12 0.39 24 0.04 87 36.7% 21 0.53 22 0.16 46
Western Kentucky 40.5% 41 0.51 61 0.10 68 43.1% 62 0.45 70 0.02 68 36.8% 22 0.58 63 0.22 88
Kansas 42.7% 69 0.53 74 0.10 69 42.6% 58 0.47 82 0.04 90 42.9% 83 0.59 69 0.17 50
Mississippi State 41.8% 57 0.53 72 0.11 70 38.2% 29 0.47 78 0.09 116 45.2% 97 0.58 61 0.13 18
Georgia Tech 43.2% 72 0.54 81 0.11 71 39.9% 39 0.39 26 -0.01 36 45.9% 102 0.66 93 0.20 77
Kent State 46.5% 101 0.57 95 0.11 72 50.6% 115 0.49 94 -0.02 29 41.6% 66 0.67 98 0.26 110
UL-Monroe 43.5% 78 0.54 83 0.11 73 47.9% 102 0.48 93 0.01 48 39.3% 37 0.60 72 0.21 85
Arizona 39.1% 33 0.50 54 0.11 74 38.4% 31 0.41 47 0.03 72 39.8% 45 0.59 66 0.19 72
Wyoming 47.0% 103 0.58 101 0.11 75 46.2% 88 0.47 86 0.01 54 48.0% 114 0.70 107 0.22 91
Defense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Boston College 42.3% 62 0.53 75 0.11 76 42.1% 53 0.43 57 0.01 53 42.5% 79 0.63 84 0.20 81
Akron 40.6% 44 0.52 64 0.11 77 40.0% 40 0.42 50 0.03 70 41.2% 63 0.61 80 0.20 78
Texas 40.6% 46 0.52 66 0.11 78 40.1% 41 0.47 87 0.07 108 41.2% 62 0.56 45 0.15 36
Georgia 41.0% 50 0.52 70 0.11 79 42.1% 54 0.44 63 0.02 67 39.7% 43 0.61 78 0.21 87
Rice 35.8% 14 0.47 25 0.11 80 38.9% 35 0.40 33 0.02 58 32.2% 5 0.55 34 0.23 93
Southern Miss 44.2% 89 0.56 84 0.11 81 41.6% 50 0.44 59 0.02 66 47.7% 111 0.72 110 0.24 100
Florida 37.9% 20 0.49 45 0.11 82 43.2% 63 0.45 68 0.02 59 31.6% 3 0.54 32 0.23 94
North Texas 36.3% 15 0.48 30 0.11 83 32.8% 5 0.40 28 0.07 107 39.3% 36 0.54 31 0.15 38
TCU 32.6% 5 0.44 14 0.12 84 32.8% 6 0.37 16 0.04 88 32.4% 6 0.51 17 0.19 68
Iowa State 43.9% 86 0.56 85 0.12 85 46.0% 87 0.54 115 0.08 114 41.6% 67 0.57 51 0.15 39
Pittsburgh 39.9% 37 0.52 65 0.12 86 41.8% 51 0.43 54 0.01 50 37.9% 29 0.61 79 0.23 96
Connecticut 39.3% 35 0.51 62 0.12 87 33.7% 7 0.39 23 0.05 93 44.6% 94 0.63 87 0.19 67
Buffalo 37.9% 20 0.50 53 0.12 88 38.4% 30 0.42 48 0.04 80 37.4% 23 0.58 60 0.20 83
Utah 38.0% 23 0.50 57 0.12 89 38.4% 33 0.39 22 0.00 42 37.6% 25 0.60 70 0.22 90
Georgia State 47.6% 106 0.60 107 0.12 90 46.6% 90 0.47 80 0.00 43 49.0% 119 0.79 118 0.30 119
UL-Lafayette 45.1% 95 0.58 98 0.12 91 44.2% 72 0.45 66 0.00 45 45.9% 101 0.70 106 0.24 101
Indiana 49.4% 116 0.62 111 0.12 91 50.8% 117 0.53 109 0.02 65 47.7% 110 0.73 111 0.25 108
San Jose State 48.2% 110 0.61 109 0.13 93 50.6% 114 0.57 121 0.06 102 45.6% 100 0.65 91 0.19 75
Auburn 43.4% 74 0.56 89 0.13 94 44.7% 78 0.50 98 0.05 98 42.2% 74 0.61 82 0.19 71
N.C. State 43.4% 74 0.57 93 0.13 95 46.3% 89 0.53 110 0.07 106 40.6% 56 0.60 71 0.19 74
Fresno State 38.8% 31 0.52 71 0.13 96 38.0% 26 0.43 51 0.05 91 39.5% 39 0.61 81 0.22 89
Ohio 41.0% 49 0.54 82 0.13 97 39.6% 38 0.47 83 0.07 110 42.5% 77 0.62 83 0.20 80
Washington State 44.0% 87 0.57 96 0.13 98 44.9% 80 0.47 81 0.02 64 43.1% 84 0.68 101 0.25 109
UNLV 42.5% 64 0.56 90 0.14 99 45.0% 81 0.54 111 0.09 118 39.9% 46 0.58 63 0.18 65
Arkansas State 43.6% 82 0.57 97 0.14 100 47.6% 98 0.52 103 0.04 86 39.4% 38 0.64 88 0.24 102
Defense Succ. Rt.
Rk PPP Rk IsoPPP Rk Rush. Succ. Rt.
Rk Rush. PPP Rk Rush. IsoPPP Rk Pass. Succ. Rt.
Rk Pass. PPP Rk Pass. IsoPPP
Rk
Massachusetts 47.5% 105 0.61 110 0.14 101 48.6% 104 0.52 104 0.03 77 46.1% 105 0.73 112 0.27 111
Texas A&M 45.7% 97 0.60 106 0.14 102 50.1% 112 0.55 117 0.05 92 40.3% 50 0.65 92 0.25 107
Hawaii 42.8% 70 0.57 94 0.14 103 44.7% 76 0.46 71 0.01 55 40.4% 51 0.70 105 0.30 117
Arizona State 35.7% 12 0.50 59 0.15 104 36.8% 21 0.48 89 0.11 121 34.6% 12 0.53 25 0.18 64
Clemson 32.1% 4 0.47 24 0.15 105 31.5% 3 0.41 40 0.09 119 32.7% 8 0.53 29 0.21 84
Tennessee 43.2% 71 0.58 102 0.15 106 47.6% 98 0.54 112 0.06 103 38.2% 31 0.63 85 0.25 105
Rutgers 41.0% 52 0.56 91 0.15 107 33.8% 8 0.37 19 0.04 81 46.0% 104 0.69 103 0.23 95
West Virginia 40.7% 47 0.56 87 0.15 108 37.4% 24 0.44 60 0.07 104 44.3% 92 0.69 102 0.25 104
Illinois 47.9% 109 0.63 114 0.15 109 47.0% 95 0.55 116 0.08 111 48.9% 118 0.73 113 0.24 103
Colorado State 38.7% 30 0.54 80 0.15 110 34.4% 10 0.38 20 0.04 82 43.3% 86 0.71 108 0.28 112
Oregon State 42.5% 65 0.58 100 0.15 111 44.4% 73 0.51 102 0.07 105 40.8% 57 0.65 89 0.24 99
Old Dominion 55.0% 126 0.70 122 0.15 112 51.7% 122 0.52 105 0.00 46 58.2% 126 0.89 125 0.31 120
Colorado 43.6% 79 0.59 105 0.16 113 44.7% 77 0.50 99 0.05 99 42.6% 80 0.68 99 0.25 106
Temple 46.3% 100 0.62 112 0.16 114 42.7% 59 0.45 69 0.03 71 49.5% 120 0.78 117 0.28 114
Virginia 37.9% 22 0.54 79 0.16 115 39.3% 37 0.48 90 0.09 117 36.4% 18 0.60 72 0.24 98
Idaho 48.3% 112 0.65 117 0.17 116 48.7% 105 0.52 107 0.04 83 47.9% 113 0.76 114 0.28 113
Nevada 49.7% 119 0.67 118 0.17 117 50.9% 118 0.68 126 0.17 125 48.4% 116 0.66 94 0.17 61
Florida International 45.4% 96 0.63 113 0.18 118 47.9% 101 0.56 119 0.08 115 42.4% 76 0.71 109 0.29 116
Army 49.7% 118 0.68 119 0.18 119 49.2% 108 0.55 118 0.06 101 50.5% 121 0.91 126 0.40 125
New Mexico 51.8% 121 0.71 123 0.19 120 51.8% 123 0.63 124 0.11 120 51.9% 123 0.81 121 0.29 115
UAB 48.6% 115 0.69 121 0.20 121 49.3% 109 0.57 122 0.08 113 47.8% 112 0.81 122 0.33 122
Troy 42.6% 66 0.63 115 0.21 122 41.4% 49 0.46 76 0.05 94 43.8% 89 0.81 120 0.37 123
UTEP 48.5% 114 0.72 124 0.23 123 50.7% 116 0.63 123 0.12 122 44.9% 96 0.87 124 0.42 126
New Mexico State 49.6% 117 0.73 125 0.23 124 51.3% 120 0.68 125 0.17 124 47.6% 109 0.79 119 0.31 121
California 44.8% 93 0.68 120 0.24 125 42.5% 57 0.51 100 0.08 112 46.7% 107 0.84 123 0.37 124
Eastern Michigan 49.7% 119 0.74 126 0.25 126 51.7% 121 0.72 127 0.20 126 47.5% 108 0.77 116 0.30 118

The disparities between PPP and IsoPPP rankings are more stark on defense than offense, especially as it pertains to run defenses. On offense, the top seven teams according to Rushing PPP are also in the top 10 for Rushing IsoPPP. On defense, only one of the top seven teams (Utah State) can say the same. There is something about the way teams attack (or are attacked by) the run that leads to pretty interesting separation here. Perhaps it's because there are few huge run plays overall?

These numbers do poke at least a small hole in Michigan State's success, by the way. The Spartans' success rates are so incredible that they distract us a bit from the fact that, especially on the ground, they are not quite as good at preventing big plays as we might think.

If it turns out that this is a pretty useful concept (and I think it might be), I might attack it from a different angle in the future. One idea (which would take a bit of preparation) would be to determine the point value of a successful play -- if a five-yard gain on first down is "successful," what is the value of a five-yard gain on a given play? -- then subtract the final point total of the play from that. This would get at who is gaining/allowing yards/points beyond the pale. Still in brainstorm mode, however.

This Week at SB Nation

Monday
Eight 2013 College Football Playoff brackets, from 4 to 32 teams

Tuesday
The Numerical, Week 15: Auburn's efficiency, Connor Cook's improvement, and losing by winning

Wednesday
SEC Championship: Beyond the box score
Week 15 college football advanced box scores

Thursday
THIS TRAIN: When two unlikely teams met in the SEC Championship, we saw a glimpse into the future of the conference

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 12 Dec 2013

8 comments, Last at 13 Dec 2013, 12:00pm by dcrockett17

Comments

1
by Kal :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 4:06pm

Really neat idea!

This goes well with a concept I've been thinking about - the value of getting 'ahead' in the count beyond just having a success. It comes about because of the value of getting to a sweet down and distance - 2nd and 1. 2nd and 1 is almost a surefire conversion, but it also allows a team to almost perfectly go for a long gain or some trickery because they're virtually guaranteed to pick up that yard on 3rd and 4th. In some ways, gaining 9 is better than gaining 10 as you pick up that free down. You could look at other downs and distances in a similar way; how much easier is it to get a good gain on 2nd and 3 instead of 2nd and 5? It's not just looking at how valuable those yards are on the field (which is also important and something DVOA sorely lacks) - it's how valuable those yards are for a given down and distance.

2
by Andreas Shepard :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 4:26pm

One way of measuring this that might be useful is PPP per successful play. That might more directly get at the key question - when you have successful plays, are the REALLY successful, or just a little successful.

3
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 4:53pm

How does Miami (OH) end up with negative offensive PPP? Under your SLG/AVE example, that shouldn't be possible unless they lost yards on the season.

"These numbers do poke at least a small hole in Michigan State's success, by the way. The Spartans' success rates are so incredible that they distract us a bit from the fact that, especially on the ground, they are not quite as good at preventing big plays as we might think."

Isn't the correct takeaway from this that the only way to gain rushing success on MSU is to have big plays? Indiana got almost all of their rushing yards on one or two long runs. NW QB scrambled their way to a couple of 3rd-long conversions. Both Nebraska and OSU broke off a couple of long runs, but they had some sustained success, too.

4
by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:52pm

Agreed on your last point. The IsoPPP ranking doesn't indicate Mich St. is ranked 51st in giving up big running plays. What it indicates is that Mich St. is ranked 51st in the percentage of successful running plays that end up in big plays. However, because they give up so few successful running plays, they still allow very, very few successful big plays on the ground.

Major difference. The baseball analog would be player A who hits 0.400 with an ISO of 0.150 (SLG 0.550) versus player B who hits 0.200 with an ISO of 0.250 (SLG 0.450). Player B produces a higher percentage of power per his hits, but player A is still better at producing total bases overall because he is successful with a simple base hit much more often. Obviously, player A remains the better player, just as Mich St's run defense remains elite even if it gives up a higher proportion of big plays per successful plays than other quality defensive units.

5
by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:56pm

Good stuff. What could be an impact here is how a unit attacks another unit based upon expected success rate. If a team (say Stanford) knows they can line up and get positive running plays virtually every down with straight ahead power, they would probably be less likely to call plays with higher IsoPPP. What is the point if you are confident you can methodically march down the field? Why take the risk?

6
by intel_chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:14pm

I like this idea. It seems like a good complement to DVOA in that it helps capture the teams that can generate big plays. I've always thought DVOA emphasized consistent good performance more than actual scoring. It would be nice to have a set of metrics that emphasized different aspects of good play. The ability to generate big plays, is the ability to threaten the other team with a score. DVOA is more a measure of how well one plays positional football. However, if the other team can generate scores even when pinned deep in their own territory, the ability to pin then an extra 5 yards deeper in their territory isn't much of an advantage.

7
by dcrockett17 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:00pm

I was thinking as I got to the end that "what this approach needs, particularly on defense, is DVOA," and that seems like kinda what you are suggesting at the end.

8
by dcrockett17 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:00pm

I was thinking as I got to the end that "what this approach needs, particularly on defense, is DVOA," and that seems like kinda what you are suggesting at the end.