Punting in 2007

It’s safe to say that no one really enjoys punting. Punter is the only position without a representative in the NFL Hall of Fame (though Ray Guy should have been in long ago). Punting is an important part of the field position battle, but honestly, no one enjoys doing it. We’d rather see our teams score.

It is with that in mind I present you with the most and least prolific punting teams in college football a year ago. Keep in mind that avoiding punting is not necessarily an indication of an elite offense – turnovers end drives too, and often in more damaging ways.

The most prolific punting team was UCLA, with an astonishing 93 punts on the season for a robust 3899 yards. That’s right; the Bruins had more punting yards than 14 teams gained on offense. For comparison, UCLA punted for 992 more yards than Notre Dame gained with its offense. Karl Dorrell, this is your legacy.

The Ray Guy of coaches. Or something.

Other frequent punters included Virginia Tech (89), Iowa (87), FIU (83), Oregon State (83), East Carolina (82), Virginia (81), Syracuse (80), Duke (80), and Mississippi State (80). There’s a mix of good, bad, and mediocre in there, showing that punting a lot doesn’t necessarily mean your team will lose. It is telling though that a fourth of the ACC is in the list of the ten most frequent punters.

On the other end of the spectrum, Navy had the fewest punts with just 24 on the season for 895 yards. I’ll be interested to see if Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech offense can keep the punting down anywhere close to that much in the punt-happy ACC. Georgia Tech punted 67 times last season, 3.1 more than the average team.

The remaining nine of the top ten least frequent punters are Texas Tech (30), Hawaii (35), Florida (37), Air Force (47), Louisville (48), Boise State (48), West Virginia (49), Southern Miss (49), and Arkansas State (50). This list is a bit better than the ten most frequent punters, with Arkansas State’s 5-7 record being the worst of them.

Granted, I don’t have a list of the number of drives for every team so I don’t know how these compare on a relative basis. Still, it’s interesting to see how justified UCLA fans were in their frustrations with Dorrell and to see how efficient the Gator offense really was last year.

Only 37 punts? Magnificent. If only we forced more than 10 the whole year…

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