Scoring Drive Percentage

Yesterday I took a look at some punting stats from last year, and that was nice but I couldn’t compare them relatively because I didn’t have information on how many drives each team had.

Well, I did my best to approximate how many drives everyone had by adding up punts, lost fumbles, interceptions thrown, field goal attempts, failed fourth down conversions, and offensive touchdowns. That leaves out drives ended by halves, but there are only two of those per game and they often are just teams kneeling to run out the clock anyway. It also leaves out safeties, but I can’t find any stats on those and they’re pretty rare anyway.

All stats came from the NCAA, except field goals which curiously aren’t kept in a nice list. Those I got from ESPN.

Out of that, I calculated the percentage of drives a team scored on. The top ten are as follows:

  1. Florida – 57.43%
  2. Navy – 56.94%
  3. Kansas – 52.63
  4. Texas Tech – 52.20%
  5. Missouri – 52.00%
  6. Boise State – 51.76%
  7. Oklahoma – 51.67%
  8. LSU – 51.40%
  9. Hawaii – 50.57%
  10. West Virginia – 48.80%

The bottom ten are as follows:

  1. FIU – 17.54%
  2. Army – 20.37%
  3. Notre Dame – 20.65%
  4. Duke – 20.78%
  5. Baylor – 20.96%
  6. Syracuse – 22.82%
  7. Temple – 23.53%
  8. Iowa – 23.97%
  9. Iowa State – 24.83%
  10. Louisiana Tech – 25.44%

I don’t think the occupants of either list are that shocking other than Iowa. What happened to the Hawkeye offense? It used to be pretty good not that long ago.

This just goes to (further) show that great offense alone won’t get you contending for the title. Florida, Navy, and Texas Tech were 1, 2, and 4 on the list, with all scoring on over half of their drives. They finished 46, 108, and 50 in the scoring defense rankings though, which is why none of them won more than 9 games.

Also, at 6-6 Iowa serves as the answer to the question of which was the lowest bowl-eligible team (112th). The lowest bowl participant? None other than Sylvester Croom’s Mississippi State Bulldogs, 102nd with a 27.71% scoring rate. How a team won 8 games while scoring on just a shade over a quarter of its drives is a mystery, though timely turnovers and defensive scoring are part of it.

UCLA, our punting champs from yesterday, finished 99th, having scored on just 28.87% of its drives.

The two lowest ranked 10+ win teams were Boston College (#66, 34.97%) and Virginia Tech (T-54, 36.90%). That says a lot about the ACC, since those two teams met in the conference’s championship game. I also find it funny how the Hokies were #3 in scoring defense and went 11-3 while Georgia Tech was tied with VT in this list, but was 21st in scoring defense and finished 7-6. Furthermore, congratulations to the Atlanta Falcons who just drafted a quarterback who scored on just 35% of his drives last season.

Other notables:

  • #14 Georgia (45.22%) – Sugar Bowl champs
  • #16 UCF (44.81%) – Conference USA champion
  • #18 Ohio State (44.52%) – Big Ten champion
  • #23 Kansas State (43.71%) – Highest team with a losing record
  • #36 USC (41.42%) – Pac 10 champs; not a vintage year for the Trojans’ offense
  • #43 Central Michigan (39.68%) – MAC champions
  • #49 Troy (38.86%) – Sun Belt champions
  • #51 BYU (38.75%) – MWC champions; third-lowest 10+ win team
  • #77 Florida State (34.10%) – So much for Jimbo Fisher turning things around immediately
  • #105 Miami (26.53%) – Where have you gone, Ken Dorsey?
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