Loyal Cougars

By the Numbers: BYU’s offense through four games

BYU’s offense is ranked No. 18 in FBS in total offense. Do any of you reading this feel like you’ve been watching a top 20 offense? I didn’t think so.

One thing that GFGH does is mess with base statistics. Versus 2012, BYU’s offense is averaging more than 90 yards more per game. Good, right? As Lee Corso might say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

If we go by yards per play, the Cougars are ranked 70th at 5.3. That might tell more of the story. That’s better than last season’s 4.9, which was good for 97th in the country. I think most folks would say BYU is better offensively, and, by that measure,  there seems to be a marginal improvement.

Another good way to look at all this is in context. Raw numbers often don’t tell the real story, as the quality of the defenses a team faces will greatly affect raw statistics. According to Football Outsiders’ S&P Offensive ranking, BYU is ranked as the 56th best offense in the country.

But if you use FO’s rankings to compare to past years, it might not feel so good. Last year they ranked BYU as the No. 44 offense in the country. So as bad as we may have thought the offense was last season, it doesn’t appear that the Cougars have improved much, and the Cougars might be worse.

Of course, the sample size here is small, and because BYU is implementing a new offense, the numbers so far (even FO’s adjusted numbers), are probably not predictive. As offensive coordinator Robert Anae, the coaching staff, and the players get more comfortable with the offense, it may improve. There’s no guarantee it will, but it’s very possible, and there have been signs of life against Texas and Middle Tennessee, and even against Utah.

Looking at the numbers and using our eyes, I think we all know that the offense is pretty mediocre right now. Yes, there is reason to hope, but hope doesn’t make first downs and it certainly doesn’t score touchdowns. If BYU is going to makre something of this season, the offense is going to need to be better and soon. The 56th ranked offense is just not good enough.


  1. Brett Hein

    October 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I think the difference between 44th last year and 56th so far this year is that the offense isn’t turning the ball over at anywhere near the clip it did last year. I think that at least equalizes things.

  2. Trey

    October 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I think the bigger tell is the way we are winning this year. Last year you never knew what to expect. Everything was so sporadic and “ugly” that you really didn’t know if you were going to win, have a blowout, or lose a close one. As far as the eye test was concerned, you were always on edge when our offense took possession.

    So far in 4 games, when we have won, it has been as scripted. The opposing defense has been completely gassed by the fourth quarter, and the offense could score at will if it wanted to–which was not the case against MTSU, as Bronco pulled all the starters to spare embarrassment to our guests.

    By the same token, when we have lost it has also been predictable–our offense gets stopped too quickly forcing our defense to be on the field too long, and we lose the Time of Possession battle. Or we lose the Turn Over margin and allow the opponent to take advantage (ie VA). In this offense TOP is critical. If we lose TOP we lose the game. If we lose TO we most likely lose the game too, but there is a little wiggle room with GFGH for error.

    Basically GFGH is doing what it is designed to do, and everything points to improved numbers in offense as soon as we become proficient with it. What I have observed thus far is constant improvement. As the passing game continues to solidify (which depends on several factors including better O-line play), we will continue to see this trend until we will all be comfortable calling this a top 20 offense.

    Remember Oregon has been perfecting this offense for more than 6 years.