A reader emailed over the weekend and asked a tempo offense question, specifically, how does the number of plays run factor into wins and losses.
Well, just looking at the opening weekend of SEC play, the team that ran more plays typically won the game. Not all teams were trying to snap it fast, and some of them won anyway.
There were 13 games involving SEC teams on opening weekend. The team that ran the most plays won 10 times.
Alabama’s Nick Saban and new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema have been vocal critics of snap-it-fast football. They weren’t trying to go fast and out-played their opponents anyway. Alabama ran 62 plays to Virginia Tech’s 59, and Arkansas ran 74 plays to Louisiana-Lafayette’s 63.
Ole Miss ran 85 plays to Vanderbilt’s 69.
LSU ran 80 plays to TCU’s 54.
North Carolina ran 20 more plays than South Carolina but could neither rush for 100 yards or pass for 200. And remember, SC star Jadeveon Clowney was criticized for having an average game.
If you turn the ball over extra plays don’t help. Washington State and Mike Leach ran 88 plays to Auburn’s 65, but WSU also threw three interceptions and gave up a 100-yard kick return touchdown.
Last year in Hugh Freeze’s first season as coach Ole Miss ran more plays than its opponent in 10 of 13 games and was 6-4 in those games.
Here’s what play differential looked like for SEC teams on opening weekend:
Ole Miss* 84, Vanderbilt 69
Alabama* 62, Virginia Tech 59
Florida* 70, Toledo 54
North Carolina 79, South Carolina* 59
Rice 88, Texas A&M* 66
Oklahoma State* 73, MSU 70
Clemson* 76, Georgia 70
LSU* 80, TCU 54
Arkansas* 74, La.-Lafayette 63
Tennessee* 73, Austin Peay 54
Washington State 88, Auburn* 65
Western Kentucky* 75, Kentucky 60
Missouri* 87, Murray State 75
* – Winning team