The Stat Gods Smile On Marshawn Lynch

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Stat Boy is impressed by Marshawn Lynch's upside.

Well…at least on his potential. One of the geniuses and/or stat geeks at Football Outsiders (who created the awesome Pro Football Prospectus, a must have for a pigskin nerd) has some interesting words about Marshawn (and the Pac-10 in general).

When I was compiling college statistics using the NCAA’s database (which covers teams from 2000-2006), I organized them by conference, normalized the teams’ schedules to a 12-game season, and then calculated the average performance each team put up for each year. By doing that, I was able to find the offensive performance of the average team in each conference over the six-year span.

What I found was that the run/pass ratio across different conferences was noticeably different. Run/pass ratio is a simple metric that measures how often a team runs the ball as opposed to passing it; for example, all D-1 teams over the six-year span averaged 1.28 rushing plays for each passing play. If you limit the figures to major conferences (the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Big West, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC, Sun Belt, and WAC), the figure is 1.24. The Big Ten and the Pac-10, though, stand on different sides of the divide. Big Ten teams averaged 1.36 rushes for each pass, while Pac-10 teams averaged only 1.08, the lowest figure for any conference.

What this means is that Big Ten rushing figures are likely to be inflated, while the passing statistics are likely depressed some. Meanwhile, the opposite is likely to be true for Pac-10 players.

In other words, the odds seem to favor Marshawn running it up on the NFL in the near future. If anything to the contrary happens, I will find Aaron Schaatz’s Tom Brady Fathead pinup and snap it to pieces.

EDIT: Lynch continues a trend of impressive games (20 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown), the only bright spot in their lopsided defeat to the Patriots.

Thoughts on this data analysis? Comment-time.

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