Down in the heart of Texas, there are some fresh new faces in Austin this year. And, well, quite frankly, there should have been. They went 5-7 after making the national championship game the year before, and rated 98th in PP6ps. They were outscored by such powerhouses as Kent State, North Texas, and Tulane. However, with the firing and hiring of 9 assistant coaches in the offseason, and returning 14 out of their 22 starters, things might be a little better this year…
First, let’s talk about how dreadful the Longhorns offense was. Using traditional stats, the Longhorns rank 81st in scoring offense, and 55th in yardage. However, the PP6ps, which adjusts for amount of plays ran, puts them 98th.
And that brings us to Harsin, who was the offensive coordinator for Boise State the last 5 years, and had been with his alma mater for 10 years. Harsin’s offense was ranked #1 in the PP6pa in 2010, meaning that the Broncos took about 9 plays to score 6 points, the value of a touchdown. Now, a lot of that could be, and probably is due to the level of competition (the #72nd SOS if cfbtn.com is used), but, nonetheless, is a lot of points in a little amount of plays.
Now, let’s take a look at Texas and Boise State’s numbers in 2010 . . .
- Boise State’s PP6ps was around 9.31. Texas’s was 18.48. Loosely, this could mean that Boise’s offense was twice as good as Texas’s last year.
- Now, in terms of SOS, as mentioned before, Boise State’s was rated #72. Texas’s was rated #39.
- On a Per Possession Basis, Boise State had around 3.9 points per possession, Texas had about 1.8 points per possession. Again, this backs up my claim that Boise’s offense was twice as good as Texas.
Clearly, Boise had an efficient offense, even if they didn’t play the greatest competition in the world. Now, how much does Texas’s offense have to improve for them to be competitive?
Well, the answer to that question is…not as much as one would think. 3 of their games were decided by 8 points or less, and that would have given them an 8-4 season, a win over Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, plus a bowl game.
As stated before, Texas averaged 18.48 plays per 6 points scored. And, according to CFBTN, they averaged 13.3 possessions per game, and around 5.5 plays per possession. So, using my handy calculator, I came up with this…
Texas scored 6 points every 3.36 possessions. For them to win the three games decided by 8 points or less, they would have only had to score once every 2.5 possessions, or thereabouts. Thus, Harsin only has to find a 0.86 scoring difference. Basically, Texas only has to score a touchdown at the rate that Air Force scored last year to make up the 8 point difference.
Now, is an 8 win season good for Texas standards. No, not at all. But, an 8-9 win season could lay the groundwork for a dynasty to be built in Austin, especially with the re-formatted Big XII and no conference championship game.
Things might just be looking up after a dreadful season last year.