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Most Improved Offensive Rush in 2009

In my 2009 College Preview Magazine on pgs 324 and 327 I included my computer’s projected stats in 2009 for all 120 FBS teams. There were several different categories including rush offense/defense, pass offense/defense, offensive pts and defensive pts.

On the right hand side of the page I listed the teams that my computer projected to be most improved in ’09 compared to ’08 season in 6 different categories. I had them ranked in order from Most Improved all the way down to the Least Improved and included the top 15 in each category along with the bottom 5.

In today’s blog I have included my projections of the teams I thought would be most improved in rush offense heading into the 2009 season and how they finished in the final NCAA rankings.

In the coming days I will feature a different category in each blog and I think you will be happy with the results of the accuracy of my projections.

Most Improved Offensive Rush 2009

Pre-Season Projection

Rank Team
1 Clemson
2 Middle Tenn
3 Michigan
4 Rutgers
5 Washington
6 Colorado
7 Wake Forest
8 UCLA
9 Minnesota
10 Notre Dame
11 USC
12 San Jose St
13 San Diego St
14 Arkansas
15 Arizona St
116 Louisiana
117 Connecticut
118 Rice
119 Tulsa
120 New Mexico

Final Rankings

Rank Team 09 Rush YPG 08 Rush YPG Diff
11 Clemson 170.36 111.54 58.82
5 Middle Tenn 186 106.92 79.08
19 Michigan 186.17 147.58 38.59
54 Rutgers 134.38 128 6.38
18 Washington 139 99.33 39.67
98 Colorado 87.92 124.5 -36.58
50 Wake Forest 131.83 121.38 10.45
24 UCLA 114.62 82.75 31.87
68 Minnesota 99.46 103.85 -4.39
41 Notre Dame 128.25 109.69 18.56
92 USC 166.77 194.85 -28.08
73 San Jose St. 76.67 86.67 -10
58 San Diego St. 78.33 73.17 5.16
42 Arkansas 131.77 113.5 18.27
30 Arizona St. 119.25 89.08 30.17
120 Louisiana 136.92 263.67 -126.75
107 Connecticut 170.69 216.38 -45.69
96 Rice 109.25 143.69 -34.44
119 Tulsa 150.75 268 -117.25
117 New Mexico 100.25 208.25 -108

As you can see my projections were fairly accurate. 11 out of the top 15 (73%) teams I thought would be most improved saw their rush offense ypg increase in ’09. All 5 of my top teams increased their rush offense by an avg of 36.79 ypg and even with counting the 4 teams who did not improve in ’09, my top 15 had an avg improvement of 17.2 ypg!

In ’08 the Clemson rush attack avg just 3.4 ypc, its lowest in 4 years and I thought they would be the most improved rush offense with a more experienced OL. Led by RB CJ Spiller (1212 yds, 5.6 ypc), the Tigers increased their rush offense by nearly 60 ypg in ’09 and finished #11.

Coming into the season Middle Tennessee’s OL had 99 career starts which tied for 11th most in the FBS and I thought the Blue Raider rush offense would go from a weakness to a strength in ’09. Thanks to multi-threat QB Dwight Dasher (1154 rush yds, 5.2 ypc), the Blue Raiders rush offense improved by nearly 80 ypg in ’09 and finished in the top 5 most improved.

My bottom 5 results were even more accurate. All of my 5 projected least improved teams saw their rush offense ypg decrease in ’09 and all 5 of the teams including bowl bound Connecticut finished 96th or worse! Overall my bottom 5 saw their offensive rush ypg drop an avg of 86.43 ypg and 3 of the 5 teams actually finished in the bottom 5 just as I projected!

Coming into the season I thought New Mexico would have the least improved rush offense as they were switching to more of a pass oriented scheme under new HC Locksley. The Lobos would go on to finish #117 as their rush offense ypg dropped from 208.25 in ’08 to just 100.25 in ’09 a 108 ypg decrease. Also in my magazine I predicted Tulsa to have the #119 least improved rush offense and at the end of the season the Golden Hurricane would finish at exactly #119 with a 117.25 ypg decrease.

Overall 16 of the 20 teams (80%) that were featured in my magazine finished with either a higher or lower rush ypg just as I projected!

Here is a complete list of all 120 teams and how they fared from 2008 to 2009. The teams highlighted in bold were the teams I had projected in my top 15 and the teams in italics are those who were in my bottom 5.

Rank Name 09 Rush Off YPG 08 Rush Off YPG Diff
1 Mississippi St. 227.58 100.58 127
2 Texas A&M 184.15 88.5 95.65
3 Temple 187 95.17 91.83
4 New Mexico St. 141.54 54.25 87.29
5 Middle Tenn 186 106.92 79.08
6 Auburn 212 137.5 74.5
7 SMU 109.77 41.42 68.35
8 Nevada 344.92 277.77 67.15
9 Kentucky 191.23 127.46 63.77
10 UAB 229.92 168.92 61
11 Clemson 170.36 111.54 58.82
12 North Texas 185.25 127.33 57.92
13 Utah St. 192.58 137.75 54.83
14 Kansas St. 179.92 132.5 47.42
15 Fresno St. 228.92 182.31 46.61
16 Iowa St. 180 138.42 41.58
17 Pittsburgh 180.31 139.08 41.23
18 Washington 139 99.33 39.67
19 Michigan 186.17 147.58 38.59
20 Tennessee 157.15 122.92 34.23
21 Central Mich. 167.64 133.69 33.95
22 Virginia Tech 208.15 174.36 33.79
23 Boise St. 186.07 152.31 33.76
24 UCLA 114.62 82.75 31.87
25 Idaho 164.69 133.17 31.52
26 ULM 183.92 152.67 31.25
27 Illinois 200.42 169.5 30.92
28 Buffalo 163.5 132.71 30.79
29 Alabama 215.07 184.64 30.43
30 Arizona St. 119.25 89.08 30.17
31 Western Ky. 172.83 143.92 28.91
32 UTEP 151.08 122.33 28.75
33 South Carolina 121.23 94.08 27.15
34 Vanderbilt 160 133.62 26.38
35 East Carolina 152.07 126.36 25.71
36 Northern Ill. 195.15 171.23 23.92
37 Georgia Tech 295.43 273.23 22.2
38 Cincinnati 138.69 117.64 21.05
39 TCU 239.54 220.23 19.31
40 Stanford 218.23 199.58 18.65
41 Notre Dame 128.25 109.69 18.56
42 Arkansas 131.77 113.5 18.27
43 UCF 130.54 113.25 17.29
44 Air Force 283.46 266.92 16.54
45 Florida Atlantic 152.42 138.77 13.65
46 Toledo 159.75 146.25 13.5
47 Georgia 161 148.31 12.69
48 BYU 145.69 134.38 11.31
49 Purdue 136.08 124.83 11.25
50 Wake Forest 131.83 121.38 10.45
51 North Carolina 132.85 122.62 10.23
52 Miami, FL 138 129.23 8.77
53 Michigan St. 136.85 130.15 6.7
54 Rutgers 134.38 128 6.38
55 Hawaii 100.46 94.5 5.96
56 FIU 104.25 98.67 5.58
57 South Florida 170.92 165.38 5.54
58 San Diego St. 78.33 73.17 5.16
59 UNLV 126.83 121.67 5.16
60 Utah 160.31 156.46 3.85
61 Ohio St. 195.38 192.46 2.92
62 Virginia 99.08 96.58 2.5
63 Arizona 159.38 158.38 1
64 North Carolina St. 120.92 123.15 -2.23
65 Mississippi 183.62 186.46 -2.84
66 Louisiana Tech 184.17 187.08 -2.91
67 Colorado St. 144.25 147.62 -3.37
68 Minnesota 99.46 103.85 -4.39
69 Western Mich. 112.33 116.85 -4.52
70 Boston College 136.92 142.86 -5.94
71 Wisconsin 203.85 211.15 -7.3
72 Florida 221.79 231.14 -9.35
73 San Jose St. 76.67 86.67 -10
74 Southern Miss. 181.38 192.46 -11.08
75 Navy 280.5 292.38 -11.88
76 Tulane 105.33 118.42 -13.09
77 Kansas 112.08 126.77 -14.69
78 Marshall 142.69 157.75 -15.06
79 Ohio 112 128.5 -16.5
80 California 169.46 186.23 -16.77
81 Oregon St. 139.85 158.08 -18.23
82 Troy 149.15 167.62 -18.47
83 Texas 147.57 167.46 -19.89
84 Eastern Mich. 126.25 148.17 -21.92
85 Syracuse 126.58 148.67 -22.09
86 Nebraska 147.07 169.77 -22.7
87 West Virginia 186.38 209.92 -23.54
88 Northwestern 117.54 141.77 -24.23
89 Washington St. 70.67 95.08 -24.41
90 Ball St. 159.42 184.5 -25.08
91 Missouri 127 153.79 -26.79
92 USC 166.77 194.85 -28.08
93 Florida St. 149.54 179.08 -29.54
94 Houston 129.64 161.15 -31.51
95 Texas Tech 84 117.85 -33.85
96 Rice 109.25 143.69 -34.44
97 Penn St. 169.77 205.85 -36.08
98 Colorado 87.92 124.5 -36.58
99 Memphis 158.25 194.85 -36.6
100 Army 203.58 241.42 -37.84
101 Miami, OH 70.08 108.08 -38
102 Maryland 105.75 144 -38.25
103 Louisville 125.17 164.5 -39.33
104 Wyoming 136.15 178.33 -42.18
105 Duke 63.5 106.17 -42.67
106 LSU 122.77 166.77 -44
107 Connecticut 170.69 216.38 -45.69
108 Akron 118.42 165.17 -46.75
109 Bowling Green 86.54 134 -47.46
110 Oregon 231.69 280.08 -48.39
111 Indiana 117.08 166.92 -49.84
112 Oklahoma St. 187.77 245.46 -57.69
113 Oklahoma 134.62 198.5 -63.88
114 Arkansas St. 135.25 203.33 -68.08
115 Iowa 114.23 188.69 -74.46
116 Baylor 100.58 195.75 -95.17
117 New Mexico 100.25 208.25 -108
118 Kent St. 114.58 230.58 -116
119 Tulsa 150.75 268 -117.25
120 Louisiana 136.92 263.67 -126.75
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