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Most/Least Improved Pass Offenses L/20 Years

Today’s blog will continue with my series of analyzing the most/least improved units over the last 20 years. Each day this week I will have a new offensive or defensive statistical category to examine and today I will breakdown offensive pass yards.

There are many factors that contribute to a significant change in pass yards. First, a new coach may come in and prefer a more pass-oriented attack than the previous coach. Naturally a lot more passing attempts will usually equal a lot more yards. Similarly you may see a significant drop in pass yards if the new coach features a run-heavy offense than the previous coach.

Another factor team which could contribute to a large gain in pass yards may be that the team has a veteran quarterback along with bunch of young running backs and they will want to focus on the passing game more to take the pressure off the inexperienced backs. Similarly, a large drop off in pass yards may occur when the team has an inexperienced quarterback, and has their star RB returning. Also a team may feature an experienced Heisman-caliber QB and in that case they will give him many more attempts thus increasing the passing yard output.

Whatever the case may be here are all the teams that improved by at least 100 yards passing compared to the prior season. Quick note for many of the smaller schools in the WAC, MAC and Sun Belt: my data only goes back to 1995 for those teams so it would include the last 15 years instead of the last 20.

Most Improved Pass Offense YPG L/20 years

Rk School Year YPG Improved
1 Kentucky 1997 247
2 Oklahoma 1999 217
3 North Texas 2007 175
4 E Carolina 1991 167
5 Buffalo 1997 166
6 Maryland 1992 165
7 San Diego St 2002 156
8 Tulsa 2007 145
9 Colorado 1992 141
10 Arizona 2007 140
10 Hawaii 1999 140
10 Temple 1994 140
13 Northwestern 2007 139
14 Colorado 2003 137
14 Navy 1993 137
16 Oregon St 1997 125
17 Houston 2008 124
18 Cincinnati 1998 123
18 San Diego St 2007 123
20 TexasTech 2000 122
21 Stanford 1993 120
22 Wake Forest 1995 119
23 C Michigan 1996 117
24 Colorado 2007 115
25 Miami (OH) 1999 112
25 Notre Dame 2005 112
27 Rice 2006 111
28 Bowling Green 2007 110
28 Kansas St 1993 110
30 Houston 2000 109
31 Boston College 1993 108
31 E Michigan 2004 108
31 Kent St 1996 108
31 Kentucky 2006 108
31 Oregon 1993 108
36 Duke 2009 107
36 Fresno St 2001 107
38 Florida St 1997 105
38 Georgia 1993 105
38 Louisville 1998 105
41 N Carolina St 2003 104
42 Army 2000 103
42 Florida ATL 2007 103
42 Pittsburgh 1997 103
45 Florida 2001 101
45 Illinois 2008 101
45 TexasTech 2007 101
48 Kent St 2003 100

Coming in at #1 is the 1997 Kentucky Wildcats. After the ’96 season, Kentucky hired Hal Mumme who brought with him his pass-happy offense. Led by future #1 pick Tim Couch the Wildcats averaged 365 pass ypg in ’97 which was 247 more ypg than 1996. The next year Kentucky improved their pass ypg again and it was key factor in the team going to its first bowl game in five years.

Similar to Kentucky, the #2 most improved pass offense the 1999 Oklahoma Sooners brought in a new coach. In Bob Stoops’ first year the Sooners avg 327 pass ypg led by QB Josh Heupel which was 217 more pyg than the previous season. Oklahoma would then go onto win the national title the following season. The #3 team fit the new pass-happy coach mold as well. In 2007, North Texas brought in highly-successful Texas HS coach Todd Dodge and the Mean Green improved their pass ypg by 175.

Now here is a look at all of the teams who averaged at least 100 pass ypg less than the prior year. Keep in mind again that my data only goes back to 1995 for some of the smaller schools.

Least Improved Pass Offense YPG L/20 Years

Rk School Year YPG Weaker
1 New Mexico St 2009 -213
2 Hawaii 2008 -188
3 Houston 1993 -179
4 Arizona St 2006 -175
5 Washington St 2008 -174
6 Pittsburgh 1993 -162
7 LSU 2002 -156
8 N Carolina St 2004 -150
9 Boston College 2008 -147
10 UNLV 1998 -144
11 Army 2008 -142
11 Wake Forest 1999 -142
11 Wyoming 1997 -142
14 Florida 2002 -138
14 Northwestern 2006 -138
16 E Carolina 1993 -133
17 Connecticut 2005 -132
18 Rice 2009 -132
19 S Carolina 1996 -131
20 Louisville 2008 -130
21 Memphis 2005 -127
22 Tennessee 1998 -126
23 Marshall 2003 -125
23 Purdue 1991 -125
25 Ball St 2009 -124
26 Eastern Michigan 2009 -117
26 Ohio St 1999 -117
26 Tennessee 2008 -117
29 Boston College 1994 -116
29 Kentucky 2008 -116
31 Bowling Green 2006 -115
31 UL-Lafayette 1997 -115
33 San Diego St 2003 -114
34 Louisiana Tech 2004 -113
35 S Carolina 1992 -110
36 Georgia Tech 1995 -107
36 San Diego St 1991 -107
36 Syracuse 2008 -107
36 UAB 2006 -107
40 Arizona 2003 -106
40 Fresno St 2002 -106
40 Kentucky 1999 -106
40 San Jose St 2004 -106
44 Florida St 2001 -105
44 Georgia 1995 -105
44 Nebraska 2009 -105
44 New Mexico 2008 -105
44 New Mexico St 2008 -105
44 Notre Dame 2000 -105
50 Colorado 2006 -104
50 Louisville 1991 -104
52 Fresno St 2006 -102
52 Hawaii 1991 -102
52 Vanderbilt 2002 -102
55 Houston 1991 -101
55 Kansas St 2009 -101
55 Missouri 1995 -101
55 Oregon St 1991 -101

Last year New Mexico St hired DeWayne Walker who featured a more balanced attack compared to former coach Hal Mumme who featured his “Air Raid” system. The Aggies also had to replace the school’s all-time career leading passer in Chase Holbrook and the returning quarterbacks had ZERO career FBS passes! Add all this up and you get the least improved pass attack of the last 20 years as the Aggies avg 213 ypg less in ’09.

At #2 is the 2008 Hawaii passing attack, which like New Mexico St had a new coach and the Warriors had to replace star QB Colt Brennan who threw for nearly 10,000 yards and 96 TDs in the previous two years combined! With a new quarterback, the Warriors avg “just” 251 pass ypg but it was a far-cry from the 439 ypg they avg in the 2007 Sugar Bowl season.

At #3 is the 1993 Houston Cougars who like the top 2 brought in a new coach in Kim Helton who featured a less “pass-heavy” offense than former “run and shoot” HC John Jenkins.

Make sure you visit the PhilSteele.com homepage and check out several of the new features added in the past week including Players Lost for the SeasonFacebook Forecasts and a week-by-week Schedule complete with up-to-date TV times.

I will be back tomorrow with a look at the most/least improved pass attacks from the last 20 years.

Only 42 Days Until the First College Football Game!!

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