Most/Least Improved Offensive PPG of the 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 ppg.
There are many factors that contribute to a significant change in offensive ppg. First, a team may see a significant improvement if they return a bunch of experienced starters from a team that was relatively inexperienced the year before. Naturally a team that loses a bunch of starters especially their quarterback from an experienced team will usually see a drop off in offensive ppg.
Another factor may be a coaching change. Usually a coach is more experienced at one side of the ball than the other (especially if they were just a coordinator in their previous job) and this could lead to a change in ppg. An “offensive” minded coach could come in and improve the offense by possibly instituting a more wide-open spread offense while a “defensive” minded coach may be more conservative on the offensive side of the ball and the ppg could suffer.
Whatever the case may be here are all the teams that improved by at least 14 ppg on offense compared to the priorseason. 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 Offensive PPG L/20 years
A couple of quick notes first. In this most improved list on avg these teams returned more than 7 starters on offense and 79% of them returned their starting quarterback from the previous year. The #1 Most improved offensive ppg is the 2000 Northwestern Wildcats who went to a spread formation in head coach Randy Walker’s 2nd season. Led by QB Zak Kustok and RB Damien Anderson, the Wildcats avg an incredible 24 more ppg in 2000 and improved from 3-8 to 8-4 while sharing the Big 10 championship.
The #2 most improved offensive ppg is the 2001 BYU Cougars who in Gary Crowton’s first season as head coach avg 44.1 ppg (+20.8) which keyed their 12-0 start to the season before dropping their final two games.
The #3 most improved team is the 1999 Oklahoma Sooners who ironically brought in “defensive” minded coach Bob Stoops who installed a more wide-open shotgun offense led by OC Mike Leach and QB Josh Heupel. The transition from a run-oriented team was surprisingly easy for the Sooners as they avg 35.8 ppg which was 19.1 ppg more than the previous year.
Now here is a look at all of the teams who gave up at least 14 ppg more than the prior year. Keep in mind again that my data only goes back to 1995 for some of the smaller schools.
Least Improved Offensive PPG L/20 Years
|14||San Diego St||1997||-17.5|
The #1 Least Improved offensive ppg team of the last 20 years happened last year with the Rice Owls. Rice returned just four starters from a unit that avg 41.3 ppg in 2008. The ‘08 team featured QB Chase Clement who had a 44-7 ratio but last year the Owls lost Clement as well as their top rushers and receivers and their ppg plummeted to just 18.3.
The #2 Least improved team is 2002 BYU Cougars who came down to earth after their record-breaking offensive ppg performance in 2001 which avg 44.1 ppg. In ’02 the Cougars lost their starting QB and returned just 3 starters and avg just 22.7 ppg.
Finally at #3 is the 1998 Washington St Cougars who like the top 2 teams lost most of their starters including a record-breaking QB in Ryan Leaf. The Cougars who avg 40.3 ppg in their Rose Bowl season in ’97 avg just 20.3 ppg the following year.
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I will be back tomorrow with a look at the most/least improved defensive ppg of the last 20 years.
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