HC Jim Mora (Photo by Steve Cheng)

Pac-12 Conference Statistical Overview

Nov. 1 -- We take a look at how the conference stacks up statistically with four games to go in the season...

We hope that you had a relaxing bye weekend. Two thirds of the way through the season and just before the playoff committee releases their first set of rankings for the year, we figured this would be a good time to take a look at the stats across the Pac 12 conference. It has not been a vintage year for the conference, beginning with current in-the-hunt teams Southern Cal and Washington State getting obliterated by Alabama and losing to Eastern Washington and continuing with a pronounced backslide by Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, and Arizona. The conference is currently undergoing its largest shift in at least five years, so how do the stats look?

  • Yards Per Stop to measure efficiency.
  • Yards Per Play to measure explosiveness.
  • Points Per Drive and Points Per Trip Inside the 40 to measure scoring efficiency and taking advantage of scoring opportunities.



As we’ve done in previous seasons, we are including the Z score along with the raw stats. It’s actually pretty simple, we promise! A z score shows the number of standard deviations away from the mean (average), so the further away from 0 the z score is (positive or negative), the more of an outlier the raw stat is. In a nutshell, the higher (or lower) the number, the better (or worse) the team is performing compared to average.

Offense

Yards Per Stop (Efficiency)



Get used to this phrase: Washington is the best team in the conference. 1.83 standard deviations better than average and easily into our Top 10 tier, the Huskies have far and away the most efficient offense in the conference. Second place Wazzu is also in that Top 10 tier, but their z score is closer to fifth place Southern Cal than first place Washington. The UCLA offense is not the worst offense in the conference, but they are nearly one standard deviation worse than average, and ninth place overall in the conference. Stanford is the least efficient offense in the conference, and this will not be their only appearance in the conference basement.

Points Per Drive (Scoring)



Washington is the best team in the conference. This time, they are nearly 2 standard deviations better than average and nearly 1 standard deviation better than second place Wazzu. Cal joins the Washington schools in the Top 10 tier, though Oregon is the only other offense that approaches being 1 standard deviation better than average. UCLA is again ninth place in the conference in scoring, with a pretty fair amount of daylight between the Bruins and eighth place Arizona State. Stanford is the worst scoring offense in the conference and is the only offense in the bottom tier of our rankings.

Yards Per Play (Explosiveness)



Washington is the best team in the conference. Utah, helped in large part by its ridiculous explosion against UCLA a couple weekends ago, is a surprise second place. The conference overall has several very explosive offenses, with Washington, Utah, Oregon, and Southern Cal all in our Top 10 tier. The Bruins are again in ninth place, and again there is a pretty large gulf between them and eighth place Arizona. Stanford brings up the rear again, as the only offense in the conference averaging fewer than 5 yards per play and the only one in our lowest tier.

Points Per Trip Inside the 40 (Taking Advantage of Scoring Opportunities)



Washington is the best team in the conference, making it a clean sweep atop the conference’s offensive scoring stats. Oregon, Cal, Washington State, and Arizona State all join Washington in our highest tier. The Bruins are the only conference team in the just-ok Top 50 tier, though their sixth place performance is the best among all offensive stats that we follow. Stanford is the worst offensive team in the conference, over two standard deviations worse than average and the only team in our lowest tier.

Defense

Yards Allowed Per Stop (Efficiency Prevention)



Washington is the best team in the conference, though the Colorado defense is slightly better than them at preventing efficiency. UCLA joins the Buffaloes and the Huskies as the clear class of the conference defenses in efficiency prevention, with the Bruins just over one standard deviation better than average. Cal would be the worst defense in the league if Oregon were not even worse, with both teams in our lowest tier and the Ducks defense over two standard deviations worse than average.

Points Allowed Per Drive (Scoring Prevention)



Washington is the best team in the conference, with the Huskies easily tops in point prevention. Colorado joins them in the elite Top 10 tier, and Stanford’s defense is third despite little help from their offense (the Cardinal’s numbers are almost certainly helped by their head coach’s punting proclivities). The Bruins are fifth in the conference, almost certainly hurt by the anemic offense and weak special teams. There are several teams in the conference in our worst tier, with Oregon State, Arizona State (THREE POINTS IN THE FIRST HALF ARE YOU KIDDING ME BRUINS), Cal, and Oregon all in our lowest tier, though the Ducks are the worst team by some margin.

Yards Allowed Per Play (Explosiveness Prevention)



Washington is the best team in the conference, though the Bruins only just fell out of the top spot here after their terrible performance against Joe Williams and Utah. Colorado joins the Bruins in the Top 25 tier, while Southern Cal is the only other team more than half a standard deviation better than average. This is the only defensive stat in which Oregon is not the worst team in the conference, though they are still in our lowest tier and nearly one full standard deviation worse than average. Blitz-crazed Arizona State is far and away the worst team in the conference at preventing explosiveness.

Points Allowed Per Trip Inside the 40 (Preventing Taking Advantage of Scoring Opportunities)



Washington is the best team in the conference. Even the few times that they allow opponents inside their 40 yard line, the Huskies are barely allowing more than a field goal on average. Colorado and Stanford are in the next tier of teams that toughen up as opponents get closer to scoring position, with Washington State and Southern Cal the next level down. The Bruin defense is about average, .03 standard deviations better than the mean. This is actually a bit of a comeback from early in the season, where the Bruin defense allowed Texas A&M and UNLV to score too easily once they reached the UCLA 40. The usual suspects of Arizona State, Cal, and Oregon bring up the rear, with each of those teams capitulating and allowing over 5 points per trip inside their 40.

Washington is far and away the best team in the conference, leading many categories on both offense and defense. In the three seasons we have been doing these articles, no one team has been as dominant across the board as UW. Washington State, Oregon, and Cal are all nearly as good on offense and Colorado and UCLA are nearly as good on defense, but no team reaches the heights or consistency of the Huskies, who are currently cruising towards a conference title. As for the Bruins, the defense has been good and the offense has not been the worst, but pretty clearly in the bottom tier. This has been a season of missed opportunities, as shown by the loss to a bad Stanford team, inability to score against a terrible Arizona State defense, and defensive collapse against a mediocre Utah offense.

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