Strength against Strength. Heisman Winner against Butkus Award Winner. Big 12 against SEC.
The headlines for the 2018 Rose Bowl are endless. Talking heads locally and nationally have done their best to deeply analyze the game from an X’s and O’s standpoint. Watching a game and dissecting it is one thing, looking at how a team has fared over the entirety of a season is different. The visual provides a good idea of what to expect in the game, but the numbers do a better job of explaining how the game could go.
Advanced statistics in college football are becoming more and more apparent when breaking a game down. Stats such as offensive and defensive efficiency, yards per play, and snaps per game can tell the story of how a team truly compares against another opponent. Here are where Oklahoma and Georgia stack up against each other in some impactful stat categories out there:
Georgia- 22nd (34.9 ppg)
Oklahoma- 4th (44.9 ppg)
Georgia- 4th (13.2 ppg)
Oklahoma- 52nd (25.0 ppg)
Georgia- 34th (433.6 ypg)
Oklahoma- 1st (583.3 ypg)
Georgia- 4th (270.9 ypg)
Oklahoma- 58th (384.8 ypg)
Georgia- 10th (263.5 ypg)
Oklahoma- 27th (215.9 ypg)
Georgia- 11th (112.6 ypg)
Oklahoma- 41st (144.2 ypg)
Georgia- 110th (170.1 ypg)
Oklahoma- 3rd (367.4 ypg)
Georgia- 2nd (158.3 ypg)
Oklahoma- 87th (240.6 ypg)
Georgia- 34th (+5)
Oklahoma- 34th (+5)
S&P+ Offensive Rating*
S&P+ Defensive Rating*
Amount Of Teams Played In Top 50 S&P+ Offense*
Amount Of Teams Played In Top 50 S&P+ Defense*
Points Per Play
Georgia- 13th (.525)
Oklahoma- 3rd (.635)
Amount Of Teams Played In Top 50 Points Per Play
Yards Per Play
Georgia- 12th (6.6 ypp)
Oklahoma- 1st (8.3 ypp)
Yards Per Play Allowed
Georgia- 7th (4.3 ypp)
Oklahoma- 65th (5.5 ypp)
Yards Per Rush Attempt
Georgia- 10th (5.8 yards per attempt)
Oklahoma-13th (5.6 yards per attempt)
Opponent Yards Per Rush Attempt
Georgia- 26th (3.6 yards per attempt)
Oklahoma- 44th (4.0 yards per attempt)
Yards Per Pass Attempt
Georgia- 7th (8.9 yards per attempt)
Oklahoma- 1st (12.0 yards per attempt)
Opponent Yards Per Pass Attempt
Georgia- 1st (5.5 yards per attempt)
Oklahoma- 80th (7.5 yards per attempt)
Plays Per Game
Georgia- 113th (65.4 plays per game)
Oklahoma- 77th (70.7 plays per game)
Opponent Plays Per Game
Georgia- 8th (63.0 plays per game)
Oklahoma- 39th (69.6 plays per game)
Opponent Average Time Of Possession
Georgia- 19th (27:50)
Oklahoma- 25th (28:15)
Strength Of Schedule
Here is what to take away from these stats:
- Georgia’s offensive numbers do not put them among the elite in college football, but they are a much better and more efficient offense than what people are giving them credit for. They make the most out of their plays as they are 113th in plays per game while being 12th in yards per play. The Bulldogs are 110th in passing offense, but are 7th in yards per pass attempt. Per advanced metrics, they are also the 18th best offense in college football.
- Much is being made of Georgia being able to control the clock in order to counter Oklahoma’s offense, but the Sooners have been just as good controlling the clock this season as Georgia. Given that Oklahoma has faced more high-powered offenses and run more plays per game this season, the :25 second difference in opponent average time of possession may be a bigger margin than what it would be if everything was equal…the Sooners’ opponents may actually have the ball for less.
- Nothing can be made of either team’s schedule this season. Both are in the top ten of strength of schedule. Georgia has played two better defenses, Oklahoma has played two better offenses. The narratives of the strength or weakness of the Big 12 and SEC need to be thrown out the window when discussing the two.
- The Oklahoma defense has had a slightly worse season than Georgia’s offense. Not much is being made of that match-up with how good Oklahoma’s offense and Georgia’s defense have been this year. Jake Fromm and the Georgia offense put up a respectable year finding themselves in the Top 50 of most offensive categories. However, Oklahoma finds themselves outside the Top 50 in most defensive categories. Will the difference between the two be the difference in the game?
- It is strength against strength, and the stats back that up. Oklahoma is first in the country in yards per pass attempt, Georgia is first in yards allowed per pass attempt. Oklahoma is in the top ten of seven offensive categories, Georgia is in the top ten of six defensive categories. A game truly meant to test if championships are only won by playing defense.
Numbers can be deceiving depending on conference affiliation and non-conference play. For the Rose Bowl, the stats don’t hide anything. Oklahoma’s offense and Georgia’s defense are elite. Georgia’s offense is underrated and Oklahoma’s defense is about what we thought they were. The 2018 Rose Bowl will be a trendsetter–can only defense win championships?
*S&P+ ratings are based around the core concepts of the Five Factors: efficiency, explosiveness, field position, finishing drives, and turnovers.
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