The Fastest College Football Teams
Photo Attribution: US PresswireSlater had the story: Mike Gundy: “I think that in five years, you’re going to see the SEC playing offensive football like this league.”That got me curious. I put on my loser cap and performed a swan dive into the numbers. If you have followed football at all over the past several years you have certainly noticed the up-tempo styles of certain teams and, more generally, conferences. I wondered which teams and conferences are the fastest and which are the slowest.As always before we get started, a caveat: There have been some rule changes over the years that impact the length of games. To level the playing field, each team’s plays per game are expressed as a % of the NCAA average for that year. For example, OSU is running 83.5 plays per game so far this year. The NCAA average in 2012 is 71.7, so our figure for 2012 is 83.5 / 71.7 = 116%. Got it? Here we go…2005 to current, all games included. Offensive plays/game.Fastest teams, 2005 to currentMarshall 2012 – 128% (this is 92 plays/game)Oklahoma 2010 – 127%Arizona 2012 – 126%Louisiana Monroe 2012 – 122%Houston 2009 – 121%We played three of those teams and didn’t beat a single one of them. Sorry to start off the list with a punch in the gut. By the way, this year’s OSU squad is 17th on this list at 116% — our fastest team in the Gundy era.The team with the fastest average over this time period is Houston at 112%. OSU is 17th at 104%.Slowest teams, 2005 to currentEastern Michigan 2012 – 79% (this is 57 plays/game)Temple 2012 – 84%Wyoming 2010 – 84%Kansas State 2012 – 84%South Carolina 2005 – 85%K-State is averaging 61 plays/game so far this year. This has to be the only school in the country where the head coach’s age is greater than the number of plays they run, right?The team with the slowest average over this time period is Temple at 90%.Fastest BCS conferences, 2005 to currentBig 12, 2011 – 109% (only one school was below the national average — yes, K-State).Big 12, 2010 – 107%Big 12, 2009 – 105%Big 12, 2008 – 104%Big 10, 2005 – 104% (believe it or not)How about that. The Big 12 has been on a lightning quick record-setting pace for the last four seasons, getting faster each year. Only one other conference cracks the top 5. In case you are wondering where the 2012 Big 12 is, our teams are averaging “only” 103% of the national average this year. The national average is up (more on that in a minute) and some Big 12 schools are slowing down a bit this year, plus we have the anchor in Manhattan pulling the average down.The Big 12 has the fastest average over this time period at 104%.Slowest BCS conferences, 2005 to currentSEC, 2011 – 94%SEC, 2005 – 94%SEC, 2012 – 95%Big East, 2009 – 95%SEC, 2008 – 96%The SEC has the slowest average over this time period at 96%.National TrendsAs the chart shows, plays per game are generally on the rise across the country. The Big 12 has been above the national average in every year since 2005. The SEC has been the slowest or 2nd slowest BCS conference in every year since 2005. The two conferences play very different styles of football, and I think it’s fair to say that the national media looks down upon the Big 12 style.But even though the SEC still plays “old man football”, things are starting to pick up down there. Last year, only one team was faster than the national average (Georgia). This year, three teams are playing faster than the national average so far. We’ll see if it holds up as they grind through conference play.A few more tidbits if you’re interested…Fastest Big 12 teams, 2005 to current:Oklahoma 2010 – 127%Texas A&M 2009 – 120%Texas Tech 2010 – 119%Texas Tech 2011 – 118%Oklahoma 2008 – 117%Oklahoma State 2012 – 116%The Big 12 team with the fastest average speed from 2005 to current is Texas Tech at 110%.Slowest Big 12 teams, 2005 to current:Kansas State 2012 – 84%Nebraska 2009 – 92%Colorado 2006 – 93%Kansas State 2006 – 95%Baylor 2008 – 95%The Big 12 team with the slowest average speed from 2005 to current is Kansas State at 97%One more. Where is Oregon? They have been the 3rd fastest team over this time period at 110%.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!