2007 Offensive and Defensive Efficiency

Might as well take a quick look at how Nebraska is stacking up in terms of our offensive and defensive efficiency, thus far in 2007.

Remember offensive efficiency is measured by way of the Scoreability Index. The Scoreability Index is obtained by dividing a team’s total yards by total points scored, yielding Yards Per Point Scored. A team that ranks high on the Scoreability Index has the offense that scores most efficiently, marching off a relatively small number of yards for every point it scores.

Nebraska currently has a Scoreability Index of 13.68 which ranks 56th nationally. That means Nebraska is currently scoring one touchdown for every 82 yards of offense they generate. To put this in perspective, a year ago we scored on TD for every 81 yards of offense we generated, so we can call that a wash.

When looking at how the Big 12 stacks up, you might be surprised.

1. Oklahoma
2. Texas A&M
3. Kansas
4. Kansas State
5. Texas
6. Texas Tech
7. Missouri
8. Nebraska
9. Oklahoma State
10. Baylor
11. Colorado
12. Iowa State

Nebraska has just the 8th most efficient offense in the conference. Interestingly that puts the Huskers just one spot below the high powered offense of Missouri. Things should be interesting in two weeks.

Defensive efficiency is measured by way of the Bendability Index. This is the first stat that chronicles the phenomenon of the “bend-but-don’t-break” defense. The Bendability Index is obtained by dividing a team’s total yards allowed by total points allowed, yielding Yards Per Point Allowed. A team that ranks high on the Bendability Index has the defense that opponents must work hardest to score upon.

You can probably guess how ugly this one is. Nebraska currently has a Bendability Index of 14.03. So far, Nebraska’s opponents have had to march just 84 yards to score the equivalent of a single touchdown. A year ago the Blackshirts forced teams to generate 108 yards of offense to score the equivalent of one TD. For those claiming this is the “worst Husker defense I have ever seen” you’d be almost right in terms of defensive efficiency. Cosgrove’s 2004 defense was actually worse. That team had a Bendability Index of 13.72 and opponents needed just 82 yards of offense to score the equivalent of one TD. This year’s totals would, however, rank as the second least efficient defense since the Osborne Era began.

When looking at the Big 12, things are darn right ugly. All I can say is thank God for Iowa State.

1. Kansas
2. Oklahoma
3. Missouri
4. Texas
5. Kansas State
6. Baylor
7. Texas A&M
8. Colorado
9. Oklahoma State
10. Texas Tech
11. Nebraska
12. Iowa State

But after looking at these numbers I actually feel better about the defense and worse about the offense. While Sam Keller and the offense are racking up yards, we aren’t putting up enough points to show for all of that work. That type of inefficiency will come back to haunt us in conference play. Especially if we are going to have to outscore everyone.

Defensively we are obviously bad, but most of the teams going all the way back to the Osborne era had a game or two where the defense imploded. Those games impacted the overall defensive efficiency of the team, but didn’t necessarily result in losses. At the very worst, if the defensive numbers continue at this rate we should finish somewhere between the 2002 team and the 2004 team. In other words, we could expect about six wins. Ouch.

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