Monday, December 11, 2006

Rushing Revolution? Hardly the Case

With the tremendous help of cfbstats.com, we brought you the news last week of the dramatic reduction in the average length of Mountain West Conference games in 2006. Although all conferences experienced a reduction in the average length of games, the Mountain West's loss was off the charts. So Marty of cfbstats.com went back and looked at the percentage of rushing plays in 2006 conference games. Yes, the perception of the league is one of pass-pass-pass and that the new clock rules instituted for the 2006 season would be the reason for the loss. But as you can see, that is hardly the case. Mountain West teams ran the ball 56.4% of the time, trailing only the Big East (57.7%) and Sun Belt (57.6%). Granted, the Mountain West numbers are skewed by Air Force, which runs the ball 82.4% of the time. But Marty points out that even if you drop the Falcons from the equation, the Mountain West rush percentage dips to only 53%. So, what does this all mean? Clearly rush percentage does not correlate with a drop in game duration, so we remain at a loss for the huge reduction in the average time of Mountain West games. As a point of reference, Marty also compared the rushing percentages from the 2005 and 2006 seasons. As you can see in the second chart, the Mountain West had only a 0.5% increase in rushing plays in 2006, so essentially the league's teams did nothing different from 2005 to 2006, yet game times were dramatically reduced.

Conference.........Min. Lost........Rush %
Mountain West.....26.06........56.4
Pacific 10...........18-42........51.8
Western Athletic...16.30........53.0
Big 12...............15.48........51.8
Atlantic Coast......15.12........54.5
Mid-American.......13:54........55.3
Big Ten.............11:48.........52.9
Conference USA....10:12.........52.7
Big East...............8:30........57.7
Southeastern.........6.36........54.1
Sun Belt...............4:18........57.6

Conference........2005.....2006....Change
Mid-American.....52.3....55.3....+3.0
Western Athletic..50.2....53.0....+2.8
Mountain West.....55.9...56.4....+0.5
Atlantic Coast......54.4....54.5....+0.1
Southeastern.......54.2....54.1....-0.1
Pacific 10...........52.0....51.8....-0.2
Big 12...............52.4...51.8....-0.6
Big East.............59.5...57.7....-1.8
Big Ten.............54.9....52.9....-2.0
Sun Belt.............59.7...57.6....-2.1
Conference USA....55.4...52.7....-2.7
Totals...............54.3...54.0....-0.3

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just my take, but I figure that the extra-large reduction for the MWC has little to nothing to do with anything within the actualy game. I'd guess that every conferences loses a similar amount of time to the broadcast, but that that loss is reduced by things like commericals and replay challenges adding to game time. My theory: the MWC has a substantially lower amount of replays and TV commercial timeouts to inflate broacast times, accounting for their low numbers. I'll leave it to you guys to prove or disprove my hypothesis.

Vance23 said...

It seems the question is: Why is there a difference between the 'time lost 2006' among the conferences.

The first step would be to determine the means (which you have) but also look at the standard deviations. It may be that there is no significant difference between conferences, but examining the means with +/- SD is one place to start.

You could look at a paired T test, or a ANOVA, even a repeated measures ANOVA, to see if there is a significant difference between conferences.

Once you have established that there is a difference, then we could look at individual variables, or even put variables into a regression model to determine which variables influenced game times more.

Variable I would look at would include: first downs, FD rushing, FD passing, rush-pass ration, yard per rush, yards per pass, completion percentage, TDs, FGs, FGs + TDs, T/Os and some others.

It could be that the differences are due to the plays the new rule affected. If there is more scoring there would be more kickoffs. If there are more first downs, there would be more opportunities to burn clock.

I need to study what you have a little more....