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Sadistical Analysis

I don't know why I do this to myself. And, yes, I realize that masochism, not sadism, is the proper term for self-torture.

I used the term "sadistic" in the title for two reasons: (1) it allowed an oh-so-clever play on words and (2) I plan to expand the purview of my torture to others - namely, you, the faithful readers of Barking Carnival.

Everyone believes that the Texas offense is playing poorly. So I took a look at the statistics to see if it's really as bad as we all think it is. The conclusion I reached, based on a thorough analysis of the objective metrics is: yes, our offense is pretty fucking bad.

Shocked, right?

The average national ranking, in terms of yards-per-play (YPP) allowed, of the defenses Texas has faced is #71. As there are 120 D1 teams, that means that, on average, Texas has faced defenses that are 10 spots below-average, nationally-speaking. But it gets worse. Only three of the ten defenses Texas has played rank in the Top 50%: NU (#8), OSU (#32) and OU (#46). Only NU ranks in the top quartile. Half of the defenses we've faced rank in the bottom quartile (in fact, #82 or lower) and two more rank in the 70's. Essentially, Texas has played one excellent defense, two acceptable defenses and seven horrid defenses.

So how well have the Longhorns performed against those opposing defenses? If you guessed "not so well," then I have narrowed down your identity to anyone other than Greg Davis and one or two prominent posters.

The Longhorn offense has outgained its opponent's season-average YPP allowed only 3 times: against Wyoming (+0.13%), OU (+13.58%) and OSU (1.46%). The next-best performance was against Nebraska (-0.02%).

Something strange jumps out of those numbers: in terms of YPP differential, three of our four best games came against the three best defenses Texas has played. That is a distinct difference from years past, when Texas had a habit of running up-and-down the field on the cupcakes, and stalling out against the big boys.

So, what's going on here? The offense's "practically par" performance against NU was the result of a well-designed sucker punch scheme in the first half. That was pretty much the best gameplan our offensive staff has devised all season. As a result, we almost did as well as Nebraska's average opponent. Bravo! The OU and OSU games, on the other hand, can be explained as "trash time" yardage accumulations. Against OSU, the Horns averaged 7.75 YPP in two long drives late in the game against a prevent defense; the offense averaged 4.06 YPP - nearly a full yard lower than OSU's average YPP allowed - in all other drives. Similarly, Texas averaged 7.47 YPP after OU went up 28-7 in the 4th quarter; in the first three quarters, Texas averaged 5.23 YPP (0.6 yards below OU's non-Texas season average).

Against the other seven teams on the schedule, Texas is averaging 14.7% below its opponents' cumulative YPP allowed. Those seven opposing defenses rank, on average, #89 in the country. Essentially, Texas is failing to do even a mediocre job against a set of defenses that all rank well into the bottom 50 percent nationally and that, on average, teeter on the edge of the lowest quartile.

We are lining up against teams like Baylor, Rice, and Iowa State and simply getting whupped. I won't openly opine why, but I will ask this: do you really, honestly believe that Texas has less talent on offense than Baylor, Rice, Iowa State, Kansas State, UCLA, etc. have on defense?