Midseason Comparative Statistical Analysis of College Football’s Top 10 Teams

College Football

The midpoint of a football season is a time that calls for both reflection and projection.

At this point in the 2015 college football season, every FBS team in the country is at least halfway through their regular season schedule. There’s now enough to data and statistics to begin figuring out every team’s strengths and weaknesses and measure how the top team’s stack up against each other from a purely statistical standpoint.

Here at Gridiron Perspective, we use a certain power stat formula to attempt to get as close to a complete statistical description of a team as possible by measuring overall offensive production (scoring, efficiency, explosiveness), overall defensive prowess, special teams play and basic fundamentals for success (penalties, time of possession and turnover margin).

For each team, we analyze 30 key power stats and see how each team measures up against the national average on an eight-tier, eight-point scale ranging from elite to inferior.

If a team ranks in the top 16 nationally in a given stat, it’s awarded four power points; if it ranks 17-32, it’s awarded three points; 33-48 gets two points) and 49-64 gets one point. If it ranks below the national average in a certain stat, it’s penalized in descending order of each of the final four tiers: 65-80 (-1 point), 81-96 (-2 points), 97-112 (-3 points), 113-128 (-4 points).

Each team’s offense and defense is each measured in 11 key statistical areas: Yards Per Game, Points Per Game, Average Yards Per Play, Total Plays of 10 Yards or More, Total Plays of 20 Yards or More, First Downs Per Game, Total Touchdowns Scored, 3rd Down Conversion Percentage, Sacks Allowed/Created Per Game and Tackles For Loss Allowed/Created Per Game.

For Special Teams, there are five main stats analyzed: Average Kickoff Yardage, Average Punt Yardage, Average Kickoff Return Yardage, Average Punt Return Average and Field Goal Conversion Percentage.

Finally, the “Fundamentals” category measures a team’s Penalties Per Game, Average Time of Possession Per Game and Overall Turnover Margin.

It’s certainly not a perfect formula, since it doesn’t take into account quality of competition. That obviously matters when comparing a team like Utah, which has already beaten four teams that have at some point been ranked in the AP Top 25 this season, and Ohio State, which has only beaten one.

What it does do, however, is give a good indication of what a team’s main strengths and weakness truly are, and how the team stacks up overall on a national scale.

As the season goes on, the more data can be collected and analyzed and a more complete statistical picture of each team will start to take shape. For now, here’s a look at how the top 10 teams in the current AP Poll stack up in the midseason power stat comparative analysis.

*Note: All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com

1 – Ohio State Buckeyes

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 455.6 30 +3
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 37 24 +3
Average Yards Per Play 6.62 t19 +3
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 121 t14 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 39 t17 +3
First Downs Per Game 22.1 t44 +2
Total Touchdowns 34 14 +4
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 37.5 81 -2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 85.7 t48 +2
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.29 32 +3
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 5.29 t37 +2

Total Offensive Power Points: 27

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 302.3 19 +3
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 16.3 13 +4
Average Yards Per Play 4.31 8 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 68 16 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 16 3 +4
First Downs Per Game 16.4 t16 +4
Total Touchdowns 14 t20 +3
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 31 25 +3
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 82.3 61 +1
Sacks Per Game 3.43 t4 +4
Tackles For Loss Per Game 7.29 t33 +2

Total Defensive Power Points: 36

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 61.25 77 -1
Average Punt Yardage 46.33 6 +4
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 23.91 30 +3
Average Punt Return Yardage 12.53 t34 +2
Field Goal Percentage 70 t74 -1

Total Special Team Power Points: 7

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 7.1 87 -2
Time of Possession 28:47 88 -2
Turnover Margin (-1) t79 -1

Total Fundamental Power Points: -5

  • Total Overall Power Points: 65

2 – Baylor Bears

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 719.7 1 +4
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 63.8 1 +4
Average Yards Per Play 8.94 1 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 146 2 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 58 1 +4
First Downs Per Game 33 1 +4
Total Touchdowns 53 1 +4
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 50.6 5 +4
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 89.1 28 +3
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1 t11 +4
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 4.33 t16 +4

Total Offensive Power Points: 43

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 381.5 63 +1
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 24.8 58 +1
Average Yards Per Play 4.93 34 +2
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 79 t43 +2
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 28 t67 -1
First Downs Per Game 20.7 78 -1
Total Touchdowns 24.8 t58 +1
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 37.7 62 +1
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 81.2 t52 +1
Sacks Per Game 2 t50 +1
Tackles For Loss Per Game 51 t8 +4

Total Defensive Power Points: 12

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 60.92 86 -2
Average Punt Yardage 45.67 8 +4
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 23.86 31 +3
Average Punt Return Yardage 5.7 96 -2
Field Goal Percentage 80 t41 +2

Total Special Team Power Points: 5

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 9.5 128 -4
Time of Possession 26:09 118 -4
Turnover Margin (+6) t14 +4

Total Fundamental Power Points: -4

  • Total Overall Power Points: 56

3 – Utah Utes

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 396.3 t70 -1
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 36.5 t27 +3
Average Yards Per Play 5.56 t74 -1
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 76 t100 -3
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 28 t74 -1
First Downs Per Game 20.8 t71 -1
Total Touchdowns 27 t41 +2
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 43.1 42 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 95.8 t6 +4
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.17 t25 +3
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 6.33 t76 -1

Total Offensive Power Points: 6

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 369.5 50 -1
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 19.5 26 +3
Average Yards Per Play 5.3 t53 -1
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 85 t59 -3
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 22 t21 -1
First Downs Per Game 19 t47 -1
Total Touchdowns 14 t20 +2
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 39.3 79 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 83.3 t68 +4
Sacks Per Game 2.67 t31 +3
Tackles For Loss Per Game 5.83 t76 -1

Total Defensive Power Points: 14

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 60.77 89 -2
Average Punt Yardage 47.96 3 +4
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 25.29 19 +3
Average Punt Return Yardage 17.64 10 +4
Field Goal Percentage 76.9 t51 +1

Total Special Team Power Points: 10

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 4.5 t9 +4
Time of Possession 33:21 7 +4
Turnover Margin (+12) 3 +4

Total Fundamental Power Points: 12

  • Total Overall Power Points: 42

4 – TCU Horned Frogs

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 616.3 3 +4
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 50.1 2 +4
Average Yards Per Play 7.84 2 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 146 t2 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 54 3 +4
First Downs Per Game 29.1 4 +4
Total Touchdowns 46 2 +4
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 55.21 1 +4
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 82.05 84 -2
Sacks Allowed Per Game 0.57 5 +4
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 3.71 6 +4

Total Offensive Power Points: 38

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 397.4 74 -1
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 26.6 69 -1
Average Yards Per Play 5.25 49 +1
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 89 t70 -1
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 34 t96 -2
First Downs Per Game 21.9 t94 -2
Total Touchdowns 24 t80 -1
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 33 36 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 80.7 t48 +2
Sacks Per Game 2.43 t44 +2
Tackles For Loss Per Game 5.86 t72 -1

Total Defensive Power Points: -2

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 62.89 43 +2
Average Punt Yardage 37.69 121 -4
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 24.32 27 +3
Average Punt Return Yardage 12.22 36 +2
Field Goal Percentage 72.7 t62 +1

Total Special Teams Power Points: 4

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 8.1 t112 -3
Time of Possession 29:53 75 -1
Turnover Margin (+3) t35 +2

Total Fundamental Power Points: -2

  • Total Overall Power Points: 38

5 – LSU Tigers

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 460.8 28 +3
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 37.3 t20 +3
Average Yards Per Play 7.07 10 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 87 t73 -1
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 34 t39 +2
First Downs Per Game 21.3 t62 +1
Total Touchdowns 29 t31 +3
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 43.4 37 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 88.8 t29 +3
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.17 t25 +3
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 5.33 t42 +2

Total Offensive Power Points: 25

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 297.2 15 +4
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 23 43 +2
Average Yards Per Play 4.74 t27 +3
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 67 15 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 17 t4 +4
First Downs Per Game 17.7 t31 +3
Total Touchdowns 18 t44 +2
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 34.57 44 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 93.33 117 -4
Sacks Per Game 2.83 t23 +3
Tackles For Loss Per Game 6.17 t56 +1

Total Defensive Power Points: 24

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 58.9 109 -3
Average Punt Yardage 39.61 96 -2
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 18.92 99 -3
Average Punt Return Yardage 11.44 38 +2
Field Goal Percentage 100 1 +4

Total Special Team Power Points: -2

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 7.5 t98 -3
Time of Possession 32:33 20 +3
Turnover Margin (+5) t20 +3

Total Fundamental Power Points: 3

Total Overall Power Points: 50


6 – Clemson Tigers

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 448.5 35 +3
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 35.2 t33 +3
Average Yards Per Play 6.1 41 +2
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 88 t68 -1
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 37 t26 +3
First Downs Per Game 22 46 +2
Total Touchdowns 26 t47 +2
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 43.3 40 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 83.3 t73 -1
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.67 t50 +1
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 4.83 t24 +3

Total Offensive Power Points: 19

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 281.7 10 +4
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 16.7 t14 +4
Average Yards Per Play 4.41 13 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 58 6 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 23 t28 +3
First Downs Per Game 13.3 3 +4
Total Touchdowns 12 t12 +4
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 20 2 +4
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 92.3 t113 -4
Sacks Per Game 2.5 t35 +3
Tackles For Loss Per Game 9.33 4 +4

Total Defensive Power Points: 34

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 61.02 84 -2
Average Punt Yardage 39 105 -3
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 26.3 13 +4
Average Punt Return Yardage 2.31 t120 -4
Field Goal Percentage 81.8 t34 +2

Total Special Teams Power Points: -3

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 6 53 +1
Time of Possession 30:15 64 +1
Turnover Margin (-1) t79 -1

Total Fundamental Power Points: 1

  • Total Overall Power Points: 51

7 – Michigan State Spartans

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 395.7 72 -1
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 30.7 t63 +1
Average Yards Per Play 5.84 t50 +1
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 104 t35 +2
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 39 t17 +3
First Downs Per Game 21.3 t62 +1
Total Touchdowns 29 t31 +3
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 46.2 18 +3
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 81.4 87 -2
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1 11 +4
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 4.86 t26 +3

Total Offensive Power Points: 18

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 351.9 36 +2
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 21.6 36 +2
Average Yards Per Play 5.37 58 +1
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 101 t97 -3
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 37 t109 -3
First Downs Per Game 18.6 44 +2
Total Touchdowns 19 t46 +2
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 35.7 51 +1
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 81.8 t56 +1
Sacks Per Game 3.43 t4 +4
Tackles For Loss Per Game 7.71 t21 +3

Total Defensive Power Points: 12

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 57.63 115 -4
Average Punt Yardage 41.61 59 +1
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 20.77 77 -1
Average Punt Return Yardage 1.67 127 -4
Field Goal Percentage 55.6 t114 -4

Total Special Teams Power Points: -12

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 4.7 t14 +4
Time of Possession 32:06 24 +3
Turnover Margin (+9) t4 +4

Total Fundamentals Power Points: 11

  • Total Overall Power Points: 29

8 – Alabama Crimson Tide

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 430.1 47 +2
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 35.6 t31 +3
Average Yards Per Play 5.7 t60 +1
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 102 40 +2
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 29 t68 -1
First Downs Per Game 22.1 t44 +2
Total Touchdowns 32 t16 +4
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 32.67 116 -4
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 86.67 t43 +2
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.14 t17 +3
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 7.71 t117 -4

Total Offensive Power Points: 10

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 271.9 6 +4
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 16.7 t14 +4
Average Yards Per Play 4.06 6 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 62 t8 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 24 t32 +3
First Downs Per Game 13.7 t5 +4
Total Touchdowns 13 t17 +3
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 28.81 17 +3
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 86.6 t89 -2
Sacks Per Game 3.14 t15 +4
Tackles For Loss Per Game 6.43 t50 +1

Total Defensive Power Points: 32

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 62.61 52 +1
Average Punt Yardage 41 t69 -1
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 18.24 107 -3
Average Punt Return Yardage 9.31 54 +1
Field Goal Percentage 57.1 t112 -3

Total Special Teams Power Points: -5

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 6.7 t74 -1
Time of Possession 33:01 13 +4
Turnover Margin (+3) t35 +2

Total Fundamental Power Points: 5

  • Total Overall Power Points: 42

9 – Florida State Seminoles

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 445.3 38 +2
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 33.5 t46 +2
Average Yards Per Play 6.78 16 +4
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 101 t41 +2
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 35 t35 +2
First Downs Per Game 21.5 t55 +1
Total Touchdowns 25 t56 +1
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 42.67 46 +2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 90.48 t20 +3
Sacks Allowed Per Game 2.17 t73 -1
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 6 t62 +1

Total Offensive Power Points: 19

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 326.2 24 +3
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 15.2 9 +4
Average Yards Per Play 4.83 30 +3
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 66 14 +4
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 22 t21 +3
First Downs Per Game 17.7 t31 +3
Total Touchdowns 11 t9 +4
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 37.3 59 +1
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 85.7 t79 -1
Sacks Per Game 2.5 t35 +2
Tackles For Loss Per Game 5.3 t93 -2

Total Defensive Power Points: 24

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 62.6 53 +1
Average Punt Yardage 42.4 45 +2
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 26.57 12 +4
Average Punt Return Yardage 3.35 114 -4
Field Goal Percentage 81.8 t34 +2

Total Special Teams Power Points: 5

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 7.2 t88 -2
Time of Possession 31:06 48 +2
Turnover Margin (+7) t9 +4

Total Fundamental Power Points: 4

  • Total Overall Power Points: 52

10 – Stanford Cardinal

Offense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Offense (Yards Per Game) 450.5 33 +2
Scoring Offense (Points Per Game) 38.5 17 +3
Average Yards Per Play 6.72 18 +3
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 85 t78 -1
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 32 t49 +1
First Downs Per Game 22.8 t31 +3
Total Touchdowns 38.5 t25 +3
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 46.7 t15 +4
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 85.7 t48 +2
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.33 t34 +2
Tackles For Loss Allowed Per Game 4.33 t16 +4

Total Offensive Power Points: 26

Defense

Category Statistic NR PP
Total Defense (Yards Per Game) 357.3 39 +2
Scoring Defense (Points Per Game) 21.7 t37 +2
Average Yards Per Play 5.15 t40 +2
Total Plays of 10 Yards Or More 75 t32 +3
Total Plays of 20 Yards Or More 24 t32 +3
First Downs Per Game 17.8 33 +2
Total Touchdowns 15 t25 +3
3rd Down Conversion Percentage 40 t83 -2
Red Zone Conversion Percentage 94.1 t119 -4
Sacks 1.5 t97 -2
Tackles For Loss 5.3 t93 -2

Total Defensive Power Points: 7

Special Teams

Category Statistic NR PP
Average Kickoff Yardage 61.72 74 -1
Average Punt Yardage 40.74 77 -1
Average Kickoff Return Yardage 26.9 10 +4
Average Punt Return Yardage 2.33 119 -4
Field Goal Percentage 87.5 t20 +3

Total Special Team Power Points: 1

Fundamentals

Penalties Per Game 5.7 t46 +2
Time of Possession 34:51 3 +4
Turnover Margin 0 t71 -1

Total Fundamentals Power Points: 5

  • Total Overall Power Points: 39

Offensive Power Point Rankings

1 – Baylor Bears: 43

2. TCU Horned Frogs: 38

3. Ohio State Buckeyes: 27

4. Stanford Cardinal: 26

5. LSU Tigers: 25

t6. Clemson Tigers: 19

t6. Florida State Seminoles: 19

8. Michigan State Spartans: 18

9. Alabama Crimson Tide: 10

10. Utah Utes: 6


Defensive Power Point Rankings

1 – Ohio State Buckeyes: 36

2. Clemson Tigers: 34

3. Alabama Crimson Tide: 32

4. Florida State Seminoles: 24

5. Utah Utes: 14

6. LSU Tigers: 24

t7. Baylor Bears: 12

t7. Michigan State Spartans: 12

9. Stanford Cardinal: 7

10. TCU Horned Frogs: (-2)


Special Teams Power Point Rankings

1 – Utah Utes: 10

2. Ohio State Buckeyes: 7

3. Florida State Seminoles: 5

4. TCU Horned Frogs: 4

5. Stanford Cardinal: 1

6. LSU Tigers: (-2)

7. Clemson Tigers: (-3)

t8. Baylor Bears: (-5)

t8. Alabama Crimson Tide: (-5)

10. Michigan State Spartans: (-12)


Fundamentals Power Point Rankings

1 – Utah Utes: 12

2. Michigan State Spartans: 11

3. Stanford Cardinal: 5

4. Alabama Crimson Tide: 5

5. Florida State Seminoles: 4

6. LSU Tigers: 3

7. Clemson Tigers: 1

8. TCU Horned Frogs: (-2)

9. Baylor Bears: (-5)

10. Ohio State Buckeyes: (-5)


Overall Power Point Rankings

1 – Ohio State Buckeyes: 65

2. Baylor Bears: 56

3. Florida State Seminoles: 52

t4. LSU Tigers: 51

t4. Clemson Tigers: 51

t6. Alabama Crimson Tide: 42

t6. Utah Utes: 42

8. Stanford Cardinal: 39

9. TCU Horned Frogs: 38

10. Michigan State Spartans: 29

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