It’s the perk of being a Division I college football graduate assistant. No, it’s not the 4 a.m. wake up calls, nor the look from a freshman that’s getting commands from a coach only a few years his elder. And it’s definitely not the public accolades that come with drawing up a scheme to beat a rare tendency of one’s opponent.
(Though, in those instances, the sense of fulfillment cannot be truly calculated.)
It’s the data that was used to formulate what may just be the beginning of a new horizon in college football established by Tulsa’s graduate assistant Zak Bigelow.
Analytics, most identifiable with modern-scouts in baseball and basketball, has been initiated in college football. Whereas basketball uses the terminology of “Point-per-possession”, Bigelow has translated that to “Points-per-75-plays” to the gridiron.
This new metric will be able to evaluate the efficiency, leveling the playing field amongst the imbalance of offenses and defenses that riddle college football (Oregon’s high-flying offense versus Air Force’s triple option), and just how comparable a team is relative to others. It’s a truth test, dissolving appearance and focusing on proficiency.
Bigelow’s statistical advancement also, “does not give offenses points for defensive or special teams touchdowns and punishes them for allowing touchdowns off of interceptions and fumbles."
Raw data can be associated with a team and can more justifiably and, of course, mathematically ranked. Though it does not tell the entirety of story, much the way of all statistics, it can gauge the field in college football better than in the very recent past.
In the study of the 2012 college football season Oregon was atop the offensive category with 45.68 points per 75 plays (pp75). Alabama came in an astonishing second with 45.27 pp75. The Crimson Tide are a perfect example of this system; though they are not widely proclaimed as an offensive juggernaut (11th best scoring offense in the country) evidence, but a public lambasting of Notre Dame in the BCS Title Game, point otherwise.
Teams are no longer punished for their style of play and total point they put on the board each and every game.
It’s a basis for the future to further figure out. These principles still have a ways to go; yet, this can be looked at as a breaking-ground of sorts.