Recently I wrote an article at Football Study Hall introducing a series on 3rd down % and what we can learn from it. I will continue to post national results at Football Study Hall, but wanted to get an in-depth look at Georgia Tech's stats after each update. So thats what I will do here. If you don't have time to hop over and read the article at Football Study Hall, here is what I have done; I took each third down that occurred this season and compiled a list by distance to go. So I now I have a list of each third down by how long they had to go to get a first and whether or not it was successful. With this we can get an expected third down % based off how far a team has to go get a first, and we have an expected % based off if they pass the ball or run the ball.
The first thing I wanted to do once I had this list was look at Georgia Tech's 3rd downs. I wasn't sure if our option offense put us in more third and short than average, or put us in more third and longs. This chart outlines the number of third downs Georgia Tech encountered by distance (up to 20), the percentage of the total 3rd downs for each 3rd down by distance, the percentage of 3rd downs by distance an average team would have encountered, and Georgia Tech's % over average. A negative (red) number in the last column means Georgia Tech had a lower percentage of "3rd and ..." than the average team, and a positive value (green) number indicates that Georgia Tech had a higher percentage of 3rd downs of this distance than the average team.
I was certainly surprised by the results of this. According to my analysis more of Georgia Tech's 3rd downs were from 1 yard out than any other team this year, and this was one of the largest deviations of any team and any distance in 2012. So this was pretty extraordinary. This is actually extremely encouraging, Georgia Tech had a higher percentage of 3rd and 1's than any other team, and a very low percentage of 3rd and 10's compared to other teams. I think my earlier assumptions about how we have a lot of 3rd and longs are simply selection bias; the 3rd and longs were the ones that are frustrating and they stuck with me, while the 3rd and shorts were easy to convert (I plan on looking at how well Georgia Tech did on these third downs in a later post).
So what can we take away from this? As I always say, our offense is really, really good. This is just another way of putting some numbers to it, and every Tech nerd can appreciate that. If there is any other questions or topics you want to see then just let me know in the comments.