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Georgia Tech Odds of Scoring based on Field Position

Bird returns for one singular article to present data old school FTRS style. Georgia Tech's offensive starting field position and defensive starting field position are broken down based on reaching the opponent's end zone, kicking a field goal, forcing a turnover, or forcing a punt. Also, there's a comparison of ACC Coastal Championship squads.

Marc Serota/Getty Images

I haven't written an FTRS piece in a while. I was feeling inspired the past couple games and wanted to throw up some stats based on how I watch a football game. It may sound insane but I think in my head, "Alright, Tech just got the ball on the 50 yard line, we should have about a 90% shot of at least kicking a field goal and a 55% chance of scoring a TD." or "GT needs to start their next drive on at least the 37 yard line to have a 50% chance of a favorable outcome!" I first started visualizing this concept for the FTRS readers in 2009 during my second favorite GT season ever.

Generally speaking, the trend for successful Georgia Tech offenses under CPJ is to score at will no matter the field position, as you'll see with the chart I created below.

GT Offense X

The chart above shows what Tech does based on starting field position. For example, Tech scores 75% of the time, if an opponent gives Tech the ball within the opposing 30 yard line. There aren't many data points at less than 40 yards and I excluded pick sixes from our defense and "end of half" garbage drives. The meat of the data is in the less than 70 yards and up range where you see that Tech's O just doesn't give a [REO Speedwagon] where it starts.

What I find interesting is how similar our defense is to the 2009 defense from a field position standpoint. We are allowing opponents a field goal attempt or touchdown on roughly 40% of the opponents drives just like 2009. And turnovers forced versus punts forced are eerily similar as well! The big key for this D is the bend but don't break mentality. Teams have to start within the 10 yard line to have a greater than 50% chance of getting a TD.

Georgia Tech D

I was telling the new FTRS guys about the amazing efficiency of this offense a few weeks ago at week 7 and this is what kinda brought me back to write a piece today. My two favorite Tech teams during my Tech fandom were 2006 and 2009. They were our two "ACC Championship calibre" teams despite neither officially owning a title. I like to use them as a baseline to compare this 2014 squad.

The 2006 squad featured gamebreaker Calvin Johnson, a relatively clutch version of Reggie Ball, fan favorite Tashard Choice, and a stellar defense. The 2006 squad had 165 meaningful offensive drives racking up 311 offensive and special team points so they netted 1.88 points per drive while their opponents netted 1.21 points per drive. Note, I subtracted 6 points for each defensive touchdown allowed by an offense. So in 2006, Tech would increase its lead by about 2/3 of a point between possessions.


The 2009 team picked up 4/5 of a point between possessions. So even though their defense gave up 87% more per opposing drive than 2006, the team was SOOOOO good offensively it negated the Wommack D. This year's offense is 15% more efficient than 2009's and the defense has also improved since 2009. Add a lot of turnovers forced by the D and this results in a team that is outscoring opponents by 1.5 points from Tech possession to Tech possession! Oregon-esque!

I think another interesting aspect of the chart is that it shows you how much shorter CPJ games are than Gailey games. Gailey had 14 games in 2006 while CPJ had 14 games in 2009 and 11 in 2014. The 2014 team has reduced Gailey's 2006 team average of 11.8 drives per to 9.8. There are 4 less possessions per game. I also think there is a subconscious factor in the scoring. With a CPJ team that scores and scores and scores, opposing offenses take more risks and seem to score with us. Gailey teams would plod along sometimes offensively putting less pressure on an opposing offense. What do you all think? What season do you like better: 2006, 2009, or 2014 thus far?