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OSU Had The Best Defense In The Big 12?



Nov 24 2012 Norman OK USA Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Justin Brown 19 is tackled by Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Daytawion Lowe 8 during the fourth quarter at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit Richard Rowe US PRESSWIRE

Photo Attribution: US Presswire

The round robin schedule of the Big 12 makes it easy to compare teams to each other at the end of the season. With the still-raging debate on how good our defense is (and let’s not forget about the offense), I thought it would be interesting to see how our units compared to the other teams in our conference. This is a new approach, though.

Let’s start with yards per play. Read from the top down. The offenses are listed at the top and the defenses are listed on the left. Let’s look at OSU…see the 4 right under our column? That means OSU’s offense was the 4th toughest the Bears encountered this year in yards/play. Following the column downward, we were the 2nd-toughest offense Iowa State and K-State faced this season. And yes, we had the worst offensive performance against in yards/play against Kansas this year (we managed 5.1 yards/play against KU while the average among all other teams against KU was 7.6).

I highlighted the cells so that green = good and red = bad from the offense’s point of view. You want green in your column. The number at the bottom of each column is the average for that offensive unit. On average, were the 3rd-best offense each defense faced this year. This was the 2nd-best number in the league, slightly behind Baylor.


So what does this tell us? Well, aside from the weird rain-delay game in Lawrence, our offense was better than average against all teams aside from West Virginia. We were best or second best against 6 of the 9 teams we played this year, including our losses to OU, Texas, and KSU.

Take a look at Baylor. We know their offense was really good, but they were in the top 4 of every defense they played aside from OU.

It’s funny to look at the ones that don’t make any sense. K-State had a very solid offense this year, but in their loss to Baylor they were the worst offense the Bears faced this year (only 4.4 yards/play). TCU was below average against everyone aside from the best defense in the league, OU.

Yards are great and all, but points are what really matters so let’s switch over to points per play. I only used offensive points here, stripping out special teams and defensive scoring. You can read this chart the same way as the last one.


Here’s where things fell apart a bit for our offense this year. We were still pretty good — average or better against 7 out of 9 opponents — but not as good as we were at generating yards. You could almost say we had a bend but don’t break offense…great at marching down the field, not so great at punching it in. Still, we were tied for OU for 2nd in the this category behind West Virginia.

Here’s where KU just looks terrible. 6th or worst against every defense they faced.

Okay, the real reason I put this together was to check on the defense. How good was our defense this year? I think this is a pretty good measure.

Again, let’s start with yards/play. Now, the defenses are listed at the top so you should read from the top down.


No one really wants to hear this, but our defense was tied with KSU as the 2nd-toughest defense teams faced this year. That terrible Baylor game we just experienced? It was Baylor’s 2nd-worst offensive performance of the conference season. We were average or better in every game aside from our road trip to Manhattan.

Now, no one really excelled on defense — OU was good, but they had a couple stinkers against TCU and WVU (although they didn’t lose because of it). I think this goes to show that no defense in the Big 12 is going to have success throughout the season unless they are truly elite.

Finally, defensive points per play. Again, this is only scoring from the offenses on the left – no special teams or defensive scoring.


This chart shows that we were the best defense in the conference in terms of points/play. We were average or better against every opponent’s offense. Now, I don’t really believe that we were the best defense in the conference this year. If you look at our column, you see a lot of 2s and 4s. I think that is the more accurate picture. We did not have a shut-down defense, but we did make teams work for it. Just so happens that our special teams really hurt us this year and our offense turned it over too many times.

A couple final notes: West Virginia was 7th or worse against 7 out of 9 opponents this year. That is not good, Joe DeForest.

How about UT’s vaunted defense coming in to this year? They were only above average against one team.

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