I strolled through the Big 12 football statistics. What a change from last season. And it could get worse, at least offensively. The 2012 numbers are a full season; the 2013 numbers are little more than halfway home, and they figure to continue to dwindle, since inflated success against overmatched non-conference foes.
Here are the most interesting numbers I saw:
* In 2012, seven of the 10 teams averaged at least 35 points a game. TCU was eighth in scoring offense last year, at 28.3 points a game. This season, only three teams are averaging at least 35 points, and OSU is third at 35.7. Baylor leads at 64.7, followed by Texas Tech 41.1, OSU 35.7, Texas 33.0, Kansas State 30.2, OU 30.0, TCU 25.3, Iowa State 25.2, West Virginia 24.4 and Kansas 18.3.
* Kansas State led the Big 12 in scoring defense at 22.1 points a game last year. Five teams this season are better than that — Baylor 16.2, OU 17.1, OSU 18.3, Texas Tech 18.7 and TCU 21.7. West Virginia last season was 10th in the league, at 38.1. The Mountaineers this season are ninth, at 29.7, and they’ve already played the three highest-scoring offenses (Baylor, Tech, OSU).
* The total offense numbers aren’t terribly out of whack. Last year, Baylor led at 572.2, followed by OSU (547.0), West Virginia (502.0), OU (497.8) and Texas Tech (495.8). This year, Baylor’s crazy-numbers offense leads at 715.2, but that number will decline. Otherwise, the numbers aren’t far off — Tech is second at 548.1, Texas third at 456.7, OSU fourth at 440.2 and OU fifth at 422.0. Down, but not down enough to explain the rapid decline in scoring.
* Passing efficiency is the biggest change. Baylor, of course, is throwing it to unbelievable success, with a rating of 213.1. But second in the league is Texas Tech at 139.3, followed by Texas at 135.7, Kansas State 134.7, OSU 133.2 and OU 130.3. Last year, West Virginia led at 162.0, followed by Baylor 158.3, Tech 154.9, Texas 154.4, OSU 152.4, Kansas State 147.4 and OU 143.7.
* That’s right. Among the passing teams — Baylor, Tech, Texas, OU, OSU, West Virginia — the Sooners are the closest to their 2012 performance. Who would have guessed that?
* Turnover margin explains a lot. Last year, Kansas State had a 1.46 per game edge in turnover margin. This year? K-State is minus 1.5.That’s a huge turnaround. OSU had an even turnover margin last season — as many giveaways as takeaways — but this year has 16 takeaways and only nine turnovers, to lead the Big 12 at 1.17. Of course, these 2013 numbers will migrate towards the middle, because every takeaway in conference play is a turnover, too. By the way, Texas Tech is minus 0.57 — yet is ranked in the top 10 and unbeaten. That’s interesting.
* Field-goal accuracy is up in most places except Stillwater. The Cowboys made 28 of 34 last year, for a percentage of .824. This year, the Cowboys are six of 12, ranking last in the league. In 2012, Big 12 kickers combined to make 164 of 232 kicks, a percentage of .706. This year, the league is 85 of 112, .759.
So clearly, offense is down in Big 12 football 2013. But except in Stillwater, you can’t blame it on kickers.