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Big 12 football: Efficiency ratings show OSU better on offense & defense

by Berry Tramel Modified: December 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm •  Published: December 4, 2013

Oklahoma State has the edge on OU in offensive and defense efficiency. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma State has the edge on OU in offensive and defense efficiency. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The latest Big 12 football efficiency ratings are in, and they tell a sobering fact for OU in Bedlam. The Cowboys and Sooners each have played eight conference games — and have played the same eight opponents. So comparing offensive and defensive efficiency is statistical bedrock.

And the truth is evident. OSU has the better offense and defense. On offense, it’s close. On defense, it’s not.

OSU has the Big 12′s best defense. Cowboy opponents are averaging just .169 efficiency against the OSU defense — the equivalent of about 17 touchdowns per 100 possessions. OU’s defensive efficiency is .255, fifth-best in the conference.

The offenses are close — OSU is third in the Big 12 at .333, OU is fifth at .314. But the defenses are not. Here are the latest rankings:


1. Baylor .453

2. Kansas State.380

3. OSU .333

4. Texas .315

5. OU .314

6. Texas Tech .287

7. West Virginia .252

8. Iowa State .220

9. TCU .207

10. Kansas .158

Offensive thoughts:

* Baylor will finish with the Big 12′s best offense. If the Bears get 20 possessions against Texas and don’t score a thing, they still will finish ahead of K-State.

* Tech spent much of the season high in the offensive rankings. Then the Red Raiders started playing the better teams in the league, and down came Tech.

* OU’s offense has risen in recent weeks. Guess there’s no surprise there.


1. OSU .169

2. TCU .188

3. Texas .231

4. Baylor .252

5. OU .255

6. Kansas State .295

7. Iowa State .321

8. West Virginia .350

9. Texas Tech .352

10. Kansas .366

Defensive thoughts:

* You don’t see many teams with such a wide discrepancy as TCU. Ninth in offense, second in defense? That’s crazy.

* TCU still could end up with the best defense. But it’s not likely. If OSU gave up four touchdowns and a field goal in 12 OU possessions, the Cowboys still would finish No. 1.

* Baylor’s and Texas’ defense are fairly close. Uh-oh for Texas.

* West Virginia had a slightly better defense than did Texas Tech, and the Mountaineer offense wasn’t that far behind Tech’s. To finish two games ahead of West Virginia, Tech had to be good in areas like turnovers and the kicking game.

OK, let’s review last week’s predictions, using the formula of the efficiency ratings.

Kansas State 35, Kansas 23: Not too far off, considering the Wildcats won 31-10.

West Virginia 31, Iowa State 28: Incredibly close, considering it was 38-38 before overtime. The Cyclones won 52-44 in three OTs.

Baylor 33, TCU 22: Didn’t really see TCU’s offensive prowess coming. Baylor won 41-38.

Texas 31, Texas Tech 26: Tech wasn’t nearly this competitive, losing 41-16.

OK, just two games left. This week’s predictions. And remember, this is the method. Average the number of possessions for a team’s offense and its opponent’s defense, then apply that number to the average efficiency of those two units.

Baylor 33, Texas 28: Uh, I don’t think it’s going to be this close. If we ever do this factoring in home/road tendencies, the numbers will get closer. Baylor is a beast in Waco.

OSU 28, OU 23: I can see this. Can’t you? Seems like we’re in the ballpark.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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