CFB 2012 Penalties: the Pac12 & their SPTRs


-Bumped from the fanpost. Great post from UCLA_beer&mathematics on Pac-12's horrible officiating problems. - BN Ends.

Penalties don't matter. At least if you believe Coach Mora and his research skills. I don't mind looking the other way this time, CJM, as I'm sure you had more important priorities in your first season as a college coach. However, now you know the Pac12 and it's SPTR Effect so please revisit your "20 year study" on penalties (CJM doesn't provide a reference to his study in the DailyNews article--tisk tisk). Perhaps the study included only NFL teams, or all of CFB, so not knowing the details I'll just ignore that comment.

What I do find interesting is his aggressive attitude towards addressing penalties with his players. In the Petros & Money show, CJM breaks up penalties into two categories: legitimate penalties and non-legitimate penalties. In the interview, he says "if it’s a legitimate penalty, then we address it. If it’s not, then there’s nothing we can do about it". He goes on to say "What we try to do as a staff is evaluate a play, and if it’s a penalty, we address it. But if it’s not a penalty, but was called a penalty, then we don’t address. Were not going to coach them to not do something that they did that was perfectly adequate and within the rules, but somehow missed on that particular play. It’s natural, it happens, officials make mistakes. And we’re not going to let that mistake compound itself by coaching things that we shouldn’t."

In any other league, I like that mentality. In the pac12, it leaves us...well, number 1! (see below). I think PI penalties were a good strategy in CFB and the Toast Twins seems to be coached to do it instead of giving up a huge play (I can only hope). But this doesn't explain all the other lack of focus or composure penalties we saw all year. In short, penalties were a big problem this year and need to be addressed going forward.

Enough preamble on UCLA. I mean the title was about penalties and the Pac12! The following data is taken directly from the NCAA. Let me list the ranking of every Pac12 team, out of 120 FBS (Div1A) teams, in the Fewest Penalties per game category. The rankings are organized according to the ration of yards/game (not shown, but go here if you want to see it). I’ll also include total penalties (TP) and total penalty yards (TY), just to show you how ridiculously out of control UCLA with their penalties compared to the rest of the schools.

Fewest penalties per game. Out of 120 teams in FBS (Div1A):

#120 UCLA TP=130 TY=1281
#118 Washington TP=108 TY=996
#117 Cal TP=99 TY=996
#114 Oregon TP=103 TY=924
#110 *$C TP=99 TY=808
#104 Wash St TP=87 TY=764
#97 Utah TP=83 TY=740
#81 Arizona TP=83 TY=716
#68 Colorado TP=73 TY=693
#67 Oregon St TP=79 TY=724
#66 Stanford TP=85 TY=715
#10 Arizona St TP=55 TY=454

The data clearly shows the SPTR effect. Three observations:

  • Five Pac12 teams are among the last 10--out of 120 schools!
  • Half our conference is among the last 20--out of 120 schools!
  • All but one (can't believe it's ASU) lie entirely in the bottom half of the country.

This clearly shows that we the Pac12 has a serious refereeing problem and it is something that Larry Scott needs to address--especially since he has his new Pac12 Network and will be banking on the watchability (that's a word now right?) of the football games. Any fan who watches games from the SEC or Big12 can see how more entertaining games are when the refs stay out of the way and let the teams dictate their own pace. To me, watching Pac12 games, at times, was as torturous as watching a Coach Howland basketball team in the last 10 minutes of a game (to those who don't watch basketball, it's akin to this).

That's it for now folks,

Beer & Mathematics

P.s. It's my first FP since the new format and I miss the jump :-(

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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