LSU Football: Is the 2010 Offense As Bad As People Think?

Gregory PasquierContributor IOctober 21, 2010

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 16:  Jarrett Lee #12 talks with Terrence Toliver #80 of the Louisiana State University Tigers after a touchdown during the game against the McNeese State Cowboys at Tiger Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The talk of the 2010 season thus far is the common perception that LSU’s offensive display to this point has been, well, offensive. 

Bad.  Poor.  Ugly, even.

One of the old sayings in college football, or football in general, is that defense wins championships, but offense sells tickets.  That’s about as solid a truism you are ever going to find in a game that is about as predictable as next month’s weather. 

So, when it comes to the 2010 version of the LSU offense, do disgruntled LSU fans have a legitimate gripe?  Or is it little more than typical kneejerk reactions?  Let’s do a little digging and find out.

Through the seventh game of the season, the LSU offense has produced 1,318 yards rushing on 285 carries for a 4.6 average and 15 touchdowns.  The much maligned passing game has produced 982 yards on 94 completions for a 10.4 yard clip and four scores. The special teams have tacked on an additional 69 points.

With the exception of the running game, these are rather pedestrian numbers.  Or so it would seem.  Could there be a better indicator to determine if LSU’s offense is as bad as the public outcry has suggested?

Well, I say that better way is the Fremeau Efficiency Index.  What in the heck is that, you say? 

The Fremeau Efficiency Index, or FEI, considers each of the nearly 20,000 possessions every season in major college football.  All drives are filtered to eliminate first-half clock-kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores.  A scoring rate analysis of the remaining possessions then determines the baseline possession efficiency expectations against which each team is measured. 

A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams, win or lose, and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.

LSU’s FEI rating as of last week was 7 (along with a Game Efficiency rating of 30). That’s a higher rating than Oklahoma, TCU, Nebraska, Ohio State and Michigan State.

So, while fans and media have crucified the LSU offense and it's boss, Gary Crowton, LSU’s offensive efficiency has actually been way above average. Now, am I endorsing LSU’s offensive prowess and uncanny ability to light up the scoreboard? Not quite. I am only presenting a different argument and filtering some of the BS that comes from arguing about LSU’s season up to this point. Feel free to disagree, of course.


FEI can be found here: