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An Alternative Look at USC-Ohio State

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An Alternative Look at USC-Ohio State

With all the excitement for the upcoming game versus USC, I thought that I would take somewhat of an unusual approach to analyzing a component of the game.

To do this, I’ve decided to look at how both teams fared with penalties during the 2007 season.

In the 2007 season, Ohio State football was the 22nd lowest team in the nation in penalties per game, with 5.5, and an average 44.2 yards lost per game due to penalty. USC held the eight highest spot with 8.2 penalties/game and 74.4 yards/game.

Cincinnati ranked the highest, averaging 9.4 penalties per game with an average of 79.1 yards per game lost. That state up north was 13th lowest, giving up 5.1 penalties a game for an average of 44.6 yards per game.

But let’s see how the Buckeyes measure up in the Big Ten regarding penalties.

Here are the Big Ten teams with penalties per game highest to lowest for In-Conference games:

Name

Pen./G

Yards/G

Wisconsin

6.3

50.4

Iowa

6.0

52.4

Purdue

6.0

50.9

Michigan State

5.4

51.0

Minnesota

5.4

43.4

Ohio State

4.9

38.5

Penn State

4.9

38.5

Illinois

4.4

45.6

Indiana

4.3

41.0

Northwestern

4.1

38.5

Michigan

4.0

37.4

 

As you can see, Ohio State is in the middle of the pack, tied with Penn State with an average 4.9 penalties per conference game.

Here are the Pac-10 teams with penalties per game highest to lowest for In-Conference games:

Name

Pen./G

Yards./G

USC

8.2

73.1

California

7.7

68.7

UCLA

7.2

63.6

Oregon State

6.9

61.7

Washington

6.2

49.2

Washington State

5.8

43.9

Arizona

5.7

48.2

Arizona State

5.4

48.3

Oregon

5.2

43.8

Stanford

5.0

45.6

 

USC leads their conference with 8.2 penalties per game.

In comparing the conferences, Big Ten teams average 5.06 penalties per game, while Pac-10 teams average 6.33 penalties per game in-conference.

Whether it is the varying style of play, the difference in officials, or difference in players, I’ll let you decide.

Now, let’s examine penalty splits for each team. These numbers are penalties/game—yards/game.

Split

Ohio State

USC

At Home

5.4—39.0

6.2—54.7

On Road

5.4—43.6

9.7—84.8

Vs. Conference

4.9—38.5

8.2—73.1

Vs. Non-Conference

6.6—53.2

8.0—77.3

In Wins

5.7—43.8

8.4—73.4

In Losses

4.5—46.0

7.0—80.0

Vs. Ranked (AP)

4.8—52.0

7.8—81.3

Vs. Unranked (AP)

5.9—40.7

8.3—71.3

 

Now, I want to highlight several of these statistics.

Since Ohio State are playing the Trojans on their home turf, I want to compare OSU's “on road” penalties (5.4 for 43.6 yards) to USC's “at home” penalties (6.2 for 54.7 yards). Check one in favor of the Buckeyes.

Secondly, let’s look at non-conference averages. OSU comes in with 6.6 penalties for 53.2 yards, while USC comes in with 8.0 penalties for 77.3 yards. Check two in favor of the Buckeyes.

And how about each teams' record versus ranked opponents? Going into the game USC is ranked No.1 and Ohio State comes at them with No. 5. Versus a ranked opponent the Buckeyes give up an average of 4.8 penalties for 52 yards, while the Trojans give up 7.8 penalties for 81.3 yards versus a ranked opponent. Check three in favor of the Buckeyes.

Just for fun, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a grass field so let’s look at those stats too. On grass, OSU gives up an average of 5.2 penalties for 37.7 yards, and USC gives up 7.3 penalties for 64.9 yards.

Let’s see if the data shifts favor if we rearrange it by date.

Month

Ohio State

USC

August/September

7.0—49.0

9.3—87.3

October

4.5—30.3

6.8—61.8

November

4.0—41.7

7.3—51.7

December/January

7.0—83.0

10.0—108.0

 

The Game is being played Sept. 13. In Aug./Sept. Ohio State averages 7.0 penalties for 49 yards, while USC marks 9.3 penalties for 87.3 yards. Check five in favor of the Buckeyes.

These numbers could be a little hard to compare because both teams are obviously up against very different opponents, so let’s see how OSU and USC fared against common opponents in 2007.

Opponent

Ohio State

USC

Washington

10—80, W

16—161, W

Illinois

2—9, L

11—130, W

 

The Buckeyes still gave up fewer penalties for few yards than did the Trojans. Check six in favor of the Buckeyes.

In one last statistic, I decided to check out what the opponents of these two teams had been giving up.

In 2007, Ohio State’s opponents gave up an average of 4.1 penalties for 37.2 yards, which is decisively less than what USC averaged in all games: 8.2 penalties for 74.4 yards.

In 2007, USC’s opponents gave up an average of 5.6 penalties for 45.2 yards, which is about equal with what OSU gave up in all games in 2007: 5.5 penalties for 44.2 yards.

What this means, is that if averages held, the Buckeyes would be getting receiving more yards due to Trojan penalties than we are used to, while USC will be seeing about the same yardage. Check seven in favor of the Buckeyes.

Now, you can chalk these statistics up to whatever you want, but I’m a firm believer in the old saying that “numbers don’t lie.” I think we are in for a few free yardage if the Trojans keep on their path of heavy penalties, which will surely aid us when we travel to the Coliseum on Sept. 13.

Now, just for kicks, let’s look at what Michigan has to say for themselves as far as penalties are concerned.

Split

Pen./G

Yards/G

At Home

5.1

43.8

On Road

4.3

41.3

Vs. Conference

4.0

37.4

Vs. Non-Conference

6.8

56.2

In Wins

4.8

41.8

In Losses

5.8

51.0

Vs. Ranked (AP)

5.6

49.6

Vs. Unranked (AP)

4.8

41.5

 

All statistics in the article were taken from cfbstats.com, and were in reference to the 2007 College Football Season. This article was originally written for www.buckeyecommentary.com.

 

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