Berry’s Big 12 efficiency ratings: OU, OSU offenses flip scripts

Berry’s Big 12 efficiency ratings: OU, OSU offenses flip scripts

OU is up to No. 2 in offensive efficiency, with a .418 percentage. Anything above .400 is winning offense. Meanwhile, OSU is down to .342, seventh in the 14-team Big 12.

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

| Nov 14, 2023, 9:00am CST

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

Nov 14, 2023, 9:00am CST

Some days a diamond, some days a stone. That’s the plight of college football offensive coordinators, and no better example than OU’s Jeff Lebby and OSU’s Kasey Dunn.

A week ago, Dunn was a hero, for nurturing his offense to a 27-24 Bedlam victory and Lebby was a bum, for the Sooners committing as many turnovers (three) as scoring touchdowns.

But Saturday night, the Sooners waxed West Virginia 59-20, with quarterback Dillon Gabriel producing eight touchdowns (throwing or running), while the Cowboys lost 45-3 at Central Florida.

And what a difference a day makes in the Big 12 efficiency ratings.

OU is up to No. 2 in offensive efficiency, with a .418 percentage. Anything above .400 is winning offense. Meanwhile, OSU is down to .342, seventh in the 14-team Big 12.

Just last week,  OSU was fifth and OU was seventh in offense.

Then Gabriel threw for 423 yards, the Sooners ran for 221 yards and Lebby had his groove back.

“I know they’re giving him a hard time, but he’s a hell of an offensive coach,” WVU coach Neal Brown said. “Everywhere he’s been, they’ve been good on offense. Credit to him…

“They spread us out and made it a one-on-one game. We didn’t do a good enough job putting our kids in position where we could get them some help, and they exposed us. They hit us with some runs. They blocked us pretty well up front, and we missed tackles at the second and third level.”

Meanwhile, in Orlando, Central Florida entered with the least-efficient defense in the Big 12. But the Knights held OSU to a solitary field goal in 13 possessions.

Superstar tailback Ollie Gordon gained just 25 yards on 12 carries, and quarterback Alan Bowman struggled after a 7-for-7 start.

“I don’t know if there’s a great way to explain it,” Dunn said. “I know this, it’s the highs and lows of college football. It really is.

“Last week, we played well and protected the football, didn’t get behind the sticks and gave ourselves a chance to win, and we did it. And that’s the way it’s been for the last five or six weeks. This week was completely the opposite. We got behind the sticks, we got penalties, we got turnovers, miscues on throws, drops and stuff, a bad call — all of it just kind of added up from five or six games into one ballgame. It got sideways and quickly got out of hand.”

And then it rained, though it was 17-0 UCF when the heavy storm hit. 

Let’s get to the efficiency ratings, and remember the formula. Offenses are judged by what they do with possessions. Touchdowns get full credit, field goals get a half credit, and those totals are divided by possessions. For defense, it’s the same – your opponents’ offensive efficiency.

Offense

  1. Kansas State .458: The Wildcats are playing great since losing in Stillwater. Will it be enough to get back to Arlington?
  2. Oklahoma .418: Hey, West Virginia’s defense, not a terrible unit, was just what the Sooners needed. 
  3. Texas .406: Quinn Ewers’ return was a little shaky, vs. Texas Christian.
  4. Central Florida .401: Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee makes a big difference for the Knights.
  5. Kansas .397: KU survived the loss of star quarterback Jalon Daniels, but now excellent backup Jason Bean has a head injury. Will he return for the showdown against K-State?
  6. West Virginia .378:  Garrett Greene had a rough game on Owen Field, but he’s directed a quality offense.
  7. Oklahoma State .342: Cowboys were a total no-show in Orlando. Three points in 13 possessions. 
  8. Iowa State .325: The Cyclones are getting better. Typical quality coaching by Matt Campbell.
  9. Texas Tech .316: The return of starting quarterback Behren Morton at KU didn’t hasten the return of big-time offense.
  10. TCU .310: The Horned Frogs just haven’t found an offensive spark, but in the final 16 minutes against Texas, quarterback Josh Hoover directed touchdown drives of 74, 75 and 36 yards.
  11. Cincinnati .270: Give the Bearcats credit. For much of the season, they’ve looked like the Big 12’s worst offense. But they’ve scratched their way to 11th.
  12. Baylor .253: My oh my, what a disastrous season for the Bears.
  13. Houston .233: In its most recent 31 possessions, the Cougars have produced four touchdowns and one field goal.
  14. Brigham Young .212: The Cougars finish with OU and OSU. So look for the Bedlam defenses to rise down the stretch.

Defense

  1. Iowa State .234: The Cyclones are perennially strong on defense, but they have a tough finishing assignment. Texas, then K-State.
  2. Kansas State .244: The Wildcats will be quite blessed if they get to play against third-team Kansas quarterback Cole Ballard.
  3. Texas .256: Excellent defense most of the season for the Longhorns. Only OU, with four touchdowns and two field goals in 12 possessions, dented the UT defense.
  4. Oklahoma .279: OU finishes with BYU and TCU. It’s not far-fetched to see the Sooners being the best defense in the Big 12 by season’s end.
  5. Texas Tech .294: Good defense, but can the Red Raiders hold down UCF and Texas, their final two opponents?
  6. TCU .315: Winning defense, unless your offense craters. Which is the case in Fort Worth.
  7. Oklahoma State .330: After back-to-back weeks of OU and UCF, the Cowboys will be glad to see Houston and BYU.
  8. Cincinnati .368: OU’s worst offensive performance probably was scoring just 20 in Cincy.
  9. West Virginia .388: Mountaineers should finish strong, with Cincinnati and Baylor still on the schedule.
  10. Kansas .388: Can KU’s defense stiffen, knowing its offense might not be able to keep producing at such high levels?
  11. Cincinnati .400: OU’s worst offensive performance probably was scoring just 20 in Cincy.
  12. Central Florida .416: UCF spent the first five weeks of the efficiency ratings dead last in defense. But an afternoon sharing a field with OSU zipped the Knights all the way to 11th. The Cowboys had 13 possessions and produced a solitary field goal.
  13. BYU .419: A once-solid defense has cracked. Prime opportunity for the Sooners this week and the Cowboys next.
  14. Baylor .422: Without that miracle comeback vs. Central Florida, the Bears would be in last place in the Big 12 standings.
  15. Houston .439: The Big 12’s worst defense and the Big 12’s next-to-worse offense. Yet somehow UH is in a five-way tie for ninth place.

Predictions

Another feature of the efficiency ratings is the ability to predict a score, based on the percentages. It’s not a great metric for picking a winner, but it’s not bad at showing you what kind of game it might be. 

Oklahoma at BYU: Soooners 35-20. In the cold of Provo (projected high temperature 49, but a 10 a.m. kickoff), OU will take this.

Oklahoma State at Houston: Cowboys 34-25. After Orlando, the Cowboys will take anything on the plus side.

Texas at Iowa State: Longhorns 25-23. Should be fun in Ames, where the Cyclones seem capable of playing with the ‘Horns.

Kansas State at Kansas: Wildcats 35-25. Without Bean, of course, Kansas will be hard-pressed to stay with K-State.

Central Florida at Texas Tech: Red Raiders 29-27. Knights have been fairly competitive on the road.

Baylor at TCU: Horned Frogs 28-23. TCU shows to be the superior team, but it’s not a great gap.

Cincinnati at West Virginia: Mountaineers 29-24. WVU’s offense will be tested.

 

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Berry Tramel is a 45-year veteran of Oklahoma journalism, having spent 13 years at the Norman Transcript and 32 years at The Oklahoman. He has been named Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Born and raised in Norman, Tramel grew up reading four newspapers a day and began his career at age 17. His first assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he’s enjoyed the journey ever since, having covered NBA Finals and Rose Bowls and everything in between. Tramel and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters. Tramel can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected].

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