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National Championship Stats Tracker

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I decided to pull the stats out of my Film Review every week and instead focus on comparing our Tigers with both the National Championship Teams from 2008-2014 and our own Tiger teams from 2011 to 2014. Let's see what the numbers tell us.

Clemson's starters have been excellent this year.
Clemson's starters have been excellent this year.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

I do a post every year in the offseason about "Elite Statistics" where we examine how Clemson measures up with the elite level football teams. I decided to pull the stats from my film review every week and instead post the stats here along with a comparison of Clemson teams from 2011 to 2014 and all of the National Championship teams since 2008.  In case you forgot, those teams are:

#1 Florida 2008
#1 Alabama 2009
#1 Auburn 2010
#1 Alabama 2011
#1 Alabama 2012
#1 Florida St. 2013
#1 Ohio St. 2014

Offensive Stat Clemson 2015 National Champions
Average
Clemson
2011-14 Average
Clemson
Best
Clemson
Worst
Yards Per Rush Ranking 56 7.4 76.5 55 (2011) 108 (2014)
Yards Per Rush 4.41 5.65 4.04 4.23 (2012) 3.53 (2014)
S&P Rushing Rank 66 5.6 50.0 26 (2012) 106 (2014)
Yards Per Pass Attempt Rank 25 12.4 28.8 6 (2012) 50 (2014)
Yards Per Pass Attempt 8.3 9.0 8.2 8.8 (12,13) 7.5 (11,14)
S&P Passing Rank 4 3.0 19.8 2 (2012) 50 (2014)

As you can see here, the punching in the mouth running the football that we received from BC, dropped our rushing numbers back down to "previous Clemson teams' level."  However, there is a lot of season left and, with our OL young and improving, we should see the rushing numbers increase on a game by game basis. The eye test still says we are much improved running the ball this year, but maybe we're not.  We'll find out.

I think the perception is that we aren't a very good passing team right now due to all the mistakes that we have made in that area.  However, as you can see here, the national rankings are better than two of the four years under Morris. Advanced Stats takes it a step further and says that we are right at the Boyd/Nuk/Sammy/Bryant/Ford year of 2012.

The eye test here doesn't like that assessment.  I think I know why though. First off, we're spoiled.  Secondly, we are not throwing the ball as much as we were in previous years. Third and most importantly, I think a lot of our expectations for DeShaun Watson were "Heisman Level" and he has just not performed on that level this year.  Had our expectations been Tajh Boyd-level maybe we would see his performance differently.

Defensive Stat Clemson 2015 National Champions
Average
Clemson
2011-14 Average
Clemson
Best
Clemson
Worst
Yards Per Rush Allowed Rank 11 11.7 42.5 3 (2014) 73 (2011)
S&P Rushing Defense Rank 1 10.6 38.8 2 (2014) 86 (2011)
Yards Per Attempt Allowed Rank 42 13.3 47.5 1 (2014) 74 (2011)
S&P Passing Defense Rank 19 8.6 40.3 1 (2014) 95 (2012)

The defensive stats are oozing accuracy in my mind. Our rush defense has been stellar.  C.J. Procise was averaging over 7 yards a carry until he faced Clemson and he was completely shut down.  Interestingly, BC, the most inept offense statistically, had the most success against us running the ball.

The 4th quarter of the ND game combined with the 2 big plays from GT, affected an otherwise excellent pass defense so far this year.  I think there is room to improve here by maintaining discipline and eliminating the busts in the secondary.

Advanced Stats Overall Clemson 2015 National Champions
Average
Clemson
2011-14 Average
Clemson
Best
Clemson
Worst
F/+ 1 1.1 24.3 14 (2014) 40 (2011)
Offense S&P 10 1.7 21.3 5 (2012) 44 (2014)
Defense S&P 6 4.3 30.0 1 (2014) 73 (2011)
National Rankings Overall Clemson 2015 National Champions
Average
Clemson
2011-14 Average
Clemson
Best
Clemson
Worst
Scoring Offense 33 10.1 22.8 6 (2012) 81 (2011)
Scoring Defense 14 12.6 38.5 3 (2014) 54 (2014)
Offense + Defense Avg. 23.5 11.4 30.6 16 (2013) 52 (2011)

The National rankings show us as a strong team that is balanced with very good offense and great defense. The Advanced Stats show us as a team with Elite level defense and near-elite level offense.  So which one is correct?

I think they are both correct. I think the National Rankings indicate our lack of depth and propensity to have the wheels fall off if certain guys are lost to injury (see "You're Irreplaceable" article from last week). The 2nd string defense, in particular, can be had by the likes of Wofford, Appalachian State, and Boston College

The Advanced Stats, which factor in level of competition and factor out garbage time, tell us that the starters have been as good as any team in the nation when the game is on the line.  So far, the Advanced Stats think we are the best team in the Dabo Swinney era...if we can just dodge the injury bug.

Stay healthy my friends.