As I said in my last post, I was able to redefine the college football knockout because I found detailed drive data from fbsdrivestats.com. Every FBS vs. FBS game since 2005 is included. So that means we have 10 whole seasons of numbers to dig through.
As a reminder, the new definition is
A knockout occurs after the last play in which the losing team had possession while within one score (8 points).
I'm going to leave much of the digging to whomever wishes to do so. Want to use this stat in a ranking of your own? Go for it. Want to see how a particular team has improved or worsened through the years? Take it away. Want to compare coaches rather than teams? Good idea! Got another idea for how to use this? Please, show us!
Now, let me show off a few things.
Best/Worst Average KOs
The best KO averages since 2005.
Oregon has had two shots at the national title in the last 10 years (2010, 2014), but a three point loss to Stanford prevented the 2012 team from making it three. The only opponents to make it past halftime were Stanford and Cal (and the Ducks ended the Cal game with five straight TDs for a final of 59-17).
It's no surprise to see Bosie State listed twice. They have been a very good team in a weak conference for most of the last 10 years. It's also no surprise to see Florida State's 2013 team listed at number 3 (and for the same reasons).
Now, the worst averages since 2005.
|2012||New Mexico St.||0||11||-37:27||1206|
|2005||New Mexico St.||0||12||-38:15||1209|
Ouch. Washington State could only stick with opponents for about a quarter in 2009. And they weren't much better the year before.
As you well know, Auburn has had it's ups and downs over the last 10 years. It's no surprise that 2012 delivered Auburn's worst average KO time of -18:18. On average, the fourth quarter wasn't worth playing.
But it is surprising that the 2005 team has the best average KO time of the last decade despite three losses. As fun as 2010 and 2013 were, there were a lot of close calls. Our Tigers got plenty of W's, but you and your heart know too well just how many of those games went to the wire. The 2005 team blew a lot of teams out of the water and of its three losses, two were knockouts in the last three minutes.
|Year||Team||Wins||Losses||Avg KO||rk||Yearly rk|
Just how quickly can a game get out of hand? Would you believe less than 60 seconds?
|2010||10/09/10||Ball St.||16||Western Michigan||45||59:01||3|
|2011||09/10/11||Middle Tennessee||21||Georgia Tech||49||58:35||7|
|2007||10/20/07||West Virginia||38||Mississippi St.||13||58:27||9|
The Cal Bears claimed the quickest KO when they beat those poor 2008 Cougars 66-3. Cal scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, intercepted a Wazzu pass on the third, and scored again on the fifth. The Cougars never had the ball down one score again.
As you would expect, a lot of these games involve non-BCS/Group of 5 teams. What if we only look at BCS/Power 5 matchups?
|2007||10/20/07||West Virginia||38||Mississippi St.||13||58:27||9|
Most of these are total blowouts, so how did Florida get KO'd with that much time left and still only lose by 10? Well, the Gators threw a pick six on the first play from scrimmage and then went three-and-out on the next possession. The Cardinals would go up by 14 after their next drive and that lead would be the same at halftime. Louisville pushed the lead to 33-10 before two Florida touchdowns in the last eight minutes of the game made the final look respectable, but in reality, the Cardinals controlled that game from start to finish.
Auburn's quickest KO came against Florida-Atlantic in 2013. Auburn scored on its first drive, forced a fumble and then scored on the next play. Jeremy Johnson came in to start the second quarter, added another touchdown with his first pass, and won SEC Player of the Week. Also in the top 5 is the 2005 Iron Bowl, the one where Brodie Croyle may have literally been knocked out by one of the 11 sacks he took.
Last year's blowout over LSU takes the top spot when looking only at matchups against BCS/Power 5 opponents, followed by that 2005 Iron Bowl. 2005 Auburn also takes the 4th and 5th spot in blowouts over Mississippi State and South Carolina.
How quickly has Auburn been knocked out? Well, the quickest was that rain-soaked night in Baton Rouge in early 2013. Yes, we (or at least I) felt like Gus Malzahn could have had us right back in it, but Auburn never had the ball down one score after just five minutes. But, hey, LSU got their comeuppance in 2014.
The next three are all from 2012 (no surprise) followed by the first of Barry Alvarez's many swan songs.
Fortunate Wins and Untimely Losses
Some teams didn't win many games and were fortunate to win the ones they did. Take UTEP's 2007 team for example. It only won three games that year. The knockout only came in those games when the final whistle blew.
Similarly, Vanderbilt only won four games in 2005. The Commodores delivered KO's with 0, 1, 13 and 16 seconds left.
On the other side of fortune, Clemson lost four games in 2005 and it was knocked out at the last possible moment in all four.
Perhaps even worse was Notre Dame's six losses in 2009. The Irish stumbled to 6-6 that year, but their losses averaged a knockout time of only 31 seconds.
The closest thing I could find like this applying to Auburn was in 2007. Auburn lost to Mississippi State with less than a minute left and lost to South Florida in overtime. LSU knocked Auburn out with over three minutes to go, and Georgia had the game in hand with 18 minutes to go. A few close ones, but nothing like what some teams faced.
One more thing about Auburn
Finally, I don't know why 2005 is the cutoff, but that's what it is for all college football advanced stats. I've always wished 2004 could be included just to see how Auburn stacked up against USC and Oklahoma that year. Anyway, I went the extra mile and hand-calculated Auburn's 2004 KOs.
Average time of knockout: 36:40, the best number for Auburn in the last decade by over 12 minutes.
I don't know how it compares to other teams that year, but 2004 Auburn ranks 6th when compared to 2005-2014 teams. If there's ever any doubt as to how good that team was, here's their schedule and KO times.
Only one game was still a game into the fourth quarter. (Granted, it went deeeeep into the fourth quarter.) Only three other games lasted into the third quarter. And six games were over before the end of the first quarter. It may be hard to definitively say this was the best Auburn team in the last 15 years, but it was certainly the most dominant.
If you want to see every Auburn game since 2005, I have them filtered out right here.
So with that, I'm done with KO's until September or so. I'll get something set up so that rankings can get updated automatically throughout next season. Nothing to spend much time on, but something that might be interesting as the season progresses.