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Offensive Efficiency - An Historical Perspective

Just for the record, I hate the internet.

And not like a tongue-in-cheek kind of a hate, but a festering sore of puss type of hate.

The internet is a great resource capable of providing a wealth of information at a reasonably low cost. Unfortunately, athletic departments have yet to realize this, and if by chance they have, they are not using it to its greatest extent.

After pouring over Syracuse's 2004 offensive efficiency numbers yesterday, I wanted to compare them to historical Syracuse seasons. This, essentially, was to be an effort to determine whether there is a correlation between team success and offensive efficiency. What I found was the following:

1) Syracuse Athletics has not logged any final statistics from the 2003 campaign;
2) Even though the 1999 and 2000 seasons are listed as searchable, no game recaps or box scores are available;
3) The boxscores from the Virginia Tech and Kansas States games from 2001 are missing; and
4) Syracuse Athletics actually has more historical statistical information available on their website than most other schools and major sports websites, including

What I was able to compile was complete information on the 2002 and 2003 seasons. 2001 is close to complete, and I hope Syracuse Athletics will forward the information I have requested on the Virginia Tech and Kansas States games shortly. Anything prior to 2001 seems to have fallen into the black abyss of "404 Error" and won't be coming back anytime soon.

Syracuse Offensive Efficiency: Year-by-Year


2004: Y/D - 25.0778; TO/D - .1617; 6-6 record
2003: Y/D - 26.1; TO/D - .1118; 6-6 record
2002: Y/D - 25.0944; TO/D - .1444; 4-8 record

[Knee-Jerk Analysis]
First, I would like to thank Paul Pasqualoni for taking over the offensive coordinator duties in 2004. Under his watchful eye, Syracuse reached a three year low (and, I'm willing to bet a four year low if I had available the complete 2001 season) in all offensive efficiency categories.


George DeLeone was bad, but Coach P was worse. More turnovers per drive combined with fewer yards per drive equaled offensive mediocrity. Syracuse's offense in the new millenium has been pretty terrible, but last year was the worst it has been. Even though Syracuse's record hasn't wavered much in the past few seasons, the actual on-field production has markedly diminished. Daryl Gross should be commended for firing Pasqualoni before things deteriorated further.


Secondly, it's important to note that there is no overt correlation, at least from these numbers, between overall record and offensive efficiency. In 2002, Syracuse put together one of its better offensive seasons in the three year span and the team accumulated its worst record in that same time period.

However, the story behind the numbers are interesting. In 2002, Syracuse completed 180 drives and ended up with an overall record of 4-8 and average efficiency ratings. In 2003, Syracuse completed 170 drives and ended up with an overall record of 6-6 and efficiency ratings better than 2002. What does this mean?

Well, the fewer drives a team takes, the longer the offense is on the field allowing the defense to rest longer thereby controlling fatigue. Even if a defense is pourous, if it isn't on the field an opponent does not have the ability to continually carve it up. So, even though Syracuse has fielded poor defensive teams in recent seasons, by limiting the number of drives and becoming more efficient, there is a noticeable effect on overall team record.

In short, hidden offensive inefficiency does have an effect on overall record, regardless of a team's defensive struggles or triumphs.

Finally, offensive efficiency may be tied to pass receiver ratings, at least when considering Syracuse's offensive philosophy.


In 2002 and 2003, Syracuse fielded at least one "studly" receiver - Jamel Riddle and Johnnie Morant, respectively. In 2004, Syracuse did not have any player in that echelon. Coincidentaly (or was it?), Syracuse had better offensive efficiency in 2002/2003 than 2004. Furthermore, Syracuse fielded a "studlier" receiver in 2003 than 2002 and ultimately had a better year efficiency wise.

There is little hard evidence to prove this hypothesis, but it's at least something to monitor in the next few season as Syracuse's implements the West Coast Offense.

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