Auburn's speed is a fraud. There it is, I said it. Do you have a problem with it? If so, I implore you to explain to me, with facts not opinion, why Auburn has an advantage over teams like ASU, USC or Arizona because of their "speed".
I can already tell you, you won't come up with much.
The national media has bolstered the perception of Auburn's offensive speed to a point of ridiculousness. The idea is; the greater the lie, the more believable it is. ESPN pushes this idea that Auburn is better prepared to face Oregon's offense than any other team because of their offensive tempo. ESPN will tell you that Auburn runs an upbeat offense that averages a snap about every 24 seconds. ESPN will tell you that this pace will prepare them to face an Oregon offense that snaps the ball every 21 seconds. I will tell you that it wont and, I'll tell you why.
ESPN likes to throw out a number like 24seconds/play and point at it, lift it up on a pedestal and tell us all to worship it for all of it's grandeur. At least that's the picture they paint. What they don't like to do is show you were that pedestal sits in relations to everyone else in the nation. ESPN says worship, and the nation obeys, like taking candy from a baby ESPN sensationalizes a single stat and ignores all others because after all, if they let you see the whole tapestry then your focus might drift away from their blot of ink. Their product gets watered down and simply becomes part of a wonderful mosaic created by many different hands. Their detail stroke gets lost when you're not looking right at it so they demand you, LOOK!
The consequence we suffer is that we only see one strap of the football lace and miss out on the rest of the picture.
ESPN will say, "after all, what is a measly 3 second difference worth anyway?".
Go for it, count to 3 out loud, I'll wait. You counted to three pretty fast! It's really not that much at all. I hear your cry, "Come on, You said their speed was a fraud! How can you say that Auburn's speed is a fraud then so clearly demonstrate that they are remarkably close to Oregon's speed?" I hear you questioning, "does this mean that Oregon's speed is a fraud?" No, not even close.
Here's the stats that ESPN doesn't want you to know. Oregon played two teams this year that run their offense just as fast as Auburn. Can you name them? Here's a hint, one is sanctioned and the other is run by a certain hopping brother. Here's another, both teams played Oregon coming off a BYE.
USC this year ran a play every 24.6 seconds. Arizona ran a play every 24.9 seconds. Auburn remember, ran a play every 24.2 seconds If you thought 3 seconds wasn't much of a difference how about 0.4 seconds. You can start to say, "One" in 0.4 seconds.
By a show of hands, how many people believed that Arizona and USC had an advantage because of their pace compared to other teams Oregon played. We knew going into those games that both teams boasted good offenses that put up a lot of really good looking numbers. People said that coming off a BYE week the teams had an advantage to prepare for the ducks speed. I never heard so much as a peep from the talking heads about the offensive tempo that USC or Arizona ran, even though it rivals the speed of Auburn.
If you want to look at a team that should have been prepared to play The Ducks, stay right where you are, or where you wish you were, in Arizona. Would you call ASU's offense an up tempo offense? I would. In fact ASU's tempo rivals that of Oregon's. In a futile, but very scary, attempt to beat Oregon at it's own game, ASU ran a play every 21 seconds for 4 quarters of football. Oregon was only able to snap the ball every 22 seconds and for much of the game the offense was remarkably below average in efficiency. 11 drives ended in 3 plays or less, ATQ was chanting "Rob Beard for MVP", and ASU ran 99 plays to Oregon's 69.
If you can believe it ASU ran 99 plays on our defense and at the end of the game, did our team look beat? Did they give up and mail it in ala USC in the 4th quarter? I'll tell you what I saw, I saw a defense that flew to the ball, DB's that jumped passing lanes and a line that got constant pressure on a QB right to the end.
This season ASU averaged a snap every 22.5 seconds. So they should have been ready to face the tempo right?
Oregon has played in pressure packed games, the defense has been stretched but I would argue they haven't even been close to their limit yet. You see, Oregon has been tested by tempo offenses, ASU ran nearly a hundred plays, USC ran 85 plays, one every 23 seconds. Arizona ran 81 plays, one every 22 seconds. Oregon doesn't have to prepare for speed, Auburn still does.
So what kind of pressure has Auburn seen this year? How about the University of Kentucky Wildcats. The wildcats play at a frightening pace of 26 seconds/snap and put up a dizzying 33 points/game. Oh shoot, I think I forgot the sarchasum font there.
Here's a bit that's sarcasm free though. KU, a 6-6 team was tied with Auburn till the end of the game when Auburn kicked a winning FG as time expired to win. In that game Auburn ran a play every 25 seconds, wich was just under their average.
Wait a minute!
It's not a mistake though. I decided that we deserved some more concrete stats, rather than the numbers ESPN wants to feed us. So I broke down the games and then I threw a few out. I didn't care what Auburn did to Louisiana Monroe, Chattanooga or Arkansas State. Similarly I didn't care what Oregon did to Portland State or UNM, so I threw them right out the window with the day's trash.
What I saw was rather surprising. All the stats from now on are only stats that were accumulated against AQ conference teams, mainly the SEC and Pac-10.
Against AQ teams Auburn's offense slowed down considerably. Auburn only snapped the ball once every 27 seconds, a difference of 3 seconds/snap. The difference between Oregon's pace after dropping the stats from PSU and UNM, 0.54 seconds. Oregon's average dropped from 21.16 seconds/snap to 21.70 seconds/snap. The difference in real time is indistinguishable.
Suddenly 3 seconds morphs into 6 seconds, and Auburn surprisingly looks a lot more like Kentucky (26 seconds/snap) than Oregon. But this is what ESPN doesn't want you to know.
Before you go make that rage post and tell me that, "Auburn runs their Offense slower in the second half to protect their lead and run out the clock!", I'll make my counter argument. Oregon does the same thing.
Now I could leave it there and be ESPN lite. I could ostentatiously throw that, "Fact" out there and tell you to devour it without question. However, I am not ESPN, I do not have a agenda or an image to protect. I am Anonymous, I have nothing to lose.
I always hear the offense is slowing down in the second half, or that the offense is fastest in the 3rd quarter when our team really wants to push the lead. So I want to take a look at the validity of those statements. As one would suspect, both offenses do slow down in the second half of games, by how much is startling. At least when you look at Oregon.
Auburn ran a play every 25 seconds in the first half of their games against AQ opponents. In the second half they slowed down to an easy 28.5 seconds/play. When Auburn wanted to run the clock a little more they did just that, ran it a LITTLE more, 3 seconds/play slower.
Oregon on the other hand surprised me. In the first half Oregon runs a play every 18 seconds. In the second half they slow down 7 seconds/play to 25 seconds per snap. When Oregon is running their offense at what The Ducks consider a slow pace, it's still as fast as Auburn generally runs in the first half.
I still feel like we should dig deeper into this myth, and as I do I find a glimmer of hope for Auburn. When Auburn played OLE MISS, in the second quarter of that game, Auburn ran a play every 17.9 seconds. Suddenly, Auburn actually does have the ability to run with Oregon's offense. ESPN isn't so evil after all, you read all of this only to find out that none of it was true!
Hold up for a minute there, don't get ahead of yourself. The third and fourth quarter of that game were the two slowest quarters Auburn had all year, snapping the ball every 33 and 37 seconds. For the game they averaged a play every 28 seconds.
If we glance around the stats a little more we see that against Arkansas, Auburn ran a play every 18.1 seconds in the second quarter and against Bama there was a play every 19.9 seconds. Beyond that, Auburn didn't post another quarter all year in which they snapped the ball in under 20 seconds for a full quarter.
Oregon can't be all that much more impressive can it?
By Oregon's definition of taking it slow, The Ducks second half pace of 25 seconds/snap matched the first half pace or Auburn. To draw a parallel we realize that Auburn's "Fast" is Oregon's "Slow".
That's grand and all but we're still looking at the all encompassing 'average'. In this case lets talk specifics. Oregon's fastest quarter came when The Ducks were playing Stanford. In the second quarter of that game Oregon ran a play at the leisurely pace of a snap every 13.65 seconds, for an entire quarter. In that quarter Oregon ran 23 plays which was more than the season average for number of plays run in the 2nd quarter.
Let's talk about 20 again. Earlier we found a stat that ESPN would rather we didn't know. Auburn has only snapped the ball at "Oregon Speed" in three quarters this season. Oregon Speed is defined as a snap every 20 seconds or less for a full quarter. Why is it called Oregon Speed? Because Oregon has done it 17 times this year. Six other times Oregon's pace was less than a second more per play than 20 seconds/play, and because I said so.
Now that we're digging we're finding out what REAL speed is. Real speed is when an offense is snapping a ball every 15 seconds or faster, and Oregon likes to find 'Real Speed' just about as often as Auburn likes to find 'Oregon Speed'. Oregon's run a play every 15 seconds or less in 5 quarters this year twice in one game. Oregon's offense operates at a speed that Auburn can't even sniff at.
Oregon's so fast in fact that they're in their own league, even ESPN admits this. However for some reason ESPN want's to pump up Auburn's speed and make things seem closer than they really are. They do this for ratings, if they said the game would be a blowout fewer people would watch. It irks me though that we, the educated public, the people with knowledge of our team are so slighted by lies of omission. After all, if you don't use all the data available to you it's not actually a lie, is it?
Your attention down here please. Can we continue or would you like another moment with the picture above? It's ok, I understand.
Auburn's so called 'speed' really is a fraud. I'm not going to sit Idly by and eat the meatloaf of lies coming out of ESPN's Kitchen anymore. Instead I excrete that shite and put myself through a cleanse of sorts to get their taint out of my system. I still feel though that there might be something missing from this formula. Something else to all these stats is floating out there and I think I know exactly what I'm looking for.
What's the use of doing something incredibly fast if you're incredibly bad at what you're doing. I bet I could get 11 random people from this blog together and we could go out after a week or two and run an offense like Oregon at the same pace of Oregon at least for a few minutes. I'd also be willing to bet that we wouldn't gain more than a yard or two against the lowest rated defense in College football.
Just because you can do something really fast doesn't mean you're any good at it. Oregon is really fast, and really good when their fast. Auburn... well, not so much.
I measured Efficiency by taking the number of plays and dividing it by the number of points the team scores. I did it by quarter and found that when Oregon runs it's offense at it's fastest, The Ducks scores in the fewest number of plays. Over all Oregon scored 408 offensive points this year against AQ teams in 783 plays. That's about a 0.521 efficiency rating by my formula. In the second quarter, when Oregon is averaging it's fastest, that efficiency rating jumps to .582. A difference of .05 doesn't seem like much but I'm going to ask you to let me use the ESPN model here for a second and just accept that it's significant.
You think these girls are all smiling at you. You think they're all happy and jovial because they can be. Really they're laughing at you. They're mocking you and it's all because you bought it. You let me do it and you didn't even question it for more than a second.
Don't ever let me shove a stat down your thought like ESPN and just take it. Question it, push it, research it yourself and find the hidden meanings.
0.5 is actually a very small number. Almost insignificant but what it does say is that Oregon is better when they are moving the ball the fastest than they are on the average. How much is it really? Well it's about the difference in Auburn's game when Auburn runs their offense the fastest. Well, kinda anyway.
Auburn also runs their offense the fastest in the second quarter. Over all Auburn's average efficiency is a 0.506. Less than Oregon's 0.521 but relatively similar. That's where the similarities end though, unfortunately for Auburn the faster they run their offense the less they score. When Auburn's running their offense the fastest their efficiency drops to a below average .455 or a drop of .05. Same change as Oregon but in the wrong direction.
So, even when Auburn is running at 'Oregon Speed' they're just making more mistakes faster.
"We're going to prepare for Oregon's speed by using our own speed!"
That's a noble thought but how do you prepare for a faster team when you start making mistakes when you move faster.
This is what I find most incredible about Oregon's offense and the mind of Chip Kelly. Chipper has been in Eugene since being hired in 2007 as the OC. That year he started to change the culture of Oregon's practice where he could, when he was given the reigns in 2009 the culture shifted dramatically. Practice was in the morning, while players were fresh, ready to learn. Practice became conditioning and in turn was shortened but intensified. The speed of practice translated to the speed of the game on Saturdays. A year later in 2010 the system was again refined and the players in the system had another year of experience in the Chip Kelly system. Chip since 2007 has been "watering the bamboo".
With all of that Oregon does not suffer when they push the tempo. The Ducks don't make more mistakes or break down. Every player on the field knows exactly what to do every play and they know FAST.
It's taken three years for Oregon to reach the pace that they're at now. Three years to become as efficient and deadly as they are now Auburn has 30 days to do the same, how fast does bamboo grow in 30 days?
Auburn has more time to break down Oregon's offense, but Oregon has the same time to find the flaws in Auburn's armor. Advantage, no one.
I'll leave you with this. Don't believe everything you hear from ESPN. Hell, don't believe everything that's in this post, question it, research it and find the hidden meanings. I'm a Duck fan through and through and I'll never disguise that fact. ESPN will tell you what they want you to hear. Right now they'll feed you this mud pie and tell you it's a delicacy so you'd better eat it without question. It's just a nation wide scam to keep your attention on them. To feed them your attention and money. They do it because they can and they'll continue to do it long after this post dies in the annyonimity of the internet. That doesn't mean you have to take it.
Auburn's so called speed is an ESPN fraud. If you don't think so prove me wrong.