The offseason is a good time to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
Which Big 12 teams are efficient on offense and defense, excel on third down and consistently create turnovers? Those are just a few of the questions we’ll aim to answer during this weekly offseason series called "Stats and Trends." In this series we’re looking to expose the programs that build themselves upon certain long-term traits, as opposed to riding one or two elite players to short-term excellence.
Today, we start things off by looking at which teams are consistently efficient on offense by taking a closer look at the points per drive numbers. (All stats are in Big 12 games only since 2012, when TCU and West Virginia joined the conference, and come via ESPN Stats & Information.)
1. Baylor, 2.92: The Bears have had the Big 12’s most efficient offense while starting three different quarterbacks (Bryce Petty, Nick Florence, Seth Russell). Baylor has the speed on the outside to create big plays while also imposing its will in the trenches with a top-notch running game. Last season’s 2.78 points per drive was the lowest during this span, which shouldn’t be a surprise after quarterback injuries handicapped the offense.
2. Oklahoma, 2.69: Considering Oklahoma essentially swapped out its offensive staff a year ago, it’s something of a surprise to see the Sooners at No. 2. It means Bob Stoops' program was consistently displaying an efficient offense, even if it wasn’t the explosive, balanced attack we’d gotten used to. The Sooners’ 3.19 points per drive during Lincoln Riley’s first season in 2015 was the best during this span, meaning Stoops' decision to make changes did pay off.
3. Kansas State, 2.51: The Wildcats have consistently ranked among the Big 12’s most efficient offenses, even if they aren’t the team that comes to mind when thinking about the explosive offenses that the conference is known for producing. The 2015 season was, by far, the worst during this span, with K-State scoring 1.97 points per drive after suffering injuries at quarterback, so returning to its efficient ways may be the first step in a return to Big 12 title contention. The Wildcats scored 2.95 points per drive during their Big 12 title-winning season in 2012.
4. Texas Tech, 2.32: Last year’s 2.85 points per drive was the best during this span as Patrick Mahomes’ breakout season helped make the Red Raiders' offense one of the nation’s best. The Red Raiders weren’t especially efficient during the previous two seasons (2.1 points per drive in 2013, 2.02 in 2014) but Mahomes’ emergence seems to have really sparked an improvement.
5. Oklahoma State, 2.18: This Cowboys offense isn’t the explosive attack of old, sitting in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 for the past four seasons. By comparison, Oklahoma State averaged 2.61 points per drive during the four previous seasons combined. The Cowboys' 1.47 points per drive during the 2014 season is particularly staggering. A more balanced offense could help Oklahoma State improve on the 2.5 points per drive it recorded a year ago.
6. TCU, 2.07: The arrival of Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie completely changed the Horned Frogs' offensive fortunes. TCU averaged 1.54 points per drive during its first two seasons in the conference and averaged 2.57 points per drive since the change in offenses. The key for the Horned Frogs is to continue that efficient attack with Trevone Boykin no longer around to take over when needed.
7. West Virginia, 2.01: The 2012 season, when West Virginia had a pair of NFL receivers (Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin) catching passes from an NFL quarterback (Geno Smith), was the Mountaineers’ lone season above two points per drive in the Big 12. West Virginia hasn’t been among the Big 12’s best attacks but hasn’t been among the worst, either, despite some uncertain times at quarterback since Smith’s departure.
8. Texas, 1.91: The Longhorns have had an underachieving offense for the past four seasons. Texas has averaged more than three points per drive in only four games during the past four seasons while averaging less than one point per drive on eight different occasions, including last year’s shutout loss to Iowa State. The Longhorns have averaged 1.66 points per drive since Charlie Strong took over prior to the 2014 season.
9. Iowa State, 1.64: There is encouraging news for the Cyclones as Matt Campbell takes over. Iowa State’s 1.92 points per drive in 2015 was the best during this span. And the Cyclones return quarterback Joel Lanning, running back Mike Warren and receiver Allen Lazard to form the foundation of Campbell’s first offense.
10. Kansas, 0.98: David Beaty’s first season was less than ideal, as his team averaged 0.77 points per drive. The Jayhawks' head coach has taken over offensive play-calling duties with an eye on sparking Kansas' offense while making it more efficient. History is not on the side of Beaty, with 2008 standing as the last time Kansas averaged more than two points per drive (2.31).