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How effective are Big 12's offenses, defenses

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

I've always been fascinated by the production of offenses and defenses in determining the success of a team over the course of a game or a season.

That's why one of the first things I always look at when analyzing statistics is the drive chart, which gives a handy reading of every possessions along with number of plays, yardage gained, time of possession and whether the team scored or not.

It made me wonder if you could determine a percentage to gauge the overall effectiveness of an offense or a defense, considering how many times they score -- and how they score -- when they have the ball.

I came up with this idea. My readings will give each offense a point each time they have a scoring drive that culminates in a touchdown. They will get a half-point each time a drive finishes off with a field goal. I figured that raw total could then be divided by the team's number of possessions for an accurate gauge of how effective an offense or defense was.

Take Kansas in the season opener against Northern Colorado for example. The Jayhawks had seven touchdown drives, which would give them seven points. Divide that my their 10 possessions and you get a salty offensive average of .700 for the game.

The same figures can be done on defense, with the lower the percentage the better.

Texas allowed two touchdowns and two field goals against Lousiana-Monroe last week. That would result in three total points - a point apiece for the two touchdowns drives and a half-point for each field goal. The Longhorns' score would be three, divided by the 14 possessions the Warhawks had the ball. That would result in a defensive percentage for the Longhorns of .214, which isn't so good.

This system has a couple of minor flaws. It counts drives at the end of the half or at the end of the game where a team is trying to kill the clock. And special teams plays have no effect on it.

But I still think it provides an interesting and relatively accurate reading of the overall effectiveness of an offense and a defense.

Obviously those teams playing lesser teams will score higher. But I'm also planning to keep these statistics every week and will break out conference-only scores when those games begin to give a truer picture of a team's effectiveness in those games only.

Here's how the numbers looked across the Big 12 for the first week of the season.

On defense:

I'll be interested to see how these numbers fluctuate over the season. But it's something I've wanted to do for a couple of seasons and this provided a good place to provide this research every week.

Let me know what you think of this idea.