Ok, so I wanted to quantify with real numbers the extent to which our offense has been underperforming - so I went back to look at some base offensive stats dating back to the start of the 2010 season. (Source: CFBStats.com) Remember - in 2009, Florida had the No.8 scoring offense in the nation (TDs only) and culminated in Tim Tebow's 550+yd 'rout' in the Sugar Bowl. Accumulating all offensive scoring stats since 2010 under Meyer and then Muschamp, right up to just before yesterday's game (which, let's face it, will only aggravate the numbers), I found the following: (Note, I discounted some of the 'newer' teams that didn't accumlate stats in every single year since 2010 for comparison's sake - all numbers are for teams that have registered in all seasons, so you're looking at nearly 50 games for the sample) Over the past 3.5 years: Florida is 77th in Scoring offense (TDs only) in the Nation. Some interesting comparisons - Oregon (1) [55 TDs ahead of No.2 Baylor/OkState!], Bama (11), Georgia (14), FSU (16), LSU (24), South Carolina (30), Tennessee (65), Vanderbilt (75). Florida has 144 total offensive touchdowns over the period - avg 3.2 TDs per game (45 games). Some interesting comparisons - Oregon (305), Bama (214), Georgia (205), LSU (195), Mississippi State (163), Vanderbilt (146). Als interesting as I think we'd have gladly taken 3.2 offensive TDs in each of the past two weeks... Florida is 12th of 14 SEC teams in offensive TDs per game over the past 3.5 years. This is above only Kentucky (117tds) and Ole Miss (143tds). After last night's win for Ole Miss, we will drop to 13th of 14 when stats update later today. Admittedly, TAMU and Mizzou accumulated stats in other conferences as a part of these stats... The list: TAMU - 228 Bama - 214 Georgia - 205 LSU - 192 South Carolina - 189 Missouri - 178 Arkansas - 174 Auburn - 170 Miss.State - 163 Tennessee - 156 Vanderbilt - 146 Florida - 144 Ole Miss - 143 Kentucky - 117 Florida's offensive TD scoring 'National Rankings' (2013 still in progress, of course): 2010 (Meyer) - 34th (29.8 pts p/g) 2011 (Muschamp/Weis) - 81st (25.5 pts p/g) 2012 (Muschamp/Pease) - 82nd (26.5 pts p/g) 2013* (Muschamp/Pease) - 97th (21.8 pts p/g) Some interesting comparables (listing according to order of finish: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013*) - Vanderbilt (110th, 53rd, 60th, 34th) - Kentucky (31st, 117th, 114th, 104th) - Alabama (21st, 25th, 7th, 22nd) - Georgia (35th, 30th, 6th, 30th) - FSU (30th, 49th, 10th, 9th) - LSU (59th, 11th, 64th, 4th) - Oregon (1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st) [Houston topped them in 2011] - South Carolina (27th, 33rd, 38th, 34th) - Ohio State (13th, 76th, 28th, 4th) All of this is very interesting reading to me. What stands out is that we simply have not been a good offensive team for well over 3 years now and, most worryingly, we appear to be getting worse. There's really no other polite way to put that. It doesn't pass the eye ball test and the statistics back it up. It's a consistent problem too rather than there being ups and downs on the path we're treading. In 2010, a total of 5,393 FBS Offensive TDs were scored. That increased to 5488 in 2011, up again to 5707 in 2012 and by my crude calculations, the College Football is on pace for 5885 in 2013. That's an approximate rise of 9% over a 4 season span in offensive TDs which suggests that scoring is up and continuing to rise significantly. By comparison, Florida has gone from 52 TDs in 2010, to 37 (2011), up to 39 (2012) and down this year with just 16 through 6 games, extrapolating to around 32-35 this year. Not only is our offense down but the gap is widening with our peers, it seems. Being 12th (or soon to be 13th) in the SEC tomorrow is a major concern. Personally I knew we had underperformed, but I didn't realise it was quite this bad. The statistics say we only look down at Kentucky and everyone else is above us when Ole Miss pass us after the stats are updated. That's pretty embarrassing whichever way you look at it, not least given the successes we had over the previous 4 years. To be talked about as Championship contender in the near future with those kind of offensive numbers is pretty hard to see even with my most orange and blue glasses on... adding a handful of quality offensive recruits isn't likely to drastically change this output either. And remember, this malaise is sustained too - it's something that has been evident for several seasons, not just the final game we're all lamenting from yesterday. For all the historical mocking, to be looking up at the likes of Vandy and Miss-St is somewhere between 'discouraging and frightening.' (I'm erring towards the latter.) It's harder to argue the schedule being tough when our rivals are getting it done but we are not. Now I fully appreciate that when doing this analysis, there's a whole bunch of variables that come into play such as the aforementioned schedule, our OLine play (for which it's hard to collect meaninful statistical info), recruiting on the offensive side of the ball [although keep in mind, according to ESPN we have had 22 offensive players ranked 4 stars or better in the past 3 signed classes, which is hardly on the bread line!] etc. But the numbers are what they are and this isn't a small sample size. I don't think anyone expects us to post Oregon numbers week in, week out but comparing with our SEC rivals shows we are lagging well behind the Georgia's, Bamas, LSUs and Carolinas of our league by some distance. Yes, of course we take pride our D but in a balanced game, our D is clearly having to do far too much. In fact when you consider we have gone 30-16 in that time frame (keep in mind loss number 16 isn't actually reflected in these stats yet either...) it's testament to our staff and personnel just how good our D probably has been, especially given that we've been mostly competitive. So what does all this mean? Feel free to make your own conclusions, but I feel like yesterday was the nail in the coffin of my own personal belief that we can be successful playing the way we do. Changes are needed - I am open-minded that one option could well be new coaching staff, but perhaps oddly I'm not personally prepared to sign up to that mandate just yet. However I certainly think a change is needed philosophically about our playing style at the very least. Yes 'Defense wins championships' but not on its own when we have 'produced' offensively like this for so long. It's on Coach Muschamp and Pease to figure this out pretty quickly, IMO. We won in 2008 with the No.3 scoring offense (TDs), we were top 10 in 2007 and even in our reknowned 'defensive Championship year' in 2006 when we shut down OSU... we still had a top 10 overall offense! It's a bit of fallacy to assume we were ever D in isolation as much as the press would have you believe... you could more easily argue that it was actually the offense that brought us our recent successes and championships moreso than on defense, whilst being backed up by a better-than-solid D (and of course, a very productive special teams unit that also contributed very well.) The coaching staff needs, IMO, to go back to the drawing board right now in the bye week. We're not talking about small tweaks being needed - we need large, fundamental shifts in playing philosophy to try something different because D alone is going to leave us heading backwards even further, especially as our ST unit seems to have gone backwards too despite the small step up this week. And of course, if we don't, then before too long our reputation is going to take a severe hit (if it hasn't already) as and when recruits start seeing more statistically-productive offenses at Vandy and Miss State! ...What an easy negative-recruiting pitch that will be for our rivals and in-state foes who both are outperforming us offensively. We're going to miss out on more and more talent. Bama and LSU have quality defenses but they still produce on the other side of the ball, especially the Tide as the statistics confirm. Georgia and SC have had success on offense that has outweighed any relative shortcomings on Defense but their overall level of team success will draw better defensive players to their classes anyway going forward. It seems easier to recruit that way than defense pulling in offensive recruits based on my gut feeling... I'll leave you to make your own conclusions because the reasons are potentially tenfold and speculative - I just wanted to look at actual factual statistics. I do feel like I've personally had an epiphany of sorts this morning: These numbers show a clear, prolonged statistical regression and it needs reversing pretty swiftly. I just hope Will, Brent and co aren't so stubborn in sticking to their current formula to the point that they keep trying to smash a square peg into a round hole. This 'wear 'em down, T.O.P. ground game' is not working as it should do. Either make it work through hard coaching of the players or find something else that works better and recruit to that model. That's on the coaching staff and they have to get it right. I'm willing to swallow my pride and admit I've perhaps been too patient in my previous analysis but the evidence suggests the problem is already getting out of hand. Time for some serious action. GO GATORS!