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Stats Corner: Improvement and Regression of the West Division

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Analyzing areas where teams have improved or regressed compared to last year.

Last week we covered the teams of the Mountain Division and where they have improved or regressed. This week we are covering the teams of the West Division and their areas of progressing and deteriorating. And shout out to the conference for having respectable geographical alignments and truthful division titles.

Hawaii

Improved: During the 2018 season Hawaii converted 4.2 3rd downs a game at a conversion rate of 32.14%, I can count the number of teams who had a worse rate on two hands and have fingers left over. This year that number has increased to 4.5, but the rate has increased to a respectable 40.43%, keeping the offense on the field for longer periods of time. The defense has improved as well, giving up 14.5 3rd downs in 2018, but on 12.0 so far in 2019, which is 18th in the nation. Even better, they are only allowing teams to covert 4.0 3rd downs this year, down from 6.3 last year. The defense is allowing the opposing offense to score slightly more often in the red zone 90.91% compared to 84.75% last year, which is countered by the decrease in opposing red zone attempts from 4.5 last year, 111th in nation, to 2.8 this season which is 45th.

Regressed: The offense has lapsed a little in 3rd downs from 12.9 per game to just 11.8 this year, which is 117th in the country. Also the red-zone scoring has dropped from 84.31% to 81.25% on about the same number of attempts. Small decreases, but will cost the team a few times during the season.

San Diego State

Improved: The offense has been able to put together longer drives and force the opposing defense to work harder and longer during games. Last year the number of 3rd downs for the offense was 13.9 and they were converting 4.7 per game at a rate of 33.53. That was a triple digit ranking for the offense. This year the offense is producing 16 3rd downs per game and converting 7.0 per game at a rate of 43.75, all of which are ranked in the top 40 in country. These longer drives are leading to more red zone opportunities 3.7 per games, up from 2.7 last year and a higher scoring percentage 81.82% better than 78.12% of last season. Both red zone numbers where ranked lower than 100 last year, and this year’s numbers is more middle of the pack. Not to be outdone, last year’s defense was allowing teams to score 89.19% of the times they entered the red zone, 105th in the nation, so far this year 75.0% which is 33rd best. The number of trips opposing teams make into the red zone has also dropped from 3.1 to 2.7.

Regressed: There aren’t really any major areas of regression for the Aztecs. One area of concern is defensive 3rd downs. The defense has improved slightly in the total number 15.1 has dropped to 14.7, but that is still only 82nd in the nation, but the total number of 3rd conversion has stayed the same at 6.3, meaning the percentage allowed has increased to 42.9%. When you allow fewer 3rd down, need to have few conversions to make it count.

San Jose State

Improved: One of the teams who was one of the fingers used when counting Hawaii’s ranking of 3rd down conversion rate last year was San Jose State, this season they are ranked 45th with a rate of 42.5 and have improved the number converted from 4.8 to 5.7 3rd downs. Another triple digit ranking that has been improved was offensive red zone attempts, last year it was 2.9 attempts, this year 4.0 attempts which is 35th best in the nation.

Regressed: The offensive may be making more trips to red zone, but unfortunately the offense is still struggling with scoring. Last year 78.12% of trip resulted in a score with was 103rd in the nation, that number has dropped to 66.67% which is 113th in the nation. The offense needs to take better care of their opportunities. The defense has improved in the red zone slightly 80.0% of the time the opposing offense scores this year, down from 84.31% last season, but the 4.6 attempts from last year, 114th in nation, has increased to 5.0 with is 117th in nation.

Fresno State

Improved: The defense has been able to decrease the number of 3rd downs from 15.5 last year, 108th, to 14.0 which is 64th. The number of red zone offensive attempts has slightly increase to 4.0 which is 34th in the nation.

Regressed: Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that is about the end of the good news. Last year, they had the best defense in the conference, and in some areas, the country, this year they have taken a step backwards. Last year the defense allowed 1.8 red zone attempts, which was best in the nation, and coupled with a national 3rd best 69.57% scoring rate, it was difficult to score points on the Bulldogs. This year #1 has become #118 and the defense is allowing 5.0 red zone trips per game. The rate at which the opposing team is scoring has increased to 80.0% which is 56th, a far cry from 3rd. The defense isn’t the only one struggling in the red zone, last year the offense scored 88.24% of the time they got within 20 yards of the end zone , 25th in nation, this year it is a 102nd ranked 75.0%. The offense has also dropped from converting 5.7 3rd downs at 43.27% to 4.3 3rd downs at 32.5%, which is now ranked 102nd.

Nevada

Improved: Last year, the Wolfpack defense allowed 15.1 3rd downs per game, this year they are a top 25 team at only 12.5 3rd downs per game. Regrettably, the number converted has increased to 5.5 from 4.8 per game. The offensive is scoring in the red zone with a little more frequency 87.5% up from 83.33% last year.

Regressed: One team that was better in the red zone last year than Fresno State was the 2nd ranked Wolf Pack which had a national ranking of 2 while only allowing opposing team to score 69.57% of the time. This year, that number is 87.5% or 82nd in country. Not going to win many games when teams are scoring that often. The offense isn’t helping either. Last year they entered the red zone 3.5 times a game, this year it is only 2.0 a 116th ranking. That more than negates the small increase in their scoring percentage.

UNLV

Improved: Last year the defense would allow teams to score on 90.38% of the time they entered the red zone, 111th in the nation. This year that number is 87.5% or 81st in the nation. That is the only bright spot in the statistic division.

Regressed: Everything else. The biggest issues are in the red zone offense. Last year the offense would make 3.1 trips into the red zone, 91st in nation, and score 88.24%, 23rd in nation. This season, there are only 1.7 trips per game and 60.0% of the time the offense scores, both of those ranking are below 120. The defense may have improved slightly in the percentage category, but the number of attempts has increased from 4.7, which was 117th last season, to 5.3 a ranking of 125th. Too many scoring opportunities for the opposing team. Another ranking below 120 is offensive 3rd down conversion. Last year the offense converted 6.0 3rd downs per game at a 37.71% rate. This year, the number of 3rd downs converted has dropped to 4.0, but the rate is a 121st ranked 26.09%.