For years the Southeastern Conference was a run-first league. Then came Steve Spurrier. His Fun ‘N’ Gun offense at Florida change all that. Suddenly it was alright to put a team’s best weapons on offense and fling the ball all over the yard. Enter quarterbacks like Danny Wuerffel, Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, Eli Manning, and David Greene and the league was transformed.
Now, late in 2012 the most important statistic — aside from turnovers — in the SEC is defensive pass efficiency. Basically, it’s just “reverse quarterback rating.” A team’s ability to defend itself against opposing gunslingers is more closely tied to winning and losing than a team’s own ability to move the ball through the air. In other words, forget pass efficiency and study defensive pass efficiency instead.
|School||Def. Pass. Eff. Vs SEC||SEC Record|
Amazingly, those teams that hold opposing SEC passers below a 140 passing efficiency rating are a combined 50-12 in SEC games this fall (80.6% win pct.). Those defenses that allow opponents to post pass efficiency numbers of 140 or higher are a combined 9-36 in the SEC this year (25.0% win pct.).
Turnovers are massively important as we’ve pointed out many times, but if you’re looking for another stat to watch that ties directly to SEC wins and losses, defensive pass efficiency is the number to keep an eye on. Shut down the other guy’s passer and your team will most likely win.