Preseason Thoughts: Tempo and Big Plays

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Justin Fuente played keep away at the end of last season. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

For the last two weeks, we’ve talked about attendance and a key four-game stretch in our preseason articles.  Today we’re going to move on to a different topic: tempo and whether it has an impact on offensive production.  We’ll also look at big plays, which in my opinion, are more important than tempo.

Some of last season’s numbers indicate that running more plays than other teams does not necessarily equate to having a good offense in college football.  The Hokies were tied for sixth nationally in plays per game last season, and they weren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard in the process.

Here are the top 11 teams in college football in terms of offensive plays per game, and how they managed in S&P+ as well as total offense.  I pulled the S&P+ numbers from, the total offense numbers from, and the plays per game from

1: Syracuse, 87.8 plays per game, No. 64 S&P+, No. 23 total offense
2: South Florida, 85.1 plays per game, No. 27 S&P+, No. 6 total offense
3: Arkansas State, 84.9 plays per game, No. 19 S&P+, No. 10 total offense
4: Washington State,