1998 Season Numbers
Note that the data below includes both traditional stats as well as what I'm labeling as "Sack Adjusted" data, where sacks are counted as failed passing plays (incompletions) and rushing statistics are adjusted (subtracting attempts, adding yardage).
Both because this is the first season in the review and because I've not been able to find a database of national statistics for 1998, these numbers are hard to interpret; there's no context.
So let's put 'em side by side with the pinnacle - 2005 - and see what we can see:
First things first: a bow to Vince Young.
There, much better.
Homage aside, 2005 isn't a fair comparison for any season, given its place as one of the best offenses in the history of college football. But it at least gives us some perspective on the 1998 raw numbers.
Honestly: not bad at all. The biggest difference is in that spectacular 2005 team's ability to (1) pick up first downs and (2) end drives in touchdowns. The '98 squad rushed the ball well and Major passed better than you'd expect for a true freshman, but there's a significant drop off in third down conversion percentage and drives ending in scores.
What's going to be interesting to see is how 1998 compares to other seasons as we go along. Alongside 2005, the season numbers are dwarfed, but still look quite good. What will they look like alongside 1999? Or 2003? That's when we'll start to get a feel for some of the variance.
Another interesting thing to think about: as absolutely amazing as Ricky Williams was... look what Texas' Ricky-Peak looks like alongside the Vince-Peak. Of the many things we're sure to learn as we start stacking up more and more data in this review, the one that will probably stand out is just how silly the 2005 offense was.
Already, I see two storylines emerging from this thing: First, Greg Davis is going to have to be credited with overseeing one of the most amazing offenses in NCAA history. Second, it's going to be fascinating to see which of Davis' offenses performed best behind the VY group.
For now, I'm going to stop with the presentation of the '98 statistics and wait to get into further commentary until we have better comparative data to work with. As I add subsequent seasons, these are the questions we'll be asking:
1) How do the seasons compare to each other?
2) How do they compare to 2005?
3) How do they compare to national averages? (No national data until 1999)
Beyond the season comparisons, the other big question is a look at games in the Major-Simms-Colt seasons in which Davis has been stuffed and analyzing why the team struggled. And even in the VY era, for instance, how in the HELL did we get shut out against OU in 2004?
Lots of questions, no answers yet... Should be interesting.