Which Conferences Spread it Out Most?

Hint: You probably already know the answer.

When reading Bill Connelly’s article explaining which teams were the most “spread” last year, I thought it would be interesting to see which conferences are the most/least spread.

Connelly derived his ranking from which teams had the highest percentages of solo tackles against their offenses. The percentage of solo tackles gives one a good idea of how often an offense gets the ball out in space and “spreads” the defense.

So I added up all of the solo tackle data for each conference to see which conferences had the highest and lowest percentage of solo tackles. (Note: I aligned teams with their 2015 conferences when finding the averages and standard deviations.)

Probably not surprising, your most “spread” conferences are the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences. Somewhat surprisingly (maybe just because I am more ignorant of their style of play), the Sun Belt had the third highest percentage of solo tackles against them.

Also probably not surprising, the SEC is your least “spread” conference. The MAC and Conference USA are your other two lowest percentage of solo tackle conferences.

Conference 2014 Solo 2014 Assist 2014 %Solo Rank
Big 12 5983 1432 80.7% 1
Pac-12 7258 2024 78.2% 2
Sun Belt 5378 1731 75.7% 3
ACC 7648 2479 75.5% 4
American 6135 2065 74.8% 5
Big Ten 7420 2498 74.8% 6
Mtn. West 6660 2243 74.8% 7
C-USA 6029 2188 73.4% 8
MAC 6847 2792 71.0% 9
SEC 7116 3048 70.0% 10

I was also curious to see which conferences were more consistently spread versus more diverse in their offensive attacks. To do this, I looked at the standard deviation of the solo tackle percentages of each team.

While being middle of the pack in terms of being a spread conference, The Big Ten is the most consistent of all the conferences with how often they spread the ball. In other words, the Big Ten is going to spread (or not) the ball more consistently from team to team, than in any other conference. Also, the top spread conferences (Big 12 and Pac-12) were the next two most consistent conferences.

The SEC, ACC, and Conference USA are your three most diverse conferences with regards to how often teams spread the ball. In other words, in the SEC you’re going to get a higher level of variation from team to team in how often they spread the ball out than in any other conference.

Conference 2014 %Solo Standard Dev. StDev Rk
Big Ten 3.6 1
Pac-12 4.2 2
Big 12 4.2 3
Mtn. West 5.1 4
American 5.5 5
MAC 6.1 6
Sun Belt 6.3 7
C-USA 6.4 8
ACC 6.5 9
SEC 6.8 10

I’m not sure what it means, but I thought it was interesting that two of the three most spread conferences were also two of the three most consistent and two of the three least spread conferences were also two of the three least consistent.