Fun with Numbers: SEC, Pac-12 carry weight differently
A breakdown of offensive line weight among the national top 25 shows the Pac-12 is winning big with the lightest lines among the power five conferences.
Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell thought all his offensive linemen were 300 pounds or more.
Turns out right guard Hamani Stevens was the only starter on the season-opening depth chart above three bills. Oregon's average O-line weight among starters in late August: 293.2 pounds.
"I think they all started out over 300, our tempo just wore them down," Campbell said.
This week's Fun with Numbers: The Girth Edition shows the correlation between fast offenses and lighter offensive lines.
Below is a breakdown of the offensive line weights of teams in this week's Associated Press Top 25, also broken down by conference and by fast offenses. Data was found from team or national recruiting websites. This is unscientific because weight fluctuates and injuries occur, but depth charts help paint the picture here.
Of course, the SEC has the biggest behemoths, in part because they can recruit them.
Perhaps it's no surprise that the lightest Top 25 team -- No. 23 Fresno State, average weight of 285 -- hails from the Mountain West, which might not have the same access to pile-movers as South Carolina, the heaviest at 322.4.
The Pac-12, easily the lightest power conference, has four no-huddle attacks in the Top 25, then Stanford, which relies on power formations despite a line that averages 296.6 pounds.
Also check out Louisville, coming in at a strong No. 2 in girthage.
Starting O-line weight, Top 25
1. Alabama Crimson Tide : 1,539 pounds, 307.8 average
2. Oregon Ducks : 1,466 pounds, 293.2 average
3. Ohio State Buckeyes : 1,551 pounds, 310.2 average
4. Clemson Tigers : 1,490 pounds, 298 average
5. Stanford Cardinal : 1,525 pounds, 305 average
6. Georgia Bulldogs : 1,526 pounds, 305.2 average
7. Louisville Cardinals : 1,601 pounds, 320.2 average
8. Florida State Seminoles : 1,589 pounds, 317.8 average
9. Texas A&M Aggies : 1,526 pounds, 305.2 average
10. LSU Tigers : 1,525 pounds, 305 average
11. Oklahoma Sooners : 1,567 pounds, 313.4 average
12. UCLA Bruins : 1,544 pounds, 308.8 average
13. South Carolina Gamecocks : 1,612 pounds, 322.4 average
14. Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes : 1,595 pounds, 319 average
15. Washington Huskies : 1,475 pounds, 295 average
16. Northwestern Wildcats : 1,485 pounds, 297 average
17. Baylor Bears : 1,480 pounds, 296 average
18. Florida Gators : 1,516 pounds, 303.2 average
19. Michigan Wolverines : 1,514 pounds, 302.8 average
20. Texas Tech Red Raiders : 1,440 pounds, 288 average
21. Oklahoma State Cowboys : 1,574 pounds, 314.8 average
22. Arizona State Sun Devils : 1,488 pounds, 297.6 average
23. Fresno State Bulldogs : 1,425 pounds, 285 average
24. Ole Miss Rebels : 1,549 pounds, 309.8
25. Maryland Terrapins : 1,450 pounds, 290 average
By conference, Top 25 teams
1. SEC: 308.4 pounds
2. ACC: 306.2 pounds
3. Big 12: 303.1 pounds
4. Big Ten: 303.3 pounds
5. Pac-12: 299.6 pounds
In this case, the lightest doesn't mean the least effective. The Pac-12 started nonconference play 23-4 and looks well positioned as the No. 2 conference in the country this season (the ACC might disagree).
This is where up-tempo offense comes in. Consider the Top 25 teams that are also ranked in the national top 25 in plays per game. This list doesn't include the Oregon offense, which doesn't need to run many plays because it gets off the field with big plays.
Plays per game vs. lightest O-lines
3. Fresno State: Lightest
6. Texas Tech: No. 2
8. UCLA: No. 17
9. Washington: No. 5
14. Arizona State: No. 9
20. Clemson: No. 10
23. Oklahoma: No. 20
24. Baylor: No. 4
Many of those offenses burn serious calories with their no-huddles or purposefully keep their linemen lighter or can't recruit the big boys and work with what they have.
Oklahoma and UCLA can go fast while carrying weight, which could help their running attacks later in the season.
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