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Fun with Numbers: SEC, Pac-12 carry weight differently

Alabama's offensive line checks in at 1,539 pounds (USATSI).
Alabama's offensive line checks in at 1,539 pounds, one of the heaviest in the Top 25. (USATSI)

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: 1,539 pounds, 307.8 average

2. Oregon: 1,466 pounds, 293.2 average

3. Ohio State: 1,551 pounds, 310.2 average

4. Clemson: 1,490 pounds, 298 average

5. Stanford: 1,525 pounds, 305 average

6. Georgia: 1,526 pounds, 305.2 average

7. Louisville: 1,601 pounds, 320.2 average

8. Florida State: 1,589 pounds, 317.8 average

9. Texas A&M: 1,526 pounds, 305.2 average

10. LSU: 1,525 pounds, 305 average

11. Oklahoma: 1,567 pounds, 313.4 average

12. UCLA: 1,544 pounds, 308.8 average

13. South Carolina: 1,612 pounds, 322.4 average

14. Miami: 1,595 pounds, 319 average

15. Washington: 1,475 pounds, 295 average

16. Northwestern: 1,485 pounds, 297 average

17. Baylor: 1,480 pounds, 296 average

18. Florida: 1,516 pounds, 303.2 average

19. Michigan: 1,514 pounds, 302.8 average

20. Texas Tech: 1,440 pounds, 288 average

21. Oklahoma State: 1,574 pounds, 314.8 average

22. Arizona State: 1,488 pounds, 297.6 average

23. Fresno State: 1,425 pounds, 285 average

24. Ole Miss: 1,549 pounds, 309.8

25. Maryland: 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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