Just how much has Missouri's defense regressed from 2015 to 2016? Well, numerically speaking, Missouri has experienced more regression in total defense than any other team in the nation.
The Tigers are allowing 156.9 more yards per game this season than they allowed in 2015. No other team can top that. Following them in regression are Akron (147.6 more yards per game allowed), Oklahoma (112.8), Marshall (107) and Northwestern (95.5).
Missouri has experienced the fourth-most regression in terms of scoring defense, allowing 29.7 points per game this year vs. 16.2 per game last year, a drop-off of 13.5 points per game. Only Marshall (18.3 points per game more), Bowling Green (16.2) and Oklahoma (14.7) have experienced more regression. Akron (11.9) rounds out the top five.
-- The Trib (Blake Toppmeyer): By the numbers: MU's defense experiences most regression of any unit in the nation
This piece from the excellent Blake Toppmeyer got me curious about what the advanced stats might say on the matter. He acknowledged that tempo and extra plays/possessions were playing a role in Missouri's defensive regression; I wanted to check into what tempo and opponent adjustments would tell us.
What they tell us: Missouri's gotten worse, but maybe not catastrophically worse. Hooray!
Biggest defensive regression, per Def. S&P+
1. Bowling Green (13.5 more Adj. PPG allowed in 2016 -- 26.8 in 2015, 40.3 in 2016)
2. Akron (12.8 more allowed -- 24.1 vs. 36.9)
3. Oklahoma (12.5 more allowed -- 19.8 vs. 32.3)
4. Northern Illinois (10.9 more allowed -- 25.2 vs. 36.1)
5. Michigan State (10.5 more allowed -- 19.2 vs. 29.7)
6. Florida Atlantic (10.3 more allowed -- 29.3 vs. 39.6)
7. Northwestern (9.6 more allowed -- 15.5 vs. 25.1)
8. Marshall (9.5 more allowed -- 23.7 vs. 33.2)
9. Illinois (9.0 more allowed -- 20.3 vs. 29.3)
10. Missouri (8.8 more allowed -- 19.4 vs. 28.2)
11. Florida State (8.4 more allowed -- 18.1 vs. 26.5)
12. UL-Monroe (8.4 more allowed -- 34.5 vs. 42.9)
13. Ole Miss (8.1 more allowed -- 20.5 vs. 28.6)
14. Toledo (8.0 more allowed -- 20.5 vs. 28.6)
15. UConn (7.3 more allowed -- 23.9 vs. 31.2)
16. Georgia (7.3 more allowed -- 18.4 vs. 25.7)
17. Vanderbilt (7.2 more allowed -- 20.4 vs. 27.6)
What does this tell us? Missouri's defense has certainly regressed more than any in the SEC, but it's actually pretty close. Ole Miss' and Vanderbilt's have regressed almost as much without a coaching change, while Georgia's, now led by Nick Saban acolyte, has changed almost as much as well.
This doesn't make it okay, but I do think it adds a little bit of perspective. There are a lot of teams going through coaching changes on this list -- Bowling Green, Illinois, Missouri, ULM, Toledo, Georgia -- but there are also a lot of teams that have been excellent and suddenly aren't: Michigan State, Northwestern, Florida State, Ole Miss. Sometimes you just don't have the guys to do what you need them to do. Clearly the scheme change up front hasn't helped, but I would say the loss of Kentrell Brothers and Walter Brady might have had as big a role to play in this regression as any sort of scheme or coaching change.
You know what also hasn't helped, by the way? The schedule. Missouri has faced three offenses in the Off. S&P+ top 30 (WVU, LSU, Middle Tennessee) and has gotten to feast on only one truly bad one (Delaware State). Mizzou faced only two top-30 offenses all of last year. Opponent adjustments have helped the Tigers at least a hair in these numbers.
And I guess if you're looking for two more pieces of positive spin here...
Do you expect Michigan State's defense to continue to stink?
Neither do I. So bounce-backs are probably pretty conceivable.
Biggest offensive improvement, per Off. S&P+
1. Missouri (+17.6 PPG)
2. Louisville (+15.8)
3. Hawaii (+12.7)
4. Colorado (+11.7)
5. New Mexico (+10.8)
Missouri has not only improved offensively, but has improved far more dramatically than any other offense in the country. Net gains.
Now maybe this will start reflecting in the win column at some point.
1 day to Kentucky
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