Bama by the Numbers following Week Three…
1) Total Offense: Through three games of 2012, the Tide is ranked 11th in the conference in total offense. This isn’t a huge deal, especially given all the cupcakes that have been eaten by all thus far, so it’s mainly noted because it seems so out of place. After finishing 2011 and 2010 second and third, respectively in total offense, especially when the Tide is third in the league at 42.7 points per game.
2) Turnover Margin: Of course, the Tide’s turnover margin has had a direct correlation to the points per game output. Through three games, Bama is tied for first in the conference with a +11 margin (6 interceptions made, 6 fumbles recovered and 1 fumble given). Hopefully, this margin will continue in the Tide’s favor, but we know for sure through three games that it’s had a big impact on both offensive and defensive numbers for Alabama.
3) Red Zone Conversions: So far this season, Alabama has reached the red zone 12 times and scored each time (11 touchdowns and 1 field goal) for a perfect conversion ratio of 100%. What are the reasons for this? Several things, I think: 1) Several turnovers have given Alabama great field position and put opposing defenses in very hot water; 2) The Tide has a quality stable of running backs able to work effectively near the goal line; 3) Quality of the opposition is certainly a factor; and 4) AJ McCarron’s effectiveness as a passer.
4) Touchbacks: What a difference a game makes. Through two games, the Tide had kicked-off 14 times with only three touchbacks, good only for 13th in the league. Against Arkansas, Cade Foster kicked off nine times (one start of half, after one field goal and after seven touchdowns) and recorded eight touchbacks. Wow. All of a sudden Bama has the fourth most touchbacks in the league (11) and a ratio of 47.83%.
5) Quarterback rating: AJ McCarron continues to lead the SEC in quarterback rating with a mark of 196.59. Factoring into this are a 64.3% completion ratio, seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions. It’s early yet, but McCarron is also averaging 10.8 yards per attempt – up from 8.0 for 2011. What’s causing this increase? Three things, primarily: 1) McCarron’s maturity as a player enables a more explosive type of passing attack; 2) For a couple of reasons, Alabama’s 2011 passing attack featured more tight ends, H-backs and running backs as the primary receivers; and 3) Capable wide outs. When was the last time a player averaged more than 10 yards per attempt in the SEC? Cam Newton did it in 2010 with an average of 10.2.