Now that we have developed a formula for rating offensive lines, let’s apply it to the 2006 season and see if we can draw any sort of conclusions. First, the numbers for the pass blockers.
Two things stick out: Arkansas was much better than everyone else and Auburn was much worse. Let’s take on Auburn first because it’s become sort of an accepted belief Auburn will have a bad line this year in their quest to replace two All-SEC linemen.
Well, their offensive line could not be worse, and those awards were a mistake (okay, maybe not for Grubbs). Allowing over 12 sacks per 100 pass attempts is Oakland Raiders level of bad. It is so bad you don’t even immediately notice how bad Ole Miss’ pass protection was. And it comes without a built-in excuse. Teams with running quarterbacks tend to allow more sacks because the running quarterback occasionally gets caught for a loss and that counts as a sack.
Which makes Arkansas even more impressive. 2.98 sacks per 100 attempts? Arkansas’ line was absolutely dominant in pass protection. The only other surprise is that Tennessee’s maligned offensive line ranked second best in the conference.
|Team||Mod Rush||Mod Yds||Yds/Att||RSCORE|
And… there’s Arkansas again. They had three 1st team All-SEC lineman, and it seems the SEC got that one right. They were the best run block and best pass block unit, and they did both by fairly wide margins. In fact, their gap in run blocking makes their advantage in pass blocking almost seem slight. LSU had the second best run blocking line, and they were closer to 10th place than they were to SEC-leading Arkansas.
No real surprises at the bottom, with Mississippi State bringing up the rear. But Kentucky and Alabama probably didn’t expect to have such poor running games. Kentucky had one of their best seasons in a decade, and it came with a line that couldn’t open up a hole for anybody. Alabama’s expected improvement needs to come from some serious improvement in the run blocking. Because last year’s effort won’t get in done.
Not surprisingly, Arkansas is #1. But what is interesting is that the teams neatly organized themselves into three tiers:
Arkansas, LSU, Vanderbilt, Florida
Three of those teams make sense, but Vandy? Now, some of that could be a factor of who on earth would bother to blitz Vandy, but the running game speaks for itself. Vanderbilt’s line performed well all season long. I’d also like to point out that LSU’s line ranked second without having a single player ranked 1st or 2nd team All-SEC. Florida is widely considered the second best line, with three All-SEC linemen (one 1st teamer), but they really weren’t that far off from second place.
South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama
Actually, Bama is much worse than the other three teams listed but they are much better than the bottom four so they hang out on an island. I just lump them in with the others to be nice. And for symmetry.
Strangely enough, SC ranks as the toughest line but they are the only one of the four without an All-SEC lineman,
Miss State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Kentucky
These teams were flat out lousy.
Actually, Auburn’s run blocking was decent, but their pass blocking was so terrible it almost ranked them as the worst line in the league. Kentucky gets that dubious honor despite having one of their best overall seasons. They did it the old-fashioned way, by stinking in all phases of the game.
And what are we going to do with the state of Mississippi?
But let us all bow before Arkansas. And be thankful most of their line graduated and they will hopefully return to mediocrity.