Explosive Plays in College Football
College football is known to be a fast-paced offensive-oriented brand of football when compared to the NFL. We examined the last ten years of college football explosive play data to gain insight on whether college football has continued the upward trend towards being more explosive, or if defenses have been able to catch up and steady the ship against opposing college football offenses.
Top 10 Most Explosive offenses last 10 years (Most 20+ Yd Plays)
The top ten most explosive teams, according to the metric (Explosive Play Rate) a metric that divides the total number of explosive plays (20+ yds or longer) features Oklahoma's 2017, and 2018 offenses at one and two. Both teams featured Heisman Trophy winners (Baker Mayfield, 2017, and Kyler Murray, 2018). The third most explosive offense the last 10 years is 2013 Florida State Quarterbacked by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
The Oklahoma Sooners are on this list three times since 2017, which represents every year since Lincoln Riley took over as the head coach in Norman. The Sooners were also the most explosive team according to the Explosive Play Rate measure in 2019, ironically the historic 2019 LSU Tigers finished outside the top 10 teams in college football for the last 10 years ranking 12th (10.46%) with 113 total plays of 20+ yds or more.
CFB Explosive Play Rate Average of Top 10 Teams By Year
The most explosive year of college football happened in 2019 and is followed by 2017 and 2016. Since the 2012 season, college football has seen its Explosive Play Rate rise above the ten years average five out of six years, with 2014 being the lowest (9.22%). During the CFB Playoff era, teams are averaging a 9.63% explosive play rate. The four years before the CFB Playoff top ten Explosive Play Rate teams averaged a 9.07% Explosive Play Rate.