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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Oregon knows how to 'value drive'

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Football Outsiders developed a metric for ESPN The Magazine at the start of the season called "value drive." It was an effort to expand on an important statistic that was somewhat limited: Red zone efficiency.

What is "value drive"?
Red zone efficiency has been a tried and true measure of success for many years, but we introduced an even better measure in ESPN The Magazine at the start of last season called "value drive." Instead of limiting our measure of drive-closing success to plays within a 20-yard section of the field, we expanded our view to include any drive that starts on a team's own side of the field and reaches at least the opponent's 30-yard line. Simply put, success on value drive opportunities means more than red zone success.

How well did the "value drive" measure work in 2011? Well:  "The top four teams in net points per value drive were Alabama, LSU, Oregon and Oklahoma State -- the teams that ranked in the top four of the season-ending AP poll."

So pretty well.

So what about projecting ahead for 2012? Oregon looks to be in good shape again. Here's what Football Outsiders had to say about the Ducks:
Oregon Ducks
Offensive PPVD: No. 2
Defensive PPVD: No. 20
Net PPVD: No. 3
The Ducks have been excellent in this metric for years, ranking first in net PPVD in 2010 and ranking as the only team to finish in the top 20 in net PPVD in each of the past five seasons. Offensively, the Ducks scored 5.9 points per value drive opportunity last season, second only to Wisconsin.

Once the Ducks got a drive going, they rarely were stopped, and typically only when they stopped themselves. The Ducks had 65 non-garbage value drives and scored 53 touchdowns. They missed three field goals and had only two value drive turnovers. Precision efficiency at a blistering pace bodes well for another run to the top of these ratings next season.