How Good Was Oklahoma State’s 1988 Offense?

first_imgAuburn20109485770.61 Ohio State201310036370.64 Florida State20139477230.76 Georgia Tech20149935300.53 Wisconsin20119376180.66 OSU20139875080.51 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Texas A&M201210255780.56 CollegeYearPlaysPointsPts/Play Baylor201511036250.57 Ohio State201410996720.61 Baylor201310756810.63 Stanford20109285290.57 Oregon201411186810.61 OSU20089085300.58 OSU201210145940.59center_img Georgia20129245290.57 Boise State20109095860.64 OSU20109825750.59 Mike Gundy didn’t mention me by name, but I’m sure it was just an oversight. At the 7:00 mark of this awesome video (h/t @CoachHuddleston), Mike Gundy suggests that the 1988 Oklahoma State offense would hold up statistically against modern offenses.Here’s what he said.“At that time when we were throwing the ball 20-22 times a game and there weren’t no huddle offenses, our average plays per game was somewhere around 65 plays … what I’ve always said is if you go back and take plays per game and the points and average that all up I don’t think there would ever be an offense that would score this many points in the average number of plays we had in games.”I take that as a challenge, coach Gundy. In the spirit of the presidential campaign, let’s do a little fact checking:• “At that time when we were throwing the ball 20-22 times a game” TRUE. Gundy averaged 21.5 passes per game in the 11-game regular season that year.• “Our average plays per game was somewhere around 65 plays” FALSE. Today’s offenses may play at a faster tempo, Mike, but you didn’t exactly play Iba ball. The 1988 offense averaged 73 plays per game. By comparison, the 2015 OSU offense averaged 75 plays per game.• “I don’t think there would ever be an offense that would score this many points in the average number of plays we had in games” LET’S SEE.First, a caveat. It is nearly impossible to find a box score for the 1998 Holiday Bowl. I could find stats for Gundy and Sanders, but not for the whole team. That said, I obviously know how many points OSU scored in the game (62), so for this analysis I used those 62 points and added another 73 plays onto OSU’s regular season stats from the 1988 season.Now, what offenses should we compare the 1988 OSU offense to? I settled on the following group:• All top 3 S&P+ offensive units going back to 2010, plus:• Every OSU offense going back to 2008This is a group of 18 elite offenses since the start of this decade and every OSU offense for eight years. By the way, the 2011 OSU offense was ranked No. 2 by S&P+ in 2011. I used the metric proposed by Gundy: points per play. Texas Tech201510845860.54 Conclusion: Gundy was not far off base. He may have gone a little overboard in saying there wouldn’t ever be an offense that could score like the 1988 OSU offense, but clearly they were historically great. The only offense in this universe that tops the ‘88 Cowboys is the 2013 Florida State offense that scored 51.6 points per game. That FSU offense, by the way, put *all eleven starters* from their national championship game against Auburn into the NFL. Even our triplets can’t compete with that.The only other offense that came close to OSU was the 2011 Wisconsin Badgers – this was the Russell Wilson/Montee Ball season where Wilson threw for 33 TDs and Ball rushed for 33 TDs.Not breaking news: OSU’s 2011 offense was so good.So, coach Gundy: you were mostly correct that your 1988 offense was in a league of its own. I don’t blame you a bit for coming to that conclusion, and if I’m being honest I was a little sad to find an offense that bettered the ‘88 Pokes. Still, the numbers prove that if any of OSU’s future offenses even come close to the production of the ‘88 team, we will be looking at a very special season. OSU19888765840.67 OSU20159775140.53 OSU20098913690.41 OSU20149073590.40 OSU20119876330.64 Oregon201210596450.61 Arkansas20158864670.53 Alabama20118654530.52last_img read more