25 Comments

  1. Badger Tex

    This is an interesting concept. Developing a deadly passing game with blue chip has obviously become the most effective way to build a championship offense, for the reasons you note here. However, I think considering only the passing game misses a lot important information on these teams- other stuff still matters.

    For instance, Clemson needed their QB run game to move the ball throughout against Ohio State, and the threat of that QB run game is what set up their kill shot play action pass to effectively win the game.

    That brings me to my next (and probably main) point; Clemson had to rely on their run game because Ohio State had the secondary talent to hold up credibly against against Clemson’s passing attack. We again saw the importance of having ridiculous secondary talent on Monday night in the title game. In fact, I think that Ohio State would have had a better shot at slowing LSU than Clemson did because of their superior talent in the back end.

    This is all a long winded (typed?) way of saying that a team’s ability to stop passing games on defense is a really important piece of the puzzle as well, and schools like LSU/Ohio State/Alabama who have the ability to recruit elite DB talents are going to be at a major advantage here as well.

    I am a Texas fan, and its this second part of the puzzle that has me a bit lower on the Horns next year than you. None of the rising junior safeties are really coverage guys, and Jamison/Green/Cook aren’t on the same level as LSU’s and OSU’s CBs were this year. Perhaps that will change after an offseason of development and (hopefully) better coaching. I’m also skeptical in the WRs, but it’s possible that Eagles will take nicely to the James Washington role.

    I’m also definitely higher on Alabama next year. They would have been in the playoffs again this year if it wasn’t for some major Auburn magic, and they have a really talented roster returning in 2020. We’ll see what lessons Saban has taken from the last couple of years, but I am not counting him and his program out yet.

    Really interesting read, enjoyed it tremendously. Already counting down the days to the 2020 season!

    • ianaboyd

      The most dangerous dimension to any modern team is their passing game. That’s the trump card that is the biggest factor in every playoff game. Your point about secondaries is key too, but to even get in the discussion you need to have your own “space force projection,” playing great defense is useless if you can’t score.

      LSU had the best passing game AND some of the best DBs.

    • Dan

      Clemson didn’t run the ball very effectively against OSU outside of a couple chunk plays. Their passing game and defense won them that game moreso than the run game. Run game is still important especially during the regular season where you can pound your opponents without opening up your QB to take too many hits.

    • System Poster

      I’m surprised Ian didn’t mention it because I’ve seen him say it a couple of times on twitter, but Clemson was limited in the passing game against OSU because of injuries to its top receivers.

  2. Dan

    Great article. I’m particularly high on the Longhorns. I think Ehlinger will be the 3rd best QB in the nation behind Fields and Lawrence.

    I think 1a and 1b however are OSU and Clemson. They have a combination of high level QB play, blue chip WRs (OSU’s incoming WR class is absolutely insane), OL recruiting/development, OL returning and obviously what separates them from a program like OU .. defense.

    We’ll see who returns on Clemson’s defense but I thought OSU returning slot corner Shaun Wade was huge for their chances this year. I don’t see either team in their conference competing with them either.

  3. R

    I would really enjoy a Rattler breakdown for you.

    The hype for him is unreal and considering your affiliations, I assume you are relatively unbiased

  4. You’re on a roll, Ian, I don’t know how you produce content that quickly. I wish I could do that. Do you write ahead of time and post right after certain games/events?

    • ianaboyd

      I’m freed up right now, running my own show. I’m just writing things as they occur to me and storing some of them to sprinkle out.

      I wrote 90% of this one on Monday before the game took place. The outcome was irrelevant to the thesis since both teams play more cutting edge styles.

      • ianaboyd

        I have something on TCU drafted but I really want to talk about Mahomes this week if my 3rd child’s birth doesn’t occur before I can get to it.

  5. Eliseo

    Hey want to get your thought on something. I feel but if Colt McCoy hadn’t gotten hurt against K-State in 06 that Texas beat K-State. because they hold the tiebreaker victory over Oklahoma they go on to the big 12 championship game no matter what, and probably win. If this happened I think it probable that Texas faces Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Now my question how do you think to 06 Longhorns would have done against the 06 Broncos?

    • ianaboyd

      Texas wins. Paul Thompson was awful and a nightmare to count on in a playoff-style game where the opponent could zero in on his deficiencies. Boise picked him 3 times in that game.

  6. JB

    Good stuff Ian. I think you should add a qualifier to your space force projection that Mike Stoops shouldn’t be coaching the defense!

  7. BT

    Great article.

    It feels odd to leave out the role defense plays in this, even as a single bullet point.

    Teams willing and able to get pressure rushing 3 or match up 2 single cover corners in space have a shot. This is arguably what put Oregon, Utah, and Baylor within arms reach of the playoff. I think that’s at least 1/3 as important as a “space force” offense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *