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ATVSQBPI Numbers for Week 1: Competition Matters

Let's take a quick look at the numbers for the ATVSQBPI for Week 1:

Quarterback ATVSQBPI yards/attempt
Ryan Mallett 14.4
Tim Tebow 13.5
Chris Todd 11.0
Chris Relf 10.8
Jordan Jefferson 10.1
Jonathan Crompton 9.6
Mike Hartline 9.0
Larry Smith 8.2
Tyler Wilson 7.8
Greg McElroy 6.5
Tyson Lee 5.9
Joe Cox 4.5
Stephen Garcia 4.5

To review, the ATVSQBPI is a measure of yards/attempt, where both rushing and passing stats count, and touchdowns are worth 20 yards (plus actual yardage achieved on the play) and interceptions are penalized 30 yards.  By last year's statistics, a rating of 7.0 would have been very good. Accumulated stats are not important.  All that is important is to make the most of the chances you get as a quarterback.

Obviously, these stats show that SEC quarterbacks fared a lot better in week 1 than they did overall in the 2008 season.  I think it's fairly obvious that part of that is the level of competition.  Only two SEC quarterbacks faced an opposing defense of the quality you will normally see in the conference.  Those two quarterbacks, Joe Cox of Georgia and Greg McElroy of Bama, came out near the bottom of the list.  The quarterbacks who faced FCS competition (Mallett, Tebow, Relf, Larry Smith, Crompton, etc.) occupied the bulk of the top slots. 

There is nothing in this statistical index that corrects for level of competition.  Then again, that is a weakness shared by every football statistic I can imagine.  If you spend your time playing Coastal Carolina, you will probably generate pretty good stats, better stats than you would generate if you faced a team like Virginia Tech every game.

If you look a little closer, you have to be encouraged by these numbers if you are an LSU fan or an Auburn fan.  Chris Todd and Jordan Jefferson both had double-digit ATVSQBPI ratings despite facing, if not exactly great competition, at least close-to-SEC competition.  Jefferson did it primarily through having a receiver who twice beat a would-be tackler and sprinted into the end zone on a big play.  Chris Todd spread the ball around more, but he also benefitted from a long catch-and-run, scoring a 93 yard touchdown pass.

We'll keep an eye on how these numbers develop over the course of the season.  Obviously, one week of numbers only tells us about this week.  Let's see how they progress as SEC competition starts.