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Who is the Most Over and Under paid Offensive Staff in College Football?

Let's break down the numbers and see which offensive staffs earned their money in 2014.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, we took a look at the defensive staff pay in correlation to defensive S&P+ in effort to see if we could determine what coaching staffs were under and over paid in 2014. As discussed in that piece, there's no true illustration of causation here and generally speaking, there's a positive correlation between paying more and achieving more. Of course, with that comes all the various variables. More money typically means a bigger program which typically means more talent, which generally translates to better performance, regardless of coaching.

Today, let's take a look at the offensive numbers.

The Strategy

Same as I did for the defensive side, I took all the publicly released coaching salaries, labeled according to job responsibility and summed the total pay salaries of each respective coach to get the total staff salary figures.

For offensive S&P+, I pulled the numbers from Football Outsiders. Here's a primer on S&P+ again:

  • Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.
  • IsoPPP: An explosiveness measure derived from determining the equivalent point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game. NOTE: IsoPPP is in use for the first time in 2014. It looks at only the per-play value of a team's successful plays (as defined by the Success Rate definition above); its goal is to separate altogether the efficiency component from the explosiveness component. This results in a new equation below. Success Rate now accounts for 80% of S&P below, while IsoPPP accounts for just 20%. For more information about IsoPPP, click here.
  • Drive Efficiency: As of February 2013, S&P+ also includes a drive-based aspect based on the field position a team creates and its average success at scoring the points expected based on that field position. It is factored in after seven weeks.
  • Opponent adjustments: Success Rate and PPP combine to form S&P, an OPS-like measure for football. Then each team's S&P output for a given category (Rushing/Passing on either Standard Downs or Passing Downs) is compared to the expected output based upon their opponents and their opponents' opponents. This is a schedule-based adjustment designed to reward tougher schedules and punish weaker ones.

Very basic, but informative enough. I chose S&P+ because it's the most wholistic metric available for gauging offensive performance. It's also schedule adjusted, so teams who player tougher competition are rewarded for it. It's not perfect, but it gives us a good baseline for good performance.

The Chart

Thanks again to Dr. Awesome, who turned me on to Tableau Public. Here is an interactive scatter plot with filters for conference:

What Does It Mean?

Let's dive right in to some of the more interesting data points.

  • LSU, woof. As bad as you can imagine. The nation's highest paid staff and well below the trend line. Yes, they are 10 points above the national average, but they are paying an absurd amount of money for that type of production. If you wanted to guess who paid the most per S&P+ point this season, you're damn right it was LSU. $27,793 per point. That's more than double Ohio State, who fielded the nation's number one offense according to S&P+.
  • It's a good thing Clemson saved all that money on defense, because they are paying for it on the offensive end. Obviously the departure of Chad Morris will shift things next season. Similarly to LSU, they also replaced their top two WRs and starting QB. The results were not good.
  • What Ohio State accomplished losing not one, but two starting QBs is even more phenomenal from a financial perspective.
  • Western Kentucky and Marshall are two small schools getting amazing performance on a very small budget. By comparison, Jeff Grimes makes more money than WKU's entire offensive staff.
  • Alabama is well above the trend line. They were the nation's second rated offense according to S&P+. It's clear the Lane Kiffin experiment has gone much better than most of us expected, thus far.
  • The SEC East is a dungeon of fiery, man-eating snakes for offense. Georgia is the only team from the East above the trend line. South Carolina falls squarely on it. The rest are beneath. Vanderbilt isn't charted, but considering their offensive woes, safe to assume they'd be the worst of them all.
  • Do you think Eastern Michigan went to the gray field hoping their players would just blend into the ground and no one would notice their atrocious offense? You have to try really hard to get an S&P+ that low.
  • Cam Cameron, alone, makes more money than 71 entire offensive staffs. Frank Wilson, alone, makes more than 38 entire offensive staffs. The two, combined, alone, make more than 99 entire offensive staffs.