Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The ZOU Ranked Second as Toughest Place to Play



On the ESPN broadcast of the game last Thursday between North Carolina and Virginia Tech, play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler said that in Virginia Tech’s home games, visiting teams average over two false start or delay-of-game penalties per game.  Those types of penalties are often credited (at least partially) to the crowd noise and hostile atmosphere in the home team’s stadium.

Naturally, I wondered how Virginia Tech compared to other FBS teams in the average number of opponent’s false start or delay-of-game penalties per home game.  But when I started looking at the data, I realized that there is inconsistency in how official scorers record what type of penalty occurred.  For instance, instead of recording a penalty specifically as a false start, some will record it using the more general “illegal procedure” type.

So I decided to consider delay-of-game penalties plus all penalties that fall under the category of “illegal procedure”: false start, illegal formation, encroachment offense, and illegal procedure itself.   These penalties are signaled by the referee using official signal number 19.

Here are the top teams whose home opponents average the highest number of illegal procedure and delay-of-game penalties per game.  The data is from the 2005 through 2009 seasons, and only includes games at the team’s home stadium (or stadiums in the case of Arkansas’s two home stadiums and Miami’s move from the Orange Bowl to Land Shark Stadium).  Neutral site games are not included.

Click here to read the stats...