NC State's offense is averaging about ten more plays per game in 2010 than it did in 2009. I speculated about reasons for that in my Q&A with Tomahawk Nation last week, but the change remains a bit of a head-scratcher.
Today, Football Outsiders offered a little context with their examination of pace in college football.
Below is a breakdown of the "fastest" teams in college football. We start with the basic plays-per-game measure, but since teams that pass more are naturally going to end up running more plays (more clock stoppages), it was best to factor in each team's run-pass ratio. A simple regression formula was used to determine how many plays a team would be expected to run given their run-pass splits. The teams were then ranked according to the difference between their actual plays and their expected plays.
Of course, there are, as always, mitigating circumstances. If your defense is good and forces quite a few three-and-outs, then that could have an impact on the number of plays you run. (At the same time, if you are allowing a lot of quick touchdown drives, one could say the same thing.) Your field-position advantage, or lack thereof, could also play a role. But the goal was not to complicate matters much, not yet anyway.
(Click through to see their charts and analysis.)
By this measure, NC State is the fifth-fastest team in the country. Simply going by raw plays per game, the Pack ranks third behind Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Duke and Georgia Tech also crack the top 20. Boston College is the fifth-slowest team in the nation. Their offense--not coincidentally led by a guy named Tranquill--is better at hastening the start of a nap than ambient ocean sounds.
This is more a fun fact item than anything else, though I welcome any and all speculation as to why we're running so many more plays this season.
Also, Coach Lowe trusts that this will be the last word on the matter, seeing as how you people now have your damned up-tempo offense.