College Football: Run or Pass? Interactive Chart May Hold the Answer

Interactive Chart of College Football Teams Running Yards vs Passing Yards

One of the biggest debates in college football is if the passing game is more effective than the rushing. A successful passing game can enable a team to rack up insane amounts of points in a short amount of time. However, a strong running game can wear down your opponent’s defense and hampers their offense by keeping them off the field. In an attempt to gain some insight into the differences between the two style of offenses, I have gathered some college football data from the top 5 power conferences and arranged it into an interactive chart.

I am gonna withhold analysis and let you come to your own conclusions, which you can share in the comments if you so desire. The interactive data visualization is embedded below and starts with two drop down menus at the top that allow you to choose any combination of teams and conferences. When selections are made in the drop down menus, the other graphs and charts update to your selections. In addition, below the top menus is a list of conference that can be used to highlight certain sections of the scatter plot.

The scatter plot is the main graphic where you can see which teams have the more balanced attack. The teams that fall near the middle of the graph have an offense that is more balanced between running and passing plays. The upper-left has teams with a larger ground attack and smaller passing game. Conversely, the teams in the lower-right quadrant of the chart tend to be more successful in the air than on the ground.

Interactive Chart of College Football Run Plays vs. Pass Plays


Data Sources: ESPN College Football Statistics and NCAA FBS Stats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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