The search for the One, True, Most Perfect Single Statistic to analyze the strength and efficiency of offenses and defenses has recently come down to a debate between two YPPs: yards per point and yards per play.
football coach Tim Chou proposed Yards Per Point as this essential metric for football. For offense, take yards gained and divide by points scored. On offense, lower values for Yards Per Point mean a more efficient offense. This unit tends scores touchdowns instead of field goals after long drives.
...In his talk, Chou showed that the difference in Yards Per Point (defense minus offense) correlated strongly with winning percentage in college football. Hence, Yards Per Point is a good efficiency metric to judge a football team.
Yards per point and yards per play aren't the only two big measures of efficiency. Points per play is also a widely-used metric by both Football Outsiders' S&P+ and Mr. SEC, who calls the statistics "quick strike" and "slow grind" for offense and defense.
These hopefully sound familiar to you by now, as I've tracked the Buckeyes' quick strike and slow grind numbers for the past few seasons.
Feng argues that the correlation between early and late season yards per point values is weak, random, and doesn't isolate a single unit, indicating that random events like turnovers play affect yards per point throughout the season. Instead, Feng argues that yards per play is a better efficiency metric for both offense and defense.
Each statistic has its strengths and weaknesses, so it's worth taking a look at which best described the Buckeyes' offense in 2012.