Earlier today we gave you a report that multiple outlets in Madison are reporting that current Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is going to interview at Wisconsin on Monday and after that people began speculating and wondering if he would actually be a fit.
It seems as though there's a perception that Boise State runs a spread offense that's heavy on passing over rushing and they don't use a power offense. So, your's truly decided to dive into that subject and as someone that watches a lot of college football, not just the Badgers or the Big Ten the thought that Boise State runs the spread couldn't be further from the truth.
But, don't take my word for it, let's break down Wisconsin's offense vs. Boise State's offense:
The Rushing Game:
Wisconsin Rushing Stats
Boise State Rushing Stats
What's interesting about all of these numbers we just threw at you? How about over the course of 7 years the Badgers and Broncos both average 4.8 yards a carry. So, while the Broncos average about 87 fewer carries a season they are more efficient with their rushing game than the Badgers have been through the 7 year span of Petersen and Bielema at the helm of these two programs. The only difference that's a bit glaring is that the Badgers average 4 more TD's a year rushing a year- so 28 more points from their rushing game per year.
So, perhaps the perception that Boise State is just going spread you out and throw the ball all over the place is a bit off. In fact the Broncos average 76 more rushing plays than passing over the course of a season where as the Badgers average 260.6 more carries than passing attempts.
Does that mean Petersen would come in and try to switch up the Badgers offense? No, but what it may mean is that the Badgers Pro-Style offense could become a lot, A LOT more balanced.
The Passing Game:
Wisconsin Passing Stats
Boise State Passing Stats
This is where things really change between Petersen's offense and what the Badgers threw out on the field over the past 7 seasons. We'll get more into the meaning behind these numbers in our next section, but this has to be exciting for the quarterbacks at Wisconsin because they'll get a chance to throw the ball more, of course if Petersen is here - and for purposes of this exercise that's what we've got to assume.
If you are looking at this the two numbers that really stick out are the TD's and the QB efficiency numbers. Why do I pick out the efficiency numbers? Because it shows that no matter the number of times a QB is throwing the football he's going to more often or not be making smart decisions with the football and even if the Badgers average 50 more passes a season under Peterson there's going to be a much more potent offense on hand in Madison and that's exciting to think about.
Boise State Offense
Now these numbers are very interesting because on average these teams are only separated by less than one play per game over the last 7 years (UW - 68.2 plays per year; BSU - 69.7 plays per game). What it really tells me is that overall Petersen's offense, which can be a hybrid of shotgun and straight up under center for the QB, is more efficient at what they do and what they do is get defenses off balance by running the ball and passing the ball in great balance more often than not.
In the end it's clear that the thought that Chris Petersen coached offenses are all about slinging the ball all over the field is way off base. What we're likely to see is a coach that gets the most out of what is in front of him. When he had great running backs and not that great QB's he was more run heavy & the exact opposite when the situation was reversed. So, if he comes into Wisconsin and sees that Stave or Bart Houston are going to be able to win games by throwing the ball a bit more than they run, he'll go with that. Same if he thinks the duo of James White and Melvin Gordon are the players that will win him games, he'll run the ball more than he passes to a greater degree.
Then there's the fact that little ole Boise State has 18 current NFL players compared to the Badgers 25 - those numbers aren't that far off if you really think about it.
Consider this another case of MTB busting a myth.
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