Editor's note: This is Jovan Alford's first piece for the site. Please welcome him to the team!
The Houston Cougars were the darlings of the 2015 college football season thanks to their head coach Tom Herman, leading them to a 13-1 record and a Peach Bowl victory over Florida State.
Herman is not your average college football head coach. While he believes in the X's and O's, he also takes pride in analytics. At AAC media days, Herman talked with SB Nation's Steven Godfrey and Bill Connelly about a few stats in particular that he and his coaching staff focus on.
"First numbers I look at are turnovers," Herman said. "Second numbers I look at are yards. Yards don't matter. The score is all that matters."
In Houston's only loss last season that proved to be the case. Despite out-gaining UConn 318-315, the Cougars lost the turnover battle four to zero as the Huskies eked out a 20-17 win.
Finally, one more stat that Herman spoke about were explosive plays, which Herman keeps track of. "If you win the turnover battle and the explosive play battle in the same game, you win it 98 percent of the time," Herman told Godfrey and Connelly.
Last season, Houston ranked 42nd IsoPPP, a metric that measures the magnitude of how successful a play was, but I'm sure Herman already knew that.
Obviously, these are the stats to success for the Cougars and thus far it has worked out for them. It will be interesting to see if these stats continue to work in their favor this upcoming season as they try to repeat as AAC champs.