Where’s the Discipline? College Football’s Most Penalized Teams

One thing is for certain: some players take on the undisciplined and aggressive personalities of their coaches. Penalties turn into first downs, first downs become drives, and drives lead to touchdowns. A team full of culprits is a team always climbing an uphill battle.

Here is a look at ten college football programs that have ranked very high nationally in terms of penalties and penalty yardage over the past two years…Hawaii, TCU, and Washington State all made significant improvements in 2009, leaving them off of this dubious list.

Arizona State Sun Devils

Not to throw Dennis Erickson under the bus, but historically his teams have never been very disciplined in terms of penalties committed. The past two seasons have shown that his time with the Sun Devils will prove no different than Erickson’s previous stints with Miami and Oregon State.

Last season, Arizona State was second nationally in both penalties committed (111) and penalty yardage (1,016). The 2008 squad was a little better, as they only committed 94 penalties for a total of 802 yards on the season. With twolackluster seasons in a row, Erickson will need all the help he can get in 2010.

Oklahoma Sooners

For the past two seasons, Bob Stoops has found his squad ranked in the top ten nationally as college football’s most penalized teams.

Last season, the Sooners led the nation in penalty yardage with 107 infractions for 1,044 yards. In 2008, the Big 12 team from Norman was flagged 102 times for 905 yards.

With an abundance of talent and expectation to return to national supremacy in 2010, the Sooners will need to cut down the number of penalties they commit.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

With the departure of former coach Mike Leach, hopefully Texas Tech can also begin a departure from the 2009 label as the most penalized team in college football.

Last season, the team was flagged 120 times for a total of 1,019 yards. The previous season saw the Red Raiders sit at 14th in the nation with 95 penalties for 783 yards.

Fortunately for Texas Tech, they overcame their lack of discipline with enough offense to finish last season at 9-4, and the 2008 season at 11-2.

Texas A&M Aggies

The Big 12 must not preach discipline, as eight of the conference’s twelve members were ranked in top 40 for most penalties committed in 2009.

The Aggies finished last season fifth in the conference in penalties, and they did make them count with 99 infractions for 901 yards.

The 2008 season finished with Texas A&M tied at 24th in the nation, with 87 flags for 681 yards. With an average defense, this squad felt the pain of their penalties and finished the 2009 season at 6-7 and 3-5 in the conference.

Georgia Bulldogs

With a talented roster routinely caught in close games, the Bulldogs would really benefit from a decline in penalties.

The team went 8-5 last season, following a 10-3 record in 2008. Georgia was ranked third in the nation in 2008 with112 penalties for 938 yards. In 2009 they improved slightly, finishing sixth in the country with 105 flags for 878 yards on the season.

Florida Gators

Florida is one of the only national programs that has the ability and talent to overcome an abundance of needless penalties. Urban Meyer and his Gators have gone 26-2 over the past two seasons despite being ranked very high nationally in term of penalties committed.

During their title run of 2008, the Gators were 7th in the nation with 102 penatlies for 838 yards. Last season they improved to 17th nationally by committing 95 infractions for 735 yards.

South Florida Bulls

A little credit is due, the Bulls are improving as they committed twenty less penalties last season in comparison to 2008. The problem for South Florida is the fact they finished fourth in the nation two years ago with 111 flags for 882 yards. The 2009 season saw the Bulls fall to 27th nationally with 91 penalties for 749 yards. If the team can continue to decrease the amount of infractions they commit, look for them to improve on an 8-5 season from a year ago.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Bo Pelini should consider his team lucky. Nebraska’s record improved in 2009, while the amount of penalties they committed did not. The Cornhuskers finished tied for 15th in 2008 with 94 penalties for a total of 800 yards.

The lack of discipline continued last season as Pelini’s team jumped to 10th nationally by committing 100 infractions for 894 yards. Coming off a 10-4 season, the team is heading into 2010 with great expectations that will easily fall short if they can’t reduce the amount of penalties they commit.

Colorado Buffaloes

Dan Hawkins should very concerned as his squad tranformed into the third most penalized team in football last season. Of 120 teams, the Buffaloes ranked 37th nationally in terms of least penalized teams in 2008.

Last season the team became the third most penalized program in college football with 107 flags for 907 yards. Hawkins certainly can’t afford a repeat of last seasons mental errors after the team went 3-9 and 2-6 in conference in 2009.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Alum Brett Favre would not be proud. The Golden Eages finished last season with 101 penalties for 914 yards ranking them at seventh in the nation. The team has been consistently undisciplined as they were flagged 99 times for 972 yards in 2008. After finishing each of the past two seasons at 7-6, it is fair to say a focus on reducing penalties could lead to the program becoming more than just average.

Only a Few More Flags

BYU Cougars – The Mountain West squad was penalized 101 times for 912 yards in 2008. They improved last season by only committing 94 infractions for 866 yards.

Utah Utes – 2009 was not a good year in terms of on the field discipline for Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. Last season the Utes were penalized 101 times for 900 yards.

USC Trojans – The Trojans did improve during Pete Carroll’s last season after committing 103 penalties for 948 yards in 2008. It will be intriguing to see if new coach Lane Kiffin can continue to reduce the number of infractions committed by the Trojans following last season in which they finished 27th nationally with 90 flags for 798 yards.

Oregon State Beavers – The 2009 Beavers were great at committing plenty of flags with little free yardage. Last season they were flagged 100 times for a total of only 772 yards. The 2008 squad was 24th nationally with 87 penalties for 738 yards on the season.

~ by philip d. on July 27, 2010.

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