Orson, over at EDSBS, posted an interesting quick hitter from one of my favorite sites, SmartFootball. This excellent post at SF discusses the common strategy of conservative playcalling versus a wide-open attack which features more passing. This wizard concludes, with his usual empirical basis and cogent analysis, that:
1. More talent-laden programs (e.g., the traditional powers who get the best players: Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Oh. State, Alabama, etc.) are better off, as conventional wisdom suggests, with a more conservative play-calling strategy; one that optimizes a balanced attack, neither relying on the run or the pass too heavily. If you look at Alabama (all run) and Oklahoma (all pass) this year, this is borne out. While successful, in the respective biggest games (OU = Texas and Florida and Alabama = Florida and Utah), both teams fell short when it mattered most.
2. While, yes, throwing more increases your chances of blowing teams out, the regression to the mean indicates that a team who's too wide open actually makes more mistakes and score fewer points than a conservative or balanced approach.