Penalty numbers are an underrated aspect when it comes to analyzing a football team.

More than anything, penalties especially hurt teams when they come at the wrong time. The last thing you want is an offsides on 3rd and 1 when you need a score. Disciplined teams win college football games; undisciplined teams… just ask 2019 Ole Miss and Elijah Moore.

We decided to rank all 12 current Pac-12 programs by the amount of penalties accrued across the past 5 seasons. Keep in mind, these rankings are based on an average of total penalty yards/total games played, so the results don’t skew in favor of those playing less games. It also includes all games, including CFP matchups and bowl games.

Of course, the average of penalties across the past 5 years does not tell the full story about what types of penalties a team commits more than others and is not to be taken as a measure of how “disciplined” a team has been during that time.

All stats found via CFB

  1. USC: 68.1 per game
  2. Arizona State: 65.8 per game
  3. Arizona: 63.1 per game
  4. Oregon: 57.2 per game
  5. UCLA: 56.6 per game
  6. Colorado: 55.6 per game
  7. Oregon State: 55.5 per game
  8. Washington State: 53.9 per game
  9. Utah: 48.4 per game
  10. Washington: 47.9 per game
  11. Cal: 47.2 per game
  12. Stanford: 44.9 per game

A few things stick out from this. For one, Stanford, Cal, Washington and Utah are in a world of their own at the bottom. The disconnect between Utah (No. 9) and Washington State (No. 8) is as much as the difference between Washington State and Oregon and then some.

There’s a similar gap creating 3 different tiers between Arizona and Oregon between the 3 and 4 spot as well.