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29 Nov 2007

Fremeau Efficiency Index: Week 13

by Brian Fremeau

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) principles and methodology can be found here. Like DVOA, FEI rewards playing well against good teams, win or lose, and punishes losing to poor teams more harshly than it rewards defeating poor teams. Unlike DVOA, it is drive-based, not play-by-play based, and it is specifically engineered to measure the college game.

FEI is the opponent-adjusted value of Game Efficiency, a measurement of the success rate of a team scoring and preventing opponent scoring throughout the non-garbage-time possessions of a game. Like DVOA, it represents a team's efficiency value over average.

Only games between FBS (Division 1-A) teams are considered. The Week 13 Ratings represent the results of games played through Saturday, November 24, 2007.


Rank Team W-L FEI Last Wk GE GE Rank
1 LSU (10-2) 0.261 1 0.231 7
2 West Virginia (10-1) 0.254 3 0.319 1
3 Ohio State (10-1) 0.246 4 0.291 2
4 Florida (8-3) 0.244 6 0.200 11
5 Oregon (8-3) 0.243 2 0.168 14
6 USC (9-2) 0.236 9 0.219 8
7 South Florida (8-3) 0.214 5 0.174 13
8 Georgia (9-2) 0.214 11 0.104 26
9 Oklahoma (10-2) 0.196 12 0.288 3
10 Missouri (10-1) 0.194 14 0.209 9
11 Clemson (8-3) 0.187 10 0.202 10
12 Cincinnati (8-3) 0.178 8 0.161 15
Rank Team W-L FEI Last Wk GE GE Rank
13 Arizona State (9-2) 0.178 7 0.132 21
14 Virginia Tech (9-2) 0.175 15 0.116 23
15 Illinois (8-3) 0.173 16 0.129 22
16 BYU (8-2) 0.172 17 0.181 12
17 Boston College (9-2) 0.169 13 0.135 19
18 Auburn (7-4) 0.167 20 0.079 35
19 Arkansas (7-4) 0.166 26 0.139 18
20 Tennessee (9-3) 0.159 24 0.075 36
21 California (6-5) 0.151 18 0.039 42
22 UCLA (6-5) 0.149 31 0.004 56
23 Michigan (8-3) 0.141 22 0.089 32
24 Kansas (10-1) 0.123 19 0.277 4
25 Oregon State (6-4) 0.123 28 -0.012 60

Offensive Efficiency (OE) represents the raw per-possession scoring rate for each team, and Defensive Efficiency (DE) represents that of its opponents. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (AOE) and Adjusted Defensive Efficiency modifies OE and DE for field position and opponent. Field Position Advantage (FPA) represents the difference between a team's average offensive field position and its opponents'.


FEI Rank Team W-L OE OE Rank AOE AOE Rank DE DE Rank ADE ADE Rank FPA
1 LSU (10-2) 0.407 11 0.433 7 0.183 8 0.193 11 4.9
2 West Virginia (10-1) 0.452 4 0.472 2 0.199 14 0.199 12 6.3
3 Ohio State (10-1) 0.359 27 0.319 43 0.093 1 0.099 1 8.5
4 Florida (8-3) 0.532 1 0.567 1 0.332 81 0.297 68 4.9
5 Oregon (8-3) 0.385 14 0.446 5 0.224 25 0.231 28 2.8
6 USC (9-2) 0.365 24 0.350 33 0.157 3 0.157 2 4.8
7 South Florida (8-3) 0.333 38 0.362 31 0.197 12 0.185 9 4.6
8 Georgia (9-2) 0.369 21 0.409 14 0.259 36 0.226 22 1.1
9 Oklahoma (10-2) 0.450 5 0.422 11 0.203 16 0.185 8 0.9
10 Missouri (10-1) 0.415 10 0.469 3 0.271 44 0.256 40 -0.1
11 Clemson (8-3) 0.375 20 0.390 19 0.176 5 0.207 13 5.8
12 Cincinnati (8-3) 0.348 31 0.407 15 0.199 15 0.219 20 5.7
FEI Rank Team W-L OE OE Rank AOE AOE Rank DE DE Rank ADE ADE Rank FPA
13 Arizona State (9-2) 0.327 41 0.347 35 0.216 19 0.215 17 0.8
14 Virginia Tech (9-2) 0.271 70 0.288 56 0.154 2 0.168 3 4.6
15 Illinois (8-3) 0.342 34 0.372 25 0.231 30 0.212 15 -2.0
16 BYU (8-2) 0.339 36 0.385 21 0.193 11 0.217 19 -1.6
17 Boston College (9-2) 0.312 48 0.400 17 0.179 7 0.228 23 -0.1
18 Auburn (7-4) 0.285 64 0.323 41 0.217 20 0.181 5 0.1
19 Arkansas (7-4) 0.382 15 0.404 16 0.252 33 0.262 43 2.6
20 Tennessee (9-3) 0.379 17 0.418 12 0.295 57 0.298 69 4.2
21 California (6-5) 0.326 43 0.353 32 0.295 56 0.250 34 -1.2
22 UCLA (6-5) 0.199 107 0.247 87 0.207 17 0.215 16 1.9
23 Michigan (8-3) 0.292 60 0.288 58 0.192 10 0.169 4 2.6
24 Kansas (10-1) 0.439 8 0.369 28 0.177 6 0.192 10 3.4
25 Oregon State (6-4) 0.217 101 0.228 99 0.221 22 0.183 7 0.6

Click here for rankings of all 119 teams. Click here for Offensive/Defensive Efficiency rankings for all 119 teams.

After yet another weekend of rankings carnage and thrilling finishes, including a remarkable total of 24 overtime possessions, the BCS title game picture has almost come into focus. No undefeated teams remain among the championship game contenders, unless you agree with Les Miles' suggestion that his LSU Tigers, fresh off their second triple-overtime loss of the season, are actually 10-0-2. But why stop there? If not for their fourth quarter drama against Florida, Auburn and Alabama, they could be standing atop the college football world with an undefeated 7-0-5 record.

None of those games were ties, however, and LSU properly gets credit for the victories and absorbs the consequences of the losses. That they destroyed Virginia Tech in Week 2 and efficiently disposed of the rest of their opposition keeps the Tigers in the FEI top spot for the seventh straight week. That body of work is enough to maintain the separation from the pack for LSU in a 2007 season chock full of blemished resumes. How blemished? LSU's current rating would be good for only third place in the final FEI standings of 2004 (behind USC and Auburn), 2005 (behind Texas and USC), and 2006 (behind Florida and USC). In 2003, only that year's LSU team would rate ahead of the 2007 Tigers.

FEI's No. 2 West Virginia and No. 3 Ohio State currently match the BCS standings and probably require only an Oklahoma victory over Missouri in the Big 12 championship game to set the stage for a championship showdown. A Mountaineers/Buckeyes game would feature the second best offense according to AOE versus the top defense according to ADE, a match-up quite similar to Saturday night's Missouri/Kansas game. For their part, Missouri can extend their dream season by exacting revenge on Oklahoma team still rating as one of the most balanced, if not tested, in college football. The winner will probably get a boost further up the FEI Top 10 standings, though not enough to make up for the Big 12's missing marquee OOC wins (Illinois and ... ?), head-scratching second-tier (tsk, tsk, Texas), and free-falling third-tier (Kansas State and Nebraska went from AP Top 25 teams to uncompetitive conference laughingstocks in just a few weeks).

Hawaii actually is the only undefeated team in the country, and received the biggest FEI ranking bump of the weekend after knocking off Boise State to clinch the WAC crown. The conference looks to be a big winner, too, if Hawaii can remain undefeated and earn a coveted BCS bowl berth and payout. All that stands in their way is a 4-8 Washington team ... one that also beat Boise State (Hawaii's best opponent) and played mostly competitively against eight other opponents rated higher than BSU this season, including four of the FEI Top 15. Saturday's game also pits Hawaii's 2.26 Wins over Pythagorean Wins (most in the nation) against Washington's 1.53 Wins under Pythagorean Wins (fifth most in the nation). If the rest of the season hasn't convinced you, it might be best to wait until this game and the others play out before penciling in any of the BCS bowl berths.

Strength of Schedule

I have received a number of questions about the way FEI employs strength of schedule in its opponent adjustments of Game Efficiency data. In the Week 10 FEI Ratings article, I charted the frequency and GE margins of games between teams of varying strengths, shedding some more detailed light on the broad distribution of teams in college football. I used data from the 2005 and 2006 final Massey Consensus Rankings for the following analysis.


Games between Team Type and Opponent Type, 2005-2006
Team Type Games vs. Elite vs. Very Good vs. Above Avg. vs. Avg. vs. Below Avg vs. Very Bad vs. Awful
Elite 123 (5-5) (15-4) (29-3) (38-1) (18-0) (4-0) (1-0)
Very Good 359 (4-15) (30-30) (57-21) (113-8) (47-2) (25-0) (7-0)
Above Average 486 (3-29) (21-57) (61-61) (117-28) (51-8) (40-0) (10-0)
Average 901 (1-38) (8-113) (28-117) (154-154) (115-25) (92-15) (40-1)
Below Average 450 (0-18) (2-47) (8-51) (25-115) (45-45) (60-20) (12-2)
Very Bad 341 (0-4) (0-25) (0-40) (15-92) (20-60) (34-34) (15-2)
Awful 96 (0-1) (0-7) (0-10) (1-40) (2-12) (2-15) (3-3)

This table was originally provided in Week 10 to illustrate the general frequency of competition between teams of different types in college football. To more specifically explore the schedule strength of each team type, I decided not to take an average ranking of opponents faced by each team, but instead separated each team's schedule into an ordered list of its opponent's Massey Consensus (MC) ranking, best to worst. For example, the 2006 Florida Gators faced Ohio State (MC No. 2) as their best opponent, LSU (MC No. 5) as their second best opponent, and so on. I then took the average opponent ranking of each team type's best opponent, second best opponent, etc., to produce the following table. I did not calculate average opponent rankings past the eighth best opponent faced because not every team in 2005 and 2006 played more than eight FBS opponents.


Average Ranking of Top Eight Opponents faced by Team Type, 2005-2006
National Average Elite Very Good Above Avg. Avg. Below Avg Very Bad Awful
Best Opponent 11 4 6 7 11 13 18 28
2nd Best Opp 22 10 13 14 23 28 35 36
3rd Best Opp 32 16 21 22 31 40 49 44
4th Best Opp 41 21 29 29 40 49 60 51
5th Best Opp 48 28 35 35 49 57 70 60
6th Best Opp 56 33 42 42 58 64 76 64
7th Best Opp 64 41 51 48 67 72 84 70
8th Best Opp 73 47 59 58 77 80 91 78

It should come as no surprise that the Elite, Very Good and Above Average team types play stronger opposition than the national average, since those team types are dominated by BCS conference teams that play seven or eight conference games each year against one another. It should also not be a surprise that Elite teams play better teams throughout -- not only do Elite teams often get opportunities to play an extra Elite team in a bowl game, the status of their other opponents may be boosted somewhat simply by having played the Elite team in the first place.

These are averages, of course, and not every Elite or Very Good schedule is created equal. The 2007 LSU Tigers, for instance, have faced the FEI No. 4, No. 14, No. 18, No. 19, No. 26, No. 27, No. 31, No. 44, No. 74, No. 91, No. 93, and No. 96 teams this season. Is it fair to say that the average ranking of its opponents (44.75) is indicative of LSU's strength of schedule? Or should LSU's best opponents and, therefore, more important games (Florida, Virginia Tech) be given more weight than its worst and least important (Louisiana Tech, Tulane)? As described in the basic methodology, FEI takes this latter approach, weighting the value of the top of a given team's schedule more heavily than the bottom.

Since each game outcome is weighted independently, a traditional strength of schedule metric is not employed by or calculated from the GE and FEI ratings. In other words, to describe and compare LSU's strength of schedule as the difference between its GE and FEI (0.030) versus West Virginia's (-0.065) is imprecise. A comparison of LSU and West Virginia game-by-game is better.


LSU's opponents, ranked by difficulty
Opponent Opp. FEI Rank GE W/L AGE
Florida 4 0.063 W 0.513
Virginia Tech 14 0.429 W 0.633
Auburn 18 0.075 W 0.323
Arkansas 19 -0.017 L 0.089
Alabama 26 0.059 W 0.206
Kentucky 27 -0.063 L 0.011
South Carolina 31 0.206 W 0.286
Mississippi State 44 0.403 W 0.327
Mississippi 74 0.221 W 0.047
Middle Tennessee State 91 0.622 W 0.147
Louisiana Tech 93 0.392 W 0.053
Tulane 96 0.286 W 0.011


West Virginia's opponents, ranked by difficulty
Opponent Opp. FEI Rank GE W/L AGE
South Florida 7 -0.085 L 0.053
Cincinnati 12 0.062 W 0.345
Connecticut 35 0.418 W 0.418
Maryland 42 0.231 W 0.236
Mississippi State 44 0.311 W 0.272
Rutgers 45 0.471 W 0.372
Louisville 48 0.063 W 0.088
East Carolina 73 0.694 W 0.274
Marshall 79 0.198 W 0.022
Western Michigan 82 0.455 W 0.125
Syracuse 108 0.571 W 0.070

Based on schedule, the top opponents for each team are rating as a virtual wash, but LSU gains a clear edge over the next five. LSU's schedule appears more like the average Elite schedule listed above, while West Virginia's is more similar to that of an Above Average team. The final column represents Adjusted Game Efficiency (AGE), or Game Efficiency modified not only for strength of opponent but also weighted for the importance of the game outcome in terms of its relevance -- top games are given more weight than bottom games, and bad losses more weight than wins over poor teams. FEI is calculated from the multiple-order AGE data.

Considering all of this information, LSU's top two games are clearly better than West Virginia's, but WVU's strong performances against its next best opponents beats out those of LSU's, particularly because of the Tiger losses. Both teams handled a reasonably comparable bottom portion of their schedule well on the whole, and in total, LSU finds itself perched just ahead of West Virginia in the current FEI ratings.

There are, of course, a number of other considerations that could be made when determining strength of schedule, including sequencing of games, number and sequencing of off-dates, etc., though measuring these would take a great deal more research. The current FEI method for comparing schedules and strength of opposition may not settle any barstool arguments, but perhaps it positions the terms of the debate more openly.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 29 Nov 2007

31 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2007, 2:23am by Sid

Comments

1
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:03pm

Missouri is 10th behind South Florida, Oregon, and USC. ahahahahahaha.

2
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:07pm

Even more amazing is that Kansas dropped all the way to 24th. BCS has them 5th, maybe because their only loss was to the #1 team.

Duke is still rated too high, at 81st.

3
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:22pm

The OSU has finally cracked the top 25! Bout time.

4
by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:35pm

I love this thing. It's just what college football is crying out for: a complicated, computer-driven rating system that makes no sense. Oh, wait...

Some interesting notes:

3-9 Notre Dame is #75. The 3-8 Stanford team they beat?#59. (Courtesy of the USC upset, I'm assuming?)

Hawaii is #46, while the 4-8 Washington Huskies they play this week are #39.

The 5-7 Washington State team that beat the Huskies last week? #63. (And that game was at Washington.)

5
by chip (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:37pm

Despite the criticism from many posters, I find this ranking system to be highly intuitive and the results more akin to my "internal" top 25 than anything the BCS spits out.

6
by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:55pm

#4: The thing with this (and with DVOA and anything else that uses objective stats instead of win-losses) is that a team can be better than another team in aggregate and still lose. Things happen, teams get lucky or unlucky. In FEI's case, it doesn't weight teams based on current performance ahead of prior performance, so (for example) Oregon looks great despite clearly being a subpar team right now. Washington had the hardest schedule in the country, so their actual performance was enhanced by this.

I still think that the opponent adjustments are too high and that too much weight is given to the arbitrary rankings, but the stats make sense. Washington has played many good teams and played them closely. Washington State has been trounced by good teams. Stanford has played a few teams very close (and beaten USC), Notre Dame has sucked all season.

7
by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 3:57pm

"LSU properly gets credit for the victories and absorbs the consequences of the losses."

He writes this the same week where LSU stays at #1 despite losing? This guy is a riot!

8
by Brooklyn Bengal (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:04pm

Subjectively, this is the best FEI rankings I've seen all year.

I'm also starting to adjust to the idea that unlike DVOA -- which attempts to put a value on a team's true performance by measuring and comparing each play -- the FEI is really just measuring drive EFFICIENCY. How efficient was team X on any given drive? What can that tell us about their chances of producing an efficient drive against team Y?

Ultimately, of course, that has less predictive value as DVOA. However, it provides a different insight into the game...and isn't that what FO is all about?

Also, thanks for explaining the strength of schedule adjustments explanation, Brian. While I agree with the idea of giving more importance to how a team plays against a tougher opponent, I also think that such a weighting puts a team like LSU in a unique position. LSU plays down to its opponents, so their Florida win carries more weight than their Arkansas loss, right? But if you watched both of those games, it seemed to be the exact same LSU team, playing the exact same LSU game.

9
by oljb (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:15pm

Can we start a template for poorly articulated complaints about FEI? How about:

"FEI has some team rated higher or lower than I think they should be. 'Fremeau is an idiot', in so many words."

Come on people, do you think it reduces the credibility of FEI to see people making snarky, meaningless statements against it? Quite the contrary.

10
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:21pm

There's no way to ever prove or disprove the validity of the rankings, though.

If Hawaii beats Washington by 2 TDs, does that disprove it? No.

When Duke got absolutely trashed by Notre Dame a few weeks ago, as I predicted, does that impugn the validity of FEI? No. This despite the fact that FEI had Duke ranked ahead of many decent teams, for some odd reason.

11
by Dennis (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:33pm

The other thing to remember is the better team doesn't always win. If team A beats team B, it doesn't mean team A is a better team.

So if you are trying to make predictive rankings like with FEI, then who beat who isn't that important, it's how the teams played within the games that matter. If you are trying to make descriptive rankings, then who beat who is supremely important and how teams played within the games is pretty irrelevant.

12
by TGT (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:46pm

@7 What's the problem with staying #1 after losing. If the patriots lost to the Eagles, would they no longer be the best team in the NFL? I think you might be a little too used to the college ranking system's "What have you done for me lately" mindset.

13
by Kunk (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 6:02pm

I, for one, find these ratings to be quite interesting. I think it forces people to think outside the realm of the BCS, which while factoring in strength of schedule, is still heavily tied to wins and losses (the polls portion, anyway).

Like the other people here who scoff at the rankings, I find myself upset when I see LSU at the top. But why? I think it's hard to separate the way we've traditionally "ranked" college teams from a more DVOA minded ranking system. I have no problem with Minnesota or Philly being in the top-12 in DVOA despite their losing record, and I think this is because there is no BCS-type system in the NFL (thank god!) that ingrains an arbitrary ranking in our minds.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like these rankings, at least from the perspective that it makes me step back and think about the games I've seen teams play instead of "Hey, LSU lost last week, they have to drop!"

14
by idle chatter (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 6:33pm

Re #13:

I like the general idea of FEI, but the current version yields some results which make no sense. For instance, Clemson is ranked ahead of two teams with better records that it lost to AT HOME.

I believe this is because Clemson is more efficient at dispatching lesser teams than BC or VT. However, it is NOT more efficient at beating GOOD teams. FEI assumes that incremental differences in opponent quality yield incremental changes to results, but this is frequently not true.

Likewise, LSU is overrated, because it was very efficient early, but has not been as impressive since the Florida game.

15
by Fire Millen (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 7:01pm

In general I like the FEI. However Oregon is ranked too high because they won those games with Dixon at QB, without him they are much much worse. So sometimes subjective can be better.

16
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 7:56pm

I wonder if we can run a parallel rankings column for posters like 1,2,and 4. It would just be a printout of the standings.

I think this comes pretty close to something I was suggesting on the SDA thread- have Las Vegas Sports Consultants make the rankings. If LVSC favors Oklahoma by 3 over Mizzou on a neutral field, then Okla is ranked higher. I'd bet the top 5 in this system would be:

1. LSU
2. USC
3. West Virginia
4. Ohio St
5. Oklahoma

17
by pm (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 8:01pm

Once again this system continues to become more of a joke. How is South Florida #7 ahead of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Georgia. They lost to weak teams like Rutgers and UConn. You can't take this system seriously with USF at #7.

18
by Richard (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 8:19pm

#17: Is it that hard to believe that South Florida has played as the eighth best team in the country, given the quality wins they have that balance those losses you note? You couldn't see them beating Oklahoma? Missouri?

I think the only "joke" is the unwillingness to give proper consideration. Is this ESPN.com or Football Outsiders?

19
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 9:11pm

why is this (multiple loss team) ahead of another (multiple loss team), clearly the losses to (state losses here) are an embarrassment and everyone knows that the best team wins every Saturday.

Plus everyone knows who the best team in college football is: Missouri loss to Oklahoma who loss to Colorado who loss to Iowa State who loss to Toledo who loss to Purdue who loss to Indiana who loss to Northwestern who loss to Duke who loss to Notre Dame who loss to Georgia Tech who loss to Georgia who loss to Tennessee who loss to Alabama who loss to LSU!! LSU is the best!

20
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 9:16pm

18. In my personal experience college fans are much worse homers than NFL ones, I think that is driving a lot of this.

Also I really enjoy these rankings and they look MUCH MUCH better to me than the BCS ones.

21
by Will B. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 9:59pm

College football fans are MORE of homers than pro football ones - that's what makes college football so great! College football fans and atmosphere is what puts it ahead of the NFL for me and I'm sure most college football fans.

That being said, wouldn't an Ohio State vs. West Virginia matchup be a lot of fun? There could be another border war!

22
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2007 - 10:00pm

I think that is a big part of it. Passions are stronger and irrational posts are more common. You get pro-team and anti-team zealots as well as pro-conference, anti-conference, and conference-v-conference zealots.

In general, people who have been on the site for a while know a few things:

-- No system is perfect. There will always be anomalous results and teams.
-- Results of a game do not always indicate relative strength.
-- In systems that take all results into account each week, each result contributes to the overall rank. You cannot simply look at a team's most recent result and derive its movement accurately.

When they point out what they feel to be anomalies, they are, most likely, simply saying "My personal system is different than this one."

Hopefully, there are few readers who value the polls more highly than, well, any computer-driven system. Asking people to accurately and subjectively rank enough teams to determine the top 25, but only by rank and not by value, and to do so less than 24 hours after the last game of the week, is an exercise in futility. It is unfortunate that polls still carry the weight they do.

23
by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2007 - 3:02am

Florida's offense has been absurd this season. The disparity between #1 Florida and the #2 team in the nation is now up to .095 points. This team would be terrifying if they even had a top-30 defense. I almost feel bad for the rest of the SEC next year.

Almost.

24
by charlie (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2007 - 10:27am

subjective opinion of course but i feel like lsu is fine at 1 or certainly top 2/3.

more than any other team you feel like lsu are likely to beat whoever they play. obviously they have two losses, but they've never been out of a game and (without wanting to sound like les) those two losses could easily have been wins.

are there other teams you'd prefer not to play to the degree you wouldn't want to play lsu?

i like the system (and don't support lsu)

25
by Fat Tony (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2007 - 1:54pm

re: 24 - LSU's losses could have been wins but several of their wins could have been losses. Five of their last six conference games were decided in the last few minutes. Hard to beat, sure. Likely to beat anyone they play? Not so much. Apparently they don’t do anything well enough to dominate good teams.

I’ve read the arguments here against a playoff, by Russell and others, but if there ever was a year that screamed out for one, this has to be it. Maybe it’s my bias as a pro sports fan and casual College FB watcher but I reached the point several years ago where I basically lost interest in the Bowl system. It’s very rare that I’d go out of my way to watch a non BCS Championship bowl game but I’m sure I’d find a way to watch all 7 games if there were an 8 team tournament this year.

How much fun would it be to hype, analyze, anticipate and watch a tournament this year including:

1 Mizz-OK winner
2 LSU –Tenn winner
3 VT-BC winner
4 Ohio St
5 WV (assuming they win BE)
6 USC (assuming they win the Pac 10)
7 At Large 1 (GA, KAN, ASU, Mizz, etc)
8 At Large 2 (GA, KAN, ASU, Mizz, etc)

To my admittedly non-expert eye, at least seven of those teams (LSU, VT, OK, Ohio ST, WV, USC and GA) have clearly established they’re good enough to win three straight against the best of the best. I’d love to see all of them get a chance to try.

26
by mrparker (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2007 - 4:04pm

before everyone trashes this index they need to go back and look at his bowl prediction success last season.

Taking this information matchup by matchup and game by game seems to be very valuable.

27
by Justin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2007 - 6:31pm

I also find the rankings very interesting, and also intuitive when you look back at performances over the whole of the season (rather than just looking solely at wins and losses or particularly memorable games). The one adjustment/addition that I would be interested in seeing is a weighted FEI that factors recent games more heavily than games that occurred earlier in the year (similar to the one for DVOA). It would recognize teams whose play has improved (see Virginia Tech) or regressed (see Oregon) markedly during the year. I think this would also help address some of the concerns about LSU's play recently vs. earlier in the year.

28
by BHW (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2007 - 8:53pm

21 California
22 UCLA

Um, wow ...

29
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 12/01/2007 - 1:32am

I still have no idea what offensive/defensive efficiency are supposed to contribute. They don't seem to match up with FEI at all.

LSU, adjusted offensive efficiency: #7, defensive efficiency: #11, with ~4 yards field position advantage.

WVU: adjusted offensive efficiency, #2, defensive efficiency; #12, with ~6 yards field position advantage.

So WVU has a better offense, an essentially equivalent defense (the difference between WVU/LSU's ADE is ~0.06 - between their AOE is ~0.4), and starts with better field position... yet LSU is ranked higher in FEI.

By a lot, too, not a little.

The offensive/defensive efficiency rankings just aren't doing anything to help explain why teams are ranked where they are in FEI at all. They definitely need to be rescaled somehow.

30
by evo34 (not verified) :: Sat, 12/01/2007 - 8:39am

I like the concept, but it still appears that projected scores are systematically too low. Has this been analyzed at all?

31
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/02/2007 - 2:23am

rankings here would clearly say LSU should play Ohio State for the national championship.