Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Nov 2008

FEI Week 13 Ratings

by Brian Fremeau

The Fremeau Efficiency Index 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. Strength of Schedule is calculated from a privileged perspective (explained here) and represents the likelihood that an Elite team (top 5) would post an undefeated record against the given team's opponents to date.

The following ratings are calculated based on data from all FBS games played through Sunday, November 23. Only games between FBS teams are considered.

Rank Team Record FEI Last Week vs. Top 10 vs. Top 40 GE GE Rank SOS SOS Rank
1 Florida 9-1 0.314 1 0-0 3-1 0.461 1 0.403 64
2 Penn State 10-1 0.284 3 0-0 4-1 0.353 5 0.370 57
3 Texas 10-1 0.277 4 1-0 3-1 0.364 3 0.253 39
4 Oklahoma 9-1 0.273 7 0-1 3-1 0.360 4 0.244 38
5 USC 9-1 0.259 5 0-0 3-1 0.397 2 0.468 78
6 North Carolina 6-4 0.249 2 2-0 6-3 0.102 21 0.160 12
7 Georgia Tech 6-3 0.228 10 2-1 4-3 0.098 23 0.139 9
8 Alabama 11-0 0.227 8 0-0 3-0 0.294 8 0.429 70
9 Florida State 6-3 0.221 13 0-2 4-3 0.099 22 0.166 14
10 Boston College 7-3 0.214 11 1-2 5-3 0.075 32 0.116 4
11 Texas Tech 8-1 0.195 6 1-1 2-1 0.238 12 0.243 37
12 Ohio State 9-2 0.189 9 0-2 3-2 0.168 17 0.211 31
Rank Team Record FEI Last Week vs. Top 10 vs. Top 40
GE GE Rank SOS SOS Rank
13 Mississippi 6-4 0.176 16 1-1 1-3 0.121 19 0.166 13
14 Virginia Tech 6-4 0.174 12 2-2 2-3 0.043 41 0.137 8
15 Iowa 7-4 0.171 15 1-0 2-3 0.169 16 0.279 44
16 Ball State 10-0 0.163 14 0-0 0-0 0.317 6 0.748 115
17 Pittsburgh 7-3 0.160 17 0-0 3-2 0.078 30 0.350 50
18 Missouri 8-2 0.158 18 0-1 0-2 0.242 11 0.385 61
19 Cincinnati 8-2 0.157 26 0-1 4-2 0.060 35 0.222 33
20 Clemson 4-5 0.149 27 1-3 3-4 0.006 56 0.130 6
21 Wake Forest 6-5 0.147 20 1-1 4-3 0.016 53 0.174 16
22 Georgia 8-2 0.131 25 0-2 1-2 0.049 38 0.191 21
23 Connecticut 6-4 0.130 22 0-1 2-4 0.061 33 0.276 41
24 Utah 11-0 0.129 23 0-0 2-0 0.261 9 0.653 106
25 West Virginia 6-3 0.125 29 0-0 2-1 0.077 31 0.465 77

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and Adjusted Defensive Efficiency are the opponent-adjusted values of Offensive Efficiency and Defensive Efficiency, explained here. Like FEI, the multiple-order adjustments are weighted according to both the strength of the opponent and the relative significance of the result; efficiency against a team's best competition faced is given more relevance weight. AOE and ADE represent a team's value over/under average. Positive AOE and negative ADE are the most valuable.

Rank Team Record AOE AOE Rank ADE ADE Rank OE OE Rank DE DE Rank
1 Florida 9-1 0.452 5 -0.452 4 0.545 10 -0.663 1
2 Penn State 10-1 0.521 3 -0.402 11 0.528 11 -0.498 6
3 Texas 10-1 0.523 2 -0.411 10 0.915 2 -0.198 31
4 Oklahoma 9-1 0.642 1 -0.333 18 0.891 3 -0.162 36
5 USC 9-1 0.396 8 -0.441 6 0.473 13 -0.614 2
6 North Carolina 6-4 0.146 34 -0.509 1 -0.137 74 -0.300 17
7 Georgia Tech 6-3 0.380 9 -0.287 22 0.045 45 -0.280 19
8 Alabama 11-0 0.284 19 -0.417 8 0.110 39 -0.602 3
9 Florida State 6-3 0.275 21 -0.322 19 0.021 50 -0.204 30
10 Boston College 7-3 0.210 25 -0.464 3 -0.130 70 -0.490 7
11 Texas Tech 8-1 0.520 4 -0.271 25 0.960 1 0.096 79
12 Ohio State 9-2 0.191 27 -0.393 14 0.036 47 -0.429 9
Rank Team Record AOE AOE Rank ADE ADE Rank
OE OE Rank DE DE Rank
13 Mississippi 6-4 0.281 20 -0.293 21 0.124 37 -0.265 20
14 Virginia Tech 6-4 0.003 63 -0.362 16 -0.265 93 -0.244 24
15 Iowa 7-4 0.139 35 -0.441 5 0.054 44 -0.457 8
16 Ball State 10-0 0.296 16 -0.272 24 0.768 5 -0.249 23
17 Pittsburgh 7-3 0.356 11 -0.138 41 0.224 26 0.004 69
18 Missouri 8-2 0.369 10 -0.075 52 0.736 6 0.066 75
19 Cincinnati 8-2 0.091 50 -0.370 15 -0.067 61 -0.230 25
20 Clemson 4-5 0.029 58 -0.477 2 -0.278 97 -0.384 11
21 Wake Forest 6-5 -0.122 81 -0.437 7 -0.370 108 -0.216 28
22 Georgia 8-2 0.413 6 -0.067 53 0.152 34 -0.091 50
23 Connecticut 6-4 0.081 51 -0.415 9 -0.069 62 -0.355 12
24 Utah 11-0 0.098 48 -0.206 33 0.211 28 -0.320 15
25 West Virginia 6-3 0.174 30 -0.218 31 -0.056 59 -0.316 16

The Week 13 FEI Ratings for all 120 FBS teams can be found here. Expanded FEI Ratings data can be found here.

Don't Count On Anything

At this point last season, the eventual national champions hadn't yet lost their second game. LSU had survived their mid-season triple-overtime loss to Kentucky and had re-ascended to the top of the BCS standings, only to fall to Arkansas Thanksgiving weekend, again in triple-overtime. This year has been marked more by crazy blowouts than crazy upsets, but we might be in for both this weekend.

Tie-breaking controversies loom in the Big 12 South, three non-BCS-conference undefeated teams are looking for a shot, and there has been more "resume" versus "deserve" debate than in any year I can remember. But I wonder, as I did several weeks ago, why are we taking an undefeated finish by the top teams as some sort of given?

The nation pretty much agrees that six great teams still playing football are worth discussing: Alabama, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and USC. (Penn State and Utah have concluded their regular seasons). All six are undefeated or have suffered only one loss, all have looked like the greatest team on the planet at least once this year, and all may rightly pose a strong argument for a college football playoff. Alabama and Florida have a showdown date next weekend, but none can look past this week, even though FEI projects each of them to win. As we have seen with Projected Win Expectations (PWE), that doesn't mean they all will.

In fact, according to this week's PWE, the projected likelihood that all six will win is only 41.1 percent. Florida and Oklahoma have the toughest tests, and both are on the road. An Oklahoma State victory over the Sooners would throw the biggest wrench into the BCS, but if you're really rooting for chaos, root for Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Baylor. Has anyone thought about breaking a four-way tie in the Big 12 South?

Special Attention

The Michigan Wolverines mercifully concluded their season on Saturday with a 42-7 drubbing at the hands of Ohio State. Like the Penn State game back in Week 8, the Wolverines fought competitively into halftime before being overwhelmed and dominated down the stretch. Michigan's year-long struggles were exposed on both sides of the ball, and their season postscript will likely focus on an underperforming defense and an overhauled and underaged offense learning (slowly) along the way.

What might be overlooked is special teams. The Wolverines punt unit was capable, though well-practiced, kicking more often per game than all but one other team in the country (Central Florida). The field goal, kickoff, punt return and kickoff return teams were unremarkable, at least as far as conventional stats go. But something in the Ohio State game box score made me take another look: Michigan fumbled a first quarter punt return and a fourth quarter kickoff return against the Buckeyes.

In a 35-point blowout loss, those types of miscues are largely inconsequential. The Buckeyes scored a short-field touchdown after the fourth quarter cough-up, and the Wolverines forced back-to-back three-and-outs to escape the first fumble unscathed. So what? If Michigan fans haven't been counting along, these were the seventh and eighth fumbles lost by special teams return units on the season. That total is four more than any other team in the nation in 2008, and three more than any other team in 2007. Only one Michigan opponent returned the favor even once on special teams all season, and it was a long time ago -- Utah fumbled away the very first punt of Michigan's forgettable season just 90 seconds into the opening quarter in Week 1.

How damaging were those turnovers? Michigan gave up 104 more points than it scored in 2008, and the eight special teams turnovers directly led to seven scores and 45 total opponent points. The opponent's field position alone was worth 31 points to an average offense; had Michigan retained possession, their eight drives headed the other way would have been worth 16 points to an average offense, a 47-point swing in field position scoring expectation. Only twice this year did Michigan return a punt for a score of their own, once each against Purdue and Northwestern, but the Wolverines gave back a special teams fumble in each of those games as well.

On top of the turnovers, Michigan frequently flirted with special teams disaster by mishandling kicks, often pinning themselves deep after gathering in the ball. Michigan failed to return a kickoff to the 20-yard line 13 times in 2008, and those drives netted one field goal and one safety on the season. Overall in field position, Michigan dug itself a 36.7-point expecation hole relative to its opponents this year, about three points per game. The only teams worse off in 2008 were Washington State (1-10) and Eastern Michigan (1-9).

Notre Dame suffered a similar field position deficit last season, and of course, a similar record. When you are in the midst of rebuilding, it certainly doesn't help to be so snake-bitten in such a fundamental area. Taking care of the ball in the return game probably won't top the to-do list of Rich Rodriguez, but maybe it should.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 26 Nov 2008

11 comments, Last at 29 Nov 2008, 3:34pm by nugwin

Comments

1
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 11:01am

I believe Texas Tech would win a 4-way tie in the South. Tech and Texas would both be 2-1 against the tied teams (OSU and OU 1-2) and Tech beat Texas.

2
by ChrisFromNJ :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 11:05am

Yep, that's seven ACC teams in the Top 25.

Even better: Four Big East teams, too!

3
by Tom Gower :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 12:17pm

Darn, UNC actually fell after losing this week. I'm actually disappointed by that. I guess the ACC this year is great evidence for defense wins championships-UNC, Clemson, and BC the three best defenses in the country? UF with a better defense than USC? Clemson and Wake are 53th and 56th in Game Efficiency, and they're top 25 teams?

Here's the FEI Top 25 re-ordered w/ 2/3 of the difference between FEI and Game Efficiency taken away:
1. 1 Florida 0.412
2. 5 USC 0.351
3. 3 Texas 0.335
4. 4 Oklahoma 0.331
5. 2 PennState 0.330
6. 8 Alabama 0.272
7. 16 BallState 0.266
8. 11 TexasTech 0.224
9. 24 Utah 0.217
10. 18 Missouri 0.214
11. 12 OhioState 0.175
12. 15 Iowa 0.170
13. 6 NorthCarolina 0.151
14. 7 GeorgiaTech 0.141
15. 9 FloridaState 0.140
16. 13 Mississippi 0.139
17. 10 BostonCollege 0.121
18. 17 Pittsburgh 0.105
19. 25 WestVirginia 0.093
20. 19 Cincinnati 0.092
21. 14 VirginiaTech 0.087
22. 23 Connecticut 0.084
23. 22 Georgia 0.076
24. 21 WakeForest 0.060
25. 20 Clemson 0.054

I don't like how this treats non-BCS teams, so Ball State and Utah are both probably too high, but this comports a lot better with my subjective evaluations of team quality.

4
by DangerGnat :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 12:45pm

A 4-way tie in the Big 12 South would only be possible if OSU beats OU, Baylor beats Texas Tech, and Texas A&M beats Texas. Not gonna happen. If OSU beats OU and Texas and TT win, then there is a two-way tie, and Tech wins by virtue of head-to-head over Texas.

The most complicated scenario is already looming, if OU, TEX, and TT all win their final game.

5
by strannix (not verified) :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 1:25pm

I think he means complicated in terms of BCS scenarios, though. As things stand, all the voters are asked to do is choose between Texas and OU. This is bound to lead to a lot of hostility on behalf of the snubbed team, but at least either of those two teams is a good representative of the Big XII with an argument for being the best team in the country.

If OU loses this weekend, though, and Tech wins the South, we have a problem, since I don't think anyone's willing to make the argument that the Red Raiders are the top team in the country. In that case, both USC and Penn State enter the conversation, also, with whining from a 1-loss Texas team and (potentially) a 1-loss Alabama team reaching a fever pitch.

That's a much more chaotic situation than the status quo, IMO.

6
by Yinka Double Dare :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 1:35pm

I suspect Rodriguez will be concerned about the fumbles and you will see different returners next year. I think Odoms has returned his last punt for Michigan, one of the freshmen who was redshirted (largely due to injury) was supposed to be in the mix for returns and probably will be doing so next year, if not one of the other recruits coming in. Odoms makes too many bad decisions on punts, most of his fumbles have been muffs on balls he shouldn't have tried to catch. On the kickoffs, we'll see what happens. It really was bizarre the number of times the guys failed to catch it cleanly back there. That really shouldn't be something that needs to be coached, so we may see different guys on the kickoffs too.

7
by dvdburns@yahoo.com :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 3:30pm

We talk about Michigan alot on this website. Why do we do that?

8
by Will :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 5:02pm

Because Brian is a Michigan fan.

Will

9
by Love is like a bottle of gin (not verified) :: Wed, 11/26/2008 - 5:18pm

2/3 of the FO writers on CF are U Mich fans.

10
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 11/27/2008 - 10:30pm

Russell is a Michigan alum and fan. Brian is a Notre Dame fan and alum, and enjoys making fun of the Wolverines when they're down.

11
by nugwin :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 3:34pm

I'm trying to understand why UNC is ranked so high, despite a 6-4 record. Just because their defense is supposedly so good?