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You've just been awarded an NFL expansion team and must build your personnel department. How would you do it? Matt Waldman takes on the exercise.

28 Oct 2009

Week 8 FEI Ratings

by Brian Fremeau

Thursday night, Florida State’s nightmare season was careening toward a catastrophic new low. The Seminoles had entered the game against the Tarheels saddled with their worst ACC conference start in their history (0-3), and legendary head coach Bobby Bowden was facing a firestorm of scrutiny from the fan base and haters alike. A middling first half on Thursday left the Seminoles trailing by 11 at halftime, and an early third quarter short-field touchdown by the Tar Heels increased the deficit to 24-6. If you were like me, you had seen enough.

I turned on the TV in the morning to catch the final score -- 30-27 Seminoles. Quarterback Christian Ponder had executed four straight scoring drives (3 touchdons and one field goal) in the second half, none from particularly enviable field position and nearly all on the strength of his arm and legs alone. The much-maligned Seminoles defense did its part as well, although against weaker opposition. North Carolina ranks 91st in Offensive FEI, but 20th in Defensive FEI. The 18-point deficit erased by Florida State is the largest second-half comeback of the 2009 season. (Northwestern has overcome two large first-half deficits: 25 points to Indiana, and 18 points to Purdue.)

This season has featured plenty of fantastic finishes. In the past weekend alone, undefeated Iowa scored on the final play of the game to beat Michigan State, and Alabama blocked a last-second winning field goal attempt to escape against Tennessee. Notre Dame has played in six-straight games this year decided by a touchdown or less. Eleven teams have had at least two-thirds of their games come down to a final possession.

These aren’t abnormally high numbers, however. It may seem like teams have struggled to put away opponents more than usual this year, but in nearly 50 percent of all FBS vs. FBS games played so far, the winning team never trailed. There have been 10,342 total game possessions played to date and the team that went on to win the game trailed only 1,403 of those possessions (13.6 percent). Two score leads have been especially safe. Teams with a lead of at least nine points at any point in a game have a winning percentage of 86.9; a lead of at least nine points in the first half has led to victory 84.1 percent of the time.

With that context, I was curious about the consistency of teams throughout the course of a game. I ran two new sets of Offensive and Defensive FEI ratings, calculating performances in each half independently to identify differences in team performances, both positive and negative. As with all FEI calculations, garbage possessions are not included.

The teams at the top of the FEI ratings have been generally consistent in first and second half performances this season. Alabama ranks among the most consistent in the nation. Iowa has played better second half offense. Cincinnati and Florida have played stronger defensively as the game wears on. There have been several teams, however, that have performed dramatically different in first and second halves this year.

Stronger 2nd Half Offensive FEI
Team 1st Half
Off FEI
1H OFEI
Rank
2nd Half
Off FEI
2H OFEI
Rank
Delta Overall
Off FEI
OFEI
Rank
Ball State -0.602 117 0.196 37 0.798 -0.283 99
Oregon -0.134 80 0.650 6 0.784 0.204 33
Georgia Tech 0.455 11 1.192 1 0.737 0.705 2
Arizona State -0.384 103 0.339 21 0.723 -0.164 81
Michigan State 0.160 40 0.799 3 0.638 0.416 10
Weaker 2nd Half Offensive FEI
Southern Mississippi 0.234 30 -0.335 102 -0.569 0.057 50
East Carolina 0.362 18 -0.451 111 -0.813 0.019 61
Idaho 0.613 6 -0.226 87 -0.839 0.342 16
Utah State 0.051 55 -0.806 119 -0.857 -0.211 88
BYU 0.949 1 -0.069 65 -1.018 0.411 11
Stronger 2nd Half Defensive FEI
Team 1st Half
Def FEI
1H DFEI
Rank
2nd Half
Def FEI
2H DFEI
Rank
Delta Overall
Def FEI
DFEI
Rank
Florida State 0.818 116 -0.218 43 -1.036 0.336 104
Washington State 0.471 110 -0.512 20 -0.984 0.173 85
Baylor 0.398 104 -0.418 29 -0.815 -0.019 57
Eastern Michigan 0.824 117 0.011 69 -0.814 0.542 114
Western Michigan 0.377 101 -0.434 28 -0.811 0.069 66
Weaker 2nd Half Defensive FEI
Connecticut -0.472 16 0.563 105 1.035 0.021 61
North Carolina -0.915 1 0.140 79 1.055 -0.400 20
Virginia -0.590 10 0.513 104 1.103 -0.251 30
Nevada 0.414 106 2.147 120 1.734 0.724 118
Colorado State -0.665 5 1.356 119 2.021 0.248 93

Interestingly, it's the Florida State defense that appears among the top five in terms of stronger second half performances than first half performances. Christian Ponder has been outstanding throughout many games this year, and the Florida State offense was clicking on all cylinders throughout the explosive first halves against both BYU and Georgia Tech. The defense, however, has been a liability out of the gate. In its last four games -- all narrow final score margins -- Florida State has surrendered almost twice as many first half points (80) as second half points (41). The Seminoles have made sufficient defensive adjustments at halftime in most games, but too often it has been too late.

Week 8 FEI Top 25

The principles of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) 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 (GE), 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 (SOS) is calculated as the likelihood that an elite team would win every game on the given team's schedule to date. SOS listed here does not include future games scheduled.

Only games between FBS teams are considered in the FEI calculations. Preseason projections are no longer included in the calculations. Current FEI ratings are a function of results of games played through October 24th.

FEI ratings for all 120 FBS teams are now listed in the stats page section of FootballOutsiders.com. Click here for current ratings; the pull-down menu in the stats section will also get you to 2007 and 2008 ratings.

Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
OE OE
Rk
Off
FEI
OFEI
Rk
DE DE
Rk
Def
FEI
DFEI
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
1 Alabama 8-0 .299 1 .301 4 .268 18 .167 33 .368 14 -.715 2 -.644 2 .537 23
2 Iowa 7-0 .298 2 .166 19 .397 35 -.084 71 .305 19 -.518 11 -.714 1 .537 25
3 TCU 6-0 .294 7 .285 5 .725 94 .164 35 .379 12 -.588 8 -.481 10 .560 8
4 Georgia Tech 6-1 .293 8 .091 32 .125 6 .471 12 .705 2 .193 88 -.130 39 .504 58
5 Virginia Tech 5-2 .285 3 .175 16 .063 1 .308 20 .517 6 -.303 26 -.460 14 .547 18
6 Miami 4-2 .278 5 .053 40 .080 2 .209 30 .489 7 -.033 52 -.474 12 .493 73
7 Florida 6-0 .265 6 .273 6 .641 79 .160 38 .320 17 -.673 3 -.579 6 .537 24
8 USC 6-1 .240 9 .205 12 .530 61 .351 16 .305 18 -.454 17 -.594 5 .504 54
9 Cincinnati 6-0 .234 4 .351 2 .763 98 1.064 1 .434 9 -.315 24 -.332 24 .512 41
10 Boise State 6-0 .229 10 .380 1 .562 68 .394 13 .175 38 -.629 5 -.464 13 .569 4
11 Oregon 6-1 .216 13 .246 8 .540 63 .235 28 .204 33 -.608 7 -.509 9 .527 30
12 Texas 7-0 .210 12 .338 3 .459 46 .213 29 .261 24 -.643 4 -.394 22 .580 3
Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
OE OE
Rk
Off
FEI
OFEI
Rk
DE DE
Rk
Def
FEI
DFEI
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
13 Clemson 4-3 .205 21 .116 28 .097 3 -.254 92 .159 42 -.408 18 -.527 8 .555 14
14 Oklahoma 3-3 .203 18 .195 14 .319 24 .171 32 .155 43 -.621 6 -.634 4 .494 72
15 Arizona 4-2 .194 11 .034 44 .269 19 .163 36 .210 29 .010 57 -.268 28 .502 61
16 LSU 6-1 .174 19 .169 18 .408 37 -.027 66 .028 60 -.465 16 -.398 21 .544 19
17 Penn State 6-1 .171 26 .264 7 .310 21 .337 17 .298 21 -.754 1 -.478 11 .508 47
18 Pittsburgh 6-1 .168 25 .208 11 .686 87 .476 11 .288 22 .050 63 -.012 59 .550 16
19 Ohio State 6-2 .167 16 .212 10 .359 29 .047 51 .055 52 -.570 9 -.529 7 .559 9
20 Notre Dame 5-2 .163 15 .127 27 .318 23 .734 3 .758 1 .072 66 -.088 45 .473 93
21 Florida State 2-4 .142 27 .029 46 .152 8 .324 18 .531 4 .579 114 .336 104 .556 12
22 Oregon State 3-3 .136 17 .036 43 .211 13 .324 19 .302 20 .400 106 .127 75 .528 28
23 Central Michigan 6-1 .133 28 .216 9 .703 89 .542 7 .205 30 -.311 25 -.306 27 .512 42
24 Texas Tech 4-3 .121 14 .184 15 .649 81 .587 5 .438 8 -.279 27 -.029 54 .500 63
25 Stanford 5-3 .118 29 .133 26 .554 67 .518 9 .550 3 .256 96 .358 106 .554 15

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 28 Oct 2009

42 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2009, 8:38pm by Pat (filler)

Comments

1
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 11:03am

Those of us who hate the BCS with the heat of a million suns are rooting, rooting, rooting for a 10-2, or, if God showers us with wholly undeserved benevolence, a 9-3 Notre Dame team being given a BCS bowl game, which results in a Irish loss by 30 points. I'm going to Mass right now!

4
by Tim Gerheim :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 12:30pm

I'd much rather see all of the games be blowouts, including a TCU win over an Iowa or Virginia Tech, because I think there are some serious wannabes at the top of the BCS conferences, coupled with blowouts by the Boise States and even BYUs of the world in their inevitable podunk bowls.

7
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 1:13pm

Oh, I'd enjoy that as well, but in terms of exposing a fraudulent system, having Notre Dame blown out in a BCS game, that they are allowed to compete in only because of what Notre Dame was decades ago, would be really great. I also still think that the BCS morons could manage to get themselves hung on a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit, if they are given enough rope.

9
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 4:13pm

having Notre Dame blown out in a BCS game, that they are allowed to compete in only because of what Notre Dame was decades ago

Notre Dame has to finish higher than the non-BCS teams in order to get in (8th, instead of 12th). If they get into the BCS, the only teams that can complain are the BCS conference teams, since Notre Dame's automatic berth does not exclude the non-BCS conference automatic berth. I would find it very difficult to imagine an antitrust lawsuit that says that the members of a monopoly are hurting themselves.

You're really complaining about the wrong thing with Notre Dame. You should be complaining that they get millions from the BCS every year, even if they're not in it.

As a final note, you're completely wrong about why Notre Dame has an automatic berth. Notre Dame has an automatic berth because they have a large fanbase, not because of their previous success. That large fanbase is only partially coupled to previous success - Notre Dame alumni don't stop becoming Notre Dame fans that easily.

I also still think that the BCS morons could manage to get themselves hung on a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit, if they are given enough rope.

Yeah, I doubt it. The BCS has members from all conferences, plus Notre Dame. The non-BCS conferences didn't get left out (and it should be noted that the autoberth conferences are dynamic and determined by performance, not fixed) There's no real way to claim that they're hurting anyone considering essentially everyone's involved.

11
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 5:23pm

Yes, yes, Pat I'm completely wrong in asserting that Notre Dame has a large fanbase based on success in decades past. Why, a small school in Indiana would certainly have such fanbase absent the legend of Rockne, Leahy, and Parseghian.

14
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 6:36pm

Why, a small school in Indiana would certainly have such fanbase absent the legend of Rockne, Leahy, and Parseghian.

Yes, that small school with a $7 billion dollar endowment. It's positively miniscule! Why, I have no idea why a school that's over 150 years old, one of the top 50 schools in the country, and associated with one of the largest religions in the country might be well known.

17
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 7:28pm

Why, yes, Pat, being a well known academic institution with a large endowment is synonymous with a national football fan base, for millions of people (many of whom don't give two bits about academics) who never set foot within 50 miles of the place. I'm completely wrong! Harvard's t.v. ratings are through the roof!

19
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 8:26pm

Harvard's t.v. ratings are through the roof!

Yes, it makes perfect sense to compare Notre Dame, which is an active member of Division IA, with the Ivy League schools, who actively spurn playing additional football games to the point where they actually decline an automatic invitation to the FCS tournament because it's too many games.

If the Ivy League schools had actually wanted to continue competing in football, I really have no doubt they'd have similar size fanbases. But they've been uninterested in football for 60+ years.

21
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 8:45pm

Yeah, I thought you'd reply that way. O.K., golly, Stanford has an endowment of 17 billion, a top 10 academic ranking by many accounts, and a not too shabby football tradition, still playing in the Pac-10. Somehow, it doesn't have a similar sized fan base to Notre Dame, that you have no doubt would exist for Ivy League Schools, had they stayed interested in football.

24
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 9:18pm

1) Stanford's a member of the PAC-10. This isn't exactly a shabby fanbase.

2) To quote myself: "associated with one of the largest religions in the country." Notre Dame gets prayed for at masses (yes, seriously) a long, long way away from Indiana.

I should probably have stressed that more when you mentioned Harvard. It's really all about the size of the available fan pool, which, for Notre Dame, is very big.

33
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 10/30/2009 - 10:07am

Yes, Pat, Stanford is in the Pac-10. That's my point, that having a huge endowment (twice as big as Notre Dame's), a great academic reputation (most would consider Stanford's to be better than Notre Dame's) and playing big time football does not mean one has a national fan base. Having the history of the Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, etc., does.

Boston College is a Catholic school, has an endowment of nearly 2 billion, a good academic reputation, is older than Notre Dame, and plays big time football. No bowl committee pines to get Boston College. It really is kind of odd to claim that Notre Dame's national fan base is not based on the triumphs of the past, especially Rockne's, who, along with being a great coach, was a master of promotion and maerketing. Leahy solidified what Rockne put in place, and then the school has had enough periodic periods of extreme success to keep their position. I have no problem with Notre Dame pursuing it's self interest. I just don't like seeing some other players deprived of as much chance to compete in the most visible games because of what Knut Rockne accomplished.

36
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/30/2009 - 4:31pm

and playing big time football does not mean one has a national fan base.

I... don't get your logic. Stanford has a national fan base, through the PAC-10. Stanford's huge endowment, great academic reputation, and commitment to football is what allowed them to be one of the founding members of what became the PAC-10.

Boston College is a Catholic school,

Not like Notre Dame is, but anyway, see Stanford. BC's an ACC school (and they were a founding Big East member). They're in a conference that has an autoberth for their champion.

I guess I'm a bit confused here. Do you think ND is being treated better than BCS conference schools? I don't. I think they're being treated about on par. ND has to be ranked 8th to gain an autoberth, whereas BCS teams only have to win their conference. Money wise, they earn about the same as they would if they were in a smaller BCS conference. They'd earn more if they were getting perennial BCS bids, but they're averaging about one appearance every 6 years, so it's about the same.

Yes, Notre Dame's uniquely singled out in the BCS, but they're a unique school - there are only 3 independents, after all, and they're the only one that could easily join a major conference.

39
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/31/2009 - 1:24am

No, Pat, Stanford's national fan base in no way compares with Notre Dame's, and Stanford will never get a BCS at large berth with a 14 rating, and Notre Dame quite conceivably could.

40
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/02/2009 - 8:18pm

Er? Whether or not a team gets an at-large berth is completely immaterial. Notre Dame has no built-in BCS advantages for an at-large berth. The question I thought was being asked was whether or not Notre Dame was being treated preferentially by the BCS due to its history. My point is that it isn't: other schools like Notre Dame are in BCS conferences, and that's what Notre Dame is being treated like.

13
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 5:43pm

Also, it is possible for a non-BCS conference champ to be undefeated, ranked higher than Notre Dame, and be left out of the BCS payday, due to the non-BCS conferences only being alotted one automatic berth, while Notre Dame is ranked 14th. I just single out Notre Dame because they have the sort of fanbase that makes it possible.

15
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 6:46pm

Also, it is possible for a non-BCS conference champ to be undefeated, ranked higher than Notre Dame, and be left out of the BCS payday, due to the non-BCS conferences only being alotted one automatic berth

It's possible for a BCS team to be undefeated, ranked higher than Notre Dame, and be left out of the BCS as well. You didn't have to qualify it with 'non-BCS.'

The only teams guaranteed berths are Notre Dame if they rank high, the BCS conference champions, and one non-BCS conference champ if they rank high enough. The only teams who are screwed here are really Army and Navy.

I don't see how the non-BCS teams are hurt by this arrangement. They're kept out so long as their conference is weak. Once it becomes strong, they can gain an autoberth, too, and if a BCS conference becomes weak, it can lose an autoberth.

I just single out Notre Dame because they have the sort of fanbase that makes it possible.

The only thing annoying about the Notre Dame arrangement is that it isn't contingent upon performance over a period of time like the autoberth allotments are.

18
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 7:32pm

Yes, Pat, and singling out the non-BCS conferences as only being eligible for one autoberth, whereas the BCS conferences can have more than one autoberth, helps reinforce the status quo.

22
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 9:00pm

The non-BCS conferences are eligible for more than one autoberth. As many as 3 non-BCS teams could earn an automatic bid: if two finish #1/#2 and the third is in the top 12 (or 16).

This is the same number as a BCS conference is eligible for. There's a pseudo-autoberth in that if they finish #3 and they're not the champion of their conference and they champion isn't #1/#2, they get in, but that's not really an automatic berth, as all the slots could be filled by a #1/#2 non-BCS team pairing, a non-BCS autoberth, the conference champions, and Notre Dame.

Note, also, that there's absolutely no restriction on the number of non-BCS teams selected as an at-large team.

helps reinforce the status quo.

Nope. The autoberths are determined by the average highest ranking (before bowl selection) from a given conference. The BCS conferences have continuously had the 6 highest rankings. The selection procedure does nothing to enforce the current situation. It's the conferences' solid play that does that.

(I'll give you that the additional money helps, but that's a bit silly. Yes, success engenders success, but that's always true in a league without revenue sharing. To fix that you'll have to revamp the economics of all of college athletics, not just the BCS.)

23
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 9:12pm

From the BCS website:

No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. (Note: a second team may be eligible for at-large eligibility as noted below.) If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be considered for at-large selection if it meets the criteria.

25
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 9:29pm

Yes, but "one such team" is a non-BCS champion ranked in the top 12/16. #1/#2 automatically get in, and I don't think their existence precludes a third. In any case, there are definitely two autoberths for non-BCS conferences - #1 and #2.

26
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 1:13am

Yes, and there are more possible autoberths for BSC schools.

27
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 3:20am

More possible ways in, but not more possible total in any one year. But the #3/#4 autoberths are pretty silly. A team ranked that high from one of the BCS conferences would get an at large anyway, and only the non-championship conferences could really conceivably end up with a #3/#4 team not being the champion with the champion not being #1/#2.

I still don't get your vitriol for the BCS and the various automatic berths. It seems like a pretty fair way to deal with the ridiculous parity imbalance and poor connectivity in college football. In fact, it's extremely reminiscent of the way a lot of soccer leagues work: relegation, just done on a conference scale rather than a team scale (which again makes sense given the poor connectivity).

I mean, hating it because it's not a playoff I can understand (not agree with, but understand). But setting the automatic berths based on the 3-year average of performance of a conference seems incredibly fair.

28
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 11:34am

Part of it is my dislike for some aspects of college football itself, which I think the BCS system makes even worse. Football is a sport with a significantly higher degree of physical danger to the competitors, compared to other sports. It is also a business which provides huge amounts of money to coaches, athletic directors, even college presidents to some degree, to say nothing of broadcasters, sportswriters, etc..

In contrast, the competitors who the public and advertisers are paying for have their compensation fixed at a relatively low level, and are asked to devote a huge amount of time to playing football, which, for many, directly inhibits their ability to get the most out of what compensation they are receiving, especially if you account for the extremely small chance that any college football player will stick in the NFL. I am often extremely uneasy about watching guys make the extreme sacrifice of playing football at that level, while receiving compensation that is fixed at a low level, while being coached, managed, or described by guys who are making real cash in the present.

These players are not uniformly dumb, and are not uniformly without the ability to get an education without playing football, and I'm sure many are aware of the trade-offs and odds involved. They do it because they love the chance to compete at a high level. Thus it really irritates me that, say, Jim Delaney, sees fit to utilize some offensive lineman at some non BCS school to drive revenues, but won't see fit to give him an equal opportunity to compete, when the opportunity to compete is why the offensive lineman is making the sacrifice he is. I want that guy, who is helping, via significant sacrifice, to make the Jim Delaneys of the world very comfortable, to know that if he and his teammates go out and flat out whip everybody in front of them, that somebody's opinion won't mean that they will be denied the opportunity to compete for the national championship, so as to allow somebody else, who didn't come close to whipping everybody in front of them, can compete for a national championship, because (in the extreme example of a Notre Dame at-large bid) of the outcome of some games that took place decades ago.

Finally, from a capitalist's perspective, I greatly suspect that the guys who run the BCS are leaving a very large sum of moeny on the table. Make Dick Ebersol Czar of college football, and I think it likely that the revenues would relatively soon dwarf what is now being received.

29
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 3:43pm

First note: ADs don't get paid a lot. There isn't one that earns over a million in all of the public Division 1A schools, and that's very low for a guy who manages a $100M/year portion of a school.

In contrast, the competitors who the public and advertisers are paying for have their compensation fixed at a relatively low level

I think you're underestimating a lot what the compensation the players receive is. They don't just get the scholarship - they get access to the facilities, too, and for the top end schools, the facilities are the biggest cost that the program has. Having access to NFL-quality training facilities 24-7 for 4 years would be very expensive - take a look at the cost for private Combine training, for instance. Even the coaches are compensation, for that matter.

It's also worth noting that the biggest beneficiaries of football at most major schools isn't the AD, or even the coaches. It's students of other sports.

Final quick note: I think you're also overestimating the amount of money that most Division IA schools make. Outside of the major schools - i.e., the 50K+ students, massive alumni base, etc. - they're really working on shoestring budgets. And the major, major difference between the spending at, say, a place like Ohio State or Penn State compared to a tiny school isn't actually salaries - it's facilities cost. The salaries might be something like 3-4 times higher, but the facilities cost is usually like 20 times higher.

The only reason I'm stressing this is because from your tone, you're kindof suggesting that there's this major cash cow, and the AD/coaches are happily rolling in all of the money they make off of the students. It's true the students don't get paid, and the scholarships only net to about $30K a year or so at most, but a lot of that cash cow money is going to other students, and the majority of it is going to facilities that the students use.

It also raises the interesting question if you offered the players this deal, would they take it: switch the current head coach with one of much less quality, but with a salary 1/10 as much, and give the difference to the students evenly. That'd result in maybe $15-30K/year per player.

I seriously doubt they'd take that deal, honestly.

I am often extremely uneasy about watching guys make the extreme sacrifice of playing football at that level

This is actually interesting: college football is far safer now than the beginning of the century, when it was fatal to over a hundred people a year (when the population was far smaller!). And they didn't even have the concept of athletic scholarships, then - they're just doing it because it's fun.

I guess it makes sense that you're uneasy about watching it for enjoyment - there's the weird idea in society that combat-type sports are for 'declining' societies (c.f. Roman gladatorial combat) - but given that people played football even when no one was watching on TV, and there wasn't a huge NFL payday, and it was a lot more dangerous, I think it's safe to say that it's not the case of someone putting themselves at risk for your enjoyment, but someone putting themselves at risk for their enjoyment (which I believe is called 'having fun').

31
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 6:16pm

Sorry, Pat, I responded below.

8
by jayinalaska :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 3:53pm

I think the only possible way for Notre Dame to become BCS bowl eligible is to win out, and even if they do, I'm not sure they'd end up ranked high enough. ND is currently 23 in the BCS standings. They have to finish in the top 8 to be BCS bowl eligible. I'm certain this won't happen if they lose again. Winning out, given the way ND's defense plays, is not even close to a sure thing. I feel pretty comfortable about the remaining home games, but I could see ND easily losing either the game at Pittsburgh or the the game at Stanford (or both).

So, in addition to going to Mass, you probably need to put some serious money down for indulgences, too.

As a Notre Dame fan, I want them to do well, but I've been praying all year that they stumble enough to not become BCS bowl eligible because I'm tired of them getting exposed and embarrassed in games they don't belong in. Unlike most of ND's fans, I want the Irish to earn their bowl appearances, not be granted them because they were one of the best programs for a 50 year period that ended 20 years ago.

12
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 5:37pm

Well, it is theroretically possible to have a year in which there are not 10 automatic qualifiers, and Notre Dame is selected as an at large team, while being, I believe, in the top 14 of the BCS rankings. Combine that with the rule that says only one non-BCS conference champ can receive an automatic bid, in a year, like this one may be, where there are two undefeated non-BCS conference champs. Throw in a Notre Dame blowout, while an undefeated non-BCS team crushes their non-BCS bowl opponent, and that would make me very happy.

16
by jayinalaska :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 6:50pm

Ah, thanks for the clarification. You're right about the scenario if there are not 10 automatic qualifiers. A bowl eligible team with 9 wins and ranked in the top 14 can be chosen for an at large berth in that case. I knew I should have read to the end of the eligibility criteria.

I'll concede it would be possible for a 3 loss ND team to be ranked 14th. I consider it unlikely, though. And, as much as I would like to see the BCS fail, I can't bring myself to want another ND blowout being part of the process.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 8:27pm

Well, I should also clarify that I really don't hate Notre Dame, and have at times rooted hard for them; the penalty on Ismail's punt return is among my most bitter college football memories. As I have come to despise the BCS system, however, Notre Dame's television marketability and fan base have become the avenue by which I can see the BCS system utterly exposed as an obnoxious cartel. A 14th ranked Notre Dame with multiple losses, and two undefeated non-BCS schools would do nicely.

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by CowWithBeef :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 11:05am

The ACC is to FEI as the Eagles are to DVOA.

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by citizen jason (not verified) :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 11:55am

As a Pac-10 watcher, I have to say it might be a good idea to just eliminate Washington State from any sort of ratings whatsoever. I wouldn't be surprised if they skew thing somewhat, possibly? I just thought of it while noticing their defensive "improvement" in the second half. I think that's almost 100% attributable to the other team being so far ahead they stop trying. Cal was up 28-0 in the first quarter. Oregon was up 45-0 at the half, and essentailly ran up the middle for the entire rest of the game. (Killing their offensive numbers but boosting WSU's, I think.)

Anyway, I have no idea how big of an impact this would make, but it's a thought.

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by NY expat :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 12:55pm

None of the teams in the "biggest DFEI improvement" table is doing particularly well. I would be leery of throwing away the data from the whole game, but maybe extending what qualifies as garbage time might help. As a simpler adjustment, maybe establishing a threshold for which teams to display in the table, like only showing those with a winning record, might make the table more valuable.

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by ChrisH :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 1:09pm

Given that WSU is #113 in FEI overall, and Eastern Michigan is #112, I imagine most of the improvements there are due to the other teams pulling their starters at halftime and not running the score up. I've yet to suffer through WSU playing, as Oregon State hasn't gotten their shot yet, but I'm pretty sure they're as horrible as any BCS conference team has ever been.

10
by Kal :: Wed, 10/28/2009 - 4:35pm

It's somewhat surprising how Oregon's second half offensive rating is so much higher than its first. I realize that this has been the case for the last two games (UCLA & Washington) and kinda for Boise State, but Cal, WSU, Purdue and Utah all had better scoring in the first half than the second. And against Cal and WSU, the Ducks basically stopped playing heavy offense in the second half.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 6:13pm

Pat, if your definition of "a lot" starts at 1 million, then, no, ADs don't make a lot. They average about 300k a year, according to Bloomberg. I would contend that is a lot, compared to 30 grand worth of tution, fees, room, board, and use of facilities. If we are going to define "a lot" by the budget they manage, then let's define what the revenue-generators/labor receive by the same standard. For some reason, the revenue generators for the Colts are doing pretty well, compared with Bill Polian, while the revenue generators at Alabama are not, compared to Mal Moore's 425k/year. I don't think football players have any responsibility to generate revenues for the swimming team, in return for a scholorship, while Nick Saban becomes an exceedingly wealthy man.

I have no idea of what players would choose, given bargaining power. One of the reasons I dislike cartels which fix the cost of unorganized labor at low levels, while those who run the cartel make a lot of money, is because we never get to observe what people really prefer.

Given that I already wrote that these guys aren't uniformly dumb, and go forth because of their love of competition, you don't need to tell me that they are doing it because they are having fun. Nor does the fact that football used to kill a lot of people mean that current football players aren't taking significant health risks, relative to other sports, while making a non-trivial number of people, who aren't exposed to such risks, significant sums of money in excess of what the risk takers receive. I'm just saying that if some guy at a non-BCS school is good enough to make Mal Moore or Jim Delaney some dough, he's good enough to be allowed to maiximize his fun, by not having any procedural impediment from playing in the most visible games, due to perceptions of a school's marketability. The fact that a well designed playoff system, run by television-savvy people, would mean more total revenues to divvy up, is just the icing on the cake.

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by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 8:14pm

For some reason, the revenue generators for the Colts are doing pretty well, compared with Bill Polian, while the revenue generators at Alabama are not, compared to Mal Moore's 425k/year.

Really? Because the Colts have a revenue that's roughly 10 times that of Alabama's athletic department. The Colts players earn about $100M. Alabama's players earn about $10M, more or less. Factors of two here or there, sure, I'm not being exact. But the talent pool for college football is much larger than that for the NFL, even taking into account the number of teams, so I'm not sure there's as big a difference as you're claiming.

Now, part of your disagreement is this:

I don't think football players have any responsibility to generate revenues for the swimming team

College football is so lucrative because it's able to tap off of the huge alumni base - as a concept, Ohio State includes a lot more people as a whole than the Columbus metropolitan area. It's easy to say "okay, they're paying to go to a football game, therefore the football players are generating that revenue" but I don't think it's that simple. Fans of a college football team tend to be fans of other sports of that college, which means they're not really responding to what the football players generate, but what all the athletes generate.

I'm just saying that if some guy at a non-BCS school is good enough to make Mal Moore or Jim Delaney some dough

Most non-BCS players actually cost their school money. Other than a handful of places, most smaller schools need a lot of funding from the university as a whole to stay afloat.

One of the reasons I dislike cartels which fix the cost of unorganized labor at low levels,

I don't know how a transient workforce like that could possibly organize. It's akin to the problems with grad students organizing - it was essentially impossible until they grouped with fixed-term employees who got constantly recurring employment offers. It's an apprenticeship. Of course the direct compensation is low, but the indirect compensation is extremely high.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 10/30/2009 - 10:29am

Pat, that's my point. Mal Moore (not to mention Saban) receives a much larger percentage of Alabama's football revenues, compared to Alabama's players, than Polian does, compared to the Colts' players.

Let me know when a network pays a huge amount of money to televise a Ohio State swim meet, or gate receipts exceed $100,000, to say nothing of $1,000,000, at a Ohio State swim meet.

I know that even at some small schools that average less than 30,000 in attendence, the football program is expected to be self sustaining. When those players show up to play two road games at Alabama, they are putting money into Nick Saban's pocket.

Finally, the fact that something is hard to do is not proof that the lack of that something is the preferred or correct state of affairs. Your opinion about what constitutes extremely high indirect compensation is no better than mine, which means it is meaningless. The beauty of an auction not controlled by a cartel is that people get to register their opinions in the most meaningful way.

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by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/30/2009 - 4:06pm

Pat, that's my point. Mal Moore (not to mention Saban) receives a much larger percentage of Alabama's football revenues, compared to Alabama's players, than Polian does, compared to the Colts' players.

Uh, are you sure? I have no idea how much Polian makes. As far as I know the Colts haven't released that information at all. I wouldn't be surprised if he earns a few million/year.

But in any case, Moore isn't Polian's equivalent. He's Polian and Irsay combined. I doubt Polian needs to worry about raising money to get a new stadium, for instance.

Let me know when a network pays a huge amount of money to televise a Ohio State swim meet, or gate receipts exceed $100,000, to say nothing of $1,000,000, at a Ohio State swim meet.

This is exactly what I said you can't do: I don't think you can separate the sports that easily. Ohio State's football program is dependent on Ohio State's reputation, which means the other athletic teams contribute indirectly. It's like saying "well, the Cowboys bring in so much more money than the Lions, so they should get the majority of the TV money." You can't separate it easily, because the contract was negotiated by the NFL and thus it relied on the reputation of the NFL as a whole.

I know that even at some small schools that average less than 30,000 in attendence, the football program is expected to be self sustaining

Look at the NCAA financial reports database. Outside of the major schools, virtually all of the others require direct or indirect support in order to sustain the program.

In some cases it's a student fee. That's not a self-sustaining program - that's one that's subsidized by the student body (and not by choice).

Examples (all 2004-2005):
Central Michigan: $1.3M football revenues, $3.5M expenses
SDSU: $5.5M football revenues, $5.6M expenses
University at Buffalo: $1M football revenues, $3.5M expenses

The beauty of an auction not controlled by a cartel is that people get to register their opinions in the most meaningful way.

Assuming the market in question even approximates a free market, which this doesn't even come close to. Like I said, it's the same problem that graduate students face. Universities probably make a ridiculous amount more from graduate students if you only take into account their direct compensation than from football players, considering there are a lot more grad students than football players.

I mean, a great question is this: if this is such a hugely unfair thing, why has there only been token media coverage of it? NCAA players become NFL players, who are very well paid and very quickly become well-connected. If it's unfair, why aren't they complaining about it?

The answer, of course, is obvious - because the system worked out well for them. And that's kindof the point - the best players receive a huge indirect benefit, to the point where they don't ever really complain about any 'unfair' college system. Which means the only ones that might be getting screwed are the lesser talents - the replaceable players. In other words, I don't think the market will help the majority of players - it'll probably hurt them. If you really want to help college football players, you really want to just modify the NCAA itself, probably through legislation.

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by Still Alive (not verified) :: Fri, 10/30/2009 - 4:41pm

I just dont see any value in having the schools associated with athletics at all. It does horrible things to the culture on campus and generally distracts attention away from what is the main purpose of the place.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/31/2009 - 12:35am

Uh, yes, Pat, I am, because without doing a minute of research, I know that Polian isn't receiving 10 times the compensation of Peyton Manning. I was unaware that Mal Moore had a billion or so dollars of his wealth tied up at Alabama, which would be required for him to be the akin to Irsay.

I am aware of what you said I can't do. I ignored what you said because an assertion made by you does not constitute evidence.

Give me a precise definition of "major schools" if I am to responf to that point.

I was unawre that we were talking about the tiny percentage of players who make it to the NFL. If you think college football could operate with only those players, meaning the rest are only generating revenues equal to their compensation, or even less revenues than their compensation, I disagree.

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by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/02/2009 - 8:27pm

Uh, yes, Pat, I am, because without doing a minute of research, I know that Polian isn't receiving 10 times the compensation of Peyton Manning.

He doesn't need to. He needs to make less than $4M - ten times what Moore does. Why are you comparing his compensation to Peyton Manning? How the Colts distribute their total player salary to their players is completely immaterial. The talent pools are totally different, the number of players is totally different, and the length of time players stick around is totally different. Peyton Manning's been in Indianapolis for over 10 years, over twice the maximum number of playing years for a college player.

The only fair comparison is total revenue relative to total revenue distributed to athletes, because those two things are equal.

which would be required for him to be the akin to Irsay.

Uh, no? We're talking about responsibilities, not equity, which is immaterial. Moore's responsibilities are larger than Polian's, therefore he receives more compensation relative to the total revenue of the athletic division.

I am aware of what you said I can't do. I ignored what you said because an assertion made by you does not constitute evidence.

Generally, when one person makes an assertion that's backed up by a logical argument,if you want to ignore it you have to refute the argument. That's kinda the way it works.

If you think college football could operate with only those players,

Plus replacement level players, who have no bargaining ability. Yes, I do think that's very true.

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by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/02/2009 - 8:38pm

A "major school" is a BCS conference team. Only a handful of non-BCS teams make money, and I don't think any of them make anything other than token amounts. A handful of BCS teams lose money, too, so it's not like they're rolling in the cash while the non-BCS conferences wallow in poverty.