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» Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Five different teams from last year's DVOA top eight rank in the bottom half of the league through four weeks of 2014. What can we learn from other teams with similar starts in the past?

29 Sep 2010

FEI: Recalibrating Expectations

by Brian Fremeau

The fourth weekend of the college football season featured only one truly stunning upset, UCLA's 34-12 toppling of Texas in Austin. Most of the other preseason hype machines flexed their muscles and dominated in impressive fashion.

A few weeks ago, I proposed that the 2010 script might be borrowing its first act from 2007, a year in which weekly upsets shook up the polls and the BCS title game invitations changed hands regularly. We may still be on track for a similar finale -- the poll carnage in 2007 kicked into gear in part due to a shocking upset of then-Big 12 South front runner Oklahoma at about the same point in the season. Our numbers don't forecast smooth sailing for the power conference contenders. But that doesn't mean we anticipate a completely unpredictable season. Individual game outcomes may surprise us, but with each passing week and the game data we collect, the big picture futures of most teams are already coming into focus.

One of the new features we added to this year's Football Outsiders Almanac was a set of tables detailing the distribution of projected wins for every team. Those numbers were based on F/+ projected data, the combination of FEI and Bill Connelly's S&P+ numbers. I ran a similar process with FEI data alone, projecting win likelihoods for each team in each scheduled game, and combining these data points to project season win distributions.

If you've been paying close attention, you may have taken note of the weekly changes in the FEI tables provided here. I have included two columns each week that summarize the game-by-game projected win expectation data as "Mean Wins." Mean Wins are the average number of wins against FBS competition each team is expected to earn based on its current FEI rating and the current ratings of its opponents. The first column (FBS MW) represents a team's projected average wins in its entire schedule, the second column (FBS RMW) represents a team's projected average wins for its remaining games.

The difference between the two indicates how many wins a team should have earned to date. For instance, Alabama has a total Mean Wins projection of 9.0 and a remaining Mean Wins projection of 5.4. Alabama should have 3.6 wins on the year by this measure. With their fourth victory of the season on Saturday, the Crimson Tide have earned 0.4 more wins than expected to date. Of course, teams cannot earn fractions of a victory, so there will always be a distribution of teams above and below their Mean Win projection. Currently, 74.2 percent of all teams fall within 0.5 games of their total Mean Wins.

The extremes are worth a closer look. Toledo has earned 2.1 more wins than expected to date, most in the country. Middle Tennessee ranks last, having earned 1.2 fewer wins than expected. It's important to note that the projected FEI data is still a factor, and it might be a very influential component for these outliers. By season's end, however, the extremes will more accurately be attributed to luck -- an inordinate number of close games in the win or loss column will have a big impact on the difference between a team's actual and mean wins.

Though the projected FEI data is still included, it hasn't held back some teams from ascending or descending rapidly in the ratings. And the mean wins and projected win distributions for some teams have changed dramatically over the last few weeks. Nevada, Stanford, and North Carolina State rank much higher at this point in the year than initially projected. They have each produced dominating victories over opponents they were projected to struggle against, and the combination of their FEI rating changes and those of their future opponents has completely changed the outlook on the season for these teams.

Nevada Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason - - 2 5 14 25 26 18 8 2 - - -
Week 1 - - 1 3 12 22 27 21 10 3 1 - -
Week 2 - 1 7 20 29 25 13 4 1 - - - -
Week 3 3 18 33 29 13 3 1 - - - - - -
Week 4 11 39 35 12 2 - - - - - - - -
Stanford Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason - - 1 4 12 21 26 21 11 3 1 - -
Week 1 - - 1 5 13 22 26 20 10 3 - - -
Week 2 - 1 5 15 25 27 18 8 1 - - - -
Week 3 1 7 21 30 25 12 4 - - - - - -
Week 4 5 23 34 25 10 3 - - - - - - -
North Carolina State Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason - - - 1 3 10 20 26 23 13 3 1 -
Week 1 - - - 1 4 11 21 26 22 12 3 - -
Week 2 - - - 2 8 17 26 25 15 5 2 - -
Week 3 - - 1 6 17 27 27 16 5 1 - - -
Week 4 - 5 17 29 28 16 5 - - - - - -

These tables are based solely on remaining game win expectations. Nevada (+0.7), Stanford (+0.6), and North Carolina State (+1.1) have all earned more victories to date than expected, but that does not mean they are expected to regress and underperform expectations down the stretch. On the other side of the ledger, the season win distributions for BYU, Notre Dame, and Georgia have dropped significantly in the last few weeks.

BYU Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason 1 7 22 32 25 11 2 - - - - - -
Week 1 1 7 23 34 24 9 2 - - - - - -
Week 2 - 1 6 22 35 26 9 1 - - - - -
Week 3 - - 1 6 25 37 23 7 1 - - - -
Week 4 - - - - 3 24 37 25 9 2 - - -
Notre Dame Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason 1 6 18 27 26 15 6 1 - - - - -
Week 1 1 6 19 29 25 14 5 1 - - - - -
Week 2 - 1 6 21 30 25 12 4 1 - - - -
Week 3 - - 1 9 24 32 23 9 2 - - - -
Week 4 - - - - 3 14 29 31 17 5 1 - -
Georgia Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason 1 8 22 29 23 12 4 1 - - - - -
Week 1 1 11 25 29 21 9 3 1 - - - - -
Week 2 - 1 7 21 30 24 12 4 1 - - - -
Week 3 - - - 4 16 29 29 16 5 1 - - -
Week 4 - - - - 1 6 20 33 28 11 1 - -

These tables help illustrate the complexity of the weekly changes in FEI. As the value of projected data diminishes and more game results are included, the subtle and dramatic rating changes of a team and its set of opponents have a profound effect on the team's likelihood of victory in those games. UCLA owns the most dramatic win distribution shake-up this year. After dropping games against Kansas State and Stanford, the Bruins have recovered their early season projection and then some, knocking off Houston and Texas in the last two weeks.

UCLA Season Win Expectation
Week 12-0 11-1 10-2 9-3 8-4 7-5 6-6 5-7 4-8 3-9 2-10 1-11 0-12
Preseason - - - 2 5 13 22 26 19 10 3 - -
Week 1 - - - - 1 4 12 23 28 21 9 2 -
Week 2 - - - - - - 1 7 20 31 28 12 1
Week 3 - - - - - 1 7 20 32 28 11 1 -
Week 4 - - - 1 4 15 29 31 17 3 - - -

Most teams will not experience such dramatic changes in their win distribution projections over the course of the season, but will remain relatively stable from week to week. Will Nevada, Stanford and NC State fall back to earth? Will BYU, Notre Dame or Georgia recover? I'll revisit these tables for interesting case studies in future FEI columns.

Three and Out

As introduced last week, I'm now featuring "Three and Out" as a regular series in the FEI column. This section will feature a set of three offensive and defensive top-10 data tables sliced from the raw possession efficiency data I collect each week. None of these splits are explicit factors used in FEI, but they may provide a unique perspective on the drive success rates in college football.

At this point, I plan to feature a new set of tables each week. Last week's set included three-and-outs, available yards, and explosive drives. This week, we'll look at reaching the red zone, methodical drives, and efficiency late in close games.

The following tables include only non-garbage drives from FBS games.

Reaching the Red Zone
Offensive Leaders Defensive Leaders
Team RZ
Poss
Off
Poss
Pct. Team RZ
Poss
Def
Poss
Pct.
Indiana 13 16 .813 Stanford 2 26 .077
Navy 14 19 .737 Ohio State 6 41 .146
Stanford 16 23 .696 Boston College 4 21 .190
Nevada 18 26 .692 Rutgers 5 26 .192
Alabama 22 34 .647 Penn State 6 30 .200
Ohio State 27 42 .643 Arizona 7 34 .206
Boise State 18 30 .600 Texas 10 48 .208
TCU 16 28 .571 Central Florida 8 37 .216
Oklahoma State 21 37 .568 LSU 10 46 .217
Nebraska 16 29 .552 North Carolina State 8 36 .222

Much is made about team success in the red zone. Field goals and touchdowns per possession inside the opponent's 20-yard line are interesting. But how often does each team reach the red zone, and how often do they prevent the opponent from reaching it? The data here includes any possession that concluded at or inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Touchdowns, field goals, missed field goals, turnovers, and non-kneel down end of half drives are included.

Florida led the nation in reaching the red zone last season (.590). Defensively, TCU led the nation in preventing opponents from reaching the red zone (.147).

Methodical Drives (10+ Plays)
Offensive Leaders Defensive Leaders
Team 10+ Play
Poss
Off
Poss
Pct. Team 10+ Play
Poss
Def
Poss
Pct.
Indiana 6 16 .375 TCU 0 31 .000
Iowa State 10 27 .370 Western Michigan 0 27 .000
Stanford 7 23 .304 Florida International 1 46 .022
Boise State 9 30 .300 Oregon 1 42 .024
Minnesota 9 31 .290 Colorado 1 32 .031
Air Force 8 28 .286 Texas A&M 1 31 .032
Penn State 8 30 .267 Arizona State 1 25 .040
Navy 5 19 .263 Florida 2 45 .044
Michigan 8 32 .250 San Diego State 2 39 .051
Nevada 6 26 .231 West Virginia 2 36 .056

Last week we looked at explosive drives, possessions that averaged at least 10 yards per play, regardless of result. These tables include any and all drives that included at least 10 or more plays from scrimmage in the possession.

Air Force led the nation in 2009 in percentage of possessions with 10 or more plays (.252). Boise State ranked first defensively (.069).

Second Half Scoring Efficiency in One-Possession Games
Offensive Leaders Defensive Leaders
Team Poss Points Pts/Poss Team Poss Points Pts/Poss
Kansas State 9 51 5.7 BYU 8 0 0.0
Army 11 35 3.2 Mississippi State 6 0 0.0
Missouri 9 27 3.0 Penn State 6 0 0.0
Auburn 14 42 3.0 Oregon 4 0 0.0
Virginia Tech 11 31 2.8 Virginia 3 0 0.0
West Virginia 9 25 2.8 Alabama 3 0 0.0
Air Force 10 27 2.7 Louisville 3 0 0.0
Texas A&M 8 21 2.6 Ball State 3 0 0.0
Florida International 11 28 2.5 Texas 3 0 0.0
Central Florida 8 20 2.5 Pittsburgh 2 0 0.0

Per the suggestion of 'Portmanteur,' these tables provide the scoring rate (points per possession) of each team for "late and close" possessions. The definition here is the same one used for the NFL splits in FO's Premium DVOA data. Only drives in the second half are included, and only when the score margin in the game was eight or fewer at the start of the drive. The team may have been trailing, tied, or in the lead. (Note: Four other defenses have also given up zero scores in second half close game possessions, against only one opponent drive: Louisiana Monroe, Florida State, Tulane, and Kent State).

Idaho ranked first offensively in 2009 in "late and close" scoring (4.0 points per possession). UCLA ranked first defensively (0.7).

If you have a suggestion for a future Three and Out featured table, please add a comment, or drop me a note on Twitter or via e-mail. The most popular tables will be updated and republished in future weeks.

FEI Week 4 Top 25

The principles of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) can be found here. FEI rewards playing well against good teams, win or lose, and punishes losing to poor teams more harshly than it rewards defeating poor teams. FEI 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. FEI represents a team's efficiency value over average. Strength of Schedule (SOS) is calculated as the likelihood that an "elite team" (two standard deviations above average) would win every game on the given team's schedule to date. SOS listed here includes future games scheduled.

Mean Wins (FBS MW) represent the average total games a team with the given FEI rating should expect to win against its complete schedule of FBS opponents. Remaining Mean Wins (FBS RMW) represent the average expected team wins for games scheduled but not yet played.

Only games between FBS teams are considered in the FEI calculations. Since limited data is available in the early part of the season, preseason projections are factored into the current ratings. The weight given to projected data will be reduced each week until Week 7, when it will be eliminated entirely. Offensive and defensive FEI ratings will also debut in Week 7. The FEI ratings published here are a function of the results of games played through September 25.

FEI ratings for all 120 FBS teams are listed in the stats page section of FootballOutsiders.com. Click here for current ratings; the pull-down menu in the stats section directs you to 2007 through 2009 ratings.

Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
1 Alabama 4-0 .265 1 .406 4 .140 9 9.0 5.4
2 Florida 4-0 .243 2 .221 16 .182 27 8.9 5.2
3 Oregon 3-0 .230 3 .406 5 .234 39 9.0 6.4
4 Ohio State 4-0 .210 4 .414 3 .358 61 10.2 6.6
5 Boise State 3-0 .206 5 .261 13 .481 90 10.9 8.5
6 Virginia Tech 2-1 .203 7 .148 26 .180 25 8.3 6.2
7 Stanford 3-0 .198 18 .508 1 .212 35 8.2 5.8
8 LSU 4-0 .193 8 .191 18 .103 3 7.5 4.4
9 USC 4-0 .193 10 .245 15 .203 31 10.0 6.4
10 Auburn 4-0 .179 12 .099 31 .143 13 7.6 4.6
11 Miami 1-1 .178 19 .025 43 .142 11 7.3 6.3
12 Oklahoma 4-0 .177 13 .166 21 .327 53 9.5 6.1
Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
13 South Carolina 2-1 .161 9 .176 20 .110 4 7.0 4.8
14 Texas 3-1 .153 6 .075 35 .330 54 9.4 6.1
15 TCU 3-0 .151 14 .270 12 .656 112 9.8 7.3
16 Nebraska 3-0 .148 25 .384 7 .485 91 8.6 5.8
17 Iowa 2-1 .148 17 .308 9 .324 51 8.0 5.5
18 Clemson 1-1 .146 16 .124 28 .174 22 6.8 5.5
19 Arkansas 2-1 .144 20 .061 37 .160 20 7.0 5.0
20 North Carolina 1-2 .137 22 -.042 63 .152 16 6.3 4.7
21 Michigan 3-0 .135 15 .306 10 .307 47 7.7 5.2
22 Georgia Tech 1-2 .132 11 -.062 68 .175 23 6.6 5.0
23 West Virginia 2-1 .121 23 .023 44 .395 68 7.9 6.1
24 Missouri 3-0 .117 37 .251 14 .367 62 7.7 5.0
25 North Carolina State 3-0 .116 44 .155 24 .223 36 6.4 4.5

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 29 Sep 2010

30 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2010, 4:50pm by Brian Fremeau

Comments

1
by cfn_ms :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 2:37pm

How much are preseason factors weighing in? I see Florida at #2 despite only being 12th in GE (which doesn't get affected by opponents at all if I understand right) and 27th in schedule strength. If it was 100% results on the field so far, presumably they'd be appreciably lower. Is it something like 50-50 at this point?

2
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 3:09pm

Preseason projections account for roughly 40-50 percent of the data at this point. Florida remains No. 2 in part because the Gators were not just projected No. 1, they were No. 1 by a mile.

3
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:03pm

Isn't Virginia Tech 2-2 w/a loss to James Madison?

5
by Joseph :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:03pm

FBS vs. FBS data only

6
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:06pm

Ok, that's fine, but I assume the intention of that was to not skew the ratings based on wins against non-FBS opponents. I guess the unintended consequence is to end up rating someone too high b/c you ignore losses to the same "inferior" opponents.

9
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:16pm

It is a consequence, but it is intentional. My hypothesis is that over the course of the season, Virginia Tech's other 11 games will provide enough information to 'accurately' rate the Hokies. If you missed it, this topic was featured in the FEI column two weeks ago:

http://footballoutsiders.com/fei-ratings/2010/fei-almost-every-game-coun...

11
by young curmudgeon :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 5:00pm

I've read the explanations, followed the discussions, and it still seems really odd to me, when you only have 12 data points, to deliberately ignore one of them because it might sometimes generate an anomaly that you don't know how to handle. "Rewarding" a top 10 team that loses to a FCS squad with a sympathetic "There, there, lads, it's only a game...that we aren't going to count!" just sticks in my craw. If they are going to insist on scheduling cupcakes, there ought to be a consequence when the cupcake eats them.

Yes, I know, "statistical this, connectivity that, blah, blah, vampire emergency." I guess this is what we call "agreeing to disagree."

13
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 9:55am

I couldn't agree more. I'd love to see a team lose multiple games against FCS competition, yet remain in the top 5. "Well, Team X is 8-4, but three of the losses were against James Madison, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin-Whitewater, so they don't count. By my system, Team X is the #2 team in the country..."

A definite flaw, and although I am neither a statistician nor slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I have to believe this is a fairly easy fix.

15
by zlionsfan :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 11:22am

lol, Wisconsin-Whitewater is DIII ...

I don't think it's an easy fix myself. I suspect the reason why they don't include FBS vs. FCS is that using a single value for "FCS opponent" is not necessarily any more accurate than ignoring those matchups.

If you follow I-AA football, you know that in all probability, James Madison is better (perhaps clearly better) than Jacksonville State and South Dakota, but that's not helpful for a system. Even if they were to use some kind of estimate (say, FCS Top, FCS Middle, and FCS Bottom to represent teams in the top third, middle third, and bottom third of I-AA), they need some way to assign teams to those tiers, and even then you can have the same issue you have now: certain games are weighted too much in the wrong direction.

To get an accurate read on I-AA opponents, they'd have to have the same type of data for I-AA games as they have for I-A games, and I don't think that's always available. (I think ignoring I-AA vs. DII games would be acceptable, given that the goal here is to measure I-A performance.) For example, last week there were five games involving Big Sky teams: three conference games, one with another I-AA team, and one with I-A Michigan State. The MSU game and two of the others have pbp data on ESPN.com; the other two do not.

18
by cfn_ms :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 12:26pm

I'm pretty sure that the S&P system (Bill C's system) does something like that, except it's more like 8 tiers, and he uses Sagarin's ratings to set the AA tiers.

While that's a reasonable approach, it's flawed because (among other reasons):

1) It's relying on an outside system, and FO has no way of checking that system's AA ratings for errors or evaluating it for reasonableness

2) There's still a good amount of variation of team quality inside each of the tiers. Treating 10 different teams as "AA tier 1" eliminates a fair amount of relevant information.

3) It's somewhat arbitrary. There's no important reason to use 3 tiers vs 8 tiers vs 10 tiers vs 20 tiers. And given the connectivity issues, I'd guess that this decision, by itself, would swing the ratings for a couple 1-A teams a non-trivial amount.

Ultimately, I think it's good that they have some systems that at least attempt to build in AA information, and I think it's good that they have some systems that simply don't use it. Variety of approach and assumptions is a good thing in this case. I don't have a problem with either model's decisions on this issue.

26
by Portmanteur (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 2:58pm

Don't forget that VPI played Boise State on Monday night, probably didn't practice on Tuesday or Friday, and then played James Madison on Saturday morning after maybe two days preparation. VPI had nothing to gain and JMU had nothing to lose against an in-state powerhouse, so they played their guts out. I don't think this should count too much against them in the computer rankings, since they are already going to get extra hosed by the polls.

I did like the way the S&P+ rankings count FCS opponents, by grouping them into five tiers and counting the tiers in a "125 team D-I league" for the rankings. I also liked the suggestion to count losses as if they were to the worst place team, but both of these "solutions" seem very arbitrary, while throwing all of the results out at least sounds more objective, if not less flawed.

4
by Joseph :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:03pm

No love for LSU? According to your tables, they now have 4 wins + 4.4 RMV=8.4, when they were expected to have 7.5 mean wins.

7
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:13pm

LSU ranks 8th right now in terms of actual wins over expected wins to date. Toledo is the big outlier (+2.1); Kansas State, NC State, Southern Miss, Auburn, Northwestern, Arizona, and LSU are all at around one win over expected right now.

25
by Portmanteur (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 2:48pm

He's just upset that you didn't give them a shout-out in the article.

8
by cfn_ms :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:16pm

What do you mean "no love"? FEI has LSU 8th, which is higher than many other sources.

If you're referring to them not being on the table, the thing is that they're not 0.9 wins ahead of where they were projected to be post-week 4; rather, their total season projection is now 0.9 ahead of where it once was. The big swing is presumably the fact that they're now projected to have a more realistic shot at Florida and Bama (plus, I would guess, the fact that Ole Miss and Tenn are probably rated as being much less in doubt).

Nevada, on the other hand, is has a mean win expectation of around 10.5 (from reading the table), compared to a preseason expectation of around 6.25 (from reading the table). That's over a 4.0 win swing, with only 0.7 of it being the difference between 4-0 and preseason expectations (largely b/c they've only played 1-2 decent opponents - Cal and maybe BYU - so far).

10
by D :: Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:28pm

So I am reading the chart right when I think it says Nevada has an 85% shot of going at least 10-2? Never would have guessed that going into the season.

28
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 4:41pm

Yes, you are reading the chart correctly. BYU and Cal were not projected by FEI to be very winnable games for Nevada to start the season. Winning those two by a combined score of 79-44 really changed their outlook for the rest of the year.

If the Wolf Pack struggle in any future games, their win distribution projection might slip a bit. But the rest of the WAC outside of Boise State shouldn't pose much of a threat.

12
by CPT Hoolie (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 9:45am

I like the "Reaching the Red Zone" section. But I wish you would have included the red zone success rates (TD/FG) and Points per Red Zone Possession, for comparison.

Also: why is the 20-yard-line still considered the red zone? Shouldn't it be out to the point where a kicker still has a reasonable (say 90% chance) of making a field goal? Wouldn't that be somewhere around the 28-yard-line?

14
by zlionsfan :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 11:12am

For practical purposes, most likely: because missed FGs spotted inside the 20 come out to the 20.

If we used FG success rate, it would be a lot closer than that. In I-A football last year, the success rate for all field goals from 20-29 yards out was 88.4% ... which means the red zone would stop somewhere between the 3 and 12 yard lines.

17
by CPT Hoolie (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 12:21pm

Thanks, the 28 was off the top of my head.

But again, why is the 20 the "red zone"?

20
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 12:36pm

It was originally applied to the defensive unit. "Red Zone" meant to convey the image of a stop sign. Over time it shifted to being used mainly in offensive statistics.

I remember this from an interview with Parcells a few years back. I'm not sure if it was his creation, or one of the coaches he used to work for when he was breaking into the league.

21
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 12:39pm

I think the 20 itself was probably arbitrarily selected. But the redzone isn't just about easy field goals. It is around the point where the offense can't stretch the field as much vertically (because receivers will run out of the end zone 30 yards downfield). Without the vertical space, the field is more congested and offenses that move the ball easily between the 20s can suddenly bog down.

22
by Eddo :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 1:30pm

I wouldn't say 20-yard-line is arbitrary, because that's also where touchbacks come out to. That may be arbitrary, but it has 100 years(?) of history working in its favor.

27
by CPT Hoolie (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 3:50pm

Thanks, I'd buy that.

I guess what I am suggesting is: I believe there is a certain yard line where the expected points crosses some threshold, and I would think that would be where the "red zone" should be set.

I don't know what that threshold should be, though.

Where the expected points reaches 3 points? Maybe 4 points?

16
by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 11:43am

I'm not complaining about the rankings, because I understand what they're supposed to measure. But it seems odd that Michigan dropped from 15th to 21st after a game in which they accumulated 721 yards and 65 points on 11 drives and didn't get eaten alive on defense.

19
by cfn_ms :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 12:31pm

Notre Dame got smoked and Bowling Green is lousy. I don't have access to the system calculations, but I'd guess that the negative movement on schedule strength was driving the bus on the ratings drop for Michigan.

29
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 4:48pm

Bingo. Also worth noting that teams can move in these ratings not just because of something they did or didn't do but because of what other teams did or did not do. Arkansas, Miami, Nebraska and Stanford jumped ahead of Michigan this week due to strong performances and/or SOS boosts as well.

23
by Muldrake (not verified) :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 1:37pm

Did anyone figure out why the FEI loves the ACC so much? Half the league is in the top 25, which seems a bit excessive...especially when one of them has a loss to a 1-AA team and two of them are 1-2.

24
by cfn_ms :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 1:52pm

Not completely certain, but I think it's a combination of not counting AA games (VT obviously affected, but so is GT who lost to Kansas who lost to AA), and preseason ratings (VT looks inflated given GE and SOS, so do Miami, UNC, and GT). UNC and GT in the top 25 look ridiculous right now, so for those two especially I would think that it's preseason ratings, since both SOS and especially GE make them both look like they don't belong anywhere near the top 20.

30
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 09/30/2010 - 4:50pm

Grrr... ACC. Mostly due to lofty projections at this point. Good non-conference SOS for a few others though.