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For only the second time in history, the Bengals are No. 1 in our ratings. But compared to other No. 1 teams after three weeks, there's a real lack of dominance.

08 Dec 2010

FEI: The Big Dance

by Brian Fremeau

In the infinite wisdom of the college football playoff selection committee, the stage is set for the first-ever Final Four FEI national championship bracket. No. 1 Auburn will face No. 4 Oregon in Glendale, Arizona, on January 10. No. 2 Virginia Tech will face No. 3 Stanford in Miami, Florida, on January 3. New Year's Madness is about to begin.

Actually, no major upsets disrupted the BCS title game picture over the weekend, and little changed in this week's FEI rankings. There was a slight shuffling in rank order, but the top teams played as expected (or better) in their final regular season tests. Auburn throttled South Carolina, Oregon rolled over Oregon State, Oklahoma held down Nebraska, and Virginia Tech topped Florida State. We were anticipating the possibility of system-crashing chaos over the final weeks of the season, but chalk ultimately won out.

Boise State and TCU won't have a national title shot this year, and college football fans will forge ahead as they have always done. FEI doesn't think that the Broncos or Horned Frogs measure up particularly well with the elite power conference teams in 2010, but that doesn't mean they couldn't compete if given the chance. But as Boise State, TCU, Utah, Auburn, Cincinnati, and others have experienced in the past, the opportunity to earn a BCS championship game berth and access to the exclusive two-team playoff is only partly within a team's own control. Win every game on your schedule, then hope that two other teams don't impress voters and computers even more.

The most startling team at the top of the FEI final regular season ratings is Virginia Tech. Back when the Hokies lost consecutive games in less than five days to open the season, it appeared that they were on their way to a nightmare season. Eleven consecutive victories later, they hold the nation's fourth-longest winning streak -- and dominated most of those games along the way. I won't rehash the conversation about my decision to not include FCS games in my ratings data here, but I do realize that my original hypothesis about Virginia Tech needs to be re-examined.

I was convinced that, over the course of the season, the Hokies other 12 games would provide more than enough data to mitigate the missing FCS data. When Appalachian State defeated Michigan in 2007, the Wolverines' 9-3 record in its other 12 games confirmed our end-of-year suspicions about both teams. It was an historic upset at the time of the game, but it was more of a garden-variety upset in retrospect. Appalachian State was likely the equivalent of a top 75 or top 60 FBS team that season. An upset of a team ranked around 20th is certainly an upset, but not one that merits bewilderment.

But this season, the Virginia Tech resume outside of the loss to James Madison is very impressive. Meanwhile, James Madison proceeded to lose five conference games in FCS play. Kenneth Massey runs one of the BCS computer models and publishes rankings of college football teams in all divisions. He ranks Virginia Tech No. 9 overall and James Madison No. 104 overall out of 720 teams, FBS through NAIA. He also publishes a "least likely results" metric to identify the on-the-field outcomes that most conflict with the ratings. JMU over Virginia Tech ranks first, an order of magnitude more unlikely than other recent FBS upsets.

No. 2 Virginia Tech Hokies (11-1)
Date Wk Opponent Result Opp
FEI
Opp
OFEI
Opp
DFEI
GE GE
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
OFEI OFEI
Rk
DFEI DFEI
Rk
GFEI GFEI
Rk
Rel
9/6 1 vs. Boise State L 30-33 11 16 20 -.036 758 .473 852 1.163 114 -.314 285 .387 128 High
9/18 3 East Carolina W 49-27 71 12 118 .299 214 .551 371 .659 354 -.404 232 .145 421 Low
9/25 4 at Boston College W 19-0 50 95 23 .271 244 .560 322 .496 450 -.445 220 .411 105 Low
10/2 5 at North Carolina State W 41-30 17 38 11 .108 433 .553 364 1.402 66 -.204 363 .539 40 Med
10/9 6 Central Michigan W 45-21 79 87 72 .316 195 .576 245 .467 472 .144 644 .113 483 Low
10/16 7 Wake Forest W 52-21 105 99 93 .625 28 .589 192 1.496 46 .733 1075 .235 309 Low
10/23 8 Duke W 44-7 77 75 87 .529 57 .582 216 .461 476 -.32 279 .342 173 Low
11/4 10 Georgia Tech W 28-21 51 33 81 .100 448 .566 295 .333 583 .002 514 .072 551 Low
11/13 11 at North Carolina W 26-10 30 34 22 .208 325 .556 351 .782 281 -.750 80 .489 59 Med
11/20 12 at Miami W 31-17 18 28 3 .160 377 .544 409 1.316 83 -.505 185 .579 30 Med
11/27 13 Virginia W 37-7 82 64 83 .443 111 .672 19 -.094 914 -.875 47 .226 320 Low
12/4 14 vs. Florida State W 44-33 21 7 45 .286 224 .593 176 1.645 27 -.369 251 .606 22 Med

There's obviously something to be said for the unique circumstances that led to the James Madison game outcome -- short turnaround, weather, psyche. But did lowly JMU knock off the second-best team in the nation? Was this a Chaminade over Virginia, a once-in-a-generation result? Because I discard the FCS data, FEI probably overrates the Hokies a bit. I ran a test of the FEI formula and plugged in a loss for Virginia Tech to a team equivalent to the No. 120 team to see how it might affect the ratings for Virginia Tech and every other team. Surprisingly, that one result did not affect Virginia Tech's opponents or disrupt the overall ratings for everyone besides the Hokies. It did drop Virginia Tech to No. 8.

I am not comfortable plugging in a single, arbitrary rating for every FCS team, but I am comfortable revising my hypothesis about the Hokies. Virginia Tech was a unique circumstance and is likely not the second-best team in college football. But the Hokies are likely one of the 10 best teams in college football, and somehow, a Top 10 team suffered an extraordinarily unlikely upset at the beginning of the year. Virginia Tech will face its toughest opponent of the season against Stanford in the bowl game, but regardless of that outcome, it's clear they had one hell of a year. From hell and back, in fact.

FEI Drive Summary Breakdowns

Previous drive summary breakdowns:

The FEI system "watches" each game as a series of alternating possession and breaks down the scoreboard value of each possession to the offensive, defensive, and special teams units that contributed to that value.

In the drive summary breakdown tables below, the white fields represent basic box score drive data. The yellow fields represent the component values that contribute to each team's scoring, according to FEI efficiency metrics. Offensive drive value (ODV) is the scoring value produced (or forfeited) by the offense in the given drive, including the value of driving into field goal range. Field goal value (FGV) is the value produced (or forfeited) by the field goal unit on attempts. Extra point value (XPV) is the value produced by the point-after unit touchdown drives, including two-point attempts. Field position value (FPV) is the expected score value of the drive based on starting field position alone. The gray fields represent the component values of FPV. Automatic field position value (Auto) is unearned drive value based on national average score expectations from possession alone. Punt or kickoff return value (Ret) is the value above or below average produced from the kick return that initiated the drive. The remaining value (Seq) is produced from the sequence of defensive and special teams events that preceded the drive.

The total score values include only non-garbage possessions and are the only data that is included in the weekly FEI ratings. When applicable, garbage possession data is provided as a reference, including first-half clock-kill possessions. The start of garbage time at the end of a game is calculated retroactively from the game's conclusion as a function of the score margin and the remaining possessions to be played.

There weren't any special requests for drive summary breakdowns this week, and to be honest, I had a hard time identifying any particular games I really wanted to see broken down. But I thought it might be interesting to show the differences between two games, and the Conference USA championship and Big 12 championship were good candidates.

Conference USA Championship: Central Florida vs. SMU

First Half Non-Garbage Possessions
Drive Possession Initiated Start P Y End Result UCF SMU ODV FGV XPV FPV Seq Ret Auto
1 Central Florida Kickoff own 27 13 73 - Touchdown 7 0 5.42 - .04 1.54 - -.06 1.60
2 SMU Kickoff own 22 4 37 opp 41 Punt 7 0 -1.34 - - 1.34 -.26 -.26 1.86
3 Central Florida Punt own 13 10 32 own 45 Punt 7 0 -1.02 - - 1.02 -.80 -.04 1.86
4 SMU Punt own 20 10 50 opp 30 Failed FG 7 0 .23 -1.49 - 1.26 -.57 -.02 1.86
5 Central Florida Failed FG own 30 5 16 own 46 Punt 7 0 -1.66 - - 1.66 -.20 - 1.86
6 SMU Punt own 15 11 45 opp 40 Punt 7 0 -1.09 - - 1.09 -.59 -.18 1.86
7 Central Florida Punt own 20 13 68 opp 12 FG 10 0 1.19 .55 - 1.26 -.81 .22 1.86
Second Half Non-Garbage Possessions
Drive Possession Initiated Start P Y End Result UCF SMU ODV FGV XPV FPV Seq Ret Auto
8 SMU Kickoff own 20 5 16 own 36 Punt 10 0 -1.26 - - 1.26 - -.34 1.60
9 Central Florida Punt own 15 8 85 - Touchdown 17 0 5.87 - .04 1.09 -.34 -.44 1.86
10 SMU Kickoff own 34 8 39 opp 27 Interception 17 0 -1.84 - - 1.84 -.26 .24 1.86
11 Central Florida Interception own 18 7 24 own 42 Punt 17 0 -1.19 - - 1.19 -.67 - 1.86
12 SMU Punt own 12 10 88 - Touchdown 17 7 5.97 - .04 .99 -.50 -.37 1.86
13 Central Florida Kickoff own 27 4 12 own 39 Punt 17 7 -1.54 - - 1.54 -.26 -.06 1.86
14 SMU Punt own 20 3 0 own 20 Interception 17 7 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.42 -.17 1.86
15 Central Florida Interception opp 28 4 -7 opp 35 Failed FG 17 7 -3.12 -.88 - 3.99 2.13 - 1.86
16 SMU Failed FG own 35 15 32 opp 33 Downs 17 7 -1.89 - - 1.89 .03 - 1.86
Central Florida Total 17 3.96 -.33 .08 13.29 -.95 -.38 14.62
SMU Total 7 -2.48 -1.49 .04 10.93 -2.59 -1.10 14.62
Garbage Possessions
Drive Possession Initiated Start P Y End Result UCF SMU ODV FGV XPV FPV Seq Ret Auto
17 Central Florida Downs own 33 1 -2 own 31 Half 17 7 -1.79 - - 1.79 -.07 - 1.86

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma vs. Nebraska

First Half Non-Garbage Possessions
Drive Possession Initiated Start P Y End Result Okla Neb ODV FGV XPV FPV Seq Ret Auto
1 Oklahoma Kickoff own 15 3 5 own 20 Punt 0 0 -1.09 - - 1.09 - -.51 1.60
2 Nebraska Punt own 24 6 0 own 24 Punt 0 0 -1.42 - - 1.42 .31 -.75 1.86
3 Oklahoma Punt own 37 7 29 opp 34 Downs 0 0 -1.98 - - 1.98 .11 .00 1.86
4 Nebraska Downs own 34 1 66 - Touchdown 0 7 5.12 - .04 1.84 -.02 - 1.86
5 Oklahoma Kickoff own 20 3 6 own 26 Punt 0 7 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.26 -.34 1.86
6 Nebraska Punt opp 42 4 6 opp 36 FG 0 10 -2.37 2.27 - 3.10 .03 1.21 1.86
7 Oklahoma Kickoff own 20 4 15 own 35 Punt 0 10 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.26 -.34 1.86
8 Nebraska Punt own 24 3 -5 own 19 Punt 0 10 -1.42 - - 1.42 -.30 -.14 1.86
9 Oklahoma Punt own 40 7 35 opp 25 Downs 0 10 -2.12 - - 2.12 .36 -.10 1.86
10 Nebraska Downs own 25 3 5 own 30 Punt 0 10 -1.46 - - 1.46 -.40 - 1.86
11 Oklahoma Punt own 22 1 0 own 22 Interception 0 10 -1.34 - - 1.34 -.13 -.39 1.86
12 Nebraska Interception opp 12 2 12 - Touchdown 0 17 1.80 - .04 5.16 3.30 - 1.86
13 Oklahoma Kickoff own 20 4 80 - Touchdown 7 17 5.70 - .04 1.26 -.26 -.34 1.86
14 Nebraska Kickoff own 30 8 62 opp 8 Interception 7 17 -1.66 - - 1.66 -.26 .06 1.86
15 Oklahoma Interception own 20 12 71 opp 9 FG 10 17 1.27 .46 - 1.26 -.60 - 1.86
16 Nebraska Kickoff own 20 2 11 own 31 Fumble 10 17 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.26 -.34 1.86
17 Oklahoma Fumble opp 31 2 31 - Touchdown 17 17 3.17 - .04 3.79 1.93 - 1.86
18 Nebraska Kickoff own 20 10 56 opp 24 FG 17 20 .71 1.03 - 1.26 -.26 -.34 1.86
Second Half Non-Garbage Possessions
Drive Possession Initiated Start P Y End Result Okla Neb ODV FGV XPV FPV Seq Ret Auto
20 Nebraska Kickoff own 19 5 5 own 24 Fumble 17 20 -1.23 - - 1.23 - -.37 1.60
21 Oklahoma Fumble opp 24 5 17 opp 7 Failed FG 17 20 -1.67 -2.60 - 4.27 2.41 - 1.86
22 Nebraska Failed FG own 20 3 2 own 22 Punt 17 20 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.60 - 1.86
23 Oklahoma Punt own 38 8 59 opp 3 FG 20 20 .73 .25 - 2.03 .21 -.04 1.86
24 Nebraska Kickoff own 15 3 6 own 21 Punt 20 20 -1.09 - - 1.09 -.26 -.51 1.86
25 Oklahoma Punt own 38 4 14 opp 48 Punt 20 20 -2.03 - - 2.03 .26 -.09 1.86
26 Nebraska Punt own 20 8 22 own 42 Punt 20 20 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.71 .11 1.86
27 Oklahoma Punt own 6 3 9 own 15 Punt 20 20 -.81 - - .81 -.50 -.55 1.86
28 Nebraska Punt own 43 3 22 opp 35 Fumble 20 20 -2.27 - - 2.27 .58 -.17 1.86
29 Oklahoma Fumble own 35 11 55 opp 10 FG 23 20 .62 .49 - 1.89 .03 - 1.86
30 Nebraska Kickoff own 31 3 6 own 37 Punt 23 20 -1.71 - - 1.71 -.26 .11 1.86
31 Oklahoma Punt own 8 3 7 own 15 Punt 23 20 -.86 - - .86 -.37 -.63 1.86
32 Nebraska Punt own 44 5 11 opp 45 Punt 23 20 -2.32 - - 2.32 .58 -.12 1.86
33 Oklahoma Punt own 10 3 9 own 19 Punt 23 20 -.93 - - .93 -.75 -.18 1.86
34 Nebraska Punt own 41 4 6 own 47 Downs 23 20 -2.17 - - 2.17 .36 -.05 1.86
Oklahoma Total 23 -3.86 -1.40 .08 28.18 2.19 -3.51 29.50
Nebraska Total 20 -15.27 3.30 .08 31.89 1.83 -1.30 31.36
Garbage Possessions
Drive Possession Initiated Start P Y End Result Okla Neb ODV FGV XPV FPV Seq Ret Auto
19 Oklahoma Kickoff own 20 1 -2 own 18 Half 17 20 -1.26 - - 1.26 -.26 -.34 1.86
35 Oklahoma Downs opp 47 2 -3 50 Half 23 20 -2.81 - - 2.81 .95 - 1.86

An average football game may have 24 total possessions, 12 for each team. But in the first half of the Conference USA championship game, SMU had the ball only three times. At the conclusion of the 16th game possession, Central Florida took over and took a knee to kill the final 10 seconds of the game. At the conclusion of the 16th possession of the Big 12 championship game, 1:58 was left in the first half and 10 more points would be scored.

None of the offenses in either game produced much scoring value. The key difference in possession value between the two games was simply automatic drive value created by the pace of each game. An average offense against an average defense would be expected to score more than twice as much in the Big 12 championship game as the Conference USA championship game based on starting field position alone. Pace of the game matters, and these games are a good example of why.

Three and Out

Previous drive stat splits and team resumes:

In the tables below, the Game Efficiency, Offensive FEI, Defensive FEI, and "Game" FEI (GFEI) for each team in each game is provided. The ranking of those individual unit and game performances is also provided. Note that there have been 682 FBS vs. FBS game played to date, meaning that there have been 1,364 individual game performances for each category.

The opponent FEI ranking is also provided, as well as a general relevance factor (Rel) for the particular GFEI, OFEI, and DFEI results for that team in that game. As stated in the FEI principles, my system rewards playing well against good teams, win or lose, and punishes losing to poor teams more harshly than it rewards defeating poor teams. In the formula, the relevance factor is partly a function of the relative ratings of the two teams. Across all games, the least relevant results receive about one-eighth as much weight as the most relevant results. For simplicity, I've generalized the relevance data here into three equally distributed categories, High, Med, and Low.

No. 4 Oregon Ducks (11-0)
Date Wk Opponent Result Opp
FEI
Opp
OFEI
Opp
DFEI
GE GE
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
OFEI OFEI
Rk
DFEI DFEI
Rk
GFEI GFEI
Rk
Rel
9/4 1 New Mexico W 72-0 118 118 109 .803 8 .683 14 .149 725 .072 583 .153 407 Low
9/11 2 at Tennessee W 48-13 64 63 55 .333 178 .625 82 .685 341 -.395 239 .361 152 Low
9/25 4 at Arizona State W 42-31 38 67 36 .081 477 .519 567 .505 443 .000 511 .307 224 Med
10/2 5 Stanford W 52-31 3 10 24 .148 391 .513 615 1.482 49 -.611 139 .599 25 High
10/9 6 at Washington State W 43-23 97 85 119 .260 261 .500 685 .713 321 .482 919 .069 558 Low
10/21 8 UCLA W 60-13 83 103 73 .672 21 .581 225 1.543 37 .020 530 .436 91 Low
10/30 9 at USC W 53-32 28 37 62 .207 326 .468 884 .946 198 -.316 284 .517 48 Med
11/6 10 Washington W 53-16 74 77 91 .330 182 .551 373 .017 842 -.222 342 .160 401 Low
11/13 11 at California W 15-13 87 111 71 .024 642 .538 445 -.625 1210 .409 864 -.089 846 Low
11/26 13 Arizona W 48-29 42 23 64 .371 153 .641 57 1.134 126 .052 563 .421 100 Low
12/4 14 at Oregon State W 37-20 46 62 84 .221 315 .444 1012 .445 485 -.491 192 .383 130 Low

No. 1 Auburn Tigers (12-0)
Date Wk Opponent Result Opp
FEI
Opp
OFEI
Opp
DFEI
GE GE
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
OFEI OFEI
Rk
DFEI DFEI
Rk
GFEI GFEI
Rk
Rel
9/4 1 Arkansas State W 52-26 61 39 61 .224 301 .480 804 .750 295 -.470 202 .122 470 Low
9/9 2 at Mississippi State W 17-14 33 72 14 .036 598 .475 832 .748 298 -.161 402 .305 229 Low
9/18 3 Clemson W 27-24 26 59 2 .032 617 .530 499 1.133 127 .126 632 .220 327 Low
9/25 4 South Carolina W 35-27 16 6 33 .104 442 .500 684 1.403 64 -.540 162 .400 116 Med
10/2 5 Louisiana Monroe W 52-3 96 92 43 .667 22 .685 13 1.071 149 -.381 246 .331 189 Low
10/9 6 at Kentucky W 37-34 39 21 82 .043 579 .407 1192 1.247 98 .126 631 .256 284 Low
10/16 7 Arkansas W 65-43 6 3 13 .251 272 .690 11 1.598 31 .208 705 .674 11 Med
10/23 8 LSU W 24-17 10 36 21 .095 456 .378 1277 1.681 23 -.597 146 .469 71 Med
10/30 9 at Mississippi W 51-31 59 56 48 .260 262 .526 524 1.450 52 .156 657 .315 212 Low
11/13 11 Georgia W 49-31 32 27 66 .175 361 .465 905 1.973 12 .500 931 .301 232 Low
11/26 13 at Alabama W 28-27 5 4 19 .012 662 .424 1118 1.440 55 -.808 64 .594 27 Med
12/4 14 vs. South Carolina W 56-17 16 6 33 .471 96 .585 203 2.445 3 -.733 83 .839 2 Med

Another comparison is due to Oregon and Auburn, your BCS championship game participants 32 days from now. Based on the last 14 weeks, these are clearly two of the best teams in the country, and it ought to be a pretty competitive game. Lining up the resumes helps clarify FEI's very high opinion of the Tigers and raises a few initial questions about the matchup in January.

FEI clearly loves the Tigers. Oregon's vaunted offense hasn't dominated possessions quite as prolifically as Auburn's has, but the biggest disparities between the two teams comes from opponent adjustments. According to FEI, Oregon faced only three top 60 defenses, and none since the October 2 game against Stanford. Auburn's offense has faced nine top 60 defenses. Defensively, the Tigers have faced five top 30 offenses, while the Ducks have faced only two. Auburn has played its best opponent-adjusted football on both sides of the ball this season in its last two weeks.

The 15-13 California game is the only real albatross on Oregon's resume, but with a low relevance rating, it isn't dragging down the Ducks FEI too dramatically. Overall, though, the Ducks really have only looked like the nation's best team once this year, and it was more than two months ago. Auburn may not cruise in the BCS Championship, but its past performances suggest it is capable to controlling the game.

No. 106 Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (9-4)
Date Wk Opponent Result Opp
FEI
Opp
OFEI
Opp
DFEI
GE GE
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
OFEI OFEI
Rk
DFEI DFEI
Rk
GFEI GFEI
Rk
Rel
9/4 1 at Florida L 12-34 37 54 28 -.186 1016 .413 1167 -.086 906 -.266 313 .040 615 Low
9/11 2 Eastern Michigan W 28-21 115 84 120 .095 454 .415 1161 -.527 1175 .284 757 -.442 1267 Med
9/18 3 Colorado State W 31-10 119 117 116 .286 227 .633 69 -1.203 1336 .205 699 -.368 1215 Med
9/25 4 at Missouri L 13-51 13 25 6 -.607 1331 .418 1148 .298 606 .860 1146 -.145 935 Low
10/2 5 Kent State W 27-21 93 114 54 .071 500 .455 958 .265 628 .887 1163 -.224 1045 High
10/9 6 at Cincinnati L 3-45 55 40 69 -.800 1356 .386 1259 -.996 1304 1.624 1333 -.717 1352 Med
10/16 7 at Central Michigan W 27-20 79 87 72 .074 497 .404 1206 .121 748 .054 565 .016 641 High
10/23 8 Ohio L 13-34 80 88 60 -.231 1067 .545 404 -.355 1095 .938 1185 -.440 1265 Med
10/30 9 at Buffalo W 21-9 108 120 52 .118 425 .448 997 -.140 954 .624 1013 -.169 980 High
11/10 11 at Bowling Green W 24-21 103 106 100 .033 614 .485 768 -.521 1170 .586 988 -.194 1008 High
11/17 12 at Akron W 19-14 114 113 108 .065 520 .649 42 -.925 1285 1.006 1214 -.326 1170 Med
11/23 13 Temple W 23-3 63 81 74 .248 276 .516 590 .038 820 -.502 187 .133 447 High
12/3 14 vs. Northern Illinois W 26-21 41 30 67 .060 532 .559 328 .261 633 -.180 385 .182 377 High

As Bill Connelly mentioned yesterday, we are debating about whether or not Miami (Ohio) is the worst conference champion of all time, the worst bowl participant of all time, the worst nine-win team of all time, etc. FEI really doesn't think much of the Redhawks' resume, as you can see. According to the mean wins formula, a team of their caliber would be expected to win only 4.6 games to date. They went 6-0 in games decided by a single score, and four of those games came against opponents ranked No. 93 or worse. Based on drive efficiency and average luck, they probably should have won only three of those six games. Good for them for defying the odds, and good luck to them in trying to keep that streak alive.

If you have a suggestion for an FEI team resume, drive summary breakdown, infographic, or other data you'd like to see, drop me a line on Twitter (@bcfremeau) or in the comment section here. I'm happy to answer data inquiries and provide team tables for bloggers interested in investigating the data themselves.

FEI Week 14 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 does not include 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 RW) represent the average expected team wins for games scheduled but not yet played. Bowl games are included in this week's data.

Offensive FEI (OFEI) and Defensive FEI (DFEI) are the opponent-adjusted ratings of all non-garbage-time drives from scrimmage. Field Position Advantage (FPA) is the share of the value of total starting field position for the season earned by each team against its opponents. Field Goal Efficiency (FGE) is the point value per field goal attempt earned by the field goal unit.

Only games between FBS teams are considered in the FEI calculations. The FEI ratings published here are a function of the results of games played through December 4.

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. There are also now separate pages for offensive and defensive FEI ratings for 2010.

Rk Team FBS
Rec
FEI LW
Rk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RW
OFEI OFEI
Rk
DFEI DFEI
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
FGE FGE
Rk
1 Auburn 12-0 .334 1 .175 14 .081 13 11.3 0.7 .820 1 -.426 10 .517 42 .014 69
2 Virginia Tech 11-1 .271 5 .257 7 .157 27 10.8 0.5 .453 9 -.430 9 .565 3 .705 4
3 Stanford 10-1 .265 3 .322 4 .265 62 10.2 0.5 .433 10 -.328 24 .537 16 .208 44
4 Oregon 11-0 .260 6 .281 5 .331 73 10.1 0.3 .339 15 -.388 15 .548 10 -.094 82
5 Alabama 8-3 .258 2 .236 9 .070 8 9.4 0.7 .499 4 -.357 19 .550 8 .253 38
6 Arkansas 9-2 .251 4 .146 19 .046 2 8.8 0.6 .620 3 -.403 13 .499 59 .398 22
7 Ohio State 11-1 .232 7 .325 3 .234 53 10.6 0.4 .320 18 -.483 7 .557 5 .124 54
8 Oklahoma 11-2 .230 11 .159 16 .155 25 11.6 0.9 .352 14 -.501 4 .526 26 .119 55
9 Wisconsin 10-1 .227 9 .258 6 .281 65 9.9 0.6 .496 5 -.265 30 .548 11 .467 17
10 LSU 9-2 .226 8 .095 28 .050 4 8.7 0.7 .177 36 -.352 21 .586 2 .602 8
11 Boise State 11-1 .214 12 .416 1 .378 82 11.6 0.9 .330 16 -.353 20 .551 6 -.069 78
12 Nebraska 9-3 .202 13 .179 13 .206 48 10.6 0.9 .179 35 -.460 8 .547 13 .916 1
Rk Team FBS
Rec
FEI LW
Rk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RW
OFEI OFEI
Rk
DFEI DFEI
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
FGE FGE
Rk
13 Missouri 9-2 .198 16 .144 20 .256 58 9.4 0.6 .223 25 -.498 6 .518 39 .419 20
14 West Virginia 8-3 .197 14 .147 18 .232 51 9.2 0.6 .085 46 -.635 1 .513 47 -.273 93
15 TCU 11-0 .197 15 .336 2 .729 117 10.6 0.4 .283 19 -.416 12 .561 4 .126 52
16 South Carolina 8-4 .187 10 .118 22 .022 1 8.2 0.6 .483 6 -.220 33 .544 14 -.116 84
17 North Carolina State 7-4 .182 17 .083 30 .185 39 8.3 0.4 .169 38 -.421 11 .518 38 -.073 79
18 Miami 6-5 .176 19 .036 48 .115 14 7.8 0.7 .219 28 -.515 3 .492 72 .199 46
19 Oklahoma State 10-2 .173 20 .184 12 .383 84 10.5 0.8 .352 13 -.265 29 .524 30 .550 14
20 Iowa 6-5 .164 21 .138 21 .323 69 8.6 0.4 .227 24 -.381 17 .522 32 -.015 72
21 Florida State 8-4 .163 18 .079 32 .078 11 8.0 0.4 .470 7 -.067 45 .522 33 .085 59
22 Michigan State 10-1 .153 22 .104 25 .330 71 8.5 0.3 .321 17 -.377 18 .481 85 .588 9
23 Pittsburgh 6-5 .150 24 .076 35 .260 59 7.9 0.6 .245 22 -.244 31 .512 49 -.093 81
24 Texas A&M 8-3 .145 23 .082 31 .169 34 7.5 0.3 .140 42 -.500 5 .464 103 .279 33
25 Navy 7-3 .134 26 .111 24 .582 104 9.6 1.6 .455 8 -.122 38 .488 77 -.380 100

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 08 Dec 2010

7 comments, Last at 12 Jan 2011, 11:32am by TV_Pete

Comments

1
by Jonadan :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 2:54pm

I realize FEI likes Auburn, as you say, and I see your notes re. defenses and offenses faced. That said, I really don't buy your conclusion that "Overall, though, the Ducks really have only looked like the nation's best team once this year, and it was more than two months ago." Nobody - except maybe Auburn, and maaaaybe Wisconsin (your #9) - have looked anywhere near as dominant, either game-to-game, or across the season as a whole, as the Ducks. Granted, that's a subjective judgement.

Not subjective:
Wins by 17+ (3 possession wins)
Oregon: 9
Auburn: 6 (with an extra game)

Wins by 8 or less (1 possession games)
Oregon: 1
Auburn: 6 (including this year's greatest comeback, I realize that).

Oregon had a single close game, and won that anyway; apart from that game they've looked untouchable. Auburn spent the season alternating between nail-biters and blowouts.

I also don't think Auburn's D is good enough to control the game. Oregon's D may not stop Auburn either, but I'd give them a better shot than the reverse. But then, I'm not basing this on numbers, just impressions.

2
by Southern Philly :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 3:21pm

For the 2nd time in as many years, Urban Meyer is going to resign. Yawn.

3
by cfn_ms :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 3:28pm

seems to disagree with you about Miami(OH), since he's got them 25th. Of course, he also had NIU 25th last week, so maybe it's just a throwaway vote for him?

4
by Dean :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 5:05pm

Frank Beamer = Don James.

5
by T. Diddy :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 7:07pm

FYI: The "score" headers in the Drive Summary Breakdowns all say "Utah" and "SDSU" instead of the correct team names.

6
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 10:09pm

Fixed, thanks.

7
by TV_Pete (not verified) :: Wed, 01/12/2011 - 11:32am

Interested to see a comparison if you included Virginia Tech losing to a mid-ranked team (comparable in Sagarin) if that would drop Va Tech down a little and be a better predictor/evaluation.

I think it is safe to say that losing to a lower division team may be an indicator that the lower division team is a better than average team for its division. Perhaps it could be considered as an "average" higher division team? (for a loss, consider it a non-game or game against weak team in a victory)

Each season is such a small sample size that it seems like a waste to throw away one game.