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» FEI Week 5: What's With FSU?

Florida State still looks good according to FEI, but they'll have to start dominating soon to stay on top.

28 Sep 2011

FEI: Streaking

by Brian Fremeau

We’ve been talking about the LSU Tigers almost every week this season, so it might seem like they were the only national championship contender. There are still 21 other undefeated teams through the first four weeks of the year, but none have made a weekly impression quite like the Tigers. The resume is everything you’d expect of the number one team in the land. LSU has taken down three solid programs away from Death Valley, and the Tigers were in total control down the stretch of all three games.

Entering the year, there were question marks about the LSU offense, especially with the last-minute suspension of presumed starter Jordan Jefferson. However, the offense has been as effective as it needs to be under Jarrett Lee, and the defense and special teams have carried the load as expected. Turnovers, short fields, pinning the opponent deep -– LSU has been a consistent winner for years with the same formula, so we shouldn’t be surprised by its effectiveness in 2011.

Speaking of consistency over the years, the Tigers victory over West Virginia marked the 36th straight victory for LSU against regular season non-conference opponents. It tied the second longest streak since the split of Division I. The Miami Hurricanes, then independent and playing an entire season of non-conference games, were undefeated over 36 straight regular season games from 1985 to 1988. Kansas State owns the record with 39 straight non-conference regular season victories from 1993 to 2003.

The significance of the record is dubious without considering the quality of the competition faced. The Wildcats, for instance, rarely faced quality competition out of conference. Since LSU’s streak stretches the length of the FEI era (the Tigers most recent regular season non-conference loss was in 2002; we have FEI ratings dating back to 2003), I figured I’d calculate the toughest cumulative strength of non-conference schedules over the entire span.

I posted individual season strength of schedule data over the summer dating back to 2003, and noted that LSU ranked second in average strength of schedule over the last eight seasons. But that total SOS includes bowl games and top competition in the SEC. Which teams played the toughest non-conference schedules in the same span? (Only teams that played an FBS conference schedule in every year since 2003 were considered, though games against independents and teams that joined FBS during the span were included in the SOS calculations).

Top Five Non-Conference Regular Season
Cumulative Strength of Schedule Since 2003
Rank Team SOS
1 Louisiana Monroe .008
2 Florida State .010
3 Marshall .018
4 Louisiana Tech .021
5 East Carolina .021
Bottom Five Non-Conference Regular Season
Cumulative Strength of Schedule Since 2003
Rank Team SOS
110 Texas Tech .502
111 Kansas .534
112 Missouri .550
113 Wisconsin .624
114 Indiana .685

A reminder: FEI strength of schedule represents the likelihood that an elite team would go undefeated against a given slate of opponents.

The LSU Tigers should be commended for winning 36 straight non-conference games, but cumulatively, their 36 opponents represented the 89th toughest slate compared to other programs non-conference schedules since 2003. An elite team would have had a 26.5 percent chance of going undefeated against LSU's non-conference regular season schedule since 2003. The same elite team would have had only a 1.0 percent chance of going undefeated against Florida State's schedule, tops among all AQ conference teams. The second longest active non-conference winning streak also dates back to 2003, and is owned by Wisconsin, winners of 32 straight. The Badgers just happen to have the second weakest cumulative non-conference regular season schedule over that span. An elite team would have a 62.4 percent chance of going undefeated over the same 32 game stretch.

Punting for Points

It was mentioned by others, but Tigers punter Brad Wing deserves a game ball and more for his performance against West Virginia on Saturday night. Wing punted six times during the game, and all six resulted in field position for the Mountaineers at or inside their own 11-yard line. The LSU field position advantage for the game was extraordinary: 0.693, or nearly 70 percent of the total starting field position value for both teams in the game. An average offense against an average defense would have scored 36.3 points with LSU’s starting field position and only 16.0 points with West Virginia’s. Teams that have an FPA of better than .600 win 90 percent of the time. LSU’s FPA for the game would have ranked 10th among all games played in 2010. The average final score in the top ten FPA games last season was 49-14.

How much value did Brad Wing contribute? We can calculate the value of every punt exchange based on the average expected field position value following a punt from a given yard line. The value of pinning the opponent deep impacts not only the ensuing possession but also the possession after that. On average, each LSU punt added 0.5 points in scoring margin value, a total of three points for the game. That’s not an eye-popping value in the context of the total score, but it is as good as it gets for punt team value. The only way for a punt team to generate more value per punt is to create a turnover on the return.

FEI Watches a Game: LSU vs. West Virginia

LSU Possession-by-Possession Unit Value Splits
Drive Possession Start End P Y Result LSU
Off
LSU
Def
LSU
ST
LSU
Ex
Score Poss
Mar
1 West Virginia own 29 own 44 4 15 Punt 0.0 1.6 0.0 -1.6 0-0 -
2 LSU own 42 - 8 58 TD (+XP) 4.7 -0.6 0.9 1.9 7-0 +7
3 West Virginia own 20 own 44 5 24 Fumble 0.3 1.3 0.3 -1.9 7-0 -
4 LSU 50 opp 44 3 6 Punt -2.6 0.7 0.0 1.9 7-0 -
5 West Virginia own 3 own 40 8 37 Interception 0.8 0.7 0.4 -1.9 7-0 -
6 LSU 50 - 7 50 TD (failed XP) 4.3 0.7 -0.9 1.9 13-0 +6
7 West Virginia own 27 - 12 73 TD (+XP) 0.3 -5.4 0.1 -1.9 13-7 -7
8 LSU own 30 own 44 6 14 Punt -1.7 -0.2 0.0 1.9 13-7 -
9 West Virginia own 4 own 22 4 18 Punt 0.6 0.8 0.6 -1.9 13-7 -
10 LSU own 39 - 3 61 TD (+XP) 4.9 0.1 0.1 1.9 20-7 +7
11 West Virginia own 16 own 34 5 18 Punt 0.3 1.1 0.5 -1.9 20-7 -
12 LSU own 34 own 35 3 1 Punt -1.8 -0.3 0.3 1.9 20-7 -
13 West Virginia own 5 own 9 3 4 Punt 0.3 0.8 0.8 -1.9 20-7 -
14 LSU own 44 opp 48 3 8 Punt -2.3 0.8 -0.4 1.9 20-7 -
15 West Virginia own 11 own 25 5 14 Interception 0.7 1 0.2 -1.9 20-7 -
16 LSU opp 1 - 2 1 TD (+XP) 0.9 4.1 0.1 1.9 27-7 +7
17 West Virginia own 27 50 3 23 Half 0.2 1.5 0.1 -1.9 27-7 -
18 LSU own 38 opp 13 8 49 Failed FG 0.4 0.0 -2 1.6 27-7 -
19 West Virginia own 20 - 6 80 TD (+XP) 0.5 -5.7 0.1 -1.9 27-14 -7
20 LSU own 40 own 41 3 1 Punt -2.1 -0.3 0.5 1.9 27-14 -
21 West Virginia own 8 own 49 7 41 Punt 0.5 0.9 0.5 -1.9 27-14 -
22 LSU own 24 own 40 5 16 Punt -1.4 -0.7 0.3 1.9 27-14 -
23 West Virginia own 9 - 5 91 TD (+XP) 0.5 -6.1 0.5 -1.9 27-21 -7
24 LSU - - TD (+XP) 0.0 -0.3 5.4 1.9 34-21 +7
25 West Virginia own 25 opp 43 8 32 Downs 0.0 1.5 0.4 -1.9 34-21 -
26 LSU own 43 - 9 57 TD (failed XP) 4.7 0.3 -0.9 1.9 40-21 +6
27 West Virginia own 20 opp 45 6 35 Fumble 0.3 1.3 0.4 -1.9 40-21 -
28 LSU own 45 - 8 55 TD (+XP) 4.6 0.5 0.1 1.9 47-21 +7
29 West Virginia own 2 own 16 6 14 Punt 0.2 0.7 0.9 -1.9 47-21 -
30 LSU own 45 own 44 1 -1 Half -2.4 0.3 0.2 1.9 47-21 -
LSU
Off
LSU
Def
LSU
ST
LSU
Ex
Score Poss
Mar
Non-Garbage
Total
13.2 -0.5 8.2 -1.9 40-21 +19

Unit Value Split totals for every FBS game can be found here.

FEI Week 4 Top 25

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (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. 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.

These FEI ratings are a function of results of games played through September 24. The ratings for all FBS teams can be found here.

Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
1 LSU 3-0 .327 1 .192 18 .097 8 9.6 7.1
2 Oklahoma 3-0 .301 3 .265 9 .186 40 10.7 8.1
3 Alabama 4-0 .265 2 .329 6 .134 19 9.2 5.5
4 Wisconsin 3-0 .262 5 .707 1 .467 95 10.1 7.2
5 Clemson 3-0 .244 10 .135 28 .206 43 9.2 6.5
6 Oklahoma State 4-0 .236 17 .227 13 .156 25 9.8 6.3
7 Boise State 3-0 .235 7 .204 16 .640 112 11.3 8.7
8 Florida 4-0 .221 9 .391 3 .075 4 8.3 4.5
9 Stanford 3-0 .220 11 .431 2 .513 103 11.0 8.0
10 Michigan 4-0 .220 19 .258 10 .341 74 10.3 6.7
11 Oregon 2-1 .195 12 .168 24 .166 29 9.0 6.8
12 South Carolina 4-0 .192 13 .121 30 .179 35 7.9 4.7
Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
13 West Virginia 2-1 .190 8 .032 51 .161 28 8.3 6.2
14 Texas A&M 2-1 .188 30 .315 8 .099 9 8.8 6.4
15 Georgia Tech 3-0 .187 15 .386 4 .441 92 9.3 6.4
16 South Florida 3-0 .185 20 .203 17 .248 55 8.5 6.1
17 Notre Dame 2-2 .180 26 .041 46 .159 27 8.9 6.6
18 Virginia Tech 3-0 .175 6 .190 19 .359 81 8.9 6.3
19 Florida State 1-2 .163 4 .054 45 .147 22 8.3 6.8
20 Arizona State 2-1 .156 35 .098 38 .302 63 8.5 6.5
21 Arkansas 2-1 .154 14 .118 31 .075 5 7.2 5.2
22 Navy 1-1 .138 38 .160 25 .282 59 8.2 7.0
23 Temple 2-1 .137 55 .253 11 .577 108 9.0 6.5
24 Missouri 1-2 .134 29 -.050 78 .085 7 6.6 5.3
25 Pittsburgh 1-2 .134 21 .020 55 .195 41 6.9 5.1

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 28 Sep 2011

16 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2012, 3:23am by john123456

Comments

1
by snoopy369 :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 12:41pm

I don't entirely understand how you use SOS here. LSU has a schedule such that an elite team has a 26% chance of going undefeated against it in all non-conference games since 2003, but a 9.7% chance of going undefeated against the 2011 schedule? So the games from 2003-2010 have nearly a 300% chance of going undefeated? Or am I really misunderstanding how you're using that term?

2
by sanwekwe :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 1:32pm

The 9.7% includes all 2011 games, including future games (read: SEC games). The 2003-2010 SOS is only non-conference games, which are significantly easier on the whole than the SEC games.

4
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 2:04pm

The 9.7 percent is the likelihood of going undefeated against the entire 2011 schedule (including non-conference and conference games). For games played to date, LSU's SOS is .409 (No. 10). For remaining games, it is .237 (No. 25). For total schedule, it is .097 (No. 8).

14
by snoopy369 :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 5:34pm

Ah, makes sense, thanks.

Ah, rereading the instructions does explicitly state this... reading is good... :)

3
by jebmak :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 1:36pm

I didn't get the picture with the title until I was closing the FO main page. I had to reopen it just to check. Classy. I approve.

5
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 2:15pm

Last loss was at VT in 2002?

8
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 2:38pm

Yes. Another streak of note: USC did not lose a regular season non-conference game between 2002 (at Kansas State) and 2011 (vs Notre Dame), but by only playing three non-conf games per year instead of four since 2007, the streak only reached 29 games.

12
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 5:03pm

Yes and no. Officially, those 2004 and 2005 wins never happened.

6
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 2:27pm

Wow, Nebraska 54th. Even as a fan I will agree that they are probably overrated, but I wouldn't put them out of the top 25, let alone outside the top 50. I guess we'll see this weekend.

7
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 2:31pm

There were some drastic moves this week as a result of less-than-elite performances and another tick down in the weighting of preseason data. I'm with you on Nebraska being hit a bit too hard. Air Force is the biggest outlier, I think, a function of having only played one FBS game to date and the weighting of other games amplifying that one result.

9
by brandond03 :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 2:59pm

If you look at Nebraska's GE they are averaging 31.67 from week 2 on, so there is some validity in them being outside the Top 25

Go Gators and Go Navy

11
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 4:07pm

Oh, I understand what the numbers I say. But from a practical standpoint, I'd favor them over everyone from #13 on down.

10
by ClemsonMatt (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 4:05pm

My only question is how far will Clemson drop when they lose to Wake Forest and NC State in consecutive weeks to choke away the Atlantic division, then allow Garcia the idiot drunk to throw for 600 yards.

That's the most painful scenario I can envision, so I might as well start working on acceptance.

13
by Ununanonymous (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 5:28pm

Wisconsin's GE is *CRAZY*

15
by Evan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 6:31pm

Strange that Alabama would drop after the beating they gave Arkansas.

16
by john123456 (not verified) :: Sat, 12/08/2012 - 3:23am

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