After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?
12 Oct 2011
by Brian Fremeau
Last weekend played out pretty much as expected, and very little changed in the FEI ratings this week as a result. LSU, Alabama, and Oklahoma retained their firm grip on the top three spots. A bit of shuffling took place among the rest of the top 10. Florida slipped out of the top 15 and Notre Dame slipped in.
This week presents the final set of ratings that is still partially influenced by preseason projections, though the weight of the preseason data has been reduced to only around 10-15 percent. Starting next week, I'll also be providing complete offensive and defensive ratings and splits.
For this week, we'll focus one more time on special teams. The scoring margin splits generated in every possession in every game can be attributed to the offensive, defensive or special teams units that were responsible. Special teams is often times only fractionally significant in a game's outcome, but special teams has been a deciding factor in 7.4 percent of games played to date.
Notably, this past weekend featured an Oregon State upset of Arizona that drove the final nail in the coffin for Mike Stoops' career in Tucson. The Beavers won by 10 points, and 14.6 points of scoring margin value were generated on special teams. Oregon State blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown, Arizona was pinned inside it's own 20-yard line three times on punts, and five Wildcats drives following Oregon State kickoffs started at or inside Arizona's 20-yard line. The total scoring margin value generated on special teams by Oregon State was the second highest single game total of the season by any team. Had special teams play been even and the game decided only by offenses and defenses, Arizona would have won and Stoops would probably still have a job (for another week at least).
The complete Unit Value Splits for every team in every FBS game and season totals to date are provided on my blog. Here are the teams that have generated the most raw special teams scoring margin value through Week 6:
1. Florida +31.1
2. Stanford +25.5
3. Nebraska +22.2
4. Mississippi +20.9
5. Rutgers +20.9
Those raw figures include value generated through all special teams play, including events that are almost entirely out of a team's own control (such as opponent field goal success). The raw numbers also are influenced by the variable number of special teams opportunities each team has had. Rutgers has had 14 non-garbage field goal attempts while teams like Boise State and Wisconsin have only had two. Teams that are strong defensively have more punt return opportunities than average. Teams that give up a lot of points have more kick return opportunities.
On average, teams are expected to attempt 1.54 field goals per game, punt 4.61 times, receive 4.61 punts, kick off 4.84 times and receive 4.84 kickoffs. We can use these averages to calibrate the combined special teams efficiency of every team for these five events. "STE" is our new metric, the average scoreboard value earned by each team's field goal, punt, and kickoff units over the course of an average game. The rankings for all 120 teams are provided below. Starting next week, we'll publish the individual unit rankings along with the new offense and defense data.
|2010 Special Teams Efficiency through Week 6|
|3||Florida State||1-3||4.18||43||Washington||3-1||1.08||83||North Carolina State||1-3||-1.56|
|7||Texas Tech||3-1||3.73||47||Kansas State||4-0||.99||87||Troy||2-3||-1.66|
|8||Mississippi||1-3||3.70||48||Boston College||0-5||.98||88||West Virginia||4-1||-1.72|
|9||Ohio State||3-3||3.38||49||UAB||0-5||.90||89||Notre Dame||4-2||-1.81|
|11||Western Michigan||3-2||3.20||51||Oregon State||1-3||.79||91||Memphis||0-5||-1.90|
|14||Louisiana Tech||1-4||2.73||54||Michigan State||3-1||.65||94||Iowa State||2-2||-2.11|
|16||East Carolina||1-4||2.42||56||Connecticut||1-4||.58||96||Florida Atlantic||0-5||-2.29|
|19||Texas A&M||3-2||2.15||59||Georgia Tech||5-0||.41||99||Middle Tennessee||1-4||-2.33|
|25||SMU||3-1||1.73||65||Hawaii||2-2||.09||105||New Mexico State||2-3||-2.87|
|27||Miami||1-3||1.69||67||Washington State||2-2||-0.06||107||Air Force||1-2||-3.34|
|28||UNLV||1-3||1.55||68||Virginia Tech||4-1||-0.16||108||Utah State||1-3||-3.36|
|29||Western Kentucky||1-3||1.53||69||Idaho||0-5||-0.26||109||Central Florida||2-2||-3.40|
|30||Bowling Green||2-3||1.50||70||Central Michigan||1-4||-0.52||110||Miami (OH)||1-4||-3.47|
|31||San Diego State||2-2||1.47||71||San Jose State||2-4||-0.57||111||Army||2-4||-3.65|
|39||South Florida||3-1||1.20||79||Penn State||4-1||-1.20||119||Wyoming||1-2||-6.37|
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 October 8. The ratings for all FBS teams can be found here.
6 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2012, 3:20am by john123456