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» Clutch Encounters: Week 7

Saints bomb again in the final minutes. Also: Kyle Orton's rare GWD, Andy Reid's game management, the return of Colt McCoy, Jets' regression and you can't blow out Russell Wilson.

19 Oct 2011

FEI: Outliers

by Brian Fremeau

We've reached the midpoint of the season, a threshold that is significant for the weekly FEI ratings in two ways. First, we have finally shed all remnants of the preseason projected data from the formula -- all ratings from this point forward will only represent data from 2011 games. Second, we will debut offensive and defensive efficiency data for the first time this season.

One of the main reasons I wait until this point in the year to publish offensive and defensive efficiency is that I need to wait until a fair amount of connectivity between teams exists. With only a few first- and second-order connections between teams early in the year, the opponent-adjusted data can be too heavily influenced by a few outlier results. The variance in game data can be extraordinary for some teams, and the opponent-adjusted results skew significantly.

Of course, there's no magic date when college football connectivity ceases to be a concern. Week 7 is a convenient time to make the switch, but there are peculiarities in the results this week that make me wonder if the 2011 season needs a little more time to cool.

Take Wisconsin, for example. The Badgers' raw Offensive Efficiency (OE) is 1.501 through the first seven weeks of the season. In laymen's terms, that means Wisconsin's offense is producing 150 percent more scoring value than expected based on non-garbage drive starting field position. The second most efficient offense is Houston (1.037), and they are roughly equivalent to the most efficient offense at this point last season, Boise State (1.002). Wisconsin is scoring a mammoth 5.1 points per non-garbage offensive possession. West Virginia, ranked 20th in points per offensive drive (2.9) is as close to second place Stanford (4.0) as Stanford is to Wisconsin.

The following chart represents a comparison between 2011 Offensive Efficiency data through Week 7 and end-of-year 2010 Offensive Efficiency data. In each chart, teams are ordered from 1-120 along the x-axis. In addition to Offensive Efficiency data, supplemental raw drive efficiency metrics are plotted for each team. The correlations between these metrics and OE are also provided.

Pardon the expression, but Wisconsin's season to date has been off the charts. Of course, this only represents unadjusted game data. What we are truly interested in is Offensive and Defensive FEI. That's where things can get interesting for the Badgers the rest of the way.

Wisconsin has played the 115th easiest offensive schedule to date, but they'll play the toughest offensive schedule in college football the rest of the way. The Badgers haven't faced a top-40 opposing defense yet according to FEI, but they'll play four top-11 defenses down the stretch. The challenge begins this weekend on the road against DFEI No. 5 Michigan State. If Russell Wilson and company are even half or a third as efficient as they have been to date, Wisconsin will roll. But I'm thinking the Badgers' ridiculous success will come back down to earth a bit this weekend and through the rest of the year.

The opponent-adjusted Offensive FEI and Defensive FEI have their own peculiarities as well. Are we really to believe that the Miami Hurricanes have the nation's best offense? Or that the Kansas State Wildcats have the nation's best defense? There are plenty of teams that appear to be right where they ought to be, but what's with these outliers?

For Miami, their offense isn't putting up eye-popping raw stats (384 yards per game, 71st nationally), but they are much more impressive when we adjust for pace (6.6 yards per play, t-15th nationally). In terms of offensive efficiency, Miami was ...

  • more efficient against the Buckeyes than all but one of Ohio State's opponents,
  • more efficient against the Tar Heels than all but one of North Carolina's opponents,
  • dead even with Baylor's explosive offense against common opponent Kansas State,
  • and more efficient against the Hokies than any of Virginia Tech's other opponents.

Those aren't all necessarily elite defenses, but it is the kind of offensive resume that is unmatched in terms of opponent-adjusted performance. That said, I expect Miami to come back to earth a bit once more game data filters in. At this point last season, South Carolina had the nation's top offense according to FEI but settled in at 10th by the end of year.

Defensively, Kansas State has a similarly surprising profile. The Wildcats held Baylor and Texas Tech to their least efficient offensive games of the season and Kansas State had the second-best defensive effort to date against both Missouri and Miami. As you might guess, the Kansas State vs. Miami game helps trump up both teams in the opponent-adjusted ratings. Again, I'd expect Kansas State to settle in further down the rankings once more data reduces the impact of the limited results gathered to date.

FEI Week 7 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 A" represents only games played to date. "SOS B" represents only remaining scheduled games.

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.

Offensive FEI (OFEI), Defensive FEI (DFEI), Special Teams Efficiency (STE) are also provided, along with Field Position Advantage (FPA), the share of the value of total starting field position earned by each team against its opponents.

Only games between FBS teams are considered in the FEI calculations. These FEI ratings are a function of results of games played through October 15. The ratings for all FBS teams can be found here. You can also find OFEI, DFEI, and STE on their own pages.

Rk Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS
A
Rk SOS
B
Rk FBS
MW
FBS
RW
OFEI Rk DFEI Rk STE Rk FPA Rk
1 LSU 6-0 .320 1 .260 7 .289 14 .327 27 9.5 4.3 .438 18 -.744 3 4.389 2 .603 2
2 Alabama 7-0 .271 2 .384 3 .531 69 .315 24 9.4 3.0 .576 9 -.405 21 .505 50 .551 11
3 Oklahoma 6-0 .260 3 .349 4 .667 96 .217 3 10.0 4.5 .334 24 -.631 9 -.247 67 .578 6
4 Wisconsin 5-0 .254 4 .604 1 .842 113 .306 18 9.6 4.8 .481 12 -.526 13 3.399 9 .573 7
5 Boise State 6-0 .250 10 .328 5 .528 67 .838 99 11.1 5.7 .281 30 -.635 8 1.734 28 .608 1
6 Texas A&M 4-2 .248 15 .187 14 .394 35 .311 20 9.7 4.8 .823 3 -.113 47 2.253 18 .549 14
7 Clemson 6-0 .241 11 .171 16 .523 64 .417 46 9.1 4.0 .689 5 -.269 33 2.274 17 .510 48
8 West Virginia 4-1 .241 9 .192 13 .404 39 .440 50 9.1 4.9 .425 19 -.224 37 -1.720 91 .473 86
9 Stanford 6-0 .240 5 .416 2 .913 119 .442 51 10.8 4.9 .110 44 -.662 6 1.827 25 .548 15
10 Oklahoma State 6-0 .237 8 .271 6 .439 46 .394 40 9.8 4.7 .204 38 -.701 4 2.006 23 .554 10
11 Michigan State 4-1 .213 23 .164 18 .353 25 .413 45 8.3 4.7 .226 37 -.665 5 1.269 34 .519 35
12 Arkansas 4-1 .201 12 .113 26 .258 9 .238 5 7.8 4.5 .268 31 -.388 22 1.017 40 .477 84
Rk Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS
A
Rk SOS
B
Rk FBS
MW
FBS
RW
OFEI Rk DFEI Rk STE Rk FPA Rk
13 Notre Dame 4-2 .200 13 .170 17 .364 29 .436 49 9.1 4.7 .682 6 -.486 18 -1.807 92 .479 81
14 Oregon 4-1 .191 14 .193 12 .301 17 .351 30 8.3 4.6 .467 14 -.570 12 .147 60 .466 97
15 Arizona State 4-2 .186 17 .085 33 .378 31 .927 118 9.0 4.7 .497 11 -.364 24 -.585 74 .511 44
16 Michigan 6-1 .185 6 .232 10 .427 44 .504 62 9.2 3.7 .464 15 -.491 17 -3.751 110 .488 74
17 Rutgers 4-1 .171 20 .096 31 .616 89 .573 71 8.5 4.6 -.172 80 -.866 2 3.628 6 .550 13
18 Georgia Tech 5-1 .167 7 .229 11 .688 97 .378 36 8.1 3.0 .458 17 -.242 36 -.539 73 .550 12
19 Kansas State 5-0 .163 34 .141 20 .554 76 .221 4 7.2 3.6 .045 57 -.877 1 1.157 38 .571 8
20 Washington 4-1 .162 38 .147 19 .604 86 .362 32 8.2 4.2 .596 8 -.097 49 1.264 35 .485 76
21 Miami 2-3 .155 43 .006 56 .336 23 .487 56 7.0 4.3 1.067 1 .438 103 1.797 26 .461 101
22 Ohio State 4-3 .154 42 .101 29 .286 12 .402 43 7.8 3.2 -.145 76 -.630 10 3.232 10 .578 5
23 North Carolina 4-2 .152 18 .061 45 .454 49 .378 35 7.5 3.4 .371 22 -.300 30 .191 59 .497 63
24 Southern Miss. 4-1 .149 33 .096 30 .753 106 .819 94 9.3 5.3 -.158 77 -.513 15 -1.900 95 .483 78
25 Virginia Tech 5-1 .148 30 .101 27 .533 70 .499 61 7.7 3.3 .069 51 -.481 19 -.421 71 .543 18

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 19 Oct 2011

14 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2012, 3:40am by john123456

Comments

1
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 12:59pm

I find it interesting that Michigan State's defense improved significantly now that they are not depending on an overrated middle linebacker to make plays he couldn't make.

Sometimes graduation is a blessing.

2
by Yankee_Boy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 2:01pm

A middle 'backer that had 150tackles his junior year and 100+ senior year...yep I would call that overrated.

8
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 4:04pm

The defense was geared for him to make tackles. It was dumb.

Freed of that nonsense the defense is MUCH better in 2011.

3
by trill :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 2:18pm

Good to see my hometown Southern Miss Golden Eagles cracking the top 25. Their schedule was absurdly easy this year, and if not for a 5-turnover, 7-point loss to Marshall they'd be undefeated. We'll see what happens when fellow CUSA leader SMU comes to town on Saturday, but the numbers look like we can hope for something more than the Liberty Bowl for once.

4
by aaa (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 2:51pm

Are the F+ ratings going to be updated today?

5
by TomKelso :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 3:32pm

No Honey Badger, no Spencer Ware Saturday for LSU -- a bunch of schools might have just gotten the break they needed.

10
by Kal :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 7:29pm

Don't see how; unless LSU and Alabama both falter. And at this point it's looking more like LSU is the one that'll fail. It changes nothing.

12
by TomKelso :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 11:15pm

Sigh --

If you need both of them to lose, it's not out of the realm of possibility that LSU loses to Auburn without the three. They get them back, with a bye week, and it's certainly possible they beat Alabama.

If you need two teams to lose, a temporary situation that makes it more likely for one of them to lose before they face each other is all the opening you can ask for. It's certainly a better shot than the 4 (Stanford, Clemson, Boise and Wisconsin) had without the suspensions, right?

6
by QQ (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 3:46pm

Interesting that Wisconsin has a harder remaining schedule than Alabama and LSU, doubt many people would have expected that

7
by TomKelso :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 4:03pm

They played South Dakota and Vegas early -- Alabama plays Georgia Southern and LSU Western Kentucky late.

Funny how schools like Chattanooga, GSU and Ga. State can always find their way onto Bama's schedule -- but it's Boise's fault that they don't play enough SEC or other major conference schools.

11
by nuclearbdgr :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 7:49pm

Wisconsin plays Minnesota late - they are worse than South Dakota...sigh - pulling down the SOS.

9
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 4:08pm

Nick Toon sat out last week. Gotta wonder if he's going to disappear like he did in last year's game. The guy has legit talent but cannot keep that foot healthy.

The Badger secondary is beat up. If WI doesn't get a pass rush MSU could have a big day in the air. The Badgers best pass rusher is out so they may have to blitz. Last year the Spartans KILLED Wisconsin when Wisky blitzed. MSU picked it up easily and then would gain 20 yards on an easy pitch/catch.

Cousins threw multiple interceptions in the first half last year and WI still lost. Doubtful the Spartans can be that generous again.

Given all the chatter one has to wonder how quick the refs will be with flags.

13
by Dre Bly (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2011 - 6:46pm

Is Oklahoma State really #4 in Defense FEI???

That's insane.

14
by john123456 (not verified) :: Sat, 12/08/2012 - 3:40am

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