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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?

03 Oct 2012

FEI Week 5: Overcoming Adversity

by Brian Fremeau

Over the course of the first few weeks of the season, I’ve been publishing "Revisionist Box Scores" for games in which turnovers, special teams, or field position decided the outcome of a game. They are important factors in any football game, and they are important components in the possession efficiency metrics I track and analyze. As listed below, the value of one or more of those factors has been the difference in 23.6 percent of FBS games played to date.

Not every team that falls on the wrong end of one of these factors goes on to lose, of course. The winning team in just under one-third (32.2 percent) of games has had a negative total turnover value for the game. And several have had to overcome significant turnover deficits.

The Duke Blue Devils had four turnovers against Memphis on September 22nd, including an interception returned for a touchdown and two fumbles in the red zone. Duke went on to win comfortably by 24 points, even after costing themselves 18.8 points in turnover value, the highest value surrendered by a winning team so far this season.

Ohio State eked out a 17-16 victory over Michigan State this past Saturday despite coughing up two fumbles and an interception without forcing any of their own. The Buckeyes barely overcame the 10.4 points lost on turnover value to win, and they were fortunate that a premature whistle kept that turnover value from being even more costly. Quarterback Braxton Miller fumbled in the fourth quarter and MSU scooped it up with a clear path to the end zone. The referees had blown the play dead, calling Miller down before the fumble. The ball was correctly awarded to Michigan State on a replay review, but the Spartans were denied a defensive touchdown on the play, which probably would have been the difference in the game.

Nine teams have overcome a total turnover value deficit of at least 10 points and won the game (including Michigan State, against Boise State in week one). Only three teams have overcome a special teams value deficit of at least 10 points. On seven occasions, a team has overcome a field position value deficit of at least 10 points, including Georgia’s victory over Tennessee this past weekend.

The Bulldogs started six drives at or inside their own 20-yard line, including two drives pinned all the way back at their own one-yard line. Tennessee held Georgia to 14 total yards on three of those drives in the first half, and followed up each of those three possessions with a short-field touchdown drive of their own. Field position was a bit more even in the second half, and Georgia took advantage to pull out a 51-44 victory.

Overcoming adversity doesn’t earn extra credit in the FEI formula, but the distribution of offensive, defensive, and special teams value will impact the opponent-adjusted unit ratings when they debut in two weeks.

Week 5 Revisionist Box Scores

This weekly feature identifies the games played each week that were most impacted by turnovers, special teams, field position, or some combination of the three. The neutralized margin of victory is a function of the point values earned and surrendered based on field position and expected scoring rates.

Week 5 Games In Which Total Turnover Value Exceeded Non-Garbage Final Score Margin
Date Winning Team Non-Garbage
Final Score
Losing Team TTV
+
TTV
-
TTV
Net
TO Neutral
Score Margin
9/29 Duke 34-27 Wake Forest 14.0 4.2 9.8 -2.8
9/29 Louisiana Tech 44-38 Virginia 15.5 0.0 15.5 -9.6
9/29 Miami 44-37 North Carolina State 20.9 5.3 15.6 -8.6
9/29 North Texas 20-14 Florida Atlantic 11.7 5.1 6.6 -0.6
9/29 Ohio 37-34 Massachusetts 4.7 0.0 4.7 -1.7
9/29 Purdue 51-41 Marshall 23.6 2.6 20.9 -10.9
9/29 TCU 24-16 SMU 20.1 9.8 10.3 -2.3

Week 5 Games In Which Special Teams Value Exceeded Non-Garbage Final Score Margin
Date Winning Team Non-Garbage
Final Score
Losing Team STV
+
STV Neutral
Score Margin
9/29 Kent State 45-43 Ball State 3.6 -1.6
9/29 Louisiana Tech 44-38 Virginia 13.1 -7.1
9/29 Missouri 21-16 Central Florida 7.7 -2.7
9/29 Nebraska 30-27 Wisconsin 6.6 -3.6
9/29 TCU 24-16 SMU 9.9 -1.9

Week 5 Games In Which Field Position Value Exceeded Non-Garbage Final Score Margin
Date Winning Team Non-Garbage
Final Score
Losing Team FPV
+
FPV
-
FPV
Net
FPV Neutral
Score Margin
9/29 Cincinnati 27-24 Virginia Tech 25.5 21.6 3.9 -0.9
9/29 Louisiana Tech 44-38 Virginia 36.1 17.3 18.8 -12.8
9/29 Miami 44-37 North Carolina State 31.7 23.9 7.8 -0.8
9/29 Missouri 21-16 Central Florida 25.8 19.7 6.1 -1.1
9/29 Ohio 37-34 Massachusetts 20.1 16.9 3.2 -0.2
9/29 TCU 24-16 SMU 45.9 37.5 8.4 -0.4
9/29 Texas 41-36 Oklahoma State 24.3 19.2 5.1 -0.1

2012 totals to date:

  • Net Total Turnover Value was the difference in 39 of 233 FBS games (16.7 percent)
  • Net Special Teams Value was the difference in 19 of 233 FBS games (8.2 percent)
  • Net Field Position Value was the difference in 28 of 233 FBS games (12.0 percent)
  • Turnovers, Special Teams and/or Field Position was the difference in 55 of 233 FBS games (23.6 percent)

2012 Game Splits for all teams, including the offensive, defensive, special teams, field position, and turnover values recorded in each FBS game are provided here.

FEI Week 5 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 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.

Offensive Efficiency (OE) is the raw unadjusted efficiency of the given team's offense, a measure of its actual drive success against expected drive success based on field position. Defensive Efficiency (DE) is the raw unadjusted efficiency of the given team's defense, a measure of the actual drive success of its opponents against expected drive success based on field position. Field Position Advantage (FPA) is 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. 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. Opponent-adjusted offensive and defensive FEI ratings will also debut in Week 7.

These FEI ratings are a function of results of games played through September 29. 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
OE OE
Rk
DE DE
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
1 Alabama 5-0 .322 2 .432 1 .225 64 10.1 5.3 .333 27 -1.018 1 .612 2
2 Texas 4-0 .314 5 .312 5 .054 12 10.1 6.4 1.083 3 .146 79 .594 4
3 Notre Dame 4-0 .313 3 .199 16 .107 27 10.5 7.1 .021 60 -.780 6 .531 37
4 Florida State 3-0 .303 1 .274 10 .226 65 8.9 6.2 .573 12 -.469 22 .576 11
5 Florida 4-0 .284 7 .203 15 .091 23 9.1 5.5 .134 48 -.395 24 .557 15
6 Texas Tech 3-0 .279 9 .406 2 .063 17 8.7 5.8 .944 4 -.677 7 .539 28
7 Kansas State 3-0 .253 4 .312 4 .044 11 8.0 5.6 .837 5 -.240 40 .586 6
8 Oregon 4-0 .249 8 .343 3 .196 54 9.1 5.5 .399 25 -.674 8 .512 49
9 Oklahoma 1-1 .239 10 .076 46 .019 3 7.1 5.7 .067 55 -.373 27 .454 101
10 West Virginia 3-0 .236 6 .206 13 .035 7 7.6 5.0 1.677 1 .543 106 .509 52
11 Cincinnati 2-0 .223 11 .188 17 .354 86 8.3 6.5 .291 33 -.562 16 .515 47
12 South Carolina 5-0 .217 18 .299 8 .111 31 8.4 3.7 .139 47 -.925 3 .543 24
Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI Last
Wk
GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
OE OE
Rk
DE DE
Rk
FPA FPA
Rk
13 Nebraska 3-1 .214 14 .131 31 .219 61 8.8 5.5 .522 16 -.184 45 .423 118
14 LSU 4-0 .212 23 .308 6 .070 20 7.9 4.4 .186 41 -.868 5 .600 3
15 Purdue 2-1 .208 28 .139 28 .143 43 8.8 6.7 .155 44 -.200 43 .541 25
16 Rutgers 3-0 .207 19 .117 36 .313 82 9.2 6.5 .175 43 -.386 26 .537 32
17 Michigan State 3-2 .198 12 .094 40 .108 28 8.9 5.3 -.201 82 -.669 9 .491 70
18 USC 3-1 .189 16 .205 14 .097 25 8.6 5.2 .057 56 -.491 21 .552 18
19 Clemson 3-1 .187 27 .083 43 .174 50 8.3 5.7 .435 23 .218 87 .505 56
20 Georgia 5-0 .186 13 .303 7 .178 51 8.3 3.8 .701 8 -.394 25 .537 31
21 Boise State 3-1 .170 22 .091 41 .400 90 10.2 7.0 -.156 77 -.505 19 .528 39
22 Mississippi State 3-0 .168 44 .182 18 .117 34 8.0 5.3 .204 40 -.605 13 .541 26
23 Michigan 2-2 .166 42 .029 62 .023 4 7.5 5.3 .207 39 -.151 48 .443 111
24 Ohio State 5-0 .165 25 .150 26 .154 45 8.2 4.3 .301 30 -.335 30 .486 73
25 Baylor 2-1 .161 26 .163 23 .019 1 5.9 4.0 1.267 2 1.056 123 .575 12

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 03 Oct 2012

5 comments, Last at 07 Oct 2012, 9:48pm by Walshmobile

Comments

1
by Walshmobile :: Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:08pm

Still trying to grasp the TO neutral score margin numbers. So in this week's example, does it mean Wake "should have won by 2.8 points based off of turnovers results"?

3
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 10/03/2012 - 1:33pm

In a turnover-neutral environment, Wake outplayed Duke by 2.8 points. That doesn't mean Wake "should have won", those turnovers still happened. I'm also not categorizing any of the turnovers here as lucky or unlucky, just quantifying their impact on each game.

5
by Walshmobile :: Sun, 10/07/2012 - 9:48pm

Gotcha, thanks for the clarification

2
by ammek :: Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:09pm

Obviously there's plenty to dislike about Minnesota, but what in particular does FEI see (that S&P does not)? FEI has the Gophers 114th, behind 0-4 Memphis, which is fully 43 spots below their S&P rank.

4
by Jeff184 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/03/2012 - 2:36pm

Just thought I'd share this resource with other football fanatics. Found it to be an excellent resource.http://www.real.com/resources/college-football-live I'm sick of missing my games due to regional coverage!!