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17 Oct 2012

FEI Week 7: Charting Game Splits

by Brian Fremeau

We’ve reached the midway point of the 2012 college football season, the first opportunity for me to publish the full offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency ratings. For the first time this season, I’m also happy to share FEI ratings that are exclusively a function of 2012 data and no longer influenced by program ratings, recruiting success, and other factors that comprised the FEI preseason projections. The preseason projected data has now been fully eliminated from the system. That means that Oklahoma State slides out of the top 40, while Oregon State and Kansas State now comfortably reside in the top 5.

The top two teams in this week’s FEI ratings are the same two teams that top the recently released BCS standings. Alabama and Florida may be on another collision course for an SEC championship showdown, with a national championship berth on the line. The Crimson Tide and Gators are the two most likely teams to run the table the rest of the regular season, but there is still a 91.3 percent chance that one or both of them will trip up between now and then.

Notre Dame is the next most likely team to go undefeated according to FEI, but with road trips to Oklahoma and USC on the schedule, there’s still an 80.4 percent chance the Irish will fall. Only ten teams are projected to have a better than 10 percent chance of running the table the rest of the way. Four of those teams are more likely than not to lose two or more games.

Loss Likelihood in Remaining Regular Season Games
Team 0-Loss Pct 1-Loss Pct 2-Loss+ Pct
Alabama 30.7 43.0 26.3
Florida State* 29.3 45.2 25.6
Florida 28.5 48.3 23.2
Notre Dame 19.6 46.1 34.3
Oregon State 15.3 35.6 49.1
Kansas State 14.9 34.3 50.8
Texas A&M* 11.4 41.4 47.2
Cincinnati 11.3 29.6 59.1
Oklahoma* 11.0 30.5 58.5
Rutgers 10.5 35.8 53.7
*Teams that already have 1 loss

There is much more football to be played this season, so any conclusive statements about the BCS standings or these ratings are very premature. And in the wild Big 12, things can change dramatically in a hurry. West Virginia appeared to be an unstoppable force and then fell flat on their faces in Lubbock. Oklahoma watched its championship dreams slip away against Kansas State, but could make up all the ground it needs with elite offensive and defensive play down the stretch.

My gut still thinks Alabama and Oregon are the best bets to play for the national championship at season’s end, but I’m starting to convince myself that surprises may be the norm in the second half of the year.

Visualizing Game Splits

The game splits I publish are designed to quantify the value generated (or lost) by the offense, defense, and special teams over the course of each game that contributed to the final non-garbage scoring margin. I added in field position and turnover splits this season as well.

But that’s just the final output. What does it look like possession by possession? I’ve been playing with a few new data visualizations over the last few weeks, and I’m always looking for feedback from FO readers on them. Here is a snapshot of Alabama’s game splits in each category over the course of the 2012 season so far.

A few preliminary notes:

  • Each game is color-coded for the opponent faced, which is something I'm going to have to take a look at fixing since Alabama has already faced several teams that have a similar (blue) dominant color.
  • It may not be apparent since the scales on the graphics aren't labeled, but the offense, defense, special teams, field position, and turnover value charts are all on the same scale. Game efficiency is the only one on a unique scale.
  • The horizontal axis of each graph is on the same scale, possession by possession from the start of the game to its conclusion.
  • The non-garbage portion of each game is drawn in a thick line and concludes with the an outlined circle. The non-garbage portion of each game continues from there and concludes with a smaller dot.

I like where this project is heading, and I really like seeing each chart packaged together for ease of comparison. Alabama is the only team in the country to have had a positive offensive value and defensive value in each game this season. In four games, the offense got off to a quick start, while the defense was consistently dominant from the start in five of six games.

Note the shape of the lines in the field-position chart, where alternating possessions generate a wave of back-and-forth advantages and disadvantages. Note the relatively slight impact of special teams play over the course of each game, with the notable exception of kickoff returns in two games. Note the signicant impact of turnovers, big value bursts at the conclusion of only select possessions.

The game efficiency chart is especially interesting in the way it suggests how it can best be maximized. The more possessions there are in a game, the less efficient a team has the possibility of being. Alabama's most efficient game was against Florida Atlantic, concluding the non-garbage portion of the game in 15 possessions with a score of 33-0. Alabama has had multiple other games in which it was just as efficient out of the gate, but garbage time did not kick in as quickly. Alabama dominated Missouri, but it took 24 game possessions to get to the conclusion of non-garbage time, so it was less efficient overall.

Again, I really value questions and inquiries about this data and these charts in particular, and if they're popular, I hope to continue producing similar graphics for FEI columns the rest of the season.

Week 7 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 7 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
10/13 Central Florida 38-31 Southern Mississippi 7.8 0.0 7.8 -0.8
10/13 Mississippi State 34-31 Tennessee 5.0 0.0 5.0 -2.0
10/13 Northwestern 21-13 Minnesota 10.7 0.0 10.7 -2.7
10/13 Rutgers 23-15 Syracuse 15.6 0.0 15.6 -7.6
10/13 USC 24-14 Washington 14.1 3.0 11.1 -1.1

Week 7 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
10/13 Ball State 30-24 Western Michigan 8.5 -2.5
10/13 Iowa 19-16 Michigan State 12.7 -9.7
10/13 Ohio 34-28 Akron 6.5 -0.5
10/13 Temple 17-14 Connecticut 9.4 -6.4

Week 7 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
10/13 Rutgers 23-15 Syracuse 31.7 21.8 9.9 -1.9
10/13 Toledo 52-47 Eastern Michigan 27.9 20.7 7.2 -2.2

2012 totals to date:

  • Net Total Turnover Value was the difference in 52 of 341 FBS games (15.2 percent)
  • Net Special Teams Value was the difference in 26 of 341 FBS games (7.6 percent)
  • Net Field Position Value was the difference in 34 of 341 FBS games (10.0 percent)
  • Turnovers, Special Teams and/or Field Position was the difference in 75 of 341 FBS games (22.0 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 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 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.

Other definitions:

  • SOS Pvs: Strength of schedule to date, based on the likelihood of an elite team going undefeated against the given team's schedule to date.
  • SOS Fut: Strength of schedule, based on the likelihood of an elite team going undefeated against the given team's remaining schedule.
  • FBS MW: Mean Wins, the average number of games a team with the given FEI rating would be expected to win against its entire schedule.
  • FBS RMW: Remaining Mean Wins, the average number of games a team with the given FEI rating would be expected to win against its remaining schedule.
  • OFEI: Offensive FEI, the opponent-adjusted efficiency of the given team's offense.
  • DFEI: Defensive FEI, the opponent-adjusted efficiency of the given team's defense.
  • STE: Special Teams Efficiency, the scoring value earned by field goal, punt and kickoff units measured in points per average game.
  • FPA: Field Position Advantage, the share of the value of total starting field position earned by each team against its opponents.

These FEI ratings are a function of results of games played through October 13. The ratings for all FBS teams, including FEI splits for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams can be found here. Program FEI (five-year weighted) ratings and other supplemental drive-based data can be found here.

Rk Team FBS
Rec
FEI LW GE GE
Rk
SOS
Pvs
Rk SOS
Fut
Rk FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
OFEI Rk DFEI Rk STE Rk FPA Rk
1 Alabama 6-0 .246 2 .404 1 .804 109 .431 31 9.6 4.0 .197 36 -.638 6 3.285 4 .582 4
2 Florida 6-0 .238 7 .182 13 .426 25 .425 29 9.0 4.0 .214 34 -.540 12 2.515 13 .547 17
3 Kansas State 5-0 .236 4 .274 3 .384 17 .286 14 8.4 4.4 .635 3 -.649 5 3.159 7 .565 8
4 Oklahoma 3-1 .235 5 .250 7 .379 14 .238 7 8.1 5.2 .758 2 -.697 2 -.691 82 .486 77
5 Oregon State 5-0 .234 21 .100 36 .529 50 .424 28 8.9 4.8 .520 6 -.448 23 -.434 73 .513 48
6 Notre Dame 6-0 .234 3 .206 10 .609 69 .342 18 10.1 4.8 .565 5 -.521 15 -.788 83 .491 71
7 Florida State 4-1 .224 8 .251 6 .615 72 .536 51 8.2 4.0 .158 45 -.672 4 1.451 23 .570 6
8 Oregon 5-0 .222 11 .367 2 .863 116 .204 5 8.7 4.0 .183 37 -.630 7 1.888 19 .535 28
9 Texas A&M 4-1 .198 15 .169 17 .604 68 .368 20 7.5 3.5 .375 16 -.322 29 -.351 72 .507 53
10 Texas Tech 4-1 .192 12 .241 8 .442 33 .273 11 7.7 4.0 .452 9 -.536 14 -.669 81 .498 64
11 USC 5-1 .171 17 .188 12 .593 66 .339 17 8.6 3.8 .089 52 -.419 24 1.123 33 .545 19
12 Cincinnati 3-0 .170 14 .264 5 .935 123 .503 46 7.9 5.2 .245 30 -.610 9 .845 40 .568 7
Rk Team FBS
Rec
FEI LW GE GE
Rk
SOS
Pvs
Rk SOS
Fut
Rk FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
OFEI Rk DFEI Rk STE Rk FPA Rk
13 South Carolina 6-1 .168 10 .266 4 .631 76 .399 25 8.5 2.5 .053 54 -.519 16 .800 41 .534 29
14 Stanford 4-2 .162 26 .079 45 .408 20 .306 15 8.1 3.9 -.101 78 -.693 3 2.150 16 .564 9
15 Ohio State 7-0 .160 13 .148 23 .624 74 .592 65 9.6 3.9 .392 14 -.385 26 .046 65 .514 46
16 TCU 4-1 .154 27 .113 32 .666 83 .197 4 6.7 2.8 -.163 88 -.543 11 4.593 1 .560 12
17 Iowa State 3-2 .151 16 .032 58 .298 4 .366 19 6.1 3.6 .256 27 -.463 20 .998 36 .530 36
18 LSU 5-1 .149 38 .190 11 .425 24 .386 22 7.4 3.0 .014 60 -.490 19 1.612 21 .570 5
19 West Virginia 4-1 .143 1 .067 47 .426 27 .270 10 6.4 3.2 .406 12 -.110 51 -2.697 110 .485 78
20 Rutgers 5-0 .142 19 .125 29 .778 105 .533 50 8.4 4.4 .035 56 -.600 10 .855 39 .558 13
21 Iowa 3-2 .140 46 .039 57 .588 65 .583 61 7.9 4.3 .173 41 -.537 13 1.427 24 .509 52
22 Arizona State 4-1 .135 18 .180 14 .792 106 .225 6 7.3 3.1 .146 47 -.308 31 -1.101 88 .535 27
23 Texas 4-2 .135 6 .098 37 .439 32 .240 8 7.0 3.0 .247 28 .004 67 3.391 3 .587 3
24 Utah State 4-2 .126 55 .106 33 .544 56 .755 86 8.8 4.4 -.209 93 -.613 8 -.592 76 .498 65
25 Wisconsin 4-2 .120 44 .117 31 .431 29 .558 58 7.1 3.0 .166 44 -.300 33 -.171 68 .534 30

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 17 Oct 2012

9 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2012, 8:33am by latvinga

Comments

1
by Mr. X (not verified) :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:43pm

...to get to the title game. That doesn't mean they will and the odds are not in their favor, but all you want is a chance.

The OU game will be the hardest game of the year for ND. Stoops has never lost twice at home in one season and even losing once is rare. Plenty of ND fans will be in LA for the USC game.

2
by brandond03 :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:46pm

Brian, looks like you have Navy mixed up with someone else. They beat Central Michigan on Friday night.
Go Gators and Go Navy

4
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 4:44pm

Fixed, thanks.

3
by Kal :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 4:23pm

"Alabama is the only team in the country to have had a positive offensive value and defensive value in each game this season."

I don't think this is true; here are Oregon's splits:

ARST: 30.4 4.8
FSU: 18.2 8.3
AZ: 0.1 25.0
WSU: 10.4 11.3
UW: 26.7 7.0

I confess the AZ game wasn't a really positive value on offense, but it still was positive.

5
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 4:48pm

You are correct, Kal. Sorry for the oversight. Alabama and Oregon.

6
by Kal :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 6:25pm

The charts are really cool looking too. So the vertical axis is the overall successful value, basically? It's a great idea and one I wish we'd see more of - visualization of advanced data is often a much clearer way to get an idea of interesting trends and information than otherwise. In particular this sort of thing would have nicely revealed Oregon's penchant in 2010 for amazing success after about the 50-play mark and shown some interesting splits from quarter to quarter.

Thanks!

7
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 6:47pm

Thanks for the comment, Kal.

Yes, the vertical axis represents success, the horizontal axis is possessions, 1 to X. I've done something similar with single-game Off, Def, ST data before:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/fei-ratings/2011/fei-total-special-team...

With more data, there are many more options on how to show it, and like you said, trends reveal themselves so much more clearly in a graphic than on a spreadsheet.

8
by NCAA football picks (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:51am

No more words to say you have just done great analysis on whole match strategy and effective moves.
thanks for the post
keep posting.

9
by latvinga (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 8:33am

thanks for the info... great news