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04 Dec 2013

FEI Week 14

by Brian Fremeau

One second was put back on the clock at the end of regulation in the Iron Bowl, setting the stage for one of the greatest moments in college football history. My colleagues Bill Connelly and Matt Hinton have each written outstanding postscripts to last weekend’s Alabama-Auburn game which you should definitely read. My take here will center on the impact of the game and that play on the FEI ratings.

Overall, not much changed. Auburn vaulted from No. 14 in the FEI ratings last week to No. 8 this week. That’s a healthy bump, but while they are certainly a major player in the BCS national championship conversation following the win, they continue to be ranked behind the other major contenders as far as FEI is concerned.

A week ago I speculated whether Auburn has been more lucky than good in their performances to date, and though they’ve certainly produced several magical moments, the Tigers haven’t played exceptionally better than their expected mean wins. Mean wins are a factor of a team’s current FEI rating and the strength of opponents faced. Auburn has 1.1 actual wins over its mean wins expectation. By this measure, the Tigers are the 19th most fortunate team in terms of record versus performance. (San Diego State is currently the most fortunate team with 2.6 actual wins over its mean wins expectation).

As for Alabama, they dropped out of the No. 1 spot but only slid to No. 2 behind Florida State. The loss has nearly (but not yet completely) eliminated Alabama from the national championship race, but in the eyes of their possession efficiency over the course of the year, the Crimson Tide are still one of the best teams in the country. Their margin behind the Seminoles is narrow enough that the outcome of the SEC (or ACC) championship game could boost Alabama back to No. 1 this weekend.

And what about that final play? I posted last week that Alabama was on pace to finish with the best overall special teams efficiency ratings on record, ranking among the top ten in all five of our key special teams unit ratings heading into the Iron Bowl. And then they proceeded to have one of the worst field goal kicking games ever. Oops.

Alabama’s Cade Foster missed a 44-yard attempt on the Crimson Tide’s first possession of the game. He missed a 33-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter. He had another 44-yard attempt blocked with just under three minutes left in the game with the Tide clinging to a seven point lead. And finally, Nick Saban turned to the stronger leg of Adam Griffith for the 57-yard attempt that set up the dramatic touchdown for Auburn as time expired.

The drive ending value on those four possessions was worth 6.25 points. Based on starting field position and the production of the offense leading up to those four field goal attempts, an average field goal unit would have been expected to connect on better than two of the four kicks. Throw out the last one at a distance that not many teams would even attempt, and an average unit would have been expected to average 5.85 points on the other three kicks. Alabama had the ninth-best field goal unit heading into the Iron Bowl according to our field goal efficiency metric and was certainly expected to do better than 0-for-4.

But oh yeah, what about the final play -- the run back touchdown after the last field goal attempt? The 57-yard attempt had a very small success expectation, and since it came with only one second left on the clock, nearly everyone watching expected that a failure would merely lead to overtime. Auburn obviously prepared for and executed the perfect return, claiming the SEC West title and potentially much more in one fantastic play.

I calculated the Game Splits that night and tweeted that the value of the field goal failures (minus-6.3 points) and the value of the runback (minus-5.1 points) cost Alabama a total of 11.4 points from its field goal unit alone. When I posted the overall special teams ratings here at FO on Monday night, I tweeted that Alabama’s field goal unit fell from 9th to 69th due to the Auburn game. I only realized last night that I miscalculated an elements of the special teams ratings and discovered that the field goal performance was even worse.

I discovered that my formula erroneously attributed the value of the run back to Alabama’s kickoff return team rather than its field goal unit. There is no good explanation for this other than it is such a rare occurrence that I didn’t notice the formula error. The error applied only to blocked field goals returned for touchdowns, an event that has happened 11 times this season. It took the greatest play of the season and one of the greatest in history to catch my attention to the formula error.

This error didn’t impact game splits, game factors, or any of the offensive, defensive, or field position ratings produced and published here. Fixing the error did impact the overall special teams ratings and some of the individual special teams ratings for each of the teams involved in one of those 11 blocked field goal return touchdowns this year.

In Alabama’s case, it made their field goal efficiency ranking drop all the way to 97th, a fall of 88 ranking positions due to one really bad day for the Crimson Tide field goal units. They remain ranked in the top 10 in punt returns, kickoff returns, punting and kicking. Their overall special teams efficiency rating actually inched up slightly when I corrected the error because of the relative weight placed on those elements. Even after a disastrous performance on special teams in the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide retain their position as the best overall special teams unit in the nation. I'm sure they feel great about that.

In the offseason, I will review and update as necessary the special teams stat ratings for the 2007 to 2012 seasons that may also be affected by this error.

FEI Week 14 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 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 composite efficiency of the given team's special teams units - field goals, punt returns, kickoff returns, punts, and kickoffs.
  • 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 November 30th. The ratings for all FBS 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 Florida State 11-0 .302 2 .512 1 .461 98 .799 10 11.2 .8 .540 9 -.591 6 .333 53 .575 3
2 Alabama 10-1 .297 1 .317 2 .188 40 - - 9.7 - .510 11 -.588 7 4.094 1 .578 1
3 Stanford 10-2 .290 3 .184 14 .099 21 .442 2 10.5 .5 .383 20 -.779 2 3.476 2 .568 5
4 Arizona State 9-2 .279 4 .147 21 .060 9 .568 4 9.2 .5 .629 3 -.581 8 .390 51 .544 12
5 Missouri 10-1 .249 5 .204 10 .250 57 .647 8 9.9 .6 .283 32 -.577 9 -.054 69 .541 14
6 Oklahoma State 9-1 .248 6 .195 12 .423 87 .884 14 9.6 .8 .333 25 -.672 4 .235 59 .554 10
7 Ohio State 11-0 .247 8 .297 4 .450 95 .702 9 10.6 .6 .608 8 -.302 25 2.807 5 .554 9
8 Auburn 10-1 .235 14 .129 26 .163 31 .616 6 9.4 .4 .471 13 -.463 13 2.622 7 .512 47
9 Oregon 9-2 .232 7 .275 6 .124 23 - - 8.7 - .614 6 -.364 20 1.430 25 .540 18
10 Baylor 9-1 .228 9 .299 3 .294 66 .935 17 9.3 .9 .517 10 -.310 24 -.271 80 .543 13
11 South Carolina 9-2 .225 11 .111 32 .164 32 - - 8.7 - .616 5 -.390 18 -1.603 102 .483 88
12 Wisconsin 8-3 .209 10 .191 13 .125 24 - - 8.4 - .336 24 -.565 10 -.150 71 .510 49
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 Michigan State 10-1 .207 15 .199 11 .363 79 .621 7 9.6 .4 .125 46 -.683 3 1.373 26 .576 2
14 UCLA 9-3 .205 19 .131 25 .038 2 - - 8.1 - .410 17 -.408 16 2.475 8 .530 25
15 Georgia 7-4 .200 16 .060 46 .108 22 - - 7.5 - .625 4 -.100 56 .065 65 .476 94
16 LSU 8-3 .191 13 .140 22 .091 17 - - 7.7 - .613 7 -.109 54 1.360 27 .509 53
17 Washington 7-4 .181 17 .128 27 .056 8 - - 7.2 - .487 12 -.332 21 .701 43 .509 51
18 USC 9-4 .174 12 .092 35 .082 15 - - 9.0 - .315 29 -.611 5 .896 39 .529 29
19 Notre Dame 8-4 .172 18 .045 51 .067 13 - - 7.9 - .461 15 -.284 30 .314 55 .488 79
20 Virginia Tech 7-4 .167 22 .038 53 .161 30 - - 7.6 - -.052 69 -.849 1 -.625 91 .495 70
21 BYU 7-4 .166 20 .068 41 .201 48 - - 7.7 - .140 44 -.502 12 -.543 90 .514 44
22 Central Florida 10-1 .165 21 .212 8 .403 84 .985 30 9.9 .9 .430 16 -.137 48 2.027 12 .530 26
23 Louisville 9-1 .155 25 .297 5 .677 117 .884 13 9.4 .7 .391 19 -.267 32 1.325 28 .540 17
24 Clemson 8-2 .151 24 .153 19 .201 45 - - 7.0 - .326 26 -.419 15 -.476 88 .507 55
25 Duke 9-2 .151 27 .091 36 .422 86 .441 1 8.7 .2 .326 27 -.208 37 1.043 35 .502 60

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 04 Dec 2013

6 comments, Last at 21 Jan 2014, 10:00pm by Pandora Outlet Store

Comments

1
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:00pm

"Their margin behind the Seminoles is narrow enough that the outcome of the SEC (or ACC) championship game could boost Alabama back to No. 1 this weekend."

Is Stanford close enough that a win over ASU, coupled with Missouri beating Auburn, puts Stanford over Alabama?

2
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:04pm

Yes, I think all of that is in play.

3
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:25pm

So how much is Stanford's ranking boosted this week by FEI's irrational love of a 7-loss Utah team? =)

4
by Brian Fremeau :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 4:20pm

On the contrary, its one of the biggest factors holding them back from being ranked even higher: http://www.bcftoys.com/2013-game-factors/

It's their 4th-worst game according to opponent-adjusted GFEI and it is getting a higher weight in Stanford's rating than every other game.

5
by Sid :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 7:36pm

I know the MAC is a weak conference, but Bowling Green being ranked 92nd in DFEI is bizarre. They've allowed 165 points in 12 games!

6
by Pandora Outlet Store (not verified) :: Tue, 01/21/2014 - 10:00pm

I had been recommended this site via our cousin. I