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DVOA has finally climbed on board the Wentz Wagon! The Eagles move into the No. 1 spot, but they aren't the only strong, well-balanced team in the NFL this year. New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and the Los Angeles Rams make this one of the best seasons ever for multiple teams over 30% in DVOA, and Minnesota isn't far behind.

01 Oct 2014

FEI Week 5: What's With FSU?

by Brian Fremeau

There weren't any dramatic changes in the FEI ratings from last week to this week, as most of the weekend's results played out to expectations. Missouri and Mississippi State both won big conference games on the road over the weekend and climbed six spots each as a result. TCU's absolute thrashing of SMU (76.4 percent available yards for the Horned Frogs versus 18.2 percent for the Mustangs) pushed TCU to the top of the unadjusted game efficiency rankings. That result combined with further reduction of the weight of preseason projection data in the formula pushed TCU into the FEI top 25. At the top, Oregon moved up to No. 1 and Florida State slipped to No. 2.

Preseason projection data accounts for 25 to 30 percent of each team's overall FEI rating this week, a factor that will be reduced further next week and eliminated altogether two weeks from now. At first, I was a bit surprised that the reduction in preseason value hasn't impacted Florida State more dramatically at this point in the year. Even though the Seminoles have had struggles in each of their first three FBS games, they have actually been pretty efficient in a couple of key areas.

I track points per drive data through a few different lenses, including two specific types of drives: those that begin deep in a team's own territory, and those that cross the threshold into scoring range. Florida State's overall net points per drive (offensive scoring rate minus opponent offensive scoring rate) ranks only 39th nationally this year (+0.57 net points per drive). That is a far cry from last season when the Seminoles ranked No. 1 overall at +3.06; no other team had a net points per drive above +2.0.

Still, Florida State is controlling games this year when and where it matters most. The Seminoles rank 19th nationally in net points per value drive (+1.39), possessions that begin in the offense's own territory and cross the opponent's 30-yard line. They rank 12th nationally in net points per long field drive (+1.92), possessions that begin when the offense is pinned inside its own 20-yard line. In other words, they dig themselves out of a hole and prevent their opponents from doing so. And they score when they move into scoring range and prevent their opponents from doing so. The Seminoles were exceptional last year in these measures (No. 1 in net points per value drive, No. 2 in net points per long field drive). This year, only eight teams are currently ranked in the top 20 in both categories, including Florida State.

Teams Ranked In Top 20 Net Points Per Value Drive and Net Points Per Long Drive
FEI
Rank
Team FBS
W-L
NPD Rk NVD Rk NLD Rk
2 Florida State 3-0 0.57 39 1.39 19 1.92 12
4 Alabama 4-0 2.68 4 2.71 2 2.84 7
7 Oklahoma 4-0 2.35 7 2.33 5 3.44 5
8 USC 3-1 1.23 20 2.27 6 1.89 13
12 Mississippi State 4-0 1.79 12 2.09 7 1.43 20
15 Notre Dame 4-0 2.31 8 3.11 1 1.75 14
25 Nebraska 4-0 2.45 6 1.49 15 4.43 1
34 Marshall 3-0 2.70 3 2.46 4 2.50 8
NPD equals net points per drive
NVD equals net points per value drive
NLD equals net points per long drive

The other big reason Florida State remains near the top of the FEI ratings is strength of schedule. The SOS ratings published here (as well as the SOS ratings distribution and interactive strength of schedule graphic updated each week) represent overall schedule strength for the year. Florida State has the 50th ranked overall schedule in that view, a more difficult schedule than we had originally projected but not one that is extraordinarily challenging for an elite team. But in terms of the schedule of games played to date, Florida State has faced the 33rd toughest schedule overall, and the toughest among the 17 remaining undefeated teams.

Undefeated Teams Ranked By Strength of Schedule To Date
FEI
Rank
Team FBS
W-L
SOS
Season
Rk SOS
To Date
Rk SOS
Future
Rk
2 Florida State 3-0 .192 50 .542 33 .354 57
5 Texas A&M 4-0 .038 3 .592 46 .064 2
12 Mississippi State 4-0 .065 14 .597 49 .109 12
3 Auburn 4-0 .033 2 .618 55 .053 1
9 UCLA 4-0 .089 25 .672 69 .132 19
1 Oregon 3-0 .108 31 .673 71 .161 24
32 Georgia Tech 3-0 .219 56 .710 81 .309 48
7 Oklahoma 4-0 .236 59 .785 97 .301 47
4 Alabama 4-0 .070 17 .808 104 .087 10
18 BYU 4-0 .525 101 .811 105 .648 80
33 Arizona 4-0 .057 7 .832 108 .068 4
15 Notre Dame 4-0 .083 21 .854 112 .097 11
16 Baylor 3-0 .194 51 .878 116 .221 35
25 Nebraska 4-0 .265 67 .887 118 .299 46
11 Mississippi 4-0 .069 16 .908 121 .076 9
20 TCU 2-0 .212 54 .949 126 .224 38
34 Marshall 3-0 .841 128 .956 128 .880 113

Most of the teams on this list are scheduled to play their toughest opponent to date this weekend. No. 20 TCU plays No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 11 Ole Miss plays No. 4 Alabama, No. 25 Nebraska plays No. 23 Michigan State, No. 15 Notre Dame plays No. 6 Stanford, No. 33 Arizona plays No. 1 Oregon, No. 3 Auburn plays No. 13 LSU, No. 12 Mississippi State plays No. 5 Texas A&M. The Seminoles play No. 83 Wake Forest, and FEI expects them to dominate the Demon Deacons like the Seminoles of 2013. There are many other contenders that will be adding a marquee win to their ledger this weekend, and Florida State will have fewer opportunities to do so down the stretch. They can, however, be more efficient.

FEI 2014 Week 5 Ratings

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) is a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted drive efficiency. Nearly 20,000 possessions are contested annually in FBS vs. FBS games. First-half clock-kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores are filtered out. Game Efficiency (GE) is a function of the starting field position and outcome of non-garbage possessions. Opponent adjustments are calculated with special emphasis placed on quality performances against good teams, win or lose.

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 all regular season games scheduled. A multifaceted approach to measuring schedule strength is available here.

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 total games a team with the given FEI rating should expect to win against the remaining opponents on its schedule.

These ratings are partially influenced by preseason projections, a function of Program FEI ratings, previous-year FEI and garbage time data, previous-year turnover-neutral, special teams-neutral, and field position-neutral FEI, returning starters, recruiting success, and quarterback reliance. As the season progresses and actual 2014 data continues to be collected, the weight given to projection data will be reduced each week until Week 7, at which point it will be eliminated from the rankings entirely. Offensive and defensive FEI ratings will also debut in Week 7.

Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI LW GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
1 Oregon 3-0 0.311 2 0.237 14 0.108 31 9.5 6.7
2 Florida State 3-0 0.297 1 0.088 38 0.192 50 9.7 7.2
3 Auburn 4-0 0.271 3 0.266 11 0.033 2 8.0 4.4
4 Alabama 4-0 0.263 7 0.318 7 0.070 17 8.4 4.6
5 Texas A&M 4-0 0.259 4 0.299 9 0.038 3 7.9 4.5
6 Stanford 2-1 0.256 6 0.152 24 0.040 4 8.0 5.6
7 Oklahoma 4-0 0.246 8 0.363 5 0.236 59 10.2 6.5
8 USC 3-1 0.240 5 0.171 22 0.073 18 9.0 6.0
9 UCLA 4-0 0.237 10 0.129 26 0.089 25 9.0 5.6
10 Missouri 3-1 0.216 16 0.128 29 0.170 46 8.5 5.2
11 Mississippi 4-0 0.214 11 0.375 3 0.069 16 7.6 3.8
12 Mississippi State 4-0 0.208 18 0.255 12 0.065 14 7.6 4.2
Rank Team FBS
W-L
FEI LW GE GE
Rk
SOS SOS
Rk
FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
13 LSU 3-1 0.202 9 0.200 17 0.042 5 6.8 3.7
14 Georgia 3-1 0.200 13 0.214 16 0.130 40 7.9 4.8
15 Notre Dame 4-0 0.194 14 0.306 8 0.083 21 8.6 5.0
16 Baylor 3-0 0.193 17 0.395 2 0.194 51 8.3 5.5
17 Ohio State 3-1 0.188 19 0.225 15 0.265 66 9.4 6.0
18 BYU 4-0 0.183 27 0.182 21 0.525 101 9.3 5.9
19 Clemson 1-2 0.179 21 -0.027 71 0.104 28 7.6 6.2
20 TCU 2-0 0.179 35 0.404 1 0.212 54 8.0 6.2
21 Oklahoma State 2-1 0.174 15 0.082 40 0.063 11 6.9 4.9
22 Wisconsin 2-1 0.174 20 0.240 13 0.277 69 8.4 6.0
23 Michigan State 2-1 0.160 25 0.282 10 0.112 33 7.6 5.5
24 Utah 2-1 0.158 12 0.189 19 0.057 8 6.3 3.9
25 Nebraska 4-0 0.155 29 0.361 6 0.265 67 8.2 4.5

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 01 Oct 2014

3 comments, Last at 01 Oct 2014, 11:17pm by mehllageman56

Comments

1
by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 10/01/2014 - 5:32pm

Oregon already faced Michigan State, who is ranked higher than Arizona.

2
by Brian Fremeau :: Wed, 10/01/2014 - 8:41pm

Every team I listed there isn't necessarily playing its toughest game of the season to date this weekend. Arizona certainly is, but as you mentioned, Oregon is not.

3
by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:17pm

Good point, sorry, I was reading it in the other (pro-Oregon) direction.