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18 Nov 2015

FEI Week 11: Turnover-Neutral Fantasyland

by Brian Fremeau

A common refrain when the dust settled over the weekend was that the Pac-12 had eliminated itself from College Football Playoff contention. Utah lost its second game of the season in 37-30 defeat against Arizona, and Stanford lost its second game of the year in a 38-36 defeat against Oregon. Neither team was ranked at the top of the latest selection committee rankings coming into last week, but both had the potential to run the table and finish the year as a one-loss Pac-12 champion with a strong resume. With the losses, the conference division races have not yet been locked up and whoever wins the conference championship will have at least two losses on its resume.

The committee did drop Stanford and Utah this week (to No. 11 and No. 13 respectively) but not as far as initially expected, which leaves the door slightly open for a potential 11-2 Pac-12 champion to sneak back into the mix if a bit more chaos claims some contenders up ahead. Nevertheless, the conference took a blow, and Stanford in particular has to be kicking itself for its costly mistakes.

Stanford forced one turnover against the Ducks and coughed up three of its own. The Oregon turnover was a second-quarter fumble that the Cardinal defense ran back 51 yards into Ducks territory. Stanford led 17-14 at the time with a first-and-goal on the Oregon 9-yard line. Three plays and three yards later, Stanford settled for a field goal to take a 20-14 lead. Nationally, drives that start on an opponent's 9-yard line average 5.1 points per possession. Stanford did not take full advantage of Oregon's biggest mistake of the game.

Stanford had its two costliest mistakes in the fourth quarter, a fumble while trailing 35-30 with seven minutes left in the game and another in the red zone on the next possession while trailing 38-30 with two minutes left in the game. Those two fumbles combined to cost Stanford 7.6 points of scoring value and turned what had been a positive value turnover game for the Cardinal into a minus-4.5 point turnover value margin in the end. Stanford went on to lose the game by only two points.

What if we lived in a turnover-neutral fantasy land? We could adjust the non-garbage results of every game by eliminating the turnover margin gained or lost from the actual margin of victory or defeat. A two-point loss by Stanford to Oregon becomes a 2.5-point win when we neutralize the turnover value. Over the course of the season, the winner of 83 out of the 588 games played to date (14.1 percent) would flip from the actual winner to the new turnover-neutral winner. This might simply be a silly exercise in What Ifs, but it also might help identify the teams that have been most impacted by turnover value this year.

In this fantasy land, Stanford defeated Oregon by 2.5 points instead of losing by two. Notre Dame defeated Clemson by 9.8 points instead of losing by two. Michigan defeated Utah by 4.9 points instead of losing by seven, and the Wolverines also defeated Michigan State by 3.1 points instead of losing by four.

In total, four teams that are not undefeated actually would be undefeated in turnover-neutral fantasy land: Notre Dame, Michigan, North Carolina, and TCU. Four teams that are currently undefeated would have at least one loss in this world as well: Clemson, Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Houston.

What impact would turnover-neutral results have on the FEI ratings? The table below identifies the turnover-neutral FEI ratings for all 128 teams, along with their turnover-neutral records and their actual FEI and records for comparison. There are some significant shifts, but it is interesting to me that the top five teams in the turnover-neutral world are the same five teams we have a the top of actual ratings, even though three of them have had their records impacted.

Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
1 Alabama 9-1 .282 9-1 .292 1
2 Clemson 8-1 .250 9-0 .279 2
3 Notre Dame 10-0 .230 9-1 .254 3
4 Stanford 9-1 .212 8-2 .221 5
5 Oklahoma 9-1 .198 9-1 .225 4
6 Michigan 10-0 .189 8-2 .178 10
7 Ohio State 10-0 .186 10-0 .199 6
8 North Carolina 8-0 .161 7-1 .174 11
9 Navy 7-1 .160 7-1 .194 7
10 Tennessee 7-2 .154 5-4 .161 17
11 Memphis 7-2 .150 7-2 .147 21
12 TCU 9-0 .146 8-1 .148 20
13 Arkansas 6-3 .144 5-4 .146 22
14 Mississippi State 6-3 .143 6-3 .155 18
15 Baylor 6-2 .137 7-1 .162 16
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
16 Mississippi 5-4 .136 6-3 .131 24
17 Michigan State 7-3 .134 9-1 .190 8
18 Nebraska 9-2 .131 5-6 .094 32
19 Utah 5-5 .130 8-2 .171 12
20 Oklahoma State 7-2 .128 9-0 .169 14
21 Florida 7-3 .122 9-1 .170 13
22 USC 7-3 .122 7-3 .185 9
23 Boise State 7-2 .119 6-3 .057 49
24 LSU 7-2 .119 7-2 .163 15
25 Cincinnati 8-1 .114 5-4 .067 43
26 Washington 3-6 .106 3-6 .111 29
27 Florida State 8-2 .104 8-2 .122 26
28 Bowling Green 8-2 .103 8-2 .127 25
29 Texas A&M 5-4 .102 6-3 .104 31
30 Iowa 8-1 .097 9-0 .150 19
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
31 Oregon 5-4 .096 6-3 .119 27
32 Western Kentucky 8-2 .095 8-2 .094 33
33 Wisconsin 9-1 .091 8-2 .078 39
34 Houston 6-3 .089 9-0 .144 23
35 Appalachian State 6-3 .085 7-2 .066 44
36 Washington State 5-4 .085 7-2 .106 30
37 Toledo 7-2 .084 8-1 .114 28
38 UCLA 8-2 .079 7-3 .089 34
39 BYU 6-3 .077 6-3 .072 40
40 California 6-3 .068 5-4 .084 35
41 West Virginia 5-3 .066 4-4 .079 37
42 Pittsburgh 4-5 .065 6-3 .080 36
43 Utah State 5-4 .062 4-5 .047 55
44 Georgia 5-4 .060 6-3 .078 38
45 Georgia Southern 6-2 .053 6-2 .023 62
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
46 Marshall 8-2 .053 8-2 .072 41
47 Texas Tech 5-5 .053 5-5 .051 52
48 Arizona State 3-6 .049 4-5 .057 47
49 Louisville 4-5 .049 5-4 .033 60
50 Louisiana Tech 6-3 .044 6-3 .053 51
51 Northwestern 5-4 .043 7-2 .058 46
52 North Carolina State 6-3 .042 5-4 .047 54
53 Virginia Tech 5-4 .042 4-5 .042 56
54 Central Michigan 5-4 .042 4-5 .049 53
55 Northern Illinois 7-2 .039 6-3 .058 45
56 Georgia Tech 3-6 .039 2-7 .038 58
57 Air Force 6-3 .038 6-3 -.011 69
58 Southern Mississippi 6-3 .035 6-3 .016 65
59 South Florida 5-4 .034 5-4 .055 50
60 Temple 7-3 .032 8-2 .071 42
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
61 Colorado State 7-2 .031 4-5 -.060 88
62 Vanderbilt 4-5 .026 3-6 .004 67
63 Western Michigan 4-5 .023 5-4 .018 63
64 Auburn 3-6 .018 4-5 .042 57
65 Penn State 6-4 .016 7-3 .057 48
66 Minnesota 3-7 .011 4-6 -.019 73
67 Missouri 4-5 .008 4-5 .037 59
68 Middle Tennessee 5-4 .007 4-5 -.039 80
69 Kansas State 3-5 .006 2-6 -.016 72
70 Arkansas State 5-4 .005 6-3 .004 66
71 East Carolina 4-5 .005 3-6 -.002 68
72 Maryland 2-7 .002 1-8 -.043 81
73 San Diego State 6-3 .001 6-3 .030 61
74 Boston College 3-5 -.004 1-7 -.029 75
75 Wake Forest 3-6 -.012 2-7 -.070 91
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
76 Duke 4-5 -.012 5-4 -.014 71
77 Virginia 2-7 -.014 2-7 -.050 85
78 Arizona 6-4 -.019 5-5 -.031 76
79 Indiana 2-7 -.030 3-6 .017 64
80 Miami 3-6 -.034 5-4 -.038 78
81 Illinois 2-7 -.040 4-5 -.019 74
82 Connecticut 3-6 -.042 4-5 -.013 70
83 Iowa State 2-7 -.045 2-7 -.044 82
84 Syracuse 1-8 -.047 2-7 -.049 84
85 Kentucky 4-5 -.048 3-6 -.044 83
86 South Carolina 2-8 -.061 3-7 -.039 79
87 Texas 4-6 -.067 4-6 -.037 77
88 Ohio 6-3 -.067 5-4 -.056 86
89 Troy 4-5 -.069 2-7 -.096 94
90 Colorado 2-8 -.070 3-7 -.059 87
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
91 Purdue 1-8 -.078 1-8 -.075 92
92 Akron 4-5 -.080 4-5 -.081 93
93 Buffalo 3-6 -.080 4-5 -.065 89
94 Tulsa 3-7 -.083 5-5 -.067 90
95 San Jose State 4-5 -.091 3-6 -.104 95
96 UTSA 1-9 -.094 2-8 -.129 101
97 Georgia State 3-5 -.094 3-5 -.104 96
98 Florida Atlantic 3-7 -.101 2-8 -.104 97
99 South Alabama 4-4 -.101 4-4 -.144 107
100 Louisiana Lafayette 3-5 -.102 3-5 -.129 102
101 Army 3-5 -.114 1-7 -.131 103
102 SMU 2-7 -.115 1-8 -.135 104
103 UNLV 2-7 -.121 2-7 -.117 100
104 New Mexico 3-6 -.122 5-4 -.106 99
105 Charlotte 2-7 -.133 1-8 -.184 114
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
106 Louisiana Monroe 2-7 -.135 0-9 -.189 115
107 Miami (OH) 2-8 -.142 1-9 -.175 113
108 Massachusetts 2-8 -.143 2-8 -.139 106
109 Florida International 5-5 -.146 4-6 -.160 109
110 Nevada 3-6 -.146 5-4 -.105 98
111 Kent State 1-8 -.149 2-7 -.147 108
112 Hawaii 2-8 -.152 1-9 -.208 118
113 Oregon State 1-8 -.162 1-8 -.169 111
114 Rutgers 2-7 -.165 2-7 -.138 105
115 Ball State 2-7 -.174 2-7 -.166 110
116 Wyoming 1-9 -.175 1-9 -.212 119
117 Idaho 2-7 -.178 2-7 -.190 117
118 Tulane 2-7 -.189 2-7 -.173 112
119 Central Florida 0-9 -.199 0-9 -.229 122
120 Fresno State 2-7 -.199 2-7 -.190 116
Rk Team TON
Rec
TON
FEI
FBS
Rec
FEI Rk
121 Eastern Michigan 2-9 -.208 1-10 -.239 124
122 Texas State 1-7 -.209 1-7 -.225 121
123 North Texas 1-8 -.220 1-8 -.249 125
124 Rice 3-6 -.227 3-6 -.264 126
125 Old Dominion 2-7 -.230 4-5 -.267 127
126 UTEP 4-5 -.231 3-6 -.286 128
127 Kansas 0-9 -.242 0-9 -.222 120
128 New Mexico State 2-7 -.245 2-7 -.231 123

Again, this is mostly an "isn't this interesting" exercise, but I think it provides a good window into the true value of turnovers. The costliest turnovers turn victories into defeats and vice versa, which clearly impact the overall records and playoff eligibility of the contenders. But unless teams are saddled with multiple games in which turnovers play a big factor in determining the outcome, the overall impact on a team's opponent-adjusted efficiency as measured by the FEI formula isn't particularly significant.

FEI Degree of Difficulty through Week 11

FEI Degree of Difficulty (DOD) ratings are based on FEI ratings, but instead of measuring efficiency against schedule, DOD measures record against schedule. How difficult would it be for an elite team (two standard deviations better than average) to play a given team's schedule to date and achieve that team's record? This question is closely aligned with the post-season selection priorities for the College Football Playoff committee.

The table below includes ratings for each team's schedule strength to date (PSOS), the average number of wins an elite team would have against the given team's schedule to date (EMW), and the given team's record against FEI top 15 (v15) and FEI top 30 (v30) opponents. Remaining schedule strength (RSOS) and overall schedule strength (SOS) are also provided. Only the top 30 DOD ratings to date are ranked. All other FBS teams are listed alphabetically. DOD ratings for all teams can be found here.

FEI Degree of Difficulty through Week 11
Rk Team W-L DOD PSOS Rk EMW v15 v30 RSOS Rk SOS Rk
1 Clemson 9-0 .421 .421 71 8.2 1-0 2-0 .965 98 .407 82
2 Oklahoma State 9-0 .563 .563 94 8.5 0-0 1-0 .602 15 .339 71
3 Notre Dame 9-1 .569 .155 8 8.6 2-1 2-1 .538 10 .084 4
4 Iowa 9-0 .641 .641 107 8.6 0-0 0-0 .834 45 .535 104
5 Alabama 9-1 .654 .250 27 8.7 1-0 4-1 .912 75 .228 36
6 Houston 9-0 .710 .710 114 8.7 0-0 1-0 .752 34 .534 103
7 Ohio State 10-0 .714 .714 118 9.7 0-0 0-0 .530 9 .379 78
8 Navy 7-1 .793 .287 40 7.1 0-1 1-1 .733 31 .210 29
9 Florida 9-1 .810 .387 65 9.1 0-1 2-1 .889 63 .344 72
10 Michigan State 9-1 .848 .434 74 9.3 1-0 2-0 .589 13 .256 48

FEI Week 11 Ratings

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) is a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted drive efficiency. Approximately 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. Unadjusted game efficiency (GE) is a measure of net success on non-garbage possessions, and opponent adjustments are calculated with special emphasis placed on quality performances against good teams, win or lose. Other definitions:

  • SOS: Strength of Schedule, measured as the likelihood of an elite team going undefeated against the given team's regular season schedule. Schedule strength data based on FEI ratings and calculated across other dimensions can be explored in this interactive visualization.
  • FBS MW: Mean Wins, the average number of games a team with the given FEI rating would be expected to win against its regular season schedule of FBS opponents.
  • FBS RMW: Remaining Mean Wins, the average number of games a team with the given FEI rating would be expected to win against the remainder of its regular season schedule of FBS opponents.
  • OFEI: Opponent-adjusted Offensive Efficiency value generated per possession.
  • DFEI: Opponent-adjusted Defensive Efficiency value generated per opponent possession.
  • STE: Special Teams Efficiency value generated per game possession.
  • FVE: Field Value Efficiency value generated per game possession.

Preseason projection data receives no weight in this week's ratings. Ratings for all FBS teams can be found here.

Rk Team FBS
Rec
FEI LW GE Rk SOS Rk FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
OFEI Rk DFEI Rk STE Rk FVE Rk
1 Alabama 9-1 .292 2 .218 9 .228 36 10.0 .9 .47 30 1.19 1 -.02 83 .14 11
2 Clemson 9-0 .279 1 .220 8 .407 82 10.3 2.0 .67 16 .90 6 -.01 76 -.07 99
3 Notre Dame 9-1 .254 3 .197 12 .084 4 10.0 1.5 1.14 5 .42 30 .06 21 .10 20
4 Oklahoma 9-1 .225 9 .248 4 .251 46 10.3 1.4 .71 14 1.15 2 -.03 93 .06 35
5 Stanford 8-2 .221 4 .224 6 .212 31 10.0 1.4 1.03 7 .14 57 .11 6 .15 8
6 Ohio State 10-0 .199 8 .250 3 .379 78 10.3 1.1 .45 31 .76 11 .04 44 .22 2
7 Navy 7-1 .194 10 .213 11 .210 29 9.0 2.5 1.17 4 .24 46 .00 70 -.06 92
8 Michigan State 9-1 .190 7 .136 28 .256 48 9.7 1.3 .60 19 .40 31 -.07 111 .09 23
9 USC 7-3 .185 6 .160 22 .130 10 8.9 1.4 .92 9 .49 23 -.04 96 .05 39
10 Michigan 8-2 .178 12 .224 7 .293 58 9.5 1.3 .27 39 .85 7 .07 15 .07 31
11 North Carolina 7-1 .174 20 .269 2 .613 114 8.7 1.5 .90 10 .14 58 .09 13 .07 30
12 Utah 8-2 .171 11 .117 29 .265 50 9.3 1.8 .01 58 .79 9 .12 3 .12 17
13 Florida 9-1 .170 17 .139 26 .344 72 9.6 1.7 .15 46 .73 12 .04 37 .24 1
14 Oklahoma State 9-0 .169 14 .162 20 .339 71 8.6 1.0 .38 35 .47 24 .07 17 .13 15
15 LSU 7-2 .163 5 .116 30 .103 8 7.5 1.3 .86 11 .36 34 -.02 84 -.04 83
Rk Team FBS
Rec
FEI LW GE Rk SOS Rk FBS
MW
FBS
RMW
OFEI Rk DFEI Rk STE Rk FVE Rk
16 Baylor 7-1 .162 15 .271 1 .297 60 8.5 1.8 1.25 3 .15 55 -.02 82 .00 63
17 Tennessee 5-4 .161 19 .098 37 .094 7 7.4 1.7 .54 26 .39 33 .12 2 .15 9
18 Mississippi State 6-3 .155 13 .099 35 .175 20 7.5 1.1 .58 22 .51 22 .03 49 .06 36
19 Iowa 9-0 .150 18 .153 23 .535 104 9.1 1.6 .43 32 .33 36 .04 42 .06 32
20 TCU 8-1 .148 16 .137 27 .233 38 8.0 .8 .60 20 -.03 70 .05 33 .06 37
21 Memphis 7-2 .147 22 .095 38 .294 59 8.0 1.6 .85 12 .08 62 .09 12 .02 55
22 Arkansas 5-4 .146 33 .036 51 .080 2 6.7 1.4 1.03 8 -.19 85 -.07 113 .01 59
23 Houston 9-0 .144 21 .242 5 .534 103 9.1 1.3 .49 27 .58 17 .02 53 .22 3
24 Mississippi 6-3 .131 24 .098 36 .070 1 6.3 .8 .59 21 .17 53 .00 68 -.02 73
25 Bowling Green 8-2 .127 28 .191 13 .517 100 9.7 1.6 1.66 1 -.48 102 -.08 115 -.02 75
26 Florida State 8-2 .122 25 .168 18 .188 25 7.9 .3 .69 15 .43 28 .02 60 .01 57
27 Oregon 6-3 .119 44 .026 54 .140 14 6.4 1.4 .76 13 -.20 87 .06 29 .07 29
28 Toledo 8-1 .114 37 .176 14 .468 92 8.5 1.2 .19 44 .59 16 -.01 77 .02 54
29 Washington 3-6 .111 23 -.002 64 .174 19 6.4 1.6 -.52 106 .96 4 .07 19 -.03 80
30 Washington State 7-2 .106 41 .077 42 .309 65 7.3 1.3 .36 36 .17 54 -.04 98 -.06 97

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 18 Nov 2015

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