Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

2008 NCAA S&P+ RATINGS, DEFENSE

through games of 1/8/09

The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play data of all 800+ of a season's FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays). There are three key components to the S&P+:

  • Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.
  • EqPts Per Play (PPP): An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game.
  • Drive Efficiency: As of February 2013, S&P+ also includes a drive-based aspect based on the field position a team creates and its average success at preventing the points expected based on that field position.
  • Opponent adjustments: Success Rate and PPP combine to form S&P, an OPS-like measure for football. Then each team's S&P output for a given category (Rushing/Passing on either Standard Downs or Passing Downs) is compared to the expected output based upon their opponents and their opponents' opponents. This is a schedule-based adjustment designed to reward tougher schedules and punish weaker ones.

The S&P+ figures used in the tables below only look at the plays that took place while a game was deemed competitive. Garbage-time plays and possessions have been filtered out of the calculations. The criteria for "garbage time" are as follows: a game is not within 28 points in the first quarter, 24 points in the second quarter, 21 points in the third quarter, or 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Passing Downs are defined as:

  • second down with 8 or more yards to go
  • third or fourth down with 5 or more yards to go

All other downs are Standard Downs.

Please note that in the split of rushing and passing S&P+, sacks are counted as passes, as in NFL data, and not runs as in official NCAA totals.

DNP stands for Difference in Net Points. This is a raw average of the points an defense allows on a given drive compared to the points it would be expected to score based on starting field position.

Use the menu above for pages that give more details on total and defensive S&P+, or our other college football ratings, the drive-based FEI.

Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
1 USC 163.6 149.9 2 134.3 2 168.9 1 137.4 4 150.7 2 168.6 4 -2.128 2
2 TCU 158.7 159.1 1 167.4 1 147.7 2 163.8 1 163.8 1 145.9 7 -1.711 9
3 Florida 149.5 127.0 4 127.4 3 134.0 9 120.0 15 137.0 4 186.4 2 -2.390 1
4 Oklahoma 145.2 120.9 11 119.9 9 138.3 5 119.9 16 131.7 6 221.1 1 -1.982 4
5 Boise State 140.7 131.8 3 122.9 7 128.8 11 124.3 9 123.9 8 138.3 9 -1.845 6
6 Texas 135.2 123.2 7 126.1 4 138.3 4 131.2 6 132.7 5 172.7 3 -1.887 5
7 Alabama 133.8 123.0 8 123.7 6 119.1 23 137.7 3 114.8 22 141.3 8 -1.376 15
8 Penn State 132.2 121.0 10 118.2 12 125.2 15 133.8 5 108.5 33 148.1 5 -2.072 3
9 Utah 126.4 118.5 14 115.7 16 116.0 30 120.0 14 113.7 24 133.5 11 -1.575 10
10 Ohio State 126.1 124.7 5 119.6 10 138.5 3 110.2 34 141.1 3 127.9 15 -0.908 32
11 Iowa 124.0 120.4 12 109.8 33 138.2 6 128.8 7 113.0 25 124.7 17 -1.496 12
12 California 123.7 117.9 15 112.8 22 124.4 16 113.7 27 120.3 10 129.8 12 -1.215 17
13 Connecticut 121.2 117.8 16 108.2 38 138.1 7 111.7 30 121.9 9 123.5 18 -1.120 23
14 Clemson 118.7 113.3 24 112.9 21 110.7 43 109.0 42 114.8 23 119.2 21 -1.092 25
15 Wake Forest 118.3 117.5 18 114.6 19 120.4 21 117.4 22 119.8 12 116.5 27 -0.370 72
16 Boston College 118.2 116.3 19 111.2 31 111.4 40 121.9 11 104.4 51 119.8 19 -1.165 19
17 Ole Miss 118.0 108.6 35 111.3 29 103.1 59 118.9 18 103.5 54 129.2 14 -1.131 22
18 Missouri 117.4 114.2 22 112.4 25 120.8 19 116.6 23 116.7 15 129.3 13 -1.159 20
19 Pittsburgh 116.5 115.1 20 110.3 32 137.6 8 116.5 24 119.6 13 119.8 19 -0.709 48
20 Troy 116.2 121.2 9 115.6 18 119.1 24 117.6 20 116.6 16 104.3 56 -1.090 26
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
21 Oregon 115.2 111.9 27 108.1 39 122.6 18 121.8 12 108.4 34 133.8 10 -1.412 14
22 Tennessee 115.1 124.4 6 124.3 5 117.5 27 141.1 2 106.0 44 107.9 48 -0.569 58
23 Virginia Tech 115.0 113.2 25 109.7 34 112.2 37 120.3 13 101.4 62 113.5 30 -0.801 38
24 Texas Tech 114.3 100.7 72 97.9 74 127.6 12 95.4 82 111.7 26 146.4 6 -1.798 7
25 Ball State 113.6 106.2 43 100.1 62 109.7 44 101.0 61 105.3 46 118.1 22 -1.354 16
26 Cincinnati 112.6 118.6 13 119.9 8 116.7 28 118.4 19 118.5 14 112.1 35 -0.716 47
27 South Carolina 112.5 113.4 23 112.1 26 127.2 13 115.6 26 116.2 17 112.4 34 -0.452 63
28 Michigan State 112.1 110.4 29 111.9 27 118.5 25 113.0 28 115.3 20 117.7 23 -0.545 60
29 Central Florida 111.8 117.6 17 119.3 11 113.4 33 119.5 17 115.6 18 100.4 68 -0.056 98
30 Arizona 111.2 106.0 44 104.6 50 105.2 54 98.8 69 108.4 35 117.7 24 -1.424 13
31 East Carolina 111.0 110.3 30 106.7 41 111.9 38 112.7 29 104.0 52 111.8 37 -0.846 35
32 New Mexico 110.6 112.2 26 113.6 20 111.1 42 115.7 25 110.1 31 110.2 40 -0.413 66
33 LSU 110.4 108.5 36 105.1 48 123.8 17 110.4 33 111.4 28 110.3 39 -0.817 36
34 Oregon State 109.8 110.0 32 116.4 15 105.6 50 109.7 36 115.0 21 113.5 31 -0.745 43
35 Illinois 109.6 108.8 34 118.0 13 97.1 69 108.0 43 111.5 27 113.9 29 -0.643 56
36 Northwestern 109.4 109.4 33 103.1 56 117.8 26 109.5 39 106.2 43 108.5 45 -0.724 45
37 Oklahoma State 109.4 104.3 49 103.9 52 111.6 39 102.6 55 107.7 37 124.8 16 -1.037 27
38 San Jose State 108.6 114.5 21 105.2 46 131.1 10 94.6 85 130.5 7 93.6 82 -0.278 80
39 South Florida 108.4 111.1 28 111.6 28 104.0 56 127.7 8 95.1 81 103.9 57 -0.782 39
40 West Virginia 107.9 103.0 60 95.4 84 107.9 46 95.5 80 102.0 60 110.2 41 -0.961 29
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
41 Georgia 107.4 104.0 50 101.8 57 107.7 47 101.3 60 105.0 48 117.3 25 -1.138 21
42 Air Force 107.3 106.4 41 112.5 24 92.2 90 104.5 50 103.6 53 107.9 46 -0.740 44
43 Vanderbilt 107.1 105.4 46 100.4 60 116.3 29 95.4 83 115.3 19 112.8 33 -0.678 53
44 Rutgers 106.9 101.5 68 103.5 53 95.9 75 117.4 21 86.9 104 113.1 32 -1.190 18
45 Kansas 106.5 103.6 56 104.5 51 108.3 45 101.4 59 110.2 30 114.0 28 -0.781 40
46 Auburn 105.8 107.6 39 105.5 45 115.7 31 111.3 31 105.0 49 106.0 54 -0.091 93
47 Nebraska 105.6 102.4 63 99.2 66 112.5 36 95.2 84 106.0 45 116.8 26 -0.990 28
48 Florida State 105.4 102.7 62 96.7 79 102.6 60 94.1 86 102.8 57 109.4 43 -1.496 11
49 Wisconsin 105.0 106.2 42 108.5 36 105.6 51 109.6 38 107.4 38 107.1 50 -0.701 49
50 Notre Dame 105.0 103.2 59 103.3 55 99.5 64 99.1 67 106.8 40 106.1 53 -0.559 59
51 Arizona State 105.0 110.3 31 115.7 17 103.6 58 123.3 10 102.1 58 100.5 66 -0.220 87
52 Purdue 104.4 103.2 58 103.4 54 103.6 57 97.1 75 108.9 32 106.6 51 -0.653 54
53 Southern Miss 104.2 101.4 69 106.2 43 86.4 101 100.3 63 97.5 73 107.2 49 -0.933 31
54 North Carolina 104.2 101.6 67 107.1 40 88.3 96 107.6 45 93.5 85 106.1 52 -0.696 51
55 Bowling Green 104.1 105.6 45 100.0 63 111.1 41 96.1 78 108.2 36 103.3 59 -0.860 34
56 Temple 104.0 103.8 53 99.7 65 114.3 32 109.6 37 97.5 74 102.1 62 -0.516 61
57 Michigan 103.6 106.6 40 116.5 14 96.6 71 110.6 32 106.7 41 109.8 42 -0.409 68
58 UCLA 103.1 107.8 38 104.6 49 125.6 14 109.3 40 110.3 29 105.1 55 -0.342 76
59 Colorado 102.7 108.2 37 109.2 35 119.1 22 101.7 58 120.2 11 103.6 58 +0.181 106
60 Kentucky 102.2 104.7 47 108.4 37 96.9 70 103.9 52 104.7 50 98.9 71 -0.362 74
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
61 Baylor 102.0 104.0 51 111.2 30 95.7 78 104.2 51 107.1 39 111.9 36 -0.484 62
62 Northern Illinois 101.9 101.7 65 99.8 64 94.3 83 95.5 81 96.4 76 93.0 83 -0.771 42
63 Tulsa 101.7 96.0 83 94.3 88 95.1 80 100.6 62 88.0 102 111.3 38 -1.740 8
64 Nevada 101.1 101.9 64 98.6 69 101.4 61 107.6 44 97.6 72 101.2 64 -0.876 33
65 Virginia 100.8 103.8 54 105.1 47 101.2 62 101.7 57 105.2 47 102.9 60 -0.261 83
66 Houston 100.5 99.4 77 98.7 68 100.8 63 97.5 72 100.0 66 102.6 61 -1.113 24
67 Georgia Tech 100.4 101.7 66 97.3 77 104.8 55 97.5 73 100.8 64 102.0 63 -0.776 41
68 Marshall 100.0 103.9 52 98.9 67 113.1 35 101.7 56 103.1 56 95.2 77 +0.103 103
69 Rice 99.4 91.2 97 90.9 99 91.3 92 86.6 102 92.0 88 109.4 44 -0.809 37
70 Western Michigan 99.2 100.8 70 100.5 59 95.6 79 97.8 71 98.4 70 97.4 74 -0.723 46
71 Arkansas State 99.1 102.9 61 95.6 81 107.2 48 97.1 76 102.1 59 92.0 86 -0.645 55
72 Florida International 98.0 104.5 48 106.6 42 94.9 81 105.0 48 99.1 69 90.8 94 -0.410 67
73 Miami 97.8 98.5 78 98.0 73 94.7 82 92.4 90 101.7 61 101.1 65 -0.697 50
74 Arkansas 97.8 100.3 74 98.1 72 113.3 34 99.4 66 106.3 42 107.9 46 -0.075 95
75 Maryland 97.7 97.2 80 95.6 82 95.7 77 99.0 68 90.2 95 97.5 73 -0.266 82
76 BYU 97.5 94.4 86 95.4 85 80.5 112 93.7 87 89.3 98 99.4 70 -0.941 30
77 Iowa State 97.0 103.5 57 112.7 23 82.3 109 109.2 41 95.5 78 88.6 98 +0.542 112
78 Ohio 96.4 100.0 75 96.8 78 98.8 65 88.3 96 103.4 55 91.3 87 -0.441 64
79 Florida Atlantic 96.3 94.1 87 90.4 103 98.2 67 92.6 89 92.4 87 95.1 78 -0.335 77
80 Army 96.2 100.0 76 92.4 91 120.4 20 99.6 65 99.3 68 90.6 95 +0.104 104
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
81 Louisville 95.9 100.4 73 100.3 61 93.9 85 105.7 47 94.2 82 91.3 87 -0.210 88
82 Wyoming 94.6 103.7 55 105.7 44 96.0 74 102.6 54 100.0 67 92.5 85 +0.185 107
83 Minnesota 94.5 96.7 81 98.2 71 93.7 86 105.0 49 89.8 96 95.4 76 -0.150 91
84 Buffalo 94.4 90.7 99 90.0 104 93.4 89 87.3 99 91.5 92 100.5 66 -0.603 57
85 Duke 93.9 95.0 84 98.2 70 85.5 102 107.4 46 80.1 114 93.0 83 -0.245 86
86 Toledo 93.4 93.7 89 89.7 105 105.9 49 89.3 94 91.9 90 95.0 79 -0.125 92
87 Stanford 92.9 88.7 104 91.0 96 83.1 107 86.0 104 89.3 99 99.5 69 -0.428 65
88 Akron 92.7 93.0 91 95.5 83 81.6 111 96.2 77 82.9 111 91.2 91 -0.376 71
89 N.C. State 92.7 91.0 98 92.0 93 86.7 100 89.9 91 90.6 94 97.0 75 -0.206 89
90 Hawaii 92.7 98.0 79 97.5 75 97.4 68 98.5 70 93.3 86 87.4 103 -0.296 78
91 Fresno State 92.6 92.4 93 94.7 86 84.1 104 84.2 109 98.0 71 91.2 89 -0.408 69
92 Mississippi State 92.6 100.8 71 101.6 58 93.6 87 103.0 53 94.0 84 91.1 93 -0.071 96
93 Louisiana Tech 92.2 96.4 82 87.1 109 105.3 53 109.8 35 81.2 112 81.2 111 -0.248 85
94 Central Michigan 92.0 93.4 90 92.5 90 93.5 88 89.8 92 95.1 80 87.8 101 -0.274 81
95 Middle Tennessee 91.6 94.8 85 96.3 80 83.3 106 100.2 64 82.9 110 83.8 109 -0.368 73
96 UTEP 91.3 87.1 108 91.6 95 79.9 113 80.3 115 91.8 91 94.7 80 -0.080 94
97 Indiana 90.9 94.1 88 94.5 87 96.4 73 95.5 79 95.2 79 91.2 89 +0.324 109
98 Memphis 90.7 92.4 92 91.0 98 88.4 95 86.8 101 91.9 89 85.1 107 -0.356 75
99 Kansas State 90.5 90.6 100 91.8 94 94.2 84 86.0 103 95.7 77 94.3 81 -0.295 79
100 Navy 89.8 86.1 111 87.5 108 72.0 119 84.4 108 78.1 117 89.8 96 -0.678 52
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
101 Syracuse 89.2 91.9 95 97.3 76 87.8 97 87.5 98 100.7 65 88.9 97 +0.658 114
102 Utah State 88.9 91.3 96 93.7 89 92.0 91 97.4 74 88.7 100 88.0 100 +0.079 101
103 Kent State 88.6 90.5 101 90.6 102 84.8 103 88.1 97 87.5 103 86.5 106 -0.402 70
104 Tulane 88.3 92.4 94 89.5 106 105.5 52 85.4 105 101.4 63 87.7 102 +0.685 115
105 Colorado State 88.1 87.4 107 85.9 112 87.7 98 84.5 106 86.2 106 91.2 91 -0.027 99
106 Texas A&M 87.8 86.5 110 86.8 110 90.0 93 87.3 100 85.8 108 98.2 72 +0.292 108
107 UL-Lafayette 87.7 89.1 103 84.5 114 98.5 66 82.7 110 90.7 93 84.6 108 -0.259 84
108 SMU 87.6 88.5 105 90.8 100 89.3 94 93.2 88 86.1 107 87.2 104 +0.753 117
109 UNLV 87.2 86.6 109 91.0 97 75.3 117 89.7 93 79.8 115 88.0 99 -0.068 97
110 New Mexico State 84.0 88.5 106 90.7 101 75.8 116 76.5 117 97.1 75 77.6 116 +0.041 100
111 Western Kentucky 83.7 89.5 102 86.7 111 87.4 99 81.7 112 89.6 97 76.1 118 +0.162 105
112 Miami (Ohio) 83.6 84.4 114 77.9 117 96.6 72 78.7 116 84.6 109 78.6 114 +0.470 110
113 UL-Monroe 82.6 84.1 115 76.9 118 95.8 76 75.5 118 88.1 101 80.5 112 +0.099 102
114 UAB 82.4 82.0 117 81.2 115 74.0 118 88.3 95 70.2 120 75.9 119 +0.516 111
115 San Diego State 81.7 84.7 113 85.5 113 78.4 114 82.6 111 80.4 113 79.1 113 +0.571 113
116 Washington 80.8 84.8 112 92.0 92 83.3 105 81.0 114 94.0 83 86.8 105 +1.193 119
117 Washington State 80.2 83.9 116 88.1 107 81.8 110 84.4 107 86.8 105 77.6 115 +1.257 120
118 North Texas 75.7 73.1 120 76.5 119 66.6 120 74.0 119 71.8 119 76.1 117 +0.751 116
119 Idaho 73.6 77.5 119 74.0 120 82.6 108 69.2 120 78.6 116 67.3 120 +1.006 118
120 Eastern Michigan 71.8 82.0 118 81.0 116 76.2 115 81.1 113 75.3 118 83.1 110 -0.194 90