Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

2011 NCAA S&P+ RATINGS, DEFENSE

through games of 1/9/12

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 Alabama 193.8 162.4 1 137.1 3 204.6 1 156.0 2 165.0 1 225.3 1 -2.341 1
2 LSU 161.2 148.5 2 169.8 1 124.8 16 157.9 1 148.9 2 173.9 2 -1.612 6
3 Boise State 142.7 132.9 3 137.4 2 121.4 21 137.3 4 133.3 6 152.5 3 -1.551 7
4 Florida State 141.3 132.1 4 129.3 6 127.6 12 132.0 8 123.8 13 150.5 5 -1.297 13
5 Penn State 138.7 126.3 9 128.5 8 125.8 14 121.7 15 137.4 5 151.2 4 -0.507 64
6 Michigan State 137.3 128.3 7 128.7 7 135.8 8 135.8 5 129.2 9 146.3 7 -1.059 23
7 Oklahoma 137.2 125.1 10 133.3 4 121.2 22 134.3 7 125.6 12 149.4 6 -1.215 17
8 Georgia 136.5 126.7 8 127.5 9 124.6 17 126.8 12 130.4 8 146.3 8 -1.239 15
9 Texas 133.9 131.7 5 130.3 5 142.1 4 148.0 3 128.7 11 136.1 13 -0.780 46
10 Illinois 133.1 128.9 6 125.8 11 137.7 7 126.6 13 132.9 7 137.2 12 -0.820 43
11 Notre Dame 132.0 119.2 14 127.2 10 109.5 35 134.4 6 114.0 24 144.8 9 -0.770 47
12 Oregon 130.4 121.7 11 120.1 15 138.9 6 112.4 28 137.5 4 139.2 11 -1.520 8
13 Oklahoma State 126.8 110.9 29 112.0 23 116.9 28 107.7 42 118.2 18 142.7 10 -1.450 11
14 Utah 125.7 117.6 18 114.2 20 124.9 15 118.7 18 117.5 20 133.7 15 -0.549 60
15 South Carolina 124.3 119.1 15 119.4 16 115.6 31 101.9 53 140.8 3 129.5 17 -1.711 5
16 Temple 122.5 110.9 30 99.4 62 123.7 18 109.8 35 100.9 59 134.1 14 -1.408 12
17 Virginia Tech 122.0 118.8 16 111.2 25 140.7 5 113.4 25 129.0 10 125.1 19 -1.072 22
18 Louisiana Tech 121.0 117.7 17 106.6 38 144.8 3 116.4 21 117.3 21 124.3 21 -0.470 68
19 Southern Miss 120.9 120.2 12 120.8 13 108.1 37 119.7 17 114.5 22 121.6 25 -1.105 19
20 Texas A&M 120.9 120.1 13 113.1 21 149.2 2 127.4 10 120.6 15 121.7 24 -1.118 18
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 Kent State 120.2 117.6 19 119.2 17 109.3 36 112.6 27 117.8 19 122.7 23 -0.352 77
22 Stanford 119.6 112.5 25 115.8 19 116.7 29 110.6 32 121.4 14 126.8 18 -1.875 4
23 Michigan 118.5 106.0 41 109.5 31 98.5 66 104.7 48 104.9 38 131.1 16 -1.519 9
24 Rutgers 118.2 113.0 24 107.9 37 118.0 26 110.2 33 111.3 29 123.4 22 -1.013 26
25 Ohio State 118.2 111.8 27 109.8 29 119.6 24 114.9 22 112.0 27 124.6 20 -0.577 58
26 California 116.9 114.3 22 121.5 12 101.9 57 107.9 39 119.4 17 119.6 29 -0.824 42
27 Nebraska 116.6 114.8 21 110.0 28 134.1 9 113.8 24 120.0 16 118.5 31 -0.563 59
28 USC 116.3 111.7 28 109.2 34 122.4 19 117.7 19 113.3 25 120.9 27 -1.100 20
29 BYU 115.6 112.1 26 110.9 26 102.5 54 120.2 16 99.2 63 119.1 30 -0.974 29
30 Missouri 115.3 109.4 36 103.0 46 132.6 10 110.8 31 109.4 33 121.2 26 -1.007 27
31 Tulsa 114.7 115.1 20 120.8 14 113.3 32 127.9 9 110.5 30 114.4 37 -0.736 48
32 Vanderbilt 114.0 110.3 31 109.5 30 109.5 34 105.6 46 112.3 26 117.7 32 -0.840 39
33 Mississippi State 113.4 109.9 33 102.8 47 120.9 23 108.1 37 106.9 35 116.9 33 -0.788 45
34 Connecticut 113.0 105.9 43 102.3 51 107.7 39 127.3 11 90.9 90 120.1 28 -0.381 72
35 Florida 112.2 109.4 35 102.8 48 122.4 20 113.0 26 101.1 57 115.1 34 -0.734 49
36 Nevada 111.9 108.8 38 109.4 32 105.2 49 98.9 66 114.3 23 115.0 35 -0.955 30
37 SMU 111.5 114.0 23 117.9 18 104.3 51 117.0 20 110.4 31 109.0 50 -0.703 52
38 TCU 111.3 109.0 37 112.8 22 96.5 70 126.0 14 95.8 72 113.6 38 -1.475 10
39 Arkansas State 109.6 109.9 34 104.0 44 100.5 63 105.1 47 105.1 36 109.3 48 -1.097 21
40 Virginia 109.4 107.2 39 112.0 24 100.0 64 109.9 34 104.5 40 111.7 41 -0.679 54
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 Florida International 109.3 106.0 42 102.7 50 97.5 68 96.1 78 104.5 41 112.6 40 -0.710 51
42 Kansas State 108.9 103.1 52 104.0 43 107.1 45 110.9 30 102.7 51 114.7 36 -0.529 62
43 Toledo 108.5 106.6 40 108.3 36 105.4 48 114.1 23 104.2 43 110.3 45 -1.018 25
44 Central Florida 108.2 110.0 32 96.1 75 128.2 11 99.7 61 110.3 32 106.5 54 -0.855 35
45 South Florida 107.9 104.7 47 102.7 49 101.2 61 110.9 29 95.7 74 111.2 44 -0.853 36
46 Miami (Ohio) 107.3 105.0 46 110.7 27 92.5 82 106.5 44 101.1 58 109.7 46 -0.428 69
47 Tennessee 107.3 103.3 50 104.3 41 107.1 44 109.1 36 102.0 54 111.3 42 -0.505 65
48 Pittsburgh 107.1 105.7 44 100.0 60 111.7 33 105.9 45 101.2 56 108.5 52 -0.376 74
49 Kentucky 106.5 99.5 67 95.7 78 107.0 46 93.5 85 104.5 42 113.6 39 +0.068 91
50 Arkansas 106.1 101.0 56 98.4 70 105.1 50 98.2 69 103.0 49 111.2 43 -0.993 28
51 Louisville 105.0 101.0 58 98.7 67 93.5 78 102.9 51 91.8 88 109.0 49 -0.421 71
52 North Carolina 104.9 104.1 48 104.7 40 102.7 53 107.7 41 104.1 45 105.6 55 -0.851 37
53 Iowa State 104.3 100.1 65 99.3 63 106.9 47 95.9 80 104.2 44 108.6 51 -0.020 87
54 Cincinnati 104.1 105.4 45 89.6 103 127.2 13 107.0 43 96.0 71 102.8 61 -0.891 33
55 Wisconsin 104.0 98.7 70 94.1 85 101.8 58 99.3 64 94.5 80 109.4 47 -2.080 2
56 N.C. State 103.8 100.6 61 96.2 74 107.9 38 97.2 72 102.3 53 107.0 53 -0.844 38
57 San Diego State 103.8 102.9 53 109.4 33 86.8 96 99.7 60 103.0 50 104.7 56 -0.511 63
58 Marshall 102.6 101.0 59 102.0 53 103.9 52 102.0 52 104.1 46 104.3 57 +0.172 93
59 Arizona State 102.3 100.2 63 99.9 61 102.4 55 98.7 68 101.4 55 104.3 58 -0.380 73
60 West Virginia 102.1 100.1 64 98.9 66 95.5 73 96.0 79 99.9 62 104.1 59 -1.278 14
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 Oregon State 101.5 101.2 55 102.1 52 116.5 30 95.1 82 111.9 28 101.9 62 +0.276 97
62 Boston College 101.5 102.2 54 98.4 69 117.8 27 100.2 58 105.1 37 100.7 64 +0.377 103
63 Ohio 101.4 99.3 68 94.0 86 94.8 75 93.1 87 94.2 82 103.6 60 -0.828 41
64 Iowa 100.3 103.2 51 103.9 45 96.0 72 108.0 38 94.0 83 97.3 70 -0.635 56
65 Houston 99.3 99.9 66 94.8 81 100.8 62 94.2 84 98.7 66 98.7 67 -1.917 3
66 UL-Monroe 98.8 103.6 49 108.4 35 86.4 98 107.8 40 98.1 68 93.9 76 -0.840 40
67 Northern Illinois 98.6 101.0 57 100.7 55 101.4 59 100.1 59 100.8 60 96.1 72 -0.894 32
68 Purdue 98.4 95.9 80 91.7 94 107.2 42 100.5 56 90.6 93 101.0 63 -0.483 67
69 Miami 98.1 95.9 81 94.7 83 95.3 74 104.0 49 83.4 107 100.2 66 -0.680 53
70 Utah State 97.6 100.4 62 100.2 57 88.8 89 96.3 76 96.3 70 94.8 74 -0.871 34
71 San Jose State 97.2 94.1 86 98.1 71 87.2 94 96.2 77 89.4 97 100.3 65 +0.059 90
72 East Carolina 97.0 96.4 76 100.2 58 91.1 86 90.1 94 102.6 52 97.7 68 -0.497 66
73 Clemson 96.9 98.0 73 90.8 96 119.5 25 93.3 86 103.2 48 95.9 73 -0.713 50
74 Bowling Green 96.7 96.3 77 89.9 102 107.2 41 85.4 109 100.3 61 97.1 71 -0.360 75
75 Eastern Michigan 96.0 100.7 60 100.4 56 88.5 91 100.4 57 90.8 91 91.3 81 -0.030 85
76 Georgia Tech 94.7 98.4 71 96.5 73 96.9 69 87.9 104 104.8 39 91.0 85 -1.218 16
77 UCLA 94.5 98.4 72 99.1 64 102.2 56 87.6 105 107.7 34 90.7 87 +0.201 95
78 Rice 94.2 94.7 84 95.9 77 96.5 71 92.3 90 98.8 65 93.7 77 +0.346 99
79 Western Michigan 94.1 90.8 98 89.0 105 85.6 102 84.1 110 91.5 89 97.3 69 -0.641 55
80 UL-Lafayette 94.0 98.9 69 95.1 79 93.0 80 99.5 62 88.5 98 89.1 94 -0.530 61
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 Syracuse 93.9 97.3 74 96.1 76 97.6 67 101.5 54 93.8 85 90.5 88 -0.340 78
82 Hawaii 93.5 96.1 78 91.5 95 92.9 81 92.8 88 89.5 96 90.8 86 -0.802 44
83 Wake Forest 93.2 96.8 75 93.0 90 99.9 65 95.6 81 94.9 77 89.5 92 -0.269 80
84 Auburn 93.0 96.0 79 100.2 58 91.4 85 100.7 55 94.7 79 89.9 90 +0.271 96
85 UTEP 92.5 92.6 90 99.0 65 81.0 112 88.7 99 94.7 78 92.5 78 +0.054 89
86 Ole Miss 92.4 90.8 97 92.4 93 92.3 83 88.8 98 93.8 84 93.9 75 +0.599 111
87 Western Kentucky 92.3 93.2 88 93.0 89 81.2 111 97.0 73 86.0 101 91.4 80 -0.212 81
88 Arizona 92.0 95.0 83 104.1 42 88.1 92 103.7 50 95.8 73 88.9 95 +0.040 88
89 Minnesota 91.7 95.7 82 95.0 80 107.6 40 92.2 91 103.9 47 87.6 100 +0.725 114
90 Colorado State 91.4 91.7 94 84.3 112 107.2 43 83.8 112 97.1 69 91.1 84 +0.465 107
91 Air Force 91.2 92.6 89 93.4 88 79.3 113 94.3 83 81.3 109 89.9 91 -1.044 24
92 Idaho 91.1 92.1 91 88.3 107 101.3 60 97.9 70 86.5 99 90.2 89 +0.434 105
93 North Texas 91.0 90.8 96 90.1 101 93.3 79 90.1 95 90.1 95 91.2 83 +0.341 98
94 Army 90.8 90.0 102 93.8 87 76.5 116 89.1 96 86.0 102 91.6 79 -0.325 79
95 Baylor 90.2 92.0 92 94.4 84 91.7 84 97.6 71 90.5 94 88.4 96 -0.945 31
96 Duke 90.1 90.9 95 92.4 92 88.8 90 88.8 97 94.4 81 89.3 93 +0.517 109
97 Washington 89.9 91.7 93 98.6 68 85.1 103 88.0 102 99.0 64 88.0 98 -0.024 86
98 Wyoming 89.8 88.4 110 88.0 108 83.9 105 85.6 108 86.2 100 91.3 82 -0.107 83
99 Washington State 88.8 89.3 104 88.5 106 86.6 97 98.7 67 78.5 113 88.2 97 -0.604 57
100 Northwestern 88.5 89.3 105 89.2 104 82.2 108 99.2 65 74.6 117 87.7 99 -0.424 70
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 Buffalo 88.4 93.3 87 92.9 91 86.4 99 96.8 75 83.9 106 83.5 106 -0.049 84
102 Maryland 88.4 90.5 100 90.2 100 94.7 76 84.0 111 98.3 67 86.3 101 +0.368 101
103 Colorado 88.1 90.4 101 104.8 39 72.4 120 88.2 100 95.6 75 85.9 102 +0.864 117
104 Troy 88.0 90.6 99 90.4 99 89.1 88 96.8 74 82.2 108 85.4 105 +0.347 100
105 Florida Atlantic 87.3 94.5 85 101.8 54 78.3 115 90.8 93 93.6 86 80.2 112 +0.482 108
106 Ball State 87.3 88.8 106 94.8 82 82.3 107 99.3 63 81.2 110 85.8 103 +0.439 106
107 Texas Tech 85.6 88.8 107 90.7 98 86.9 95 91.6 92 85.6 103 82.5 108 -0.116 82
108 New Mexico State 85.6 89.5 103 90.7 97 84.1 104 81.8 113 95.4 76 81.6 111 +0.376 102
109 Fresno State 85.5 88.5 109 86.6 111 86.2 100 87.9 103 85.0 104 82.5 107 +0.087 92
110 Central Michigan 85.3 88.7 108 83.9 113 89.7 87 88.1 101 79.8 112 81.9 110 +0.192 94
111 Navy 84.9 84.3 113 80.4 115 94.4 77 86.7 106 78.2 114 85.5 104 -0.353 76
112 UNLV 83.7 88.3 111 97.7 72 75.4 118 86.5 107 92.6 87 79.0 113 +1.041 119
113 Kansas 83.0 83.9 114 87.6 109 87.5 93 92.6 89 84.3 105 82.1 109 +0.874 118
114 Tulane 81.8 87.7 112 86.7 110 85.9 101 78.8 116 90.6 92 75.8 115 +0.692 113
115 Middle Tennessee 79.0 82.3 115 78.4 117 83.3 106 76.0 118 80.6 111 75.8 116 +0.386 104
116 Memphis 78.2 79.3 116 76.0 118 79.2 114 79.2 115 74.1 118 77.2 114 +0.795 116
117 New Mexico 76.4 79.1 117 81.7 114 74.0 119 80.2 114 75.2 116 73.7 118 +1.593 120
118 UAB 75.9 76.5 120 75.2 119 81.9 109 71.1 120 77.3 115 75.3 117 +0.557 110
119 Indiana 75.0 78.0 118 78.7 116 76.2 117 78.1 117 73.6 119 71.9 119 +0.767 115
120 Akron 74.2 76.8 119 72.5 120 81.2 110 75.4 119 69.2 120 71.7 120 +0.649 112