Oregon State Beavers Building Momentum

Oregon State Beavers QB/LB Jack Colletto
Oregon State Beavers QB/LB Jack Colletto
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NCAA Week 2 - Five of the 47 games between FBS teams in Week 2 went to overtime, and one more very nearly added to that total in the wee hours of Sunday morning. With only seconds remaining on a drive to the Fresno State 2-yard line and trailing by three points, the Oregon State Beavers seemed likely to tie the game up in regulation with a chip-shot field goal. The Bulldogs gave them a few extra moments to think about it by calling a timeout, and Oregon State decided to go for it instead. Linebacker (and Wildcat specialist) Jack Colletto took the snap and powered into the end zone as time expired for a 35-32 Beavers victory.

The thriller against Fresno State followed a 34-17 victory by the Beavers over Boise State in Week 1. Oregon State's 2-0 start marks the first time since 2014 that the Beavers beat both of the first two FBS opponents they faced. They haven't finished a season with a winning record against FBS opponents since 2013, but they are in a great position to do so this year, and may be a Pac-12 conference contender as the season progresses if they keep it rolling.

The Beavers started the year ranked 68th in our projected FEI ratings and have slid up to 51st overall coming out of Week 2. Note that for teams such as Oregon State that have played two FBS opponents, the weight given to preseason projections in this week's formula is 67%, and their on-field season performance to date only counts for a third of their opponent-adjusted ratings. Their 2022 raw efficiency numbers on offense and defense are both better than projected, so they'll continue to move up in FEI as the season progresses even if they hold steady in terms of game efficiency data.

More importantly for Oregon State, their forecast for their season win totals has leaped forward. Our preseason projections had the Beavers with a mean projection of only 5.12 wins. Two games later, their season win projection is now 7.47 wins. That delta of 2.35 wins from preseason projections to Week 2 projections is the largest positive change in FBS on the season so far.

There are multiple factors that contribute to these changes in win projections. In Oregon State's case, they have wins already on the books that the preseason projection model didn't expect. More precisely, Oregon State was projected to only capture 0.7 wins in their first two games as a projected underdog against both Boise State and Fresno State. (FEI did adjust after Week 1 and had the Beavers as a very slight favorite over the Bulldogs in Week 2.) In terms of preseason projections alone, Oregon State is 1.3 wins "ahead" of projections through Week 2.

But they are also rated as a stronger team today than they were at the start of the season. And, just as importantly, some of their remaining opponents are not rated as strong as they were projected to be at the start of the year. Their archrival Oregon, for instance, started the season with a 73% projected win likelihood against Oregon State in November, but are only 51% likely to win now that the Ducks have slid down the FEI ratings (25th preseason to 50th after Week 2) and the Beavers have slid up.

The table below identifies the teams that have had the largest positive and negative changes in FEI win projection total through the first two weeks.

Most Positive Change in Projected Wins
Team Preseason PW as of Week 2 +/- Delta
Oregon State 5.12 7.47 +2.35
BYU 6.81 9.01 +2.20
Syracuse 4.83 7.02 +2.19
Duke 4.01 6.18 +2.18
USC 5.98 7.78 +1.80
Most Negative Change in Projected Wins
Team Preseason PW as of Week 2 +/- Delta
Notre Dame 9.56 7.59 -1.96
Boston College 5.79 3.76 -2.03
West Virginia 5.34 3.23 -2.10
Hawaii 5.69 3.17 -2.53
Nebraska 6.73 3.96 -2.78

FEI projections, of course, have blind spots! The change in projected fortunes for USC and Hawaii, for instance, may simply be exposing the preseason projections for those teams as flawed in the first place due to the projection model missing critical personnel data inputs for these teams. The season is still very young, and it is possible that the trajectories to date can swing back dramatically in the other direction in another couple of weeks. (Nebraska, of course, has seen enough to make a coaching change). We'll keep updating season win projections throughout the year as new data rolls in.

2022 FEI Ratings (through Week 2)

Fremeau Efficiency Index ratings (FEI) are opponent-adjusted possession efficiency data representing the per-possession scoring advantage a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. Offense ratings (OFEI) and defense ratings (DFEI) are opponent-adjusted drive efficiency data representing the per-drive scoring advantage a team unit would be expected to have against an average opponent unit. Net drive efficiency (NDE) is the sum of offensive drive efficiency and defensive drive efficiency data representing scoring value earned by offense and defense units per drive. Strength of schedule ratings represent the expected number of losses an elite team two standard deviations better than average would have against each team's schedule to date (ELS), the expected number of losses a good team one standard deviation above average would have against the schedule to date (GLS), and the expected number of losses an average team would have against the schedule to date (ALS). Ratings for all 131 teams are found here, and expanded ratings including projected win totals are found here.

Rk Team Rec FBS FEI OFEI Rk DFEI Rk NDE Rk ELS Rk GLS Rk ALS Rk
1 Georgia 2-0 1-0 1.42 1.58 1 1.37 1 6.74 1 .02 94 .22 75 .64 79
2 Alabama 2-0 2-0 1.23 1.42 3 1.13 4 2.46 19 .19 12 .63 14 1.20 15
3 Ohio State 2-0 2-0 1.07 1.47 2 .64 16 2.76 13 .16 17 .54 24 1.04 27
4 Michigan 2-0 2-0 .98 .97 5 .86 6 4.05 4 .02 68 .02 111 .18 118
5 Clemson 2-0 1-0 .77 .22 55 1.16 2 1.53 33 .01 114 .04 109 .29 109
6 Oklahoma 2-0 2-0 .71 1.15 4 .22 41 3.41 7 .02 69 .02 112 .13 123
7 Texas 1-1 1-1 .67 .64 23 .61 18 1.45 34 .60 2 .92 5 1.07 25
8 Penn State 2-0 2-0 .67 .52 29 .83 7 1.62 32 .08 40 .38 44 .98 35
9 Wisconsin 1-1 0-1 .64 .37 40 1.02 5 .14 54 .04 56 .29 59 .72 70
10 Notre Dame 0-2 0-2 .60 .45 36 .66 12 -1.02 96 .47 4 1.06 1 1.63 4
11 Iowa State 2-0 1-0 .60 .55 27 .71 9 .49 51 .10 32 .44 34 .84 56
12 Utah 1-1 0-1 .59 .82 7 .33 30 -1.16 98 .08 41 .39 42 .80 63
13 Oklahoma State 2-0 2-0 .59 .71 14 .47 23 .87 42 .03 58 .27 63 .92 43
14 Kansas State 2-0 1-0 .57 .51 31 .76 8 2.60 16 .01 106 .14 88 .51 92
15 Kentucky 2-0 2-0 .56 .39 39 .64 15 .88 41 .09 37 .44 36 1.11 21
16 Tennessee 2-0 2-0 .54 .81 8 .27 36 2.18 23 .05 48 .30 57 .82 60
17 Auburn 2-0 1-0 .53 .51 30 .57 21 .34 53 .01 118 .02 119 .20 114
18 Mississippi State 2-0 2-0 .52 .64 22 .70 10 2.13 24 .02 74 .20 79 .86 53
19 Minnesota 2-0 1-0 .52 .69 16 .41 26 6.11 2 .01 97 .01 121 .01 129
20 Texas A&M 1-1 0-1 .51 .21 58 .69 11 -1.28 101 .04 52 .30 55 .73 69
21 Iowa 1-1 0-1 .49 -.31 94 1.16 3 -.49 79 .15 20 .53 26 .88 49
22 Michigan State 2-0 2-0 .48 .28 47 .65 13 2.83 11 .02 70 .06 103 .32 106
23 Ole Miss 2-0 1-0 .47 .80 10 .35 29 2.95 9 .01 102 .01 120 .19 116
24 LSU 1-1 0-1 .46 .81 9 .33 31 .98 37 .02 67 .23 70 .66 76
25 Baylor 1-1 0-1 .43 .31 45 .61 17 -.46 77 .07 44 .36 46 .78 64
26 Florida 1-1 1-1 .43 .35 42 .57 20 -.14 65 .27 8 1.02 2 1.75 2
27 Cincinnati 1-1 0-1 .43 .35 43 .60 19 -.39 74 .06 46 .36 49 .78 66
28 Purdue 1-1 0-1 .40 .54 28 .20 43 -.53 80 .18 15 .59 16 .91 45
29 Air Force 2-0 1-0 .39 .60 25 .20 44 1.89 29 .01 112 .02 118 .20 113
30 Wake Forest 2-0 1-0 .39 .70 15 .21 42 2.35 21 .01 108 .05 106 .33 105

Comments

1 comment, Last at 15 Sep 2022, 9:02am

#1 by Coldmilk // Sep 15, 2022 - 9:02am

As a PNW guy, it’s great to see some love for the beavs. It’s been a while since they’ve had any sort of relevancy in the national CFB picture. Hot take: the Oregon-OSU game at the end of the year will decide which team is the Pac12 North champion
Super interesting to see the changes in projected wins, although I guess it gets less interesting as the season goes on. 

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