by Brian Fremeau
This is the final week of the season in which preseason projected data is a factor in the FEI ratings. Beginning next week, only results in the 2018 season will be part of the FEI team calculations, and I'll also debut the opponent-adjusted offense (OFEI) and opponent-adjusted defense (DFEI) ratings, plus my special teams (STE) ratings. I've made some changes again this year to the way in which those ratings are calculated, and some of those changes are a result of how the raw unit values, unadjusted by the the strength of the opponent, are calculated.
To dig in on those raw unit value changes, we'll take a closer look this week at FEI Game Splits, the unit components of scoring margin in victory or defeat. Let's explore those component parts by examining the results of one of the year's most exciting games to date, Texas' 48-45 victory over Oklahoma last Saturday. The Longhorns controlled most of the game, building a 21-point lead over the Sooners and clinging to that lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma roared back, however, ripping off three touchdowns in a six-minute span to tie the game up at 45. Texas responded in the end with a 10-play, 52-yard drive, capped off with a 40-yard field goal by freshman kicker Cameron Dicker, to win. (Oklahoma had one more possession after the field goal, but couldn't move the ball into scoring range).
Texas won by three points, and an easy narrative would be to simply attribute the final scoring margin to Dicker's kick. But that's not how FEI Game Splits break down the game. Dicker actually kicked two field goals against the Sooners, the 40-yard game-winner plus a 44-yard field goal in the first quarter. Those kicks put six points on the scoreboard, but only 2.3 points are attributed to Dicker and the field goal unit on those kicks. The rest of the value generated on those successful kicks belongs to a different unit.
Texas' defense earned a significant portion of the credit for Dicker's first successful field goal attempt. The Longhorns intercepted Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray on Oklahoma's second possession of the game, setting up Texas deep in Oklahoma territory. Texas' offense didn't do anything with that drive (four plays, 2 yards), and based on national field goal efficiency rates, Dicker's successful kick on that possession was worth 1.3 points. The other 1.7 points put on the board on that possession were earned by the Texas defense that set up that scoring possession.
This is how FEI "watches" a game. Every possession and every possession exchange is calculated as value earned or value lost by one or more of the units for each team. A booming punt downed deep in the opponent's territory is valued over and above the average expected value of a punt from a given yard line on the field. A kickoff return fumbled back to the opponent not only forfeits a possession, but usually also sets up the opponent with good field position and generates expected scoring value as a result. An offense earns scoring value by driving the ball into the end zone, but also earns value by driving the ball into field goal range. Defenses earn value by denying offenses from doing those things. And so on and so forth.
One of the most significant changes I'm making this year in my Game Splits breakdown is separating out the value of the return on a turnover from the value of the turnover itself. The first quarter interception by Kyler Murray is a good example of this distinction. Oklahoma started the drive on its own 25-yard line. The expected scoring value of an offensive drive from that starting field position is 1.82 points. Failing to score by throwing an interception on the drive results in a -1.82 value generated by Oklahoma for the drive. The value of the interception itself, thrown on second-and-23 from the Sooners' 44-yard line, is calculated based on the average national value lost on an interception thrown from that position on the field. On average, the results of an interception thrown from that position on the field results in an expected scoring value bump of 0.38 points for the ensuing possession for the opponent. Oklahoma's total offensive value lost on that possession is the sum total of those values: -1.82 points on the drive and -0.38 points on the interception, for a total of -2.20 points. Thus, Texas' defensive value gained on that possession is 2.20 points. But the interception return (a 19-yard return plus a personal foul on the Sooners at the end of the play) was even more valuable. I separate this additional value out, since the randomness of turnover returns is unreliable. These turnover return values exist, and the sum total of these is included in the FEI Game Splits breakdowns, but they will not be factored into my opponent-adjusted offense, defense, and special teams ratings going forward.
Explore all FEI Game Splits data here, and jump-link to any specific team by adding "#team-name" to the end of the URL.
FEI Week 6 Ratings
The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) is a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted possession efficiency. Preseason projections (14 percent weight in this week's ratings) are based on five-year results, recruiting success, and returning offensive and defensive production. Strength of Schedule ratings (SOS) represent the average number of losses an elite team (two standard deviations better than average) would have against the team's regular season schedule. Strength of Schedule ratings against opponents played to date (PSOS) and remaining regular season opponents (RSOS) are also calculated from the perspective of an elite team.Net points per drive (NPD) is the difference between each team's points scored per offensive drive and its points allowed per opponent offensive drive. Net starting field position (NFP) is the difference between the average starting field position for each team's offensive drives and its opponent's offensive drives. Possession success rate (PSR) indicates each team's percentage of possessions played that result in a score when in possession or a stop when the opponent is in possession.
|21||North Carolina State||4-0||.144||.79||81||.10||120||.70||53||1.87||5||.2||67||.675||5|
|26||San Diego State||3-1||.125||.70||84||.49||57||.20||97||.12||59||-1.9||92||.559||37|