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06 Dec 2007

Fremeau Efficiency Index: Week 14

by Brian Fremeau

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) principles and methodology can be found here. Like DVOA, FEI rewards playing well against good teams, win or lose, and punishes losing to poor teams more harshly than it rewards defeating poor teams. Unlike DVOA, it is drive-based, not play-by-play based, and it is specifically engineered to measure the college game.

FEI is the opponent-adjusted value of Game Efficiency, a measurement of the success rate of a team scoring and preventing opponent scoring throughout the non-garbage-time possessions of a game. Like DVOA, it represents a team's efficiency value over average.

Only games between FBS (Division 1-A) teams are considered. The Week 14 Ratings represent the results of games played through Saturday, December 1, 2007.

Rank Team W-L FEI Last Wk GE GE Rank
1 LSU (11-2) 0.263 1 0.224 7
2 USC (10-2) 0.246 6 0.220 8
3 Ohio State (10-1) 0.246 3 0.292 1
4 West Virginia (10-2) 0.241 2 0.280 3
5 Florida (8-3) 0.241 4 0.201 11
6 Oregon (8-4) 0.229 5 0.148 16
7 South Florida (8-3) 0.225 7 0.175 12
8 Oklahoma (11-2) 0.212 9 0.292 2
9 Georgia (9-2) 0.209 8 0.106 25
10 Virginia Tech (10-2) 0.191 14 0.124 22
11 Cincinnati (8-3) 0.191 12 0.162 14
12 Clemson (8-3) 0.186 11 0.203 9
13 Arizona State (10-2) 0.181 13 0.125 21
Rank Team W-L FEI Last Wk GE GE Rank
14 Illinois (8-3) 0.172 15 0.131 20
15 Missouri (10-2) 0.169 10 0.163 13
16 BYU (9-2) 0.164 16 0.202 10
17 Auburn (7-4) 0.163 18 0.081 33
18 Arkansas (7-4) 0.161 19 0.140 18
19 Boston College (9-3) 0.152 17 0.105 26
20 Tennessee (9-4) 0.150 20 0.064 38
21 Oregon State (7-4) 0.148 25 -0.003 57
22 Michigan (8-3) 0.141 23 0.091 31
23 UCLA (6-6) 0.136 22 -0.009 61
24 California (6-6) 0.129 21 0.032 45
25 Kansas (10-1) 0.121 24 0.277 4

Offensive Efficiency (OE) represents the raw per-possession scoring rate for each team, and Defensive Efficiency (DE) represents that of its opponents. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (AOE) and Adjusted Defensive Efficiency modifies OE and DE for field position and opponent. Field Position Advantage (FPA) represents the difference between a team's average offensive field position and its opponents'.

FEI Rank Team W-L OE OE Rank AOE AOE Rank DE DE Rank ADE ADE Rank FPA
1 LSU (11-2) 0.394 13 0.412 12 0.186 8 0.184 7 3.8
2 USC (10-2) 0.355 30 0.353 31 0.150 2 0.158 2 4.9
3 Ohio State (10-1) 0.359 29 0.344 36 0.093 1 0.105 1 8.5
4 West Virginia (10-2) 0.427 9 0.431 7 0.196 11 0.201 12 5.8
5 Florida (8-3) 0.531 1 0.587 1 0.332 81 0.316 75 4.9
6 Oregon (8-4) 0.370 21 0.425 9 0.230 27 0.236 25 3.0
7 South Florida (8-3) 0.333 39 0.352 32 0.197 12 0.186 9 4.6
8 Oklahoma (11-2) 0.457 4 0.426 8 0.205 15 0.178 5 1.9
9 Georgia (9-2) 0.369 22 0.415 10 0.259 34 0.229 22 1.1
10 Virginia Tech (10-2) 0.271 70 0.291 63 0.154 3 0.164 3 4.3
11 Cincinnati (8-3) 0.348 34 0.360 28 0.199 14 0.211 17 5.7
12 Clemson (8-3) 0.375 18 0.393 18 0.176 5 0.206 15 5.8
13 Arizona State (10-2) 0.316 47 0.354 30 0.214 19 0.211 16 -0.4
FEI Rank Team W-L OE OE Rank AOE AOE Rank DE DE Rank ADE ADE Rank FPA
14 Illinois (8-3) 0.347 35 0.409 13 0.231 28 0.221 19 -2.2
15 Missouri (10-2) 0.429 8 0.511 2 0.288 56 0.247 33 -2.1
16 BYU (9-2) 0.372 20 0.407 14 0.212 18 0.238 29 -2.0
17 Auburn (7-4) 0.287 63 0.319 45 0.217 20 0.185 8 0.2
18 Arkansas (7-4) 0.382 14 0.413 11 0.254 32 0.249 36 2.6
19 Boston College (9-3) 0.304 53 0.385 21 0.186 7 0.229 21 -0.4
20 Tennessee (9-4) 0.366 24 0.389 19 0.287 53 0.264 41 4.6
21 Oregon State (7-4) 0.223 99 0.261 76 0.221 22 0.201 11 0.1
22 Michigan (8-3) 0.292 61 0.303 51 0.193 10 0.179 6 2.6
23 UCLA (6-6) 0.188 114 0.228 98 0.211 17 0.204 13 1.3
24 California (6-6) 0.309 48 0.360 27 0.288 55 0.275 53 -1.4
25 Kansas (10-1) 0.442 6 0.373 23 0.177 6 0.175 4 3.5

Click here for rankings of all 119 teams. Click here for Offensive/Defensive Efficiency rankings for all 119 teams.

Seven weeks ago, Ohio State found itself atop the BCS standings after a succession of midseason upsets knocked LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, and West Virginia (plus a few others) out of its way. In the final three weeks of the 2007 college football season, the Buckeyes watched LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon and West Virginia (plus a few others) suffer a succession of late-season upsets to pave the way to their second-straight berth in the BCS championship game.

College basketball's playoff system may be known as the Big Dance, but this year's weekly BCS waltz flirted with a countless sets of possible dance partners all season long, sometimes even two-stepping potential pairings multiple times within a given weekend. And while a sequence of six straight victories through a hoops bracket crowns a champion in the Big Dance, sequencing is no less important in college football. Wins and losses, versus big-time opponents or cupcakes, in triple-overtime or in first-half routs -- the details of the nearly 700 major college football games played this season -- are measured and evaluated by the BCS formula each week. But ultimately, the sequence of those results makes all the difference. Ohio State lost late in its season, but it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Had Oklahoma's second loss occurred before Ohio State's first instead of a week later, for instance, the Sooners may have had the inside edge on a championship berth instead of the Buckeyes.

FEI doesn't care about sequence, evaluating the totality of the season to date each week rather than weighting recent data. As a result, LSU held steady in the FEI top spot all year, surviving two triple-overtime heartbreaks on the strength of its two wins over FEI top-10s (Virginia Tech in dominating fashion and Florida) and four wins over the FEI top 20, twice as many as any other team. The Tigers' unprecedented leap into the BCS championship game on the final weekend is credited in part to the voters' full assessment of LSU's entire body of work at season's end. Had Missouri and West Virginia not gaffed on Saturday night, however, LSU may never have been given that opportunity by the voters.

USC, seated just behind LSU in last week's BCS standings, was probably not given the same full-season assessment. The October 6 Stanford loss permanently marred the Trojan's resume, but probably moreso than it ought to have in this season of surprises. FEI's final assessment of Southern Cal's body of work slips them just past Ohio State into the No. 2 spot. The Trojans join the Tigers as the only teams with six FEI top-40 victories (five of Southern Cal's top-40 wins have come in its last six games) and USC's convincing victory over a very good Arizona State team on Thanksgiving night was precisely the kind of statement game they have routinely turned in at season's end in their now six-year run in the AP's top five season-ending polls. In the FEI era (2003-present), they have not yet finished out of the top two.

Georgia and Virginia Tech each received late-season credit in the polls for strong finishes, but in FEI, each retain the baggage of a particularly egregious blowout loss earlier in the year (to Tennessee and LSU, respectively). Neither team turned in a series of dominating performances either, whereas each of the other FEI top-10 teams did. Discounting sequence in FEI may be problematic in the case of Oregon -- FEI doesn't know that sans Dixon they are not the same team that defeated USC -- but what about South Florida? Have the Bulls returned to their early season form by properly dominating its final three opponents, and if so, how relevant are those September victories over Auburn and West Virginia?

Hawaii faced its toughest test of the year in the final game of this year's college football regular season late Saturday night, winning once again in dramatic fashion over Washington. The Warriors' 2.61 wins over Pythagorean Wins is the third-highest margin recorded among FBS teams since 2003 (2005 UCLA and 2006 Arkansas State were the others), and this year marks the second time in that span that Hawaii has held the top spot at season's end in this statistic. Their undefeated season earned them a major bowl bid, and the chance to change FEI's perception of an entire conference. Against BCS conferences, the WAC currently stands at 2-15 (Hawaii is now 1-0), and against BCS conference teams with winning records, the WAC is 0-8 by an average final score of 49-16 (Hawaii is 0-0). The January 1 showdown with Georgia will pit Colt Brennan against a defense that slowed down fellow Heisman finalist Tim Tebow and is better than any Hawaii has faced since last season's loss to Alabama.

That so little is seemingly known about the relative strength of the only undefeated team in football nearly 700 games into this wild season seems only fitting this year. Amidst debate, elation, heartbreak, and illusion, 64 teams were selected on Sunday and will now swap dancing shoes for bowling shoes and settle things on the field, once (LSU vs. Ohio State) and for all (54 percent of FBS teams are in a bowl).

The Best Teams that Aren't Bowling

OK, so not every team has been invited to travel across the country for the privilege of helping sell auto care products or snack food in a corporate-sponsored extravaganza (football game included). Nearly half of the bowl bids are given to teams that never sniffed the top 25 or an ESPN primetime appearance all season, and good for them. There are many great players and pretty good teams out there that will finally get a game in the national spotlight, an opportunity earned by their performance through the regular season.

The bowl participants are not, of course, the 64 best teams in the country. With conference tie-ins for both the have and have-not leagues, a .500 record in a lousy conference can earn a bid for several teams that can hardly be considered on par with a just-below .500 record in a terrific one. Each year, a handful of decent teams play valiantly against a brutal schedule, or drop a couple of games in heartbreaking fashion to fall short of bowl-eligibility, or some combination of the two. Here are this season's top five:

Best Teams Not Bowl-Bound, 2007
FEI Rank Team W-L FEI GE GE Rank
29 Arizona (4-7) 0.112 -0.011 63
33 South Carolina (5-6) 0.103 -0.010 62
39 Washington (4-9) 0.078 -0.006 58
45 Louisville (5-6) 0.065 -0.014 66
47 Pittsburgh (4-7) 0.058 -0.028 68

FEI currently rates 22 bowl-bound teams worse than these five. What do they all have in common? Each fiinished the season with an average Game Efficiency like that of a .500 team and played an average of seven games each against FEI top-40 opposition. As a group, they defeated three FEI top 10 teams and five FEI top 20 teams. All five finished the year underperforming their Pythagorean Win Percentage, Washington by nearly two games.

These five teams are done for 2007, but FEI thinks they will likely show some improvement next year. How likely and how much improvement? The table below lists the best five non-bowl bound teams in each season according to FEI from 2003 to 2006, along with each team's results the following season.

Best Teams Not Bowl-Bound, 2003 to 2006
FEI Rank Team W-L FEI Y+1 Wins Delta Wins Y+1 FEI Delta FEI
40 Arizona (5-6) 0.071 4 -1 30 +10
45 Pittsburgh (5-6) 0.056 4 -1 47 -2
47 Washington State (6-6) 0.055 5 -1 63 -16
48 Kansas (5-6) 0.052 10 +5 25 +23
50 Washington (5-7) 0.042 4 -1 39 +11
31 Tennessee (5-6) 0.108 9 +4 8 +23
36 Maryland (5-6) 0.074 8 +3 39 -3
42 Wake Forest (4-7) 0.050 10 +6 23 +19
47 UAB (4-6) 0.037 3 -1 78 -31
48 Arizona (2-8) 0.034 5 +3 40 +8
FEI Rank Team W-L FEI Y+1 Wins Delta Wins Y+1 FEI Delta FEI
30 North Carolina State (4-6) 0.112 6 +2 27 +3
33 Clemson (6-5) 0.103 8 +2 15 +18
34 Northwestern (6-6) 0.088 7 +1 35 -1
35 Penn State (4-7) 0.088 11 +7 4 +31
37 Kansas (4-7) 0.080 6 +2 43 -6
24 Wake Forest (5-7) 0.138 3 -2 60 -36
42 Alabama (4-9) 0.075 5 +1 42 -
45 Syracuse (6-6) 0.050 6 - 68 -23
48 Notre Dame (5-7) 0.036 6 +1 28 +20
49 BYU (4-8) 0.034 5 +1 47 +2

These 20 teams averaged an improvement of nearly two wins the following season, and in each of the last three years an "out of nowhere" double-digit win season (and BCS berth) was turned in by one of these candidates. Are any of this year's class poised for a breakout 2008? The highest-ranked non-bowl teams of 2007 won't be receiving commemorative watches for the honor, but don't sleep on any of them next year.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 06 Dec 2007

32 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2007, 1:42am by Sid


by B (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 5:28pm

So...the BCS was basically right? LSU is the top team, and Ohio State is as good a #2 as anybody.

by Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 5:33pm

Bowl + 1 would be an acceptable compromise between the current system and a true playoff for me. I have heard some complaints that the Big 10 and PAC-10 would oppose it because it would require seeding (and hence some of their historic matchups might not be continued). Instead, I suggest that there be no seeding. Have the normal bowls with their historic matchups (perhaps helping to insure that a Top 10 undefeated team from the non-majors gets invited as an at-large spot) and then decide who the Top 2 teams are after some decent non-conference play. For instance, USC would play Ohio State. LSU might play Virginia Tech or Hawaii, while Oklahoma plays the other. Kansas might be in the mix playing against West Viriginia.

The championship teams could be decided just like they are now. The game would be played about a week after the New Year's Day games, but that would be consistent with the current championship. Making travel plans and selling tickets might be the biggest challenge, but I think those can be handled.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 5:41pm

Yeah, according to the listings there, the difference between USC and Ohio State is in the thousandths. Given that, choosing the team with fewer losses makes sense.

and this year marks the second time in that span that Hawaii has held the top spot at season’s end in this statistic.

That's what having a large HFA will do for you.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 6:04pm

For the curious, here's the FEI Top 25 with adjustments from GE at 1/3 strength, with FEI rank is in ()s:

1. Ohio State (3) .277
2. West Virginia (4) .267
3. Oklahoma (8) .265
4. LSU (1) .237
5. USC (2) .229
6. Kansas (25) .225
7. Florida (5) .214
8. Clemson (12) .197
9. USF (7) .192
10. BYU (16) .189
11. Oregon (6) .175
12. Cincinnati (11) .172
13. Mizzou (15) .165
14. Arkansas (18) .147
15. VaTech (10) .146
16. Illinois (14) .145
17. Arizona State (13) .144
18. Georgia (9) .140
19. BC (19) .121
20. Auburn (17) .108
21. Michigan (22) .108
22. Tennessee (20) .093
23. Cal (24) .064
24. Oregon State (21) .047
25. UCLA (23) .039

For the record, Hawaii slots in between #11 and #12, not far behind Oregon, while Boise is ahead of Oregon but behind #10 BYU.

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 6:41pm

3: Not to mention the team that didn't lose to Stanford. I'm sorry, but if Michigan had been a 2-loss team with their only losses to Oregon and Appalachian State, Michigan similarly would have been eliminated on the ASU loss alone. The Stanford loss was a similar level of bad loss. In a year when you're splitting hairs as to who has the best resume, a terrible loss like that SHOULD eliminate you from contention when there are a bunch of other teams that have a similarly valid claim. I mean, LSU wouldn't have been in the discussion if one of their two losses had been to Ole Miss, right?

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 7:09pm

#5: That's pretty similar to what I've been saying for a while. Look at OSU's resume. They don't have any strong wins against OOC competition, no, but they do have strong wins against decent in-conference competition. They do have one loss to Illinois, which is a Top 25 team by any measure. That loss isn't good, but at the least, it's not a game which is completely at odds with a top ranking - especially this year.

USC's loss to Stanford makes no sense for a #1/#2 ranked team. At all.

People put waaaaay too much certainty in statistical rankings. Normally they're very imprecise, but this year they're even more imprecise for several teams. USC could be a top team, but they could also be an average-middling team masquerading as a good one. You could say the same thing about OSU, but in USC's case, there's evidence for the latter.

by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 7:25pm

I'm just glad to see that there is actual hope that tOSU might win vs LSU. Then again, I'd rather face LSU than WVU in this game. (That spread option will kill us.)

by pm (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 7:45pm

Can someone sit here and give a convincing argument on why South Florida is better than Oklahoma, Georgia, and Virginia Tech. This is the same team that lost to mediocre opponents Rutgers and Connecticut.

by Steve (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 8:31pm

USC’s loss to Stanford makes no sense for a #1/#2 ranked team. At all.

It makes more sense when you realize that the USC team that lost that day isn't the same USC team that won 5 FEI-top 40 victories in is last 6 games. Put them on the field this weekend and the results would be 180 degrees different. However, thats why they play the games, and this year the stars aligned just right for Stanford to pull off the upset.

Suppose one play from that game had been changed and USC came away with the win, leaving them 11-1 instead of 10-2. Is that really, objectively, that much more impressive? I doubt the computer would think so.

by BHW (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 8:32pm

UCLA and Cal are not amongst the 25 best teams in the nation. Do they get a boost from schedule difficulty or somesuch? Does Southern Cal get the same boost?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 8:39pm

Re #8
Georgia was blown out by a Tennessee team that lost to a Cal team that finished 6-6 by 14, that lost to Florida by 39, and to 6-6 Alabama by 17 (or 24, don't have time to look it up). Georgia also lost to South Carolina team that finished 6-6, at home (I know FEI doesn't take HFA into account, which is another discussion). Georgia also didn't blow out any decent teams.

Virginia Tech lost 48-7 to LSU in a game that was about as close as the score indicated. Virginia Tech also lost to BC, though they won the rematch. VaTech's best win is probably Clemson, where they were outgained by something like 150 yards and won on the strength of D/ST scores. VaTech's best non-conference win is, uh, ECU.

Oklahoma lost to a 6-6 Colorado team. Said same Colorado team, while they played a close game against Kansas, was blown out by 40+ by both Mizzou and Kansas. This is a really bad loss. Oklahoma also played a close (17-7) game against Iowa State, another bad team. Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech; granted, this was without Sam Bradford, something FEI doesn't know, but it did reflect flaws in the Sooner pass D, flaws that were evident the week before in the Baylor win. OU's "best" non-conference opponent was Miami, which ended up not being that good.

USF beat West Virginia-while the offense wasn't great that game, they were the only team to hold WVU under 28 before Pitt. USF also went to Auburn and both won and outplayed the Tigers by a bigger margin than the 26-23 OT final would indicate. In non-conference play, they also killed a UCF team that had nearly beaten Texas the week before and also won their conference. They also beat another BCS team, North Carolina, in non-conference play. Further, they were not outplayed in either loss-against UConn, they outgained the Huskies on offense, 440-353, missed 2 FGs, had a pick-6 against them, and were down to the UConn 1 in the final minute with a chance to tie. Against Rutgers, they were outgained only 400-362 and missed 2 FGs in a 3-point loss. With an NFL-caliber placekicker and slightly better luck, it wouldn't be that surprising for USF to be unbeaten and playing for the national championship. (You didn't ask, but in their 3rd loss, 38-33 to Cincinnati, they outgained the Bearcats 481-375, yielded an interception return and a punt block return, outscored them 19-7 in the last 3 quarters, and had the ball inside the Cincinnati 20 when the game ended.) They also blew out Louisville and Syracuse and were up 34-14 on Pitt with 9 minutes to play before the Panthers ran off a bunch of meaningless points.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 9:09pm

Georgia blew out Auburn, 45-20. I guess they could have allowed less points, but Georgia outgained them 417 to 216. Not a Virginia Tech blowout, but still a big time win, especially scoring 45 against that defense.

by Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 9:26pm

#5, equating USC's loss Stanford with Michigan's loss to App State is completely irrational. Stanford wasn't a one or two loss team; they went 4-8, and are #52 in the FEI ratings. There are a lot of BCS teams ranked lower, in some cases by a lot

53 Colorado 6-6
54 Indiana 6-5
55 Oklahoma State 5-6
56 Purdue 6-5
57 Iowa 6-6
59 North Carolina 3-8
62 Miami 5-7
63 Washington State 5-7
64 Vanderbilt 4-7
68 North Carolina State 4-7
70 Texas A&M 6-5
71 Northwestern 5-6
72 Kansas State 4-7
74 Notre Dame 3-9
75 Mississippi 2-9
76 Minnesota 1-10
81 Duke 1-11
84 Nebraska 5-7
90 Iowa State 3-8
107 Syracuse 2-10 (sigh)
111 Baylor 2-9

by Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 9:27pm

Err, I meant Stanford wasn’t a one or two win team

by Sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 9:49pm

"FEI doesn’t care about sequence, evaluating the totality of the season to date each week rather than weighting recent data."

Actually, in some instances it scarcely cares about outcome of the games, either. Last week, heading into their matchup, Washington was ranked #39 (despite a 4-8 record) while Hawaii was #46. Following their win Hawaii is now #42 and Washington...is still at #39.

Any system that can have that happening is simply absurd. In comparison the BCS looks pretty rational.

"Their undefeated season earned them a major bowl bid, and the chance to change FEI’s perception of an entire conference."

How can the FEI have a "perception" of conferences? But, at any rate, as we've seen from the example above, winning won't necessarily help Hawaii all that much. Beating the tar out of Georgia might get them up to #40 behind the idle Washington team. Maybe they can get that printed on a shirt or something.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 10:04pm

There are a lot of BCS teams ranked lower, in some cases by a lot

Yes, but none of them beat a top-ranked team. I don't see why it's any different than the App. State loss for Michigan - App. State would likely be in the 60s-70s or so if they were ranked, and Michigan's about a "#25" team, so it's about as distant.

By more conventional statistical rankings, though, Stanford's very low - usually in the #70s-80s or so (remember, lost to Notre Dame). Massey's rankings put the Stanford loss as the most unlikely upset of a top 10 team in the past several years.

The other thing is that you have to consider Stanford's season without the USC victory - and that FEI ranking includes the USC victory. Without that victory, in more conventional rankings, Stanford drops into the nineties, and USC's up in the Top 2.

So you really are talking about the #2 team in the country being beaten by the #90 or so team in the country. That's just insane.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 10:33pm

The AOE/ADE rankings vs. FEI rankings are just getting weirder and weirder every week, and making less and less sense.

At the top of the rankings, there are teams that have better AOE, better ADE, and better field position than teams above them (c.f. Kansas vs California).

Why is California ranked higher? I have no idea. By the "efficiency rankings", Kansas has a better offense, better defense, and has a significant field position advantage, yet for some reason, California is ranked higher in FEI (!?).

I really do hate to criticize, but at least with DVOA you can look and say "why is a team ranked where they are", look at the offense/defense breakdowns, and recognize it. With the FEI rankings, since you can't do that with the offensive/defensive efficiency rankings, it's just black magic.

by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 10:34pm

But ultimately, the sequence of those results makes all the difference. Ohio State lost late in its season, but it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Had Oklahoma’s second loss occurred before Ohio State’s first instead of a week later, for instance, the Sooners may have had the inside edge on a championship berth instead of the Buckeyes.

I seriously doubt that. Poll voters don't care that much about when a team loses. They care a lot more about how many losses a team has. When there's a 1 loss BCS conference champion available, that team will always get in ahead of a 2 loss team, no matter when the losses happen or how good the teams really are. If it's a matter of choosing which 1 loss team to put in, maybe. But if the voters can find a team that won its conference and has fewer than two losses, they'll take them over a two loss team every time, even if they have to push the 1 loss team over the 2 loss team in the final week. Not saying that's fair or intelligent, but that is what would happen.

I’m just glad to see that there is actual hope that tOSU might win vs LSU. Then again, I’d rather face LSU than WVU in this game. (That spread option will kill us.)

Seriously. We match up much better against LSU than WVU. I wouldn't say that tOSU is better than LSU, but then again, neither are Kentucky or Arkansas, and they pulled off the upset. I actually would rather have a plus 1 system than the current one, if only because it would be easy to do, and it would give tOSU a better chance at winning at least one bowl game this year. Also, it would get rid of the "they haven't played anyone good" argument. That would've helped Hawaii this year, Boise State last year, and Utah in 2004.

by Scott C. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 10:57pm


An issue with looking at the totality of the season. Cal was clearly very dominant early on. The offense has gone downhill and FEI does not weigh the latter part of the season heavier. With the pac-10 beating each other up so much this year both UCLA and CAL have some very strong victories mixed with bad losses.
FEI weighs games against good competition more than those against weak competition. Its not a strength of schedule adjustment in the usual sense -- it just assumes that a win or loss against a good opponent says more about the team's ability to win against good competition than a win/loss against a bad team.

I think that a similar system that took trends into account would be useful. A downward trending team is not likely to do so well in a bowl game. But an inconsistent team is a different story, and early season win/loss shouldn't be disregarded unless there is a clear trend.

Oregon falls into the trend case as well... we all know their offense is NOT nearly unstoppable like it was earlier in the year due to injury.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 11:18pm

An issue with looking at the totality of the season. Cal was clearly very dominant early on.

I think you're missing exactly how inconsistent the rankings are from what I'm saying. It doesn't matter how dominant Cal was early on - it's a full season rating, and over the full season, Kansas has a better offense (better AOE), better defense (better ADE) and started each drive with better field position.

What else is there besides offense, defense, and exchanged field position?

And if it is true that Cal's ranking is coming because of a few dominant games (i.e. some sort of averaging effect, where a few dominant games plus below-mediocre games is better than all above average games), then that's a definite issue as well, because you're essentially overweighting a single data point in a very small data set.

I should've looked more carefully too, as it's not just Cal and Kansas. Kansas is also below Michigan, UCLA, Oregon State, Auburn, and Arizona State, all of whom have a worse offense, a worse defense, and worse average field position.

Really, that doesn't make any sense at all. It's not just Cal, and it's not just Kansas either - they're the only one in the Top 25, but there are other cases similar. The AOE/ADE rankings just don't make any sense in trying to align them with FEI.

by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 3:08am

#15, you need to take into account that Washington played well enough to win the game. A 7 point victory at home based on a blown call doesn't show Hawaii's definitively better than Washington. Hawaii didn't play a bad game, so they don't drop, but niether did Washington.

And Hawaii beating Georgia will skyrocket Hawaii's value, in the unlikely event it occurs. And as such, all those .500 or below teams that picked Colt Brennan off 4 or 5 times, or took Hawaii into Overtime, or lost by less than a TD, which is nearly the whole conference, has their value increase as well. If Hawaii has a good showing against a good team, it'll be the first time a team in the WAC does it all season.

#16, Colorado beat Oklahoma, Iowa beat Illinois, TAMU beat Texas.

Stanford's current ranking is helped by beating USC, but not built solely on USC. They beat an FEI top 25 team in Cal, and beat an Arizona team that's 29th in FEI.

And Pat, Kansas is falling into the same trap Hawaii did. Kansas' SOS was extremely weak, and FEI doesn't reward for beating great teams like Iowa State. That's the flaw with the 12 team conferences. 1 loss? that's great, too bad you dodged Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 3:12am

Everyone who expected the #3 offensive team in the nation, according to FEI, to be Navy... please raise your hands.

Also, if anyone wants to question FEI again... click the link in my name, first. This goes to the Vegas Consultants poll, which is basically the power poll that Vegas' betting lines are set on (with minor adjustments for game location, health, and betting trends). You're going to notice a lot of similarities.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 3:15am

Blah, it seems you can't mention a certain city that begins with a "V" and ends with an "egas" without getting caught in the spam filter. Let's try this one again.

Everyone who expected the #3 offensive team in the nation, according to FEI, to be Navy... please raise your hands.

Also, if anyone wants to question FEI again... click the link in my name, first. This goes to the V-City's Consultants poll, which is basically the power poll that the V-city's lines are set on (with minor adjustments for game location, health, and betting trends). You're going to notice a lot of similarities.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 3:17am

That's not working, so here's the link to the poll: http://www.espn920.com/skin/graphic.php?sectionId=178&contentId=707763

by NY expat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 5:32am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems you calculate drive efficiency without regard for how the drive ended. If a team goes 99 yards against LSU's or Ohio St.'s defense, but then throws a pick 6, would that be counted as a big plus for offensive FEI? Would there be any penalty for the score from the interception?

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 7:45am

And Pat, Kansas is falling into the same trap Hawaii did.

AOE and ADE are adjusted for schedule too. If the reason that Kansas looks like the better team according to AOE/ADE/field position is schedule, then either it is undercorrecting for opponent, or FEI is overcorrecting.

That's my point. There are two rankings here - FEI and AOE/ADE/field position, and they don't give the same results.

by theosu (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 3:45pm

it seems the pac-10 has some awfully mediocre teams rated incredibly highly, which, based upon some of the arguing that's going on here, seems to be a byproduct of them beating up on each other.

is this all a giant byproduct of cal beating tennessee? if the result of that game were reversed, would arizona sniff the top 50? would a ucla team that lost to notre dame and utah be within shouting distance of the top 40?

it seems egregious that a good win can boost an entire conference, but nary a glance is given to some absolutely inexcusable losses (mostly involving UCLA).

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2007 - 4:14pm


I would think the absolute torching of the 2nd best team in the Big Ten by Oregon may help as well.

by Javier (not verified) :: Sat, 12/08/2007 - 1:57pm

26: When did Oregon play Illinois?

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/11/2007 - 2:18am

It's hard to say where Appalachian State would be ranked here, but we can look at other systems: they're 55th in Massey's (57 without MOV) with Michigan #27 (with and without MOV), and 60th in Sagarin's (45th without MOV) with Michigan 27th (29th without).

For comparative purposes, USC is 8th with/11th without in Massey, Stanford is 90th/76th, and in Sagarin, USC is 8th/9th, Stanford is 76th/79th.

So both of those systems seem to suggest that the USC/Stanford game now seems to be a more surprising outcome than the Michigan/ASU game.

by Fourth (not verified) :: Wed, 12/12/2007 - 5:45am

Re: the 99-yard drive ending a pick 6--

I think FEI measures a successful drive as one that ends in a touchdown or field goal attempt...while there may be a yardage component too, I'm sure there's also a turnover component that would negate it. At least, there better be. The fact it is returned for a td probably doesn't matter...I don't think it factors in dvoa and I don't see any place for it in a drive-efficiency system either. Random event.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/23/2007 - 1:42am

I based my Bowl Pick'em picks on the Fremeau Efficiency, and I'm 5-0 thus far.