All statistics are courtesy of Football Outsiders, home of the F/+ Combined Ratings for college football.
The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) was created by Brian Fremeau; check out his website BCFToys for other goodies.
The S&P+ rating was created by Bill Connelly; check out his college football analytics blog, Football Study Hall.
Hat tips to Addicted to Quack's kalon and FO's 7th Day Adventure column for the inspiration.
How'd last week go?
Pretty good, I’d say. Not that picking Alabama to beat FAU was a particularly difficult call or anything. Weather did end up being a factor, just not in the way that was expected — the ongoing (but hopefully finished) QB competition in conjunction with the storm’s late arrival made sure of that. Although the game was terminated due to lightning, the Tide ended up covering the spread by a point, the first time Alabama’s covered in 5 games — it seems likely they would have eclipsed Nebraska’s winning margin of 48 from week 1 if the game had been completed. In short, FAU was dominated from beginning to end. Speaking of which…
|ALABAMA||SOUTHERN MISS||The Edge|
|F/+||26.1% (3)||F/+||-19.8% (122)||ALABAMA|
|FEI||0.252 (5)||FEI||-0.222 (119)||ALABAMA|
|S&P+||247.1 (2)||S&P+||159.9 (121)||ALABAMA|
(bold) numbers indicate national ranking.
Wondering what all these terms are?
- FEI: The Fremeau Efficiency Index, an overall team quality metric that is drive-based and opponent-adjusted. For a more detailed discussion of FEI, check out the PTN primer.
- OFEI: The offensive component of FEI.
- DFEI: The defensive component of FEI.
- FPA: FEI Field Position Advantage, a measure of how much field position value a team earned against its opponents.
- S&P+: Another overall team quality metric, S&P+ is primarily play-based and consists of three components: Success Rate, Equivalent Net Points per Play, and a drive efficiency component. The "+" refers to opponent adjustments. For a more detailed discussion of S&P+, check out the PTN primer.
- OS&P+: The offensive component of S&P+.
- DS&P+: The defensive component of S&P+.
- Rush OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on rushing plays for the offense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at running the ball.
- Rush DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on rushing plays for the defense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at stopping the run.
- Pass OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing plays for the offense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at throwing the ball.
- Pass DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing plays for the defense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at defending the pass.
- PD: Passing Downs, defined as later downs with medium yardage or more to go (3rd, 4th downs in excess of 5 yards to go), as well as 2nd down with more than 8 yards to go.
- SD: Standard Downs, defined as all downs that are not Passing Downs.
- SD OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on standard downs for the offense — a good measure of a team's offensive effectiveness on earlier downs and short yardage.
- SD DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on standard downs for the defense — a good measure of a team's defensive effectiveness on earlier downs and short yardage.
- PD OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing downs for the offense — a good measure of a team's offensive effectiveness on later downs and long yardage.
- PD DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing downs for the defense — a good measure of a team's defensive effectiveness on later downs and long yardage.
- F/+: The F/+ combined ratings combine FEI and S&P+ into one metric that serves as the official college football rankings of Football Outsiders. For a more detailed discussion of F/+, check out the PTN primer.
- Off. F/+: The offensive component of F/+.
- Def. F/+: The defensive component of F/+.
- ST F/+: The special teams component of F/+.
- Swanson Giddiness Index: Easily the most accurate predictor of success in college football, the Swanson Giddiness Index is a qualitative, completely unsupportable metric that is presented via the tone of that week's image/animated gif of Ron Swanson — beloved Parks and Recreation character and official spirit animal of Processing the Numbers.
Wondering what all of this means? Check out the PTN primer!
For the first six weeks of the season, these metrics are based partially on a few projection factors, namely recent program performance, the effects of roster attrition, recruiting rankings, and sweet, sweet voodoo*.
As the season progresses, data from games played will be factored in, with a progressively lighter emphasis on the projection factors. Starting in Week 7, these metrics will be based purely on games played this season. At that time, we’ll also get splits for offense, defense, and special teams, as well as insights on how teams handle passing and short-yardage situations and how they manage field position.
* This last one's not true.
So, what do we know?
Yeesh. This week’s opponent is actually worse than the one the Tide played last week. The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are among the 10 worst teams in FBS by any metric. This might have something to do with the much-discussed 23 game losing streak that was broken last year against UAB. Losing streaks like that are a pretty good indication that program quality is low, and this program has fallen off a cliff since Larry Fedora left town after the 2011 season. Things are looking up under second-year coach Todd Monken, but the Golden Eagles still have a long way to go.
You’ll note the Tide slid back a tad from last week across the board. Oregon’s surge ahead in F/+ makes sense, given their impressive win over Michigan State, but something funky is going on with the FEI rankings. The Tide dropped from 2nd to 5th, in favor of Oregon (sure, ok), USC (uh?) and Stanford (…). Just to review, the Tide obliterated their opponent, finishing all but three of their drives with points (and two of those were end-of-half drives), while not allowing FAU to score at all. In comparison, here is the drive chart from the USC-Stanford game. Yeah, ok. I’m really not sure what to make of that, but it’s early in the season.
Even with this mini-slide, the Tide still rank in the top-5 across the board. This team is strong, and this game is not going to be close.
Any intangibles to consider?
The weather may be poor again, but hopefully not to the extent where they’ll end up calling the game. Sounds like Christion Jones will play, but DeAndrew White probably wont be back until the Florida game.
These two teams have played each other quite a bit — 42 times, the 9th most-frequent opponent in Tide history — but despite Southern Miss usually being a tough out, the Tide’s only failed to win this matchup 6 times. That bit about being a tough out, by the way? That was a long time ago.
Swanson Giddiness Index
Ron’s feeling a bit diabolical this week. Alabama’s (probably) settled on a quarterback, and appears to have shored up the secondary — just in time to work out the last few kinks on a sacrificial lamb before the resurgent Gators visit Tuscaloosa.
THE PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide, and it is not going to be pretty.