Week #7 National Rankings, Fremeau Efficiency Index, and Sagarin Predictor for Penn State

Submitted by Enjoy Life on October 20th, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Note: I've split the statistics to provide subtotals by OOC and Big Ten games. Also, I added a couple of line charts to show these summaries. This is also the week FEI adds rankings for Offense Efficiency, Defense Efficiency, Field Position Advantage, and Field Goal Efficiency.

image Synopsis: After 7 games, Michigan is currently ranked #17 in scoring offense and #82 in scoring defense. Based on these rankings, M maintains a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season. The offense was plagued for the second week in a row by TOs (and by penalties), which turned 522 yards of total offense into just 28 points (yuck!). The defense actually played relatively well and allowed just 383 yards (the lowest yardage total since UConn – excluding the baby seal BGSU). But, the offensive (pun intended) TOs eliminated scoring chances for M, created a short field for the defense, and put the D back on the field earlier and more often. Iowa's second and third TDs both started at about mid-field after an interception and a blocked FG.

I use scoring stats because yardage stats are inherently flawed. (If you don't believe that, I guess M won the game with Iowa – 522 yards to 383 yards.) Being #82 in scoring defense is not good but U-Ms defense is not as bad as the #105 (an improvement of 7 places from last week) in total defense indicates. According to the FEI rankings at Football Outsiders, Michigan is ranked #83 in total defense.

Based on the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), Michigan is predicted to win between 7.8 and 7.9 games (excluding bowl game but adjusted with +1 for U-M's one FCS opponent). Based on the FEI, M would have been expected to win 3.9 FBS games to date (we have won 4.0 FBS games to date).

imageUsing a rough calculation based on the FEI, Michigan will be favored by 16 points over Penn State (I'll add the real FEI prediction when it comes out after our bye week– usually Thursday after the bye). Using the Sagarin Predictor, M will be favored by 2.8 points. (Vegas Odds Opened with M favored by ??). All these will be updated after the bye week but will probably not change very much.

Just as I was confused the game with Iowa was predicted so close last week, I am confused this week why Sagarin has the PSU game relatively close. Unless M implodes with TOs, this should be a win.

This line chart differentiates between OOC and Big Ten points per possession. It shows what has happened since the start of conference play. imageIn the Big Ten, U-M is averaging only 2.5 points per possession (PPP) and 42 YPP. The defense is giving up 3.1 PPP and 42 YPP. With an average of 12 possessions per game for each team, this translates into a 7.2 point disadvantage for Michigan. (In OOC games, this was a 20 point advantage.)

For those who want yardage stats, here they are – split by OOC and Big10 games. Offensively, total yards per game are moderately lower in conference play (13% less), rushing yards are significantly lower in conference play (35%), while passing yards are moderately higher (18%). Defensively, total yards allowed in conference play have increased significantly (24%), rushing yards allowed are up just moderately (16%), while passing yards allowed are up significantly (28%).





 DETAILS: Here are the FEI numbers ( FEI Forecasts and Football Outsiders FEI ). FEI is a weighted and opponent-adjusted season efficiency, and is expressed as a percentage as compared with an average FBS team. The average team will have an index of approximately 0.00. Teams below average have negative index values.


Note that FEI completely excludes all non-FBS data (the W-L record is only for FBS games, etc.). Therefore, you need to add 1 to FBS-MW to get the final predicted wins for M this year. Or, if you use FBS-RMW, you need to add 1 to the current W-L record to get the final predicted wins for M this year. BTW, the difference between FBS-MW and FBS-RMW is the number of FBS games each team would have been expected to win to date.


The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams. I've included the GE basic data so you can see the impact of adjusting for opponent.  (See: Football Outsiders Our Basic College Stats )

Here are the Sagarin Ratings.


Sagarin uses two basic ratings: PREDICTOR (in which the score MARGIN is the only thing that matters) and ELO-CHESS (in which winning and losing only matters, the score margin is of no consequence). The overall rating is a synthesis of the two diametrical opposites, ELO-CHESS and PREDICTOR.

Per Sagarin: ELO-CHESS is “very politically correct. However, it is less accurate in its predictions for upcoming games than is PREDICTOR”.

Here is the U-M vs. Penn State National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push").


Here are the week by week National Statistical Rankings for Michigan (cumulative thru the week indicated):


I have included the major rankings for offense and defense but scoring rankings show the best correlation to winning and losing. Scoring rankings are based on PPG. Rushing, Passing, and Total rankings are based on YPG.

Here is the basic data for Michigan (each individual week followed by totals and then average per game). I've included Total Possessions for Offense & Defense along with the calculated data per possession. Number of possessions do not include running out the clock at the half or end of game. Offense Plays and Defense Plays are better indicators than Time of Possession.


Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).


Each year, of the 66 FBS AQ teams, 65% (43 teams) end up with a + WLM and 36% (24 teams) end up with a +5 WLM.



October 20th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

We don't have the 120th ranked passing defense in the country anymore.


PSU definitely looks winnable, but this is yet another game where the questions is probably more "Will our offense perform like OOC Offense?" as opposed to "Will our defense be able to bend-not-break?", again. PSU's defense still scares me, especially when they have a game or two of film on how to get coverage on our WRs, which seems to be the way teams have beat us (by forcing us into mistakes with throwing into coverage when all other options have been exhausted).


Anyway, I don't think the spread will be more than a TD (barring a PSU implosion in week 7) since it is in Happy Valley, at night, near Halloween, and we're still a Big 10 question mark.


October 20th, 2010 at 10:02 PM ^


Penn State
Player   Injury Status/Updated Notes
Andrew Dailey S Undisclosed Prob Sat - 10/20/10 Dailey is dealing with an undisclosed injury but is expected to play Saturday against Minnesota.
Bani Gbadyu LB Leg Prob Sat - 10/20/10 Gbadyu missed last game with a leg injury but expects to play Saturday against Minnesota.
Michael Mauti LB Ankle Prob Sat - 10/20/10 Mauti missed last game against Illinois due to an ankle injury but expects to play Saturday against Minnesota.
Curtis Drake WR Leg Prob Sat - 10/20/10 Drake continues to recover from a broken leg and is expected to return Saturday against Minnesota.
Sean Stanley DE Academics Ques Sat - 10/17/10 Stanley missed last game against Illinois as he continues to deal with academic issues he remains questionable for Saturday's game against Minnesota.
Gerald Hodges LB Leg Ques Sat - 10/18/10 Hodges continues to recover from a left leg injury and is questionable to play Saturday against Minnesota.
Andrew Szczerba TE Back Ques Sat - 10/18/10 Szczerba is recovering from a chronic back injury and remains questionable for Saturday's game against Minnesota.
Eric Latimore DE Wrist Doub Sat - 10/18/10 Latimore is expected to miss Saturday's game against Minnesota because of an injured wrist.
Jack Crawford DE Foot Doub Sat - 10/20/10 Crawford missed last game against Illinois with an ankle injury and is doubtful to play Saturday against Minnesota.
Derrick Thomas CB Academics Doub Sat - 10/20/10 Thomas missed last game against Illinois due to academic issues and is expected to miss Saturday's game against Minnesota.
Garry Gilliam TE Knee out for season - 10/6/10 Gilliam will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL.
Lou Eliades G Knee out for season - 10/6/10 Eliades will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL.