Looked at this data last week so doing another update with this past weekend's games.
As said last week, FEI should become more relevant as we go deeper into the season, and S&P+ is pretty solid throughout. FEI seems far more dynamic and responsive to week to week results as a few teams I am looking at closely for CC purposes moved quite a bit.
Last week we said facing MSU would be like playing Notre Dame's offense with Penn State's defense and that pretty much was what happened.
If you only care about Michigan here are the stats.
- FEI dropped from 61 to 81 (for comparison Utah is 78 and Miami of OH is 80)
- S&P+ improved (yeah!) from 74 to 70.
- FEI dropped from 23 to 51.
- S&P + improved from 44 to 33! (yeah baby)
Effectively if you took our uniforms off our players and switched them with Maryland's, no one would know the difference.
SKIP REST OF POST if you are TL;DR
I like to look at these via conference and take FEI more seriously as the season goes deeper - the general suckiness of Big 10 offenses continues; only OSU is in the top 35 of offensive FEI nationally. S&P+ is more generous as the Big 10 has 3 top 20 offenses via S&P+. Big picture - whichever way you look at it - there are about 4 viable offenses in the Big 10 (MSU, OSU, Wiscy, Nebraska - and Wiscy doesnt even have a QB) - and we only play 2 of them. Generally this is why I penalize defenses (including ours) for "super awesome defensive stats" playing a lot of bad offenses. But even facing a lot of bad offenses our defensive stats are sucky.
Speaking of... our going to be "2nd best in the Big 10 defensive unit" is now 10th in the Big 10 on dFEI. Which is pretty realistic when you take into account 3rd down conversion rate, giving up TDs to every Tom Dick and Harry on the last drive of the 1st half, lack of turnovers, and a strategy of leaving a lot of WRs wide open and hoping we don't get Nova'd (which Cook was kind enough not to do with alot of misses). S&P is more kind saying we have the 6th best defense in confrence but only a few slots ahead of Iowa and Northwestern so not far from 8th. Very disappointing for what was supposed to be a top end unit.
Fun fact - Lane Kiffin has Alabama as the #14 offense via FEI and #1 vs S&P+. Which is why I hesitate in any coaching search to be claiming coordinators as great HCs without proving themselves on their own. Saban - in the end - was correct; and upgraded.