Updated FEI / S&P+ Stats - "We are Maryland" Edition

Submitted by alum96 on October 27th, 2014 at 9:34 PM

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)

Everyone else:

  oFEI oS&P+   dFEI dS&P+
UM 81 70   51 33
MSU 43 7   17 5
OSU 18 6   37 18
ND 32 22   16 29
PSU 96 80   8 11
Nebraska 37 17   9 25
Rutgers 54 40   71 70
Maryland 71 74   52 47
Indiana 49 49   121 89
Wisconsin 48 21   22 14
Utah 78 95   5 35
Minnesota 73 62   30 32
NWestern 44 90   48 41
Iowa 70 99   21 40
Purdue 50 53   84 75
Illinois 61 61   99 84
Arizona 16 38   28 53


Effectively if you took our uniforms off our players and switched them with Maryland's, no one would know the difference.


Other comments

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.



October 27th, 2014 at 9:41 PM ^

As for what this means for future opponents

  • We should score at a Miami (OH) rate vs Indiana's horrific defense.  Expect Indiana's 1 dimensional offense to Tevin Coleman us in a David Cobb manner.
  • Maryland and Northwestern games will be like facing ourselves.  And PSU 2014..or Northwestern 2013. A lot of humping each other's legs on offense.  Children under the age of 12 are not advised to watch these.
  • OSU.  See MSU.  But without stakes in the ground.  And a coach that won't throw only 5x in the second half.  Mr T said it best - pain.


October 27th, 2014 at 9:48 PM ^

Let me just say that my mental imagery for Northewestern (I'll be watching from home) and Maryland (I'll actually be there) have now become forever warped, but at this point in a season like this, for some reason imagining this seems almost preferable to the alterantive. Even so, I think these still might be games in which we do compete.


October 27th, 2014 at 9:51 PM ^

Hell yes!  Indiana is starting a QB who had his redshirt taken off 2 weeks ago, and is like 19th string, and is a male model.  And threw for 11 yards v MSU.

We are going to hold him to less than 300 yards, I can feel it in my bones.

Maryland's offense was destroyed by OSU and Wisconsin, so I am sure we can hold them to .... well, under 45 as well.  Playing Northwestern and Maryland should be very familiar to our defense - they see those 2 offenses every week in practice.  AND THEY PRACTICE GREAT YO!


October 27th, 2014 at 9:56 PM ^

Fun fact - that was Appleby's 2nd game starting as a QB for Purdue.  And they put up 31 on MSU.  I think UM has not scored 31 combined in 3+ years vs MSU.

Then he followed that up with 38 in his 3rd start of career vs Minnesota on the road.

Compare to Shane in his 2nd start....or Devin's 20th.




October 27th, 2014 at 10:13 PM ^

Yes, wasnt implying a great turnaround.  I think their defense let them down more than offense last year.  I was more implying a lot of  people fall in love with coordinators who are with elite coaches when it seems like its the HC who is driving the car.  If Nuss was OC at Bama this year rather than at UM, he'd be one of the top 5 candidates for most people to be next HC.  I think it just shows that talent + Saban is going to make everyone look good.  And if Kiffin wasnt Kiffin a lot of people would immediately glom onto Kiffin and say "#1 offense at Bama? We should get him!"

Bottom line - a lot of people said Kiffin wouldn't work at Bama due to egos and such but it's working.  At least thus far.  Hard to beat #1.


October 27th, 2014 at 11:01 PM ^

I believe Nuss has had success as the OC for every head coach he has worked for ... except Hoke.  So, you think it might Hoke instead of Nuss?


October 28th, 2014 at 8:39 AM ^

A.  Your hypothesis is that the disintegration of Michigan's offense may be due to Hoke, not Nussmeier, but the success of Alabama's offense is due to Nussmeier, not Saban.  Nussmeier is the hero here.

B.  Isn't it equally likely that the sucess of Alabama's offense is due to Saban, not Nussmeier (or Kiffin), while the disintegration of Michigan's offense is due to Nussmeier, not Hoke?  Nussmeier is decidedly not the hero here.

So, which is more likely?  Saban appears to be a control freak who micro-manages every aspect of his program (see recent 60 Minutes special on Saban), which implies that Nussmeier was on a short leash.  Hoke appears to be a delegator who allows his coordinators to run their respective shows (hence the absence of headphones).  The observed facts tend to indicate that B is more likely than A, don't you think?




October 28th, 2014 at 9:45 AM ^

The only thing that possibly saves Nussmeier's reputation is if it comes out that Hoke gave him some kind of guidlines for how the offense should be run. 

So if Hoke is generally keeping his hands off the playcalling but has inserted an overarching gameplan for the season that calls for very limited QB runs, clock control and "establishing the run", then I would have a hard time blaming Nussmeier for the offensive failures.

If not and Nussmeier is the guy making all the calls on offense, he simply isn't as good as he appeared to be as a candidate for the job. 


October 28th, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

Nussmeier has had success whereever he's went, until he got to Michigan (I think I said that in my post but you must have not read it).
For evidence, I refer you to:
Also, here is OFEI for Washington and Alabama, the year before Nuss arrives and Year 1 of Nuss:
Before  Washington 2008 - 109
Year 1  Washington 2009 -  41
Before  Alabama 2011 - 11
Year 1  Alabama 2012 -  5
Also, for some more evidence of Hoke's meddling, see 
Where Al Borges says he presents the game plan to Hoke and "if there’s anything he doesn’t like about the plan or the approach, he’ll tell us and we’ll tweak it to accommodate what he doesn’t want ... and offer us suggestions. Maybe personnel suggestions, maybe schematic suggestions or whatever ..."


October 28th, 2014 at 9:06 PM ^

Nussmeier had success while at (a) Washington working for Sarkesian, and (b) Alabama working for Saban.  You attribute this success to Nussmeier - rather than Sarkesian and Saban.

Nussmeier has not had success while at Michigan working for Hoke.  You attribute this failure to Hoke rather than Nussmeier.

I don't know the answer, but I do know that your answers are inconsistent.  If you want to blame the head coach for the failure, then maybe you should attribute the successes to the head coaches as well.  If you want to give the credit to Nussmeier, then maybe you should attribute the failure to Nussmeier as well.

And I'm also trying to point out that if the answers truly are inconsistent, it is more likely than not that the successes are attributable to Sarkesian and Saban because they, uh, have a track record of such success - with and without Nussmeier.  It is also more likely than not that the failure is attributable to Nussmeier, because Hoke at least had something that resembled success from time-to-time with Borges.

I'm not trying to defend Hoke here because I never wanted him hired in the first place and I want both he and Brandon gone before I finish this post.  And I was supportive of the Nussmeier hire because it didn't appear to have its origins in the in-bred nepotism that plagues Hoke's staff.  I am trying to say that there is a growing body of evidence that suggests Nussmeier's reputation was grossly exaggerated and maybe we shouldn't be so quick to give him a pass.