FanPost

Kentucky Football: F/+ Ranking System Grades UK Football's Season

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

FEI is the Fremeau Efficiency Index, created by Brian Fremeau. Brian Fremeau is an author at Football Outsiders, ESPN and BCFToys. FEI is an advanced statistical measure for college football that tracks drive efficiency instead of per-play success.

S+P is created by Bill Connelly. Connelly is an author at SBNation, RockMNation,Football Study Hall and Football Outsiders. S+P is an advanced statistical measure which combines success rate, explosiveness per play and opponent adjustments.

The combination of these two ranking systems provides the F/+ ranking.

This is how Fremeau and Connelly describe their rankings:

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) considers each of the nearly 20,000 possessions every season in major college football. All drives are filtered to eliminate first-half clock-kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores. A scoring rate analysis of the remaining possessions then determines the baseline possession expectations against which each team is measured. 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.

The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from both play-by-play and drive data from all 800+ of a season's FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays). There are four key components to the S&P+

If interested, here is a glossary that might be helpful. This information can be overwhelming. I'll try to answer any questions in the comments.

The SEC

This is the first week of the 2013 season that preseason data is not included in the S&P+ rankings, and FEI rankings are now available for the first time this year. So, this is the first week overall F/+ rankings (FEI and S&P+ rankings combined) have reached their potential. Unsurprisingly, UK is in last place in the SEC.

F/+ Rk

(RK are FBS overall)

Team

F/+

Last

Change

S&P+

Rk

FEI

Rk

Off

Rk

Def

Rk

Spec.

Rk

Week

F/+

F/+

Tms

F/+

1

Alabama

39.20%

6

5

263.4

6

0.299

2

10.50%

20

22.20%

5

6.50%

2

9

Georgia

30.60%

10

1

247.3

10

0.243

10

26.50%

3

3.80%

49

0.30%

55

11

LSU

29.00%

13

2

245.2

13

0.23

11

22.80%

5

5.10%

41

1.00%

42

14

Missouri

25.20%

12

-2

241.1

17

0.288

3

5.80%

40

19.20%

10

0.10%

59

19

South Carolina

23.80%

28

9

240

20

0.188

17

14.90%

13

11.50%

22

-2.70%

109

22

Florida

22.70%

4

-18

265.8

4

0.136

27

-4.70%

82

26.20%

3

1.10%

38

25

Texas A&M

19.00%

20

-5

230.6

31

0.194

16

29.30%

1

-12.60%

107

2.30%

20

32

Auburn

14.20%

33

1

223.3

39

0.111

33

2.40%

52

9.70%

25

2.10%

22

37

Ole Miss

10.90%

38

1

214.4

48

0.14

25

1.20%

55

8.60%

30

1.10%

39

52

Mississippi State

3.90%

53

1

221

41

0.029

56

4.70%

44

0.10%

61

-0.90%

86

61

Tennessee

-0.20%

48

-13

212.1

54

-0.009

68

-2.30%

73

-0.30%

62

2.40%

18

64

Vanderbilt

-0.90%

68

4

198.2

72

-0.003

65

6.40%

35

-11.30%

106

4.00%

5

68

Arkansas

-2.20%

39

-29

210.3

56

-0.074

81

-0.60%

64

-1.50%

67

-0.10%

62

83

Kentucky

-9.90%

66

-17

215.1

47

-0.107

95

7.40%

33

-17.10%

115

-0.20%

65

Some observations:

  • UK has the 6th highest Offensive F/+ (7.4%), is last place in Defensive F/+ (-17.1%), and has the 12th ranked Special Teams F/+ (-0.2) in the SEC.
  • You'll notice there was a pretty big change in the overall rankings for both UK and ‘Bama after last week's game. ‘Bama jumped up 5 spots in the overall FBS F/+ rankings claiming the top spot while UK fell 17 spots. This is not what most of us have in mind when we think about "The Kentucky Effect".
  • UK's remaining SEC opponents rank: UGA (9), Missouri (14), Mississippi St. (52), Tennessee (61), and Vanderbilt (64).
  • Despite the low F/+ ranking, UK is ranked 18th in overall offense and 86th in overall defense, according to just the S&P+ rankings.
  • But what hurts UK's overall F/+ ranking is the poor ranking in the overall FEI which is 95th. Looking at the FEI methodology, this is likely because of the emphasis FEI places on two of UK's biggest weaknesses so far this season.
  1. First, FEI is based on drives and not on plays. For offense, these are the drives that the offense does. For defense, these are the drives that the defense has allowed. This season UK is ranked 18th and 98th respectively on offensive and defensive play efficiency in the overall FBS; and has a drive efficiency ranked 33rd and 72nd on offense and defensive, according to S&P+. Offensively, UK does a good job in both areas (play efficiency is the success per play based on the down and distance of the play, and drive efficiency is the success of scoring based on the field position created). If UK improves on 3rd down alone these numbers will be even better. Defensively, UK is wretched - largely due to our rush defense - and ranked only ahead of Vanderbilt in the SEC.

  2. Second, FEI rankings are not weighted by your opponent's offensive or defensive strength. UK has played a very tough schedule so to FEI UK's performance looks worse than it probably should. FEI also places a heavy emphasis on special teams and field possession, and UK's performance in those realms against Miami (OH) of all teams and ‘Bama drags the overall score down.
  • FEI also predicts how many more wins an average team would get with UK's remaining schedule. That figure is 0.7.

Looking Ahead

The much more charitable S&P+ ranking places UK (47) ahead of Ole Miss (48), UT (54), Arkansas (56) and Vanderbilt (72). Before digging into these numbers I would've assessed UK's best chances for SEC victories going forward would have been Tennessee, @Mississippi St., and @Vanderbilt. Now, I think Vanderbilt is actually pretty vulnerable, and Mississippi St. is a long shot given their vast defensive superiority with our offenses and special teams canceling each other out. If UK remains healthy then the UT games is another possible victory, according to these numbers.

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