How FEI and S+P see the game: Oregon vs. Oregon State 2013

Thomas Tyner will need to have a big game. - Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

This Civil War isn't for BCS status like last year. For Roses like 2008, 2009 or 2011. For the national title like 2010. This is for pride, for vindication. This is a game to make a statement for no other reason than the sheer joy of doing so. The numbers say it'll be a big statement.

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. Bill 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.

How S+P sees the game:

There are some new stats from Bill Connelly this year.

Play Efficiency: the success per play based on the down and distance of the play.

Drive Efficiency: the success of scoring based on the field position created.

Difference in Net Points (DNP): the average of the points an offense scores on a given drive compared to the points it would be expected to score based on starting field position.

And the old ones:

Passing downs: second down and 8 or more, or 3rd/4th down and 5 or more.


OVERALL When Oregon has the ball When Oregon State has the ball
Category Oregon

Oregon State

UO Off OSU Def UO Def OSU Off
F/+ Rk 8 (33.1%) 47 (5.0%) 7 (19.5%) 57 (1.9%) 23 (10.1%) 43 (4.3%)
S&P+ 8 (251.8) 64 (205.0) 6 (133.3) 86 (97.7) 28 (118.5) 43 (107.2)
Play Efficiency

3 (139.3) 84 (95.7) 37 (109.5) 25 (113.9)
Rushing S&P+

2 (143.7) 102 (87.7) 34 (113.8) 87 (94.4)
Passing S&P+

7 (139.3) 52 (103.2) 56 (102.3) 21 (120.2)
Std. Downs S&P+

4 (135.0) 92 (93.0) 34 (109.9) 19 (118.9)
Pass. Downs S&P+

8 (151.1) 50 (106.4) 40 (110.6) 45 (110.7)
Drive Efficiency

12 (127.2) 85 (99.8) 25 (127.6) 55 (100.5)
Difference in Net Points

7 (1.28) 75 (-0.29) 3 (-1.99) 65 (-0.20)


In the comments tell me what other games you'd like to see a mini-preview on!

I think the most odd thing about the Arizona game from a stat perspective is how little the advanced stats moved. Oregon went down 3 spots overall - which is big, but not exactly earthshattering. Offensively things stayed largely the same as before, with one giant exception: Drive efficiency went WAAAY down. Which makes sense given that in two losses, Oregon simply didn't finish drives.

The bigger drop is on defense. Not that surprising. That was the real weakness of both Stanford and Arizona. And it is the real disappointment of this season.


Similarity scores for Oregon State

Oregon State is closest to...Arizona. PANIC! Well, okay, no - they're better than Arizona (49th) and worse than UCLA (34th). That means that they will score somewhere between 14 and 42 points. This is the hard core analysis that can only be found at Addicted to Quack, folks. In seriousness, Oregon State is very much unlikely Arizona; they are much better on passing downs and hugely worse at running the ball. They're also better at passing. They're actually the second best passing offense Oregon has faced all year - behind Stanford's (10th). Though they throw the ball a lot more than Stanford, obviously.

Oregon State is almost like nothing Oregon's played this season. In a very bad way. Oregon State is closest to Colorado (99th) and Cal (103rd). The next 'best' team there is Washington State (70th). Oregon State in particular is significantly worse defending the run than Cal or WSU is, and better at passing downs and passing defense. Not much better, mind you. They are across the board bad.

Similarity scores for Oregon

Oregon is still an elite offense, and that still means that very few teams have faced a team like Oregon. Oregon State actually has, however - in Arizona State (11th). Arizona State is significantly better in passing downs than Oregon and significantly worse at running the ball.

Oregon is closest to Utah as far as opponents of the Beavers (33rd). They're also worse than Arizona State (21st). In both cases Oregon is significantly worse on defense in all categories save one - difference in net points. As I've said before, the DNP ratios are often because Oregon is playing with a lead and causing teams to extend further than they'd like to - trying 4th downs they wouldn't, going for it and failing, giving up the run, etc. Their normal stats are much worse across the board and rank no higher than 30th in any category. A closer comparison is a team like Fresno State or Georgia. And both of them are better than Oregon in many key areas.

Oregon's offense vs Oregon State's defense

I can repeat what I said last week: across the board Oregon has big, happy differentials. Here they're even more pronounced - a 60 point differential when running the ball.  36 when passing. 42 on standard downs. 45 on passing downs. The biggest 'win' for OSU here is Oregon's proclivity to end drives prematurely. I understand they make a pill for that nowadays, though if you experience a strong offense for more than 4 quarters please consult a doctor immediately. There is nothing that indicates that Oregon will have a hard time with Oregon State's defense. While it is worrisome that Byron Marshall is injured, Thomas Tyner and De'Anthony Thomas should have plenty of room to run. Keep this in mind: as far as S+P is concerned this is by far the worst rushing defense Oregon has faced all year. If Oregon can't run against Oregon State something is hugely, horribly wrong.

Oregon's defense vs Oregon State's offense

Oregon State's offense has clear advantages when passing the ball (18 points) and on standard downs (9 points). Everywhere else Oregon's maligned defense has an edge. Given Oregon State's troubles I can see them getting some yards and some explosive plays - but also getting intercepted and sacked quite often. Drives will likely be over in a flash, one way or another. I don't see long sustained drives happening, especially on the ground. That's not Oregon State's style and it's not a particular strength of their team.

How FEI sees the game:

Some definitions from the FEI site. For offense, these are the drives that the offense does. For defense, these are the drives that the defense has allowed. Also note that these are not weighted by defensive strength or anything like that, so they correspond best to raw overall numbers.

First down rate: the % of drives that result in at least one first down.

Available Yards: the ratio of yards gained by total yards to go

Explosive drives: the % of drives that average at least 10 yards per play.

Methodical drives: the % of drives that take 10 or more plays

Value Drives: the % of drives that start on their side of the field and make it to the opposing 30 yard line or better.

Field Position Advantage (FPA): the share of the value of total starting field position earned by each team against their opponents.


OVERALL When Oregon has the ball When Oregon State has the ball
Category Oregon

Oregon State

UO Off OSU Def UO Def OSU Off
F/+ Rk 8 (33.1%) 47 (5.0%) 7 (19.5%) 57 (1.9%) 23 (10.1%) 43 (4.3%)
FEI Rk .245 (7) .052 (47) 7 (.583) 36 (-.200) 21 (-.372) 46 (.135)
Field Position 7 (.560) 44 (.516)



Raw Efficiency 5 (.307) 57 (.029) 8 (.644) 50 (-.128) 12 (-.436) 55 (.081)
First Down rate

7 (.796) 18 (.597) 27 (.613) 38 (.718)
Available Yards rate

4 (.645) 29 (.391) 26 (.385) 41 (.508)
Explosive Drives

6 (.250) 66 (.126) 5 (.054) 47 (.145)
Methodical Drives

94 (.120) 15 (.101) 13 (.099) 37 (.171)
Value Drives

3 (.618) 39 (.340) 16 (.277) 48 (.424)
Special Team rank 11 (2.645) 92 (-.912)



Field Goal efficiency 86 (-.145) 88 (-.160)



Punt Return efficiency 1 (.346) 92 (-.153)



Kickoff return efficiency 7 (.116) 87 (-.211)



punt efficiency 106 (.063) 66 (-.055)



kickoff efficiency 39 (-.207) 52 (-.168)



Oregon dropped as expected; what wasn't expected was how far Oregon dropped on defense. FEI really, really hated Oregon's performance. Oregon went from 13th to 21st. By comparison, Oregon barely moved on offense.

Game Factors: the best and worst of the teams

As before, there is more explanation and examples over at Football Outsiders.

Oregon's highs and lows

high on offense: Washington (9th overall, 2.231)

low on offense: California (1007th, -.346) (Arizona is next at 476th)

Standard deviation (throwing out the Cal game): 177

high on defense: California (63rd overall, -.896)

low on defense: Arizona (757th overall, .516)

Standard deviation (throwing out the Cal game): 223

Oregon's worst game by far was the Arizona game. It also has the highest weight via FEI of any of Oregon's games. The defense was a full 300 points lower ranked than the next worst game. It was the worst offensive game by 150 points (again, excluding Cal).

Looking at the top 10 teams, it's interesting. Baylor, Florida State, Stanford, Alabama and Ohio State have not had remotely that bad a game. Missouri, South Carolina, and Auburn really have. It's probably a good way to tell contenders from upset specials - how consistent have you been?  At some future point I'd love to take a look at variance of teams and see how it predicts overall success. Here's a hypothesis: Alabama has been one of the most consistent teams in the last 5 years. Opponents like Notre Dame? Not so much.

Oregon State's highs and lows

high on offense: Utah(113th, 1.391)

low on offense: Washington(1001st, -.336)

standard deviation: 311

high on defense: Arizona State(24th, -1.119)

low on defense: San Diego State(912th, .772)

standard deviation: 288

Oregon State is pretty deviant.

Boy that felt good to type.

They can have a great defensive performance. They can have a great offensive performance. They can also completely fail at both. What they'll do from week to week is pretty swingy. They tend to have a good performance with one component and not the other. Their most 'complete' game was against Arizona State, where their offense was good and defense was great. They also played Stanford hard. Their pattern, if you want to call it that, is that they play their best against the best competition and play their worst against the worst competition - though that Washington game was completely horrible for them. This kind of implies that they'll be 'up' for Oregon.

Similarity scores for Oregon State

Oregon State is closest to Washington State (55th) on offense. Oregon State has been better at raw numbers but has faced an easier schedule; Washington State's schedule is the 4th hardest in the country. In particular, Oregon State is much more likely to have explosive plays and less likely to get methodical drives and value drives.

Oregon State is most similar to Utah on defense. Utah has played a significantly harder schedule (8th vs. 28th). Utah is much better in general at stopping drives early in the count; they're both about the same at stopping explosive drives and methodical drives (poor and decent).

Similarity scores for Oregon

Oregon is closest to Washington (9th) and Arizona State(1st) That's right - Oregon's guaranteed to score somewhere between 30 and 69 points! YAY! Again, this is hard hitting quantitative analysis. Bet those Stanford nerds are jealous now. Oregon's faced a slightly easier schedule than Washington and a much easier schedule than ASU. Per usual, Oregon is great at getting lots of yards quickly and not methodically compared to Washington or ASU.

Oregon is also closest to Washington defensively (25th) and is much worse than ASU (9th). Washington has had a massively harder schedule than Oregon (13th vs. 36th). Oregon is one of the best teams in the nation at stopping explosive plays but does tend to let teams get first downs and yards. Washington is much worse at allowing methodical drives.

Oregon's offense vs Oregon State's defense

Oregon State is not very good at stopping explosive plays, as Washington's running backs could tell you if they could take the time out of their busy schedule to stop scoring on OSU again. Oregon State doesn't allow methodical drives that often - likely because teams score too quickly on them for it to matter. One thing Oregon State does do really well is cause 3 and outs or early stops. They're 15th in the nation in allowing a drive with no first downs. Oregon matches up really well here; expect a lot of big plays and short duration drives.

Oddly FEI thinks that OSU's defense is the stronger of the two units. As usual this means that Oregon State gets turnovers and stops that are nonpredictive events (fumble recoveries, etc). FEI values those more than S+P does. This should be concerning given Oregon's recent predilections on turning the ball over. If Oregon State has a chance, it's going to be in causing a lot of turnovers. It will likely not be on traditionally stopping the Oregon offense.

Oregon's defense vs. Oregon State's offense

Oregon's D, while dinged heavily, is still very good according to FEI - and that means once again Oregon's living and dying by turnovers and negative plays. In the last 3 weeks, Oregon State has thrown 10 interceptions. Admittedly this is against three very good defenses - but it is not a great trend for them going against what was considered one of the better intercepting defenses in the nation. In terms of trends, Oregon matches up well here too - Oregon is one of the best teams in the nation at stopping explosive plays. One worry is that Oregon State does get a fair amount of methodical drives; while they're not as good as Washington at it, they do it fairly often. That's something of a weakness for Oregon. (yes, once again - hard hitting analysis). I don't see it as being a big deal, but if Oregon State does better than expected one reason will likely be because they were able to sustain long drives against the Ducks.

Special Teams

How to say this; Oregon State is not good at special teams. At all. They're bottom 25% in returns of any type. Their kicks are middle of the road. And perhaps most telling of all: they are worse than Oregon at kicking field goals.

Their strength is on their kicking and punting teams, so Oregon will likely not get a ton of return yards - but they'll do fine. Oregon should, however, be able to pin Oregon State fairly well; the best we can say is that OSU may get some decent punt returns, as for whatever reason our punt efficiency is fairly poor (likely because we don't punt often, and when we do it kind of sucks).

So what does this all mean?

Last week, Matt Daddy was Nostradamus. No other way to explain it. One of the best things about Oregon in the last 5 years was how consistent Oregon had been. Advanced stats were great for Oregon because it meant you could reasonably predict how games were going to go. If Oregon lost, it was almost always because they were either playing a team much better than they were (LSU in 2011, OSU in 2009) or there were fairly nonpredictive events that caused massive failure (Stanford 2012, USC 2011, Auburn 2010).

Arizona was the exception. Hoo boy, was it. It's not explainable by the turnover margin, or weird freaky weather, or injuries. It's not explainable by some bad matchup here and there. Everything through this season and the last 4 seasons did not indicate for a second that Oregon was this incapable or Arizona this capable. This level of upset was one of those things you see so rarely that it's special in its own way; a mutated 4 leaf clover of sadness and regret that you will remember for the rest of your days.

So now we come up on it: do we trust the numbers at all? Oregon didn't trend down; they had been doing fine and were really consistent and then for whatever reason ran into a brick wall of pain and fury that was Ka'Deem Carey. There is nothing in these numbers that indicate Oregon State will make a game of it. At best, Oregon State may throw the ball for a while, but Oregon should essentially be unstoppable on offense. On defense Oregon should get enough stops to win a boatrace, and could possibly flip the game so heavily that OSU has no chance at all. The line says it's a 22 point spread. Given what Washington did, that's far too little for this game.

That's what the numbers say. Oregon, go prove that Saturday was an outlier. That it was not Oregon Football we saw. Go show us that you are an elite team and you can take care of business.

That's what the numbers say. Let's see what Mark Helfrich has to say in return.

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