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How FEI and S+P see the bye week: Florida State

The Kansas State comparison I did last year during the bye week (*coughColoradocough*) was one of the most popular pieces I did; for our bye week this year we'll be taking a look at Florida State. How good is Jameis Winston and the FSU offense? How weak is FSU's schedule? And what the heck happened to our special teams?

Jameis Winston is just a tad better than Connor Halliday.
Jameis Winston is just a tad better than Connor Halliday.
Joshua S. Kelly-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. 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 Florida State has the ball...
Category Oregon


F/+ Rk 4 2

S&P+ 5(267.4) 1(306.6) 5(139.7) 5(149.4) 18 (127.8) 2 (157.3)
Play Efficiency

3 (149.0) 5(134.8)
35(111.7) 2(151.0)
Rushing S&P+

3 (150.6) 32(116.4)
41(111.2) 13(128.9)
Passing S&P+ 5(149.7) 2(158.5) 48(107.5) 2(172.8)
Std. Downs S&P+

1 (148.6) 4(141.6) 46(106.3) 2 (143.7)
Pass. Downs S&P+

8 (151.4) 16(125.1) 23(120.5) 5 (170.0)
Drive Efficiency

9 (130.3) 4(164.0)
14(143.8) 1(163.5)
Difference in Net Points

3(1.86) 2(-2.84)
3(-2.59) 2(2.64)

Naturally, after dominating a tough UCLA team in the 4th quarter our rankings went up and...oh, wait. Okay, well, our S+P scores went up - but our ranking actually dropped a notch. Our offense dropped slightly in a few key areas but our defense rose significantly. The end result is staying at a score that is remarkably similar to last year and last week. The story, this week, is the teams that skyrocketed past us and everyone else - most notably, Florida State.

S+P loves Florida State. Absolutely loves them. If S+P was the computers FSU would be awarded the national championship right now, along with both ears and the tail. They're as good as Baylor on offense and as good as Stanford on defense. This seems odd to me; it's hard to equate this with the team that beat Boston College by only 2 TDs and hasn't played anyone higher than 26th in F/+. I have some theories, but for now S+P considers FSU one of the best teams of all time.

Similarity scores for Florida State

Florida State is a monster on offense as far as S+P is concerned. And this allows me to use the adage I almost always save for Oregon: Florida State is like nothing Oregon has faced. And from looking at the schedule the only team that would come remotely close is Arizona State (7th), assuming we played them. Of the teams Oregon has faced to this point, Washington (#32) is the best on offense, and the difference between the two is a whopping 47 points. Oregon will face stronger offenses as the season goes on (Stanford is 28, Arizona 26, Utah 20 and Oregon State 30) but none will compare to the destructive power of a fully armed and operational Jameis Winston, at least as far as S+P is concerned.

This happens to also be true on defense. Florida State is closest to Stanford as far as who we'll face (#6) but we've not faced anything as good as FSU. The closest team so far is UCLA (19th), which is over 20 points lower. Really, Florida State is just a scary good team as far as S+P is concerned.

Similarity scores for Oregon

Florida State can almost precisely say the same thing about Oregon's offense that Oregon can about FSU. They will by season's end have at least one close game (Miami, 12th) and Miami is at least only 13 points below Oregon. Otherwise they've played almost nothing as far as good offenses go. Clemson (27th) is the next best shot.

The closest defense to Oregon is Clemson (13th). Which should tell you all you need to know about a) what S+P thinks about this matchup and b) why Florida State is so amazingly high on offensive value. To me this may be a problem of small sample size theater; it's something we saw last year with Arizona and Oregon. Oregon throttled Arizona's potent offense, making Oregon out to be a stellar defensive power last year. Well, turned out that Oregon was able to do that against the Arizona schools but not against the likes of USC. Florida State dismantled a good Clemson defense, so S+P thinks that FSU is out of this world; it may simply be the case that Clemson isn't that good or FSU got very good at one point.

Oregon's offense vs. Florida State's defense

This is a matchup of strength vs. strength for the most part. There is one key advantage Oregon has - and that is the usual. Oregon has a 35 point advantage in running the ball. This is very close to what advantage Oregon had against UCLA. Unlike UCLA, however, FSU does not give a decided advantage on standard downs, meaning that early on it's likely Oregon would have trouble running. Oddly, the biggest advantage Oregon has is on passing downs - over 25 points. Given how good FSU's pass defense is, this implies that the Ducks would either need to run play action or run Marcus Mariota quite a bit.

Oregon's Defense vs Florida State's offense

Hoo boy.

This doesn't look good. Nope, not one bit.

Oregon has an absurd 55 point deficit when FSU passes. I don't even know how to relate that; this is close to what Oregon has had on offense vs. the likes of Colorado. They also have a 50 point differential on passing downs. Again, this says 'unstoppable'. If that wasn't enough, FSU is the most efficient on drives - meaning they get scores, don't turn the ball over, and don't get bad penalties. All of this says that FSU is going to pass, pass, and pass some more. And Oregon will just watch. The good news, if you could call it that, is that FSU would not do exceedingly awesomely at running the ball; they only have a 16 point differential in their favor there. So if we can simply brainwash Jameis Winston to always hand off or run a lot of quarterback draws, Oregon might be in it. Maybe.

This must be how other fans feel when they see the absurd offensive advantage Oregon has over them.

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 Florida State has the ball...
Category Oregon


F/+ Rk 4 2

FEI Rk 3 (.288) 4 (.267) 9(.614) 12(-.485) 9(-.541) 15(.471)
Field Position 12(.553) 18(.544)


4 (.819) 6(-.569) 2(-.715) 2(1.091)
First Down rate

4 (.827) 27(.610) 17(.578) 7(.810)
Available Yards rate

4(.683) 16 (.351) 11(.345) 2(.693)
Explosive Drives

9(.247) 8(.051) 17(.072) 3(.293)
Methodical Drives

113 (.074) 50(.136) 1 (.048) 89 (.121)
Value Drives

1(.662) 8(.250) 3 (.224) 4(.640)
Special Team rank 42(1.008) 72(-.343)

Field Goal efficiency 104(-.458) 27(.460)

Punt Return efficiency 1(.487) 32(.016)

Kickoff return efficiency 32(-.075) 81(-.213)

punt efficiency 114(.155) 117(.189)

kickoff efficiency 82 (-.112) 68(-.161)

Oregon's special teams got even worse after UCLA; not surprising. Other than that, Oregon went up significantly. FEI loves it when good teams play each other, and Oregon crushed UCLA handily. Oregon's offense went down slightly, but the defense went back to being a top 10 program thanks to holding UCLA to 60 yards passing and no scores in the second half. Across the board FEI loves Oregon.

FEI is a bit wary of FSU. FSU is flashy and sexy, has huge tracts of...stats, but hasn't really done anything that impressive against anyone good. FEI wants FSU to prove itself. Oregon is just the right team to do so.

Similarity scores for Florida State

On offense, Florida State is closest to Washington (12th) and the future opponents Utah (14th) and Arizona(17th). Unlike any of those teams, Florida State has absurdly high raw values thanks to the 98th easiest schedule for offenses in the entire NCAA. If you're curious, Washington has had the 11th hardest - and Utah has had the hardest. FEI is a bit odd sometimes in that it 'rewards' teams for playing hard schedules and dings teams for playing weak ones - and sometimes past the point of actually being predictive. In any case, Florida State's raw numbers are unlike anything Oregon has seen outside of their own practice fields; they're if anything even more explosive, gain more yards on drives and even less tested than Oregon. Still, according to FEI Oregon's not seen anything special from the likes of FSU.

Defense is interesting. UCLA's D scores took a pretty large hit from last week, but they're still the closest to FSU (19th). Like UCLA, FSU is very good at stopping explosive drives. They're much better at stopping first downs and limiting available yards. As you'll see, however, a lot of this may have to do with who FSU has faced; they've had the 106th hardest defensive schedule in the nation. And if you recall, they did give up 34 points to a fairly horrible Boston College (of which none of it was against second stringers). Oregon's not faced a lot of amazing defenses, but the Oregon Effect comes into play here; each defense we've faced has lost about 10 points of FEI score after we face them.

Similarity scores for Oregon

Shockingly, Florida State has faced nothing like Oregon's offense. This time I really, really mean it. Oregon is ranked #9 with raw scores at the top of the list. The best team that FSU has faced was Clemson - at 38, and a 38 raw score. There's more than a .400 point differential between Oregon and Clemson offensively; normally I'd compare how low that really is, but the gulf is already ridiculously huge. This will in theory change when FSU plays Miami. Miami is #13 (and a #22 raw score), so how FSU plays Miami may be a good indicator of how well FSU can play against Oregon.

Perhaps more shockingly, Florida State really hasn't faced any defenses worth anything either. Miami (23rd) will be the closest on that end, but again - big gulf. Clemson is the next closest at 25th. Oregon has significantly better raw scores than Clemson has, though Oregon's played a fairly easy schedule of offenses (85th) so far.

Oregon's offense vs Florida State's defense

The biggest advantage Oregon has in raw numbers is on value drives and available yards. While FSU has so far done a good job holding their opponents' to shorter plays, they've not done a great job stopping teams early. I would expect Oregon to get at least some field position out of any drive they have, with the occasional big play that scores. The methodical values don't really matter; Oregon hasn't shown an inability to do them so much as a desire to avoid them at all costs and score as fast as possible. Once again, Oregon had zero drives that were 10 or more plays.

Oregon's defense vs. Florida State's offense

In raw values it doesn't get much closer than this: #2 vs. #2. Florida State is in many ways a mirror thematically of Oregon, and it shows up here; they're more explosive than Oregon, somewhat more likely to get a longer drive, and are excellent all around. Florida State doesn't have a ton of methodical drives because they simply score too fast, just like Oregon. Oregon is excellent at everything but especially so at stopping long drives and value drives, but only great at explosive drives; I would expect FSU scoring plays to largely be big ones.

Yes, if you're playing along I'm predicting both teams to score with big plays. This would be one hell of a fun game to watch. Think Oregon-Wisconsin Rose Bowl for how I'd expect it to play out.

Special Teams

Woganaldo, you have forsaken us. Between the punt block, the missed field goal, the kicking out of bounds and the poor choices by Huff to take the ball out Oregon's special teams plummeted this week. In particular, having the 104th ranked field goal unit kinda sucks. In this mythical matchup, however, Florida State is a goldmine of potential for Oregon. Oregon still ranks first overall in punt return efficiency; Florida State ranks 117th in punt efficiency. Bralon Addison must be absurdly excited. Florida State also returns punts well against a porous punt team, but the advantage is not nearly as high as it is for Addison and the Ducks. Florida State is pretty much meh to bad everywhere else - kicking field goals, kickoffs of any sort - the Ducks either have no disadvantage or have a good advantage. Once again - expect big plays, exciting plays, and lots of field position for both teams.

Seriously, this would be a blast to watch.

So what does this all mean?

This would be another tale of statistical measurements and what is valued more. In the F/+ rankings FSU has a slight edge over Oregon - by 3.7%. Not a ton, but enough. In years past we've had FEI like Oregon a lot more than S+P (in 2010) and S+P like Oregon a lot more than FEI (last year). This year both rankings seem to see Oregon as one of the most balanced teams in the nation. Florida State right now is the outlier.

So what system is more right? FEI sees FSU as a team that has blown away its completely inferior competition. S+P sees them as a team that has blown away their completely reasonable competition. This happens with the advanced stats - where they fall in love with one conference and that conference gets boosts for everyone else in that conference, thus making everyone great despite not doing anything other than beating up on each other. It's sort of like the polling effect for the SEC, except based in actual fact and numbers. That makes it no less biased.

That all being said, with all of my biases and whatnot, it's impossible to like Oregon here based on these numbers. The biggest advantage Oregon has is on special teams, and while that is good it is not likely to carry a team to victory by itself. If the teams were closer in S+P I might say that this would give Oregon the edge, but they're not; Oregon's D is simply outclassed against FSU here and even the homer in me can't say otherwise. S+P also tends to be the more reliable of the two metrics early on in the season with less volatility, so that's another factor in FSU's favor.

Given these numbers, I'd expect FSU to be anywhere from a 5 to 8 point favorite, and given these numbers I'd likely take FSU to win and cover.

Ouch, that sucks.