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Advanced Stats Bowl Season 2014: Post Christmas Party

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Merry Christmas, everyone! Here are some quick analyses of the bowl games through December 29th.

Brett Deering/Getty Images

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, RockMNationFootball Study Hall and Football Outsiders. S+P is an advanced statistical measure which combines success rate, explosiveness per play and opponent adjustments.

New! If you're curious what these numbers mean, here's a glossary, stolen happily from our friends at Roll Bama Roll.

  • FEI: The Fremeau Efficiency Index, an overall team quality metric that is drive-based and opponent-adjusted. For a more detailed discussion of FEI, check out the PTN primer.
  • OFEI: The offensive component of FEI.
  • DFEI: The defensive component of FEI.
  • FPA: FEI Field Position Advantage, a measure of how much field position value a team earned against its opponents.
  • STE: FEI Special Teams Efficiency, a composite measure of a team's efficiency in all facets of special teams (kicking, punting, and returning), based on points per game.
  • S&P+:S&P+ is primarily play-based and consists of three components: Success Rate, Equivalent Net Points per Play, and a drive efficiency component. The "+" refers to opponent adjustments. For a more detailed discussion of S&P+, check out the PTN primer.
  • OS&P+: The offensive component of S&P+.
  • DS&P+: The defensive component of S&P+.
  • Rush OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on rushing plays for the offense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at running the ball.
  • Rush DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on rushing plays for the defense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at stopping the run.
  • Pass OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing plays for the offense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at throwing the ball.
  • Pass DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing plays for the defense — a good measure of a team's effectiveness at defending the pass.
  • PD: Passing Downs, defined as later downs with medium yardage or more to go (3rd, 4th downs in excess of 5 yards to go), as well as 2nd down with more than 8 yards to go.
  • SD: Standard Downs, defined as all downs that are not Passing Downs.
  • SD OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on standard downs for the offense — a good measure of a team's offensive effectiveness on earlier downs and short yardage.
  • SD DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on standard downs for the defense — a good measure of a team's defensive effectiveness on earlier downs and short yardage.
  • PD OS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing downs for the offense — a good measure of a team's offensive effectiveness on later downs and long yardage.
  • PD DS&P+: S&P+ calculated on passing downs for the defense — a good measure of a team's defensive effectiveness on later downs and long yardage.
  • F/+: The F/+ combined ratings combine FEI and S&P+ into one metric that serves as Football Outsiders' official rankings for college football. For a more detailed discussion of F/+, check out the PTN primer.
  • Off. F/+: The offensive component of F/+.
  • Def. F/+: The defensive component of F/+.
  • ST F/+: The special teams component of F/+.

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois at Louisiana Tech


OVERALL When Illinois has the ball When Louisiana Tech has the ball
Category Illinois

Louisiana Tech

UI Off LT Def UI Def LT Off
F/+ Rk 78 (-6.6%) 48 (5.4%) 67 (-1.8%) 23 (9.8%) 89 (-5.4%) 88 (-5.0%)
S&P+ 80 (192.6) 27 (220.1) 72 (97.7) 17 (119.4) 86 (94.8) 59 (100.6)
Play Efficiency

53 (103.5) 13 (124.1) 67 (98.9) 72 (98.7)
Rushing S&P+

72 (99.9) 10 (129.5) 77 (98.0) 74 (99.3)
Passing S&P+

53 (105.0) 20 (120.1) 68 (98.7) 75 (96.7)
Std. Downs S&P+

58 (103.4) 13 (121.0) 62 (101.0) 75 (97.5)
Pass. Downs S&P+

56 (104.1) 16 (127.3) 86 (92.9) 52 (105.3)
Drive Efficiency

79 (96.4) 20 (132.0) 85 (93.6) 53 (106.0)

OVERALL When Illinois has the ball When Louisiana Tech has the ball
Category Illinois

Louisiana Tech

UI Off LT Def UI Def LT Off
F/+ Rk 78 (-6.6%) 48 (5.4%) 67 (-1.8%) 23 (9.8%) 89 (-5.4%) 88 (-5.0%)
FEI Rk 78 (-.056) 56 (.024) 65 (-.061) 28 (-.312) 89 (.211) 102 (-.291)
Field Position 61 (.500) 5 (.561)



Raw Efficiency 95 (-.089) 17 (.144) 92 (-.196) 21 (-.360) 91 (.176) 59 (.056)
First Down rate

115 (.579) 35 (.621) 94 (.711) 48 (.688)
Available Yards rate

99 (.397) 24 (.376) 93 (.504) 49 (.477)
Explosive Drives

71 (.120) 31 (.100) 99 (.178) 17 (.194)
Methodical Drives

95 (.113) 101 (.171) 85 (.156) 121 (.083)
Value Drives

90 (.336) 28 (.317) 98 (.450) 55 (.404)
Special Team rank 57 (.301) 56 (.311)



Field Goal efficiency 120 (-.578) 74 (-.083)



Punt Return efficiency 27 (.026) 51 (-.042)



Kickoff return efficiency 17 (-.043) 3 (.122)



punt efficiency 35 (-.166) 119 (.167)



kickoff efficiency 82 (-.107) 60 (-.167)



Despite the Power 5 cred, the Illini should be in serious trouble against Louisiana Tech. S+P in particular thinks that LT is a seriously good team, especially on defense. They're not quite as good on offense (and FEI thinks they're pretty poor) but they're still going to be a match for Illinois. Both teams have really good kick return games and poor kick coverage, so there might be a return for a TD here. Otherwise this will likely be another big-10 loss and another lopsided game.

Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers at North Carolina


OVERALL When Rutgers has the ball When North Carolina has the ball
Category Rutgers

North Carolina

RUT Off UNC Def RUT Def UNC Off
F/+ Rk 73 (-4.4%) 74 (-4.5%) 60 (-0.3%) 108 (-9.9%) 78 (-4.2%) 29 (7.7%)
S&P+ 67 (198.6) 79 (193.0) 46 (104.4) 105 (90.6) 90 (94.2) 53 (102.4)
Play Efficiency

32 (116.3) 91 (93.1) 76 (97.1) 35 (115.4)
Rushing S&P+

56 (105.0) 86 (95.6) 83 (96.1) 35 (113.4)
Passing S&P+

10 (133.8) 102 (89.2) 90 (93.9) 29 (119.1)
Std. Downs S&P+

34 (112.4) 72 (98.7) 68 (99.5) 33 (112.5)
Pass. Downs S&P+

28 (123.1) 115 (80.5) 104 (88.7) 32 (121.5)
Drive Efficiency

75 (97.4) 85 (93.6) 78 (95.9) 86 (93.4)

OVERALL When Rutgers has the ball When North Carolina has the ball
Category Rutgers

North Carolina

RUT Off UNC Def RUT Def UNC Off
F/+ Rk 73 (-4.4%) 74 (-4.5%) 60 (-0.3%) 108 (-9.9%) 78 (-4.2%) 29 (7.7%)
FEI Rk 88 (-.091) 60 (.013) 67 (-.074) 111 (.411) 77 (.131) 16 (.421)
Field Position 105 (.476) 37 (.513)



Raw Efficiency 97 (-.093) 101 (-.108) 77 (-.096) 126 (.607) 100 (.233) 38 (.186)
First Down rate

103 (.608) 112 (.746) 101 (.720) 60 (.674)
Available Yards rate

92 (.410) 107 (.543) 101 (.521) 57 (.468)
Explosive Drives

80 (.108) 124 (.231) 122 (.229) 46 (.155)
Methodical Drives

41 (.158) 120 (.201) 20 (.093) 21 (.178)
Value Drives

86 (.343) 112 (.500) 94 (.441) 56 (.403)
Special Team rank 66 (.036) 110 (-1.334)



Field Goal efficiency 53 (.067) 126 (-.777)



Punt Return efficiency 24 (.035) 118 (-.257)



Kickoff return efficiency 47 (-.114) 78 (-.168)



punt efficiency 83 (-.035) 53 (-.125)



kickoff efficiency 106 (-.033) 13 (-.264)



One of the best chances for a Big-10 team to get a win, this has two very even teams - at least by F+. FEI likes NC much better, particularly with a very powerful offense that has faced hard defenses all year long. Both defenses are really bad so there should be a lot of points scored. NC also has horrible special teams, including one of the worst field goal kicking teams in the nation. I think Rutgers can win this due to simply being a smidgen better at fundamental play.

Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State at Central Florida


OVERALL When NC State has the ball When Central Florida has the ball
Category NC State

Central Florida

NCST Off UCF Def NCST Def UCF Off
F/+ Rk 49 (5.2%) 52 (3.9%) 40 (5.8%) 35 (6.3%) 70 (-2.2%) 68 (-1.9%)
S&P+ 50 (208.6) 51 (208.1) 31 (110.9) 37 (108.4) 72 (97.6) 64 (99.7)
Play Efficiency

31 (116.5) 70 (98.6) 77 (96.9) 64 (101.6)
Rushing S&P+

9 (132.6) 73 (99.6) 98 (91.1) 82 (96.9)
Passing S&P+

58 (102.4) 73 (98.1) 62 (102.1) 44 (108.2)
Std. Downs S&P+

19 (121.4) 83 (97.1) 73 (98.5) 87 (94.9)
Pass. Downs S&P+

58 (103.2) 58 (105.7) 88 (92.8) 29 (122.3)
Drive Efficiency

44 (111.7) 33 (118.3) 63 (102.6) 56 (104.3)

OVERALL When North Carolina State has the ball When Central Florida has the ball
Category North Carolina State

Central Florida

NCST Off UCF Def NCST Def UCF Off
F/+ Rk 49 (5.2%) 52 (3.9%) 40 (5.8%) 35 (6.3%) 70 (-2.2%) 68 (-1.9%)
FEI Rk 59 (.016) 54 (.026) 41 (.179) 35 (-.272) 69 (.069) 71 (-.099)
Field Position 77 (.491) 58 (.503)



Raw Efficiency 61 (.022) 29 (.087) 30 (.255) 4 (-.599) 90 (.172) 95 (-.202)
First Down rate

74 (.658) 5 (.525) 20 (.587) 46 (.689)
Available Yards rate

48 (.479) 4 (.318) 76 (.467) 75 (.438)
Explosive Drives

61 (.135) 2 (.043) 39 (.110) 78 (.111)
Methodical Drives

32 (.162) 45 (.129) 127 (.229) 89 (.119)
Value Drives

38 (.429) 7 (.261) 90 (.433) 72 (.373)
Special Team rank 31 (.964) 76 (-.275)



Field Goal efficiency 37 (.208) 90 (-.218)



Punt Return efficiency 99 (-.197) 106 (-.229)



Kickoff return efficiency 59 (-.138) 4 (.095)



punt efficiency 11 (-.280) 92 (.003)



kickoff efficiency 46 (-.192) 71 (-.139)



Just so you know - I hate NC State. Not because of anything about them - but because in the S+P and FEI tables, they are spelled either NC State, N. C. State, or North Carolina State. So I hope they lose. Chances are about a coin flip on this one. FEI likes UCF a bit more, FEI likes NCState barely. Special teams are in favor of NC State, especially on punting. Both teams match up very well and evenly with each other, with the offenses having the overall advantages but not by a whole lot. I'm going with UCF because of my hatred of N C. Carolina State State.

Military Bowl: Cincinnati at Virginia Tech


OVERALL When Cincinnati has the ball When Virginia Tech has the ball
Category Cincinnati

Virginia Tech

CIN Off VT Def CIN Def VT Off
F/+ Rk 46 (5.6%) 32 (12.7%) 25 (8.4%) 4 (18.1%) 88 (-5.4%) 91 (-5.4%)
S&P+ 47 (210.0) 30 (218.7) 26 (112.1) 10 (124.4) 69 (97.9) 89 (94.3)
Play Efficiency

23 (120.1) 4 (140.8) 87 (94.5) 93 (90.5)
Rushing S&P+

47 (109.2) 13 (127.4) 92 (92.7) 104 (88.0)
Passing S&P+

14 (128.6) 2 (156.5) 82 (95.5) 82 (93.5)
Std. Downs S&P+

28 (114.8) 4 (133.5) 75 (98.4) 79 (96.7)
Pass. Downs S&P+

14 (134.5) 8 (150.6) 106 (87.3) 114 (79.1)
Drive Efficiency

31 (115.3) 22 (129.0) 48 (108.7) 48 (111.0)

OVERALL When Cincinnati has the ball When Virginia Tech has the ball
Category Cincinnati

Virginia Tech

CIN Off VT Def CIN Def VT Off
F/+ Rk 46 (5.6%) 32 (12.7%) 25 (8.4%) 4 (18.1%) 88 (-5.4%) 91 (-5.4%)
FEI Rk 62 (.001) 25 (.144) 25 (.315) 2 (-.721) 97 (.255) 91 (-.224)
Field Position 75 (.493) 97 (.483)



Raw Efficiency 38 (.063) 64 (.011) 22 (.341) 11 (-.413) 76 (.099) 117 (-.485)
First Down rate

16 (.745) 8 (.550) 88 (.703) 116 (.566)
Available Yards rate

34 (.502) 16 (.368) 89 (.494) 119 (.338)
Explosive Drives

50 (.153) 43 (.114) 74 (.138) 124 (.059)
Methodical Drives

110 (.095) 5 (.067) 58 (.138) 102 (.105)
Value Drives

40 (.427) 48 (.357) 76 (.405) 122 (.244)
Special Team rank 17 (1.451) 67 (-.001)



Field Goal efficiency 11 (.421) 84 (-.154)



Punt Return efficiency 9 (.116) 62 (-.067)



Kickoff return efficiency 121 (-.286) 127 (-.349)



punt efficiency 44 (-.148) 45 (-.148)



kickoff efficiency 39 (-.200) 7 (-.321)



Virginia Tech, despite their record and occasionally atrocious gameplay, is a fairly good team statistically. Part of that is that they look like worldbeaters against Ohio State, but part of it is that they have had a great defense all season. Both defenses have big advantages over both offenses, but VTech's advantages are much bigger - over 20 points. Cinci is opportunistic and will get some turnovers, but it's probably not enough. The only trick here is that Cinci has good special teams - especially on punt returns - whereas Beamer Ball has uncharacteristically mediocre special teams. Still, VTech should win in a close, ugly game.

Sun Bowl: Arizona State at Duke


OVERALL When Arizona State has the ball When Duke has the ball
Category Arizona State

Duke

ASU Off Duke Def ASU Def Duke Off
F/+ Rk 26 (15.7%) 28 (13.7%) 35 (6.6%) 44 (4.5%) 29 (7.9%) 47 (3.1%)
S&P+ 35 (214.1) 66 (198.8) 45 (104.5) 67 (98.0) 32 (109.7) 58 (100.8)
Play Efficiency

50 (106.8) 101 (91.4) 36 (110.8) 61 (102.1)
Rushing S&P+

77 (98.3) 109 (84.6) 53 (105.2) 42 (111.3)
Passing S&P+

37 (113.2) 64 (99.5) 32 (113.7) 80 (95.0)
Std. Downs S&P+

45 (107.1) 97 (92.6) 44 (108.1) 54 (104.3)
Pass. Downs S&P+

54 (105.0) 94 (91.3) 39 (113.9) 83 (95.7)
Drive Efficiency

48 (111.0) 52 (107.7) 27 (121.0) 55 (105.6)

OVERALL When Arizona State has the ball When Duke has the ball
Category Arizona State

Duke

ASU Off Duke Def ASU Def Duke Off
F/+ Rk 26 (15.7%) 28 (13.7%) 35 (6.6%) 44 (4.5%) 29 (7.9%) 47 (3.1%)
FEI Rk 16 (.175) 26 (.140) 24 (.324) 27 (-.320) 24 (-.346) 42 (.175)
Field Position 21 (.532) 10 (.549)



Raw Efficiency 39 (.063) 24 (.107) 58 (.057) 38 (-.186) 41 (-.181) 61 (.053)
First Down rate

27 (.722) 36 (.628) 67 (.671) 52 (.683)
Available Yards rate

46 (.481) 46 (.429) 44 (.417) 55 (.469)
Explosive Drives

58 (.139) 7 (.062) 75 (.140) 103 (.095)
Methodical Drives

98 (.111) 112 (.178) 36 (.119) 40 (.159)
Value Drives

61 (.393) 39 (.342) 35 (.336) 59 (.400)
Special Team rank 41 (.691) 1 (3.440)



Field Goal efficiency 29 (.253) 15 (.397)



Punt Return efficiency 54 (-.045) 14 (.070)



Kickoff return efficiency 101 (-.218) 15 (-.026)



punt efficiency 21 (-.233) 5 (-.351)



kickoff efficiency 85 (-.102) 33 (-.210)



If you're thinking that this might give some clue as to how Oregon and Florida State will matchup - well, maybe. It's mostly a view into which stat system is more right. S+P has Arizona State rolling easily over Duke, particularly when ASU is defending. FEI has them almost neck and neck, with ASU having a slight advantage. The big win is Duke's special teams, which are first overall in the nation. You might recall a team that was high in special teams a couple years back which Oregon played - and it turned out that special teams are important, but not super predictive as Oregon returned a kickoff for a TD right at the start. Duke is great at special teams in every aspect, but I don't see that being enough of an advantage over ASU to win.

Duck Commander Independence Bowl: Miami-FL at South Carolina


OVERALL When Miami-FL has the ball When South Carolina has the ball
Category Miami-FL

South Carolina

Miami Off SCAR Def Miami Def SCAR Off
F/+ Rk 24 (16.2%) 56 (3.0%) 17 (10.1%) 117 (-12.5%) 34 (7.0%) 9 (14.2%)
S&P+ 21 (225.1) 57 (204.1) 28 (111.9) 100 (91.9) 27 (113.2) 25 (112.2)
Play Efficiency

36 (115.0) 113 (87.3) 16 (122.6) 16 (124.8)
Rushing S&P+

55 (105.6) 117 (81.6) 34 (112.8) 15 (127.2)
Passing S&P+

19 (125.3) 85 (94.6) 7 (136.1) 21 (125.0)
Std. Downs S&P+

32 (112.8) 117 (85.5) 15 (119.9) 22 (120.6)
Pass. Downs S&P+

31 (121.9) 75 (96.6) 13 (129.8) 17 (133.1)
Drive Efficiency

27 (119.4) 57 (104.7) 31 (118.8) 37 (113.7)

OVERALL When Miami has the ball When South Carolina has the ball
Category Miami

South Carolina

Miami Off SCAR Def Miami Def SCAR Off
F/+ Rk 24 (16.2%) 56 (3.0%) 17 (10.1%) 117 (-12.5%) 34 (7.0%) 9 (14.2%)
FEI Rk 33 (.117) 43 (.082) 17 (.416) 124 (.583) 38 (-.238) 6 (.652)
Field Position 99 (.481) 76 (.491)



Raw Efficiency 42 (.057) 63 (.016) 33 (.242) 111 (.368) 50 (-.118) 25 (.303)
First Down rate

58 (.678) 103 (.726) 68 (.672) 13 (.752)
Available Yards rate

26 (.518) 117 (.565) 43 (.416) 22 (.532)
Explosive Drives

13 (.203) 52 (.120) 25 (.092) 22 (.192)
Methodical Drives

105 (.102) 100 (.171) 75 (.151) 26 (.168)
Value Drives

25 (.463) 113 (.510) 37 (.336) 12 (.509)
Special Team rank 87 (-.497) 38 (.752)



Field Goal efficiency 22 (.338) 21 (.340)



Punt Return efficiency 102 (-.206) 52 (-.044)



Kickoff return efficiency 96 (-.208) 62 (-.142)



punt efficiency 28 (-.201) 39 (-.154)



kickoff efficiency 111 (-.002) 94 (-.084)



I also hate Miami, which is alternately Miami-FL or Miami depending. Ugh. My hatred will not power them to a loss though; Miami is a very good team with a very good up and coming QB in Brad Kayaa, and their offense has absurd advantages over a frankly terrible South Carolina defense - especially in the passing game, where it's about 30 points. The SC offense is pretty decent, but only has an advantage running the ball. FEI likes the SC offense better than S+P, but not nearly as much as it likes the Miami offense. Expect Miami-FL(not OH) to roll.

And duck commander?

Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College at Penn State


OVERALL When Boston College has the ball When Penn State has the ball
Category Boston College

Penn State

BC Off PSU Def BC Def PSU Off
F/+ Rk 29 (13.7%) 54 (3.6%) 22 (9.2%) 10 (14.2%) 45 (4.4%) 104 (-7.9%)
S&P+ 29 (219.0) 34 (215.0) 33 (110.4) 15 (122.2) 36 (108.7) 91 (92.8)
Play Efficiency

28 (118.0) 6 (134.8) 38 (110.4) 96 (90.2)
Rushing S&P+

25 (120.0) 3 (141.4) 32 (113.6) 106 (86.6)
Passing S&P+

32 (117.8) 9 (129.9) 41 (109.3) 83 (93.4)
Std. Downs S&P+

30 (113.1) 9 (124.3) 30 (111.2) 102 (88.3)
Pass. Downs S&P+

18 (130.8) 4 (163.9) 55 (106.8) 90 (94.1)
Drive Efficiency

25 (120.5) 28 (119.6) 30 (119.0) 47 (111.3)

OVERALL When Boston College has the ball When Penn State has the ball
Category Boston College

Penn State

BC Off PSU Def BC Def PSU Off
F/+ Rk 29 (13.7%) 54 (3.6%) 22 (9.2%) 10 (14.2%) 45 (4.4%) 104 (-7.9%)
FEI Rk 28 (.133) 51 (.032) 18 (.386) 9 (-.525) 49 (-.154) 106 (-.344)
Field Position 60 (.500) 92 (.485)



Raw Efficiency 56 (.038) 57 (.037) 53 (.071) 2 (-.641) 49 (-.138) 116 (-.480)
First Down rate

100 (.610) 1 (.497) 15 (.576) 93 (.620)
Available Yards rate

68 (.447) 2 (.282) 32 (.392) 113 (.364)
Explosive Drives

49 (.154) 1 (.027) 34 (.104) 115 (.073)
Methodical Drives

49 (.154) 16 (.087) 44 (.128) 94 (.113)
Value Drives

39 (.429) 1 (.184) 25 (.311) 112 (.281)
Special Team rank 65 (.067) 112 (-1.522)



Field Goal efficiency 112 (-.416) 17 (.384)



Punt Return efficiency 68 (-.093) 49 (-.032)



Kickoff return efficiency 51 (-.122) 126 (-.300)



punt efficiency 73 (-.083) 106 (.072)



kickoff efficiency 12 (-.279) 118 (.037)



Sorry, Big-10, but that national narrative of y'all sucking? Not going to be helped by this game, either. BC is a feisty team and has been all year, especially in running the ball. PSU has one of the better defenses of the NCAA but has no offense to speak of. Yards and points  are going to be hard to come by in this one, but they'll be harder for PSU. PSU having the 112th  ranked special teams and being 92nd in field position doesn't help either. I expect BC to win, but probably not too easily - by a TD or so.

Holiday Bowl: Nebraska at USC


OVERALL When Nebraska has the ball When USC has the ball
Category Nebraska

USC

NEB Off USC Def NEB Def USC Off
F/+ Rk 27 (15.1%) 22 (16.9%) 39 (6.0%) 28 (8.0%) 41 (5.4%) 28 (7.9%)
S&P+ 31 (218.6) 26 (220.1) 29 (111.3) 34 (108.8) 41 (107.3) 30 (111.3)
Play Efficiency

21 (120.5) 39 (110.3) 49 (107.2) 33 (115.7)
Rushing S&P+

21 (122.5) 57 (103.6) 84 (95.7) 70 (100.5)
Passing S&P+

34 (116.6) 29 (115.2) 17 (122.1) 16 (128.0)
Std. Downs S&P+

27 (115.6) 50 (105.6) 47 (106.6) 62 (102.9)
Pass. Downs S&P+

19 (129.8) 15 (127.8) 52 (107.2) 5 (146.5)
Drive Efficiency

43 (112.3) 26 (122.7) 32 (118.6) 23 (122.7)

OVERALL When Nebraska has the ball When USC has the ball
Category Nebraska

USC

NEB Off USC Def NEB Def USC Off
F/+ Rk 27 (15.1%) 22 (16.9%) 39 (6.0%) 28 (8.0%) 41 (5.4%) 28 (7.9%)
FEI Rk 29 (.130) 13 (.203) 40 (.188) 22 (-.363) 39 (-.231) 28 (.302)
Field Position 6 (.556) 32 (.516)



Raw Efficiency 20 (.135) 19 (.135) 52 (.076) 55 (-.103) 25 (-.259) 16 (.412)
First Down rate

55 (.681) 95 (.712) 16 (.581) 38 (.702)
Available Yards rate

35 (.498) 51 (.439) 21 (.374) 27 (.514)
Explosive Drives

39 (.163) 16 (.086) 69 (.132) 35 (.168)
Methodical Drives

108 (.096) 106 (.173) 29 (.110) 16 (.183)
Value Drives

30 (.440) 42 (.344) 30 (.320) 43 (.417)
Special Team rank 7 (2.082) 44 (.535)



Field Goal efficiency 102 (-.318) 25 (.319)



Punt Return efficiency 1 (.432) 17 (.055)



Kickoff return efficiency 41 (-.103) 37 (-.099)



punt efficiency 78 (-.059) 95 (.005)



kickoff efficiency 61 (-.167) 100 (-.060)



This feels like it should be a bigger deal. It's a good game on paper - both teams are top 30 and both are pretty close. It's the holiday bowl, which has had good matchups most of the time. But the loss of Bo Pelini, the malaiase of Steve Sarkisian and the inconsistencies of both teams make this a bit sadder to think about. USC is slightly favored by S+P, especially when they have the ball - though Nebraska's defense is best against the pass, which hurts USC a bit. Nebraska also has a 20 point advantage when they run the ball. FEI rates USC's defense significantly better and thinks USC is significantly better overall save in one place - special teams, where Ameer Abdullah continues to shine on punt returns. I think USC wins simply because of the lack of Pelini and the presence of Mike Riley, though the numbers suggest that Nebraska might match up too well against USC. This might be the Big-10's best shot at a win until the playoffs, and it's really not that good of one.

Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M at West Virginia


OVERALL When Texas A&M has the ball When West Virginia has the ball
Category Texas A&M

West Virginia

TAM Off WVU Def TAM Def WVU Off
F/+ Rk 53 (3.8%) 34 (12.6%) 30 (7.5%) 25 (9.4%) 90 (-5.4%) 49 (2.8%)
S&P+ 49 (209.2) 22 (224.5) 23 (113.5) 22 (115.6) 80 (95.7) 37 (108.9)
Play Efficiency

17 (124.3) 14 (123.4) 74 (98.0) 40 (110.1)
Rushing S&P+

20 (122.5) 17 (123.9) 110 (84.4) 62 (103.6)
Passing S&P+

20 (125.1) 14 (122.7) 24 (117.3) 30 (118.2)
Std. Downs S&P+

17 (122.6) 10 (122.1) 86 (95.2) 39 (110.7)
Pass. Downs S&P+

25 (125.0) 23 (122.8) 53 (107.1) 48 (107.1)
Drive Efficiency

33 (114.7) 21 (130.5) 65 (102.2) 15 (129.2)

OVERALL When Texas A&M has the ball When West Virginia has the ball
Category Texas A&M

West Virginia

TAM Off WVU Def TAM Def WVU Off
F/+ Rk 53 (3.8%) 34 (12.6%) 30 (7.5%) 25 (9.4%) 90 (-5.4%) 49 (2.8%)
FEI Rk 52 (.027) 38 (.098) 36 (.244) 25 (-.345) 91 (.225) 58 (.037)
Field Position 71 (.494) 107 (.473)



Raw Efficiency 77 (-.033) 58 (.030) 31 (.245) 40 (-.182) 118 (.477) 72 (-.070)
First Down rate

44 (.690) 54 (.656) 117 (.759) 35 (.711)
Available Yards rate

56 (.469) 45 (.419) 112 (.563) 59 (.468)
Explosive Drives

32 (.172) 50 (.119) 117 (.207) 37 (.164)
Methodical Drives

68 (.138) 15 (.086) 69 (.147) 64 (.145)
Value Drives

66 (.380) 43 (.346) 106 (.481) 36 (.431)
Special Team rank 32 (.942) 59 (.192)



Field Goal efficiency 28 (.285) 9 (.480)



Punt Return efficiency 61 (-.066) 128 (-.333)



Kickoff return efficiency 100 (-.218) 10 (.015)



punt efficiency 33 (-.185) 94 (.003)



kickoff efficiency 34 (-.209) 44 (-.193)



Ah, a classic Big-12 matchup that isn't. Remember when A&M was ranked #6 in the nation to start the season? Good times, good times. West Virginia doesn't have the best record but has done it against some very hard competition (Baylor, TCU, Bama and KState is not a fun schedule) and looks much better than an underqualified SEC has-been. A&M's offense against WVU's defense is about as close as you can get - but WV's offense has big advantages when running against the 110th ranked aggie defense. FEI essentially agrees completely. Expect another SEC loss.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma at Clemson


OVERALL When Oklahoma has the ball When Clemson has the ball
Category Oklahoma

Clemson

OU Off CLEM Def OU Def CLEM Off
F/+ Rk 13 (22.3%) 14 (21.1%) 10 (13.8%) 1 (23.4%) 36 (6.3%) 58 (-0.1%)
S&P+ 12 (237.3) 11 (238.8) 7 (122.1) 2 (135.4) 24 (115.1) 48 (103.4)
Play Efficiency

6 (133.7) 1 (150.4) 23 (116.0) 90 (94.4)
Rushing S&P+

2 (139.7) 2 (142.0) 20 (119.9) 109 (85.5)
Passing S&P+

13 (129.0) 1 (158.6) 28 (115.4) 54 (103.7)
Std. Downs S&P+

5 (131.1) 1 (139.8) 28 (112.1) 91 (92.7)
Pass. Downs S&P+

15 (133.9) 3 (165.4) 22 (123.7) 72 (99.0)
Drive Efficiency

14 (129.9) 14 (141.5) 19 (134.8) 16 (128.6)

OVERALL When Oklahoma has the ball When Clemson has the ball
Category Oklahoma

Clemson

OU Off CLEM Def OU Def CLEM Off
F/+ Rk 13 (22.3%) 14 (21.1%) 10 (13.8%) 1 (23.4%) 36 (6.3%) 58 (-0.1%)
FEI Rk 22 (.155) 18 (.168) 13 (.482) 1 (-.867) 46 (-.170) 63 (-.049)
Field Position 30 (.522) 64 (.498)



Raw Efficiency 10 (.170) 25 (.095) 15 (.425) 1 (-.646) 32 (-.216) 86 (-.162)
First Down rate

64 (.671) 2 (.500) 18 (.585) 108 (.599)
Available Yards rate

21 (.534) 1 (.266) 20 (.374) 94 (.408)
Explosive Drives

21 (.193) 36 (.106) 41 (.113) 92 (.102)
Methodical Drives

86 (.121) 2 (.056) 42 (.127) 51 (.153)
Value Drives

15 (.504) 2 (.200) 24 (.305) 74 (.368)
Special Team rank 24 (1.210) 107 (-1.263)



Field Goal efficiency 52 (.068) 50 (.076)



Punt Return efficiency 20 (.051) 115 (-.240)



Kickoff return efficiency 2 (.135) 116 (-.265)



punt efficiency 112 (.114) 27 (-.207)



kickoff efficiency 66 (-.153) 110 (-.012)



Now this might have been a treat. Two teams that are close in all three stat systems. It'll be interesting to see how good Clemson's defense is against a good but wildly inconsistent Oklahoma offense. The big question is whether or not Good Clemson (with Deshaun Watson) or Bad Clemson shows up on offense. Watson isn't playing, so expect bad Clemson. Oklahoma has the biggest advantage on defense in the matchup too. In addition to that, Trevor Knight will be back. The numbers are averages from Oklahoma's bad games without Knight and Clemson's good games with Watson - so I expect Oklahoma to roll, eventually.

Texas Bowl: Arkansas at Texas


OVERALL When Arkansas has the ball When Texas has the ball
Category Arkansas

Texas

ARK Off UT Def ARK Def UT Off
F/+ Rk 20 (18.6%) 57 (3.0%) 23 (8.9%) 14 (11.9%) 19 (10.3%) 94 (-5.7%)
S&P+ 19 (230.9) 32 (217.7) 18 (114.7) 18 (118.2) 20 (116.2) 66 (99.6)
Play Efficiency

20 (121.3) 7 (132.1) 11 (124.4) 74 (98.6)
Rushing S&P+

18 (123.6) 33 (113.0) 7 (132.1) 51 (107.2)
Passing S&P+

28 (119.6) 4 (154.0) 21 (120.0) 86 (92.3)
Std. Downs S&P+

29 (113.7) 8 (125.1) 11 (122.0) 67 (100.9)
Pass. Downs S&P+

9 (143.4) 7 (150.9) 19 (126.0) 92 (92.2)
Drive Efficiency

11 (132.3) 34 (118.1) 18 (136.2) 40 (112.7)

OVERALL When Arkansas has the ball When Texas has the ball
Category Arkansas

Texas

ARK Off UT Def ARK Def UT Off
F/+ Rk 20 (18.6%) 57 (3.0%) 23 (8.9%) 14 (11.9%) 19 (10.3%) 94 (-5.7%)
FEI Rk 17 (.171) 64 (-.010) 26 (.309) 15 (-.453) 20 (-.388) 104 (-.318)
Field Position 28 (.525) 113 (.466)



Raw Efficiency 31 (.078) 74 (-.012) 44 (.122) 13 (-.408) 44 (-.166) 100 (-.276)
First Down rate

39 (.702) 23 (.596) 25 (.604) 112 (.589)
Available Yards rate

45 (.481) 13 (.351) 38 (.410) 110 (.374)
Explosive Drives

76 (.114) 9 (.068) 47 (.117) 111 (.079)
Methodical Drives

5 (.211) 74 (.151) 54 (.135) 73 (.132)
Value Drives

51 (.408) 14 (.277) 44 (.346) 97 (.328)
Special Team rank 81 (-.385) 117 (-1.841)



Field Goal efficiency 111 (-.401) 88 (-.206)



Punt Return efficiency 120 (-.275) 74 (-.121)



Kickoff return efficiency 23 (-.060) 122 (-.289)



punt efficiency 3 (-.364) 85 (-.020)



kickoff efficiency 109 (-.023) 96 (-.071)



The first SEC win of this page comes against a weak, overrated Texas team. Their defense is excellent - top 20 in the country, and on par with Oregon's (on paper) - but their offense is mediocre and is going up against a top 20 defense as well. Arkansas has also apparently figured out how to win in their last few weeks. FEI in particular loves Arkansas and sees this as an easy win. I don't know about easy, but I don't see how Texas can pull this off; they're even bad in special teams (117th overall).