What FEI and S&P+ say about the Big XII -- Week 6

Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Building on last week's conference-wide look at the Big XII, here's how things stand heading into Week 6.

Every team in the conference except Oklahoma has now played at least 4 games with 1 conference game, so we're officially 1/3 of the way through the 2012 college football season. We're also knee-deep in the Big XII schedule with basically everything up in the air.

Just as a reminder of what we're doing here: I hate absolute statistics devoid of context. Can't stand them. They're used too often these days, often packaged in an argument for why the SEC is the greatest conference in the land. Like I said last week, we need a more complete picture. I think FEI and its companion S&P+ give us at the very least a better look. That's why I cite them. For the complete lists, you can find them on FootballOutsiders.com's college page. Use the drop-down menus to navigate to the various resources. Individual offensive and defensive rankings (in terms of how good/bad a unit is at doing one thing or another) won't be available until after Week 7.

First, we have the combined rankings of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) After that, we'll compare FEI to S&P+ to see where things stand.

Rank

Team

FBS
W-L

FEI

Last
Wk

GE

GE
Rk

SOS

SOS
Rk

FBS
MW

FBS
RMW

OE

OE
Rk

DE

DE
Rk

FPA

FPA
Rk

2

Texas

4-0

.314

5

.312

5

.054

12

10.1

6.4

1.083

3

.146

79

.594

4

6

Texas Tech

3-0

.279

9

.406

2

.063

17

8.7

5.8

.944

4

-.677

7

.539

28

7

Kansas State

3-0

.253

4

.312

4

.044

11

8.0

5.6

.837

5

-.240

40

.586

6

9

Oklahoma

1-1

.239

10

.076

46

.019

3

7.1

5.7

.067

55

-.373

27

.454

101

10

West Virginia

3-0

.236

6

.206

13

.035

7

7.6

5.0

1.677

1

.543

106

.509

52

25

Baylor

2-1

.161

26

.163

23

.019

1

5.9

4.0

1.267

2

1.056

123

.575

12

27

Oklahoma State

1-2

.155

21

.070

47

.030

6

5.7

4.1

.745

7

.370

98

.444

110

54

TCU

3-0

.036

17

.154

25

.026

5

3.9

1.4

-.458

104

-.922

4

.580

9

58

Iowa State

2-1

.028

53

.024

65

.037

8

3.4

2.0

-.489

106

-.505

20

.537

30

88

Kansas

0-3

-.105

86

-.091

81

.019

2

1.8

0.5

-.213

84

.023

64

.471

85

I mentioned last week that if the numbers held, we'd have 8 teams in the top 26 of the FEI rankings. They didn't hold, mostly because of TCU's ugly monsoon-hindered victory over SMU. Largely because of the other games SMU has played (A&M, Baylor), that performance absolutely killed TCU's OE number down into the early 100s. Remember that turnovers are baked into that number and largely driven by luck, so there's a really good chance TCU improves drastically. I don't think there's any chance they're a lower-tier offensive team. At least not THAT lower-tier, anyway. It seems Baylor had a hand this week in lowering the top end of the conference profile by obliterating WVU's defensive efficiency rating, but the conference retains 5 members, fully half the total teams, in the top 10 of the rankings. That's good stuff.

The good news straightaway is that if FEI is a good predictor, Baylor will be favored in 4 of our remaining 8 games against Big XII teams. The even better news (and this is going to infuriate the Red Raider faithful) is that I'm still not buying the Texas Tech defense being all that great. They've now played Texas State, New Mexico, Northwestern Louisiana State, and Iowa State. That's a lot of stats but not exactly a murderer's row of offensive teams. The best team there by FEI is New Mexico at 68. I don't doubt their offense ranking, though, so we've got at least that coming down the pipe at the SECOND-WORST DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY.

Let's give that its own line: BAYLOR HAS THE SECOND-WORST DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY ACCORDING TO DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY. And it's really not even close. Just look at WVU's ranking at 106 versus our own at 123. That's a huge drop. Wow. I'm ... I'm not surprised at all, actually. Still happy to see Baylor's Field Position Advantage ranked so highly, and I think that ranking is deserved. No team in the country has benefited more from the kickoff changes than Baylor. Let's just move on to S&P+

S&P+ Rk

Team

Record

S&P+

Last Wk

Change

Off S&P+

Rk

Def S&P+

Rk

5

Texas Tech

4-0

256.6

6

+1

112.9

26

143.7

6

11

Oklahoma State

2-2

243.0

12

+1

140.5

3

102.5

49

12

Texas

4-0

242.9

5

-7

120.4

14

122.6

16

14

West Virginia

4-0

240.9

7

-7

146.9

1

94.0

65

22

Oklahoma

2-1

228.3

11

-11

93.7

83

134.6

9

24

Iowa State

3-1

225.8

41

+17

97.0

68

128.8

13

35

TCU

4-0

217.7

14

-21

96.4

71

121.3

19

42

Baylor

3-1

212.0

42

0

125.8

10

86.2

93

45

Kansas State

4-0

210.6

43

-2

120.4

13

90.2

80

85

Kansas

1-3

183.7

83

-2

89.7

96

94.0

66

Did you expect to see Texas Tech as the best team in the conference by S&P+? Well they are. Mostly on the strength of their defense again, which has admittedly throttled its opponents. S&P+ doesn't like the Big XII as a whole (more in the teens as opposed to the top 10) or Baylor as an individual as much as FEI. It doesn't seem quite as down on our defense, nor does it seem quite as high on our offense, so we could be seeing a much more conservative measure here than we did in FEI. I believe S&P+ also tries to do things a little differently by taking into consideration each individual play rather than the possessions as a whole. Just something to keep in mind.

You'll find when you look at these things that all too often they are circular, especially with only 4 games' data. For example, I'm pretty sure Kansas State ranks so low in defensive S&P+ due to an equally low ranking of OU's offense, and I don't really buy either of those numbers at that point. Yes, OU has turnover issues, but those again are largely a function of luck. Kansas State's defense is one of the best, if not the best, in the conference. Another example is that Texas' offense is ranked extremely highly, so OSU's defense is ranked highly as well. They gave up 41 points! You also have to remember that preseason projections are still a factor at this point, albeit a smaller one than before. We'll see how it turns out going forward.

What do you think about the conference as a whole now that you've seen the stats?

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