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Baylor vs. Kansas State: The Advanced Stats Preview

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Taking a look at what the Advanced Stats say about Baylor vs. K-State.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to yet another Advanced Stats Preview that may or may not have any predictive value whatsoever for a multitude of reasons! This week your Number 2 Number 6 Ranked Baylor Bears are set to square off against the Kansas State Wildcats. We’ve got a lot to cover (including some new stats and new features!), so let’s get to it in just a second.

But first, new features! Since Brian Fremeau has started issuing the component statistics of FEI, I’ve added a table at the end of the chart for those statistics. Those stats are all drive-based instead of play-based, so they make for an interesting and different look from Bill Connelly’s more drive-based S&P+ numbers.

Next, you’ll notice a nifty button on the page now. These come courtesy of our friends at Roll Bama Roll and Addicted to Quack, and huge thanks to them for creating them. Click the button, and you’ll see the explanations for the statistics contained in that table. Click the button again, and it will collapse your Glossary and you can keep on reading my “compelling” content. We’re getting all high tech in the ASP today. I'm working on getting those stats split into several buttons to put in each section, but I couldn't get it to work and I'm out of time.

One last thing: In case you need a reminder, the comparisons are given a completely arbitrary “Edge” ranking comparing the difference in the ranks of the two teams. If the ranks are 40+ positions you see the name in caps. If the ranks are 10 or more apart, then you see the team’s name in normal caps. Anything under 10 ranks apart warrants an “EVEN” edge rating. Okay, let’s get to it.

  • 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 our Advanced Stats primer.
  • S&P+:S&P+ is primarily play-based and consists the Five Factors: efficiency, explosiveness, finishing drives, field position, and turnovers (which doesn't appear to be factored into the final S&P+ number). This is then adjusted for opponent strength.
  • 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 our Advanced Stats primer.
  • S&P+: The offensive/defensive components of S&P+.
  • IsoPPP: IsoPPP is the Equivalent Points Per Play (PPP) average on only successful plays. This allows us to look at offense in two steps: How consistently successful were you, and when you were successful, how potent were you?.
  • Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.
  • Average Field Position: This is mostly self-explanatory, with one important note: An offense is measured by its defense's starting field position, and vice versa. Special teams obviously play a large role in field position, but so do the effectiveness of your offense and defense. So in the team profiles, you'll find Defensive Starting FP in the offensive section and Offensive Starting FP in the defensive section.
  • Points Per Trip Inside 40: Mostly self-explanatory. This measure looks not at how frequently you create scoring opportunities, but how you finish the ones you create. And yes, for the purposes of this stat, the "red zone" starts at the 40, not the 20.
  • Rushing S&P+: The offensive/defensive components of S&P+ for rushing plays only.
  • Success Rate: Same thing for success rate: rushing plays only.
  • IsoPPP: The explosiveness metric for only rushing plays.
  • Adj. Line Yards: Measures the success of offensive/defensive lines. One of only two opponent-adjusted numbers for offensive/defensive lines, this is presented on a scale in which 100.0 is perfectly average, above 100 is good, below 100 is bad.
  • Opportunity Rate: The percentage of carries (when five yards are available) that gain at least five yards, i.e. the percentage of carries in which the line does its job, so to speak.
  • Power Success Rate: The percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown.
  • Stuff Rate: The percentage of carries by running backs that are stopped at or before the line of scrimmage.
  • season goes on (or teams that get devastated by early injuries after looking great).
  • Standard Downs: First down, Second-and-7 or fewer, Third-and-4 or fewer, Fourth-and-4 or fewer. SD stats are looking at components for Standard Downs only.
  • SD Line Yards Per Carry: The raw, unadjusted per-carry line yardage for a team on standard downs.
  • SD Sack Rate: Unadjusted sack rate for standard downs pass attempts.
  • Passing Downs: Those downs that are not standard. Second-and-8 or more, Third-and-5 or more, Fourth-and-5 or more. PD stats are looking at components for Passing Downs only.
  • PD Line Yards Per Carry: The same unadjusted averages for rushing on passing downs.
  • PD Sack Rate: Unadjusted sack rate for passing downs pass attempts.
  • FEI: The offensive/defensive components of the Fremeau Efficiency Index.
  • Efficiency: The scoring value generated by a team's offense per possession.
  • First Down Rate: The percentage of offensive drives that result in at least one first down or touchdown..
  • Available Yards Percentage: The total number of yards earned on offensive drives as a percentage of the total number of yards available based on starting field position.
  • Explosive Drive Rate: The percentage of offensive drives that earn at least 10 yards per play.
  • Methodical Drive Rate: The percentage of offensive drives that last at least 10 plays.
  • Value Drive Rate: The percentage of offensive drives that begin at least 50 yards from the end zone and reach the opponent's 30-yard line.

Baylor vs. Kansas State: Overview

Stat Baylor K-state EDGE
F/+ 7 (45.00%) 75 (–5.80%) BAYLOR
S&P+ 5 (21.2) 74 (–0.5) BAYLOR
FEI 13 (0.191) 74 (–0.033) BAYLOR

The Wildcats have struggled this year, and their struggles are reflected in the stats here. Injuries have taken their toll on the team also, which is disappointing to say the least, but the general consensus going into this season is that this was a rebuilding year for K-State. Let’s break it down further.

When Baylor Has The Ball…

Factor Stat Baylor K-state EDGE
S&P+ 1 (49.7) 49 (26.2) BAYLOR
EFFICIENCY Success Rate 1 (55.80%) 86 (43.60%) BAYLOR
FIELD POSITION Avg. FP 46 (31) 101 (31.3) BAYLOR
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 1 (6.11) 39 (4.39) Baylor

Our first stop on the offensive side of the ball paints a picture that will be repeated throughout the rest of this post for this side: heavy advantages. Heck, even Baylor has the field position advantage at this point, something that has not been a regular occurrence since we kicked these into full gear. The Bears are successful and explosive, and remain absolutely lethal inside the 40.

The big wild-card to all of this is, of course, Jarrett Stidham. It’s a refrain easily repeated throughout this entire segment of the stats. We just don’t know what impact having a new quarterback that’s a true freshman will have on the offense’s performance. Briles and everyone else has tremendous confidence in the young man, which gives me hope, but at this point we simply have to wait until tomorrow night to see just how he’ll perform.

Rushing Statistics

Rushing Stats Baylor K-state EDGE
Rushing S&P+ 8 (126.9) 76 (96.7) BAYLOR
Rushing Success Rate 1 (59.20%) 68 (42.40%) BAYLOR
Rushing IsoPPP 15 (1.22) 102 (1.18) BAYLOR
Adj. Line Yards 8 (124.5) 46 (106.2) Baylor
Opportunity Rate 1 (53.20%) 51 (36.60%) BAYLOR
Power Success Rate 11 (80.80%) 20 (53.80%) EVEN
Stuff Rate 3 (13.10%) 52 (21.20%) BAYLOR

Rushing is one area where I confident that we can glean something from the statistics. Baylor’s rushing attack is excellent. The offensive line continues to dominate up front, maintaining the best Opportunity Rate in the country. Again, this means that the rushing attack gains at least 5 yards (when available) over 53% of the time. That’s a ridiculous number. They don’t get stuffed all that often at all, so that’s an encouraging sign. The even matchup in this set is Power Success, where we’re talking about short yardage plays on third and fourth downs.

I fully expect to see the ball on the ground early and often on Thursday night. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Baylor will use the ground game to help Stidham get his legs underneath him and build his confidence. Because I know this, basically everyone else knows this too, so it wouldn’t shock me if Kendal Briles throws conventional wisdom right out the door and comes out slinging the rock around. But even if that happens, the ground game remains a solid foundation upon which the Bears can build. What will be most interesting for me to watch is how much they utilize Stidham in the ground game. Stid doesn’t have to gash defenses like Seth did with his legs for the offense to be successful. My hope is they use him just enough to force the defensive coordinators to have to account for him at any point. It’s one of the points of this game that I’m most interested in seeing.

Passing Statistics

Passing Stats Baylor K-state EDGE
Passing S&P+ 14 (126.2) 44 (108.9) Baylor
Passing Success Rate 5 (51.90%) 97 (44.50%) BAYLOR
Passing IsoPPP 3 (2.12) 48 (1.39) BAYLOR
Adj. Sack Rate 3 (422.7) 52 (104.6) BAYLOR

Yep. All Baylor here again. That said, this is the biggest area of unknown for Baylor fans with Stidham coming in. Will he continue the dominant trend that was set by Seth? Will he be more like Tepper said on the podcast recorded earlier this week and be a much more cautious thrower? How much will Briles & Son, Inc. put the ball into Stid’s hands to make passing decisions? The more I think about it, the more I think they’re not going to shy away from letting Stidham make plays with his arm. If they truly believe that he’s no ordinary true freshman, it wouldn’t shock me to let him do some airing out. He’s got the weapons around him, certainly. I think they’ll let him get the ball to Corey Coleman, Jay Lee, K.D. Cannon, and the rest of the WR corps and let them make plays too.

Situational Statistics

Standard Downs Baylor K-state EDGE
Standard Downs S&P+ 1 (134.3) 60 (100.9) BAYLOR
Standard Downs Success Rate 1 (62.40%) 93 (50.00%) BAYLOR
Standard Downs IsoPPP 1 (1.52) 88 (1.15) BAYLOR
SD Line Yards per Carry 1 (4.37) 32 (2.57) Baylor
SD Sack Rate 13 (1.70%) 75 (4.60%) BAYLOR
Passing Downs Baylor K-state EDGE
Passing Downs S&P+ 76 (98.8) 40 (113.5) K-state
Passing Downs Success Rate 33 (34.60%) 63 (29.90%) Baylor
Passing Downs IsoPPP 13 (2.1) 84 (1.85) BAYLOR
PD Line Yards per Carry 40 (3.58) 98 (3.64) BAYLOR
PD Sack Rate 1 (0.00%) 35 (9.30%) Baylor

That Passing Downs S&P+ number is still there, staring at me in defiance of my understanding. It’s confession time: I’m not sure I understand how the situational S&P+ numbers are calculated here. If the new S&P+ is a combination of Success Rate, IsoPPP, Field Position and Points per Trip Inside the 40, How do you make that calculation for Standard Downs vs. Passing Downs? If the two main components are 43 and 63 ranks above it, is it all opponent adjustments that push the rank down into the 70s? I may have to follow-up with Bill C. about that.

I don’t think that the Advanced Stats provide insight into how K-State shuts down Baylor’s offense this week, because these rankings all reflect an offense with a different quarterback. Snyder has to hit Baylor fast and knock Stidham off balance and attempt to keep him there. Does he have the weapons on defense to do it?


FEI Stats K-state Baylor EDGE
FEI 2 (1.67) 59 (0.05) BAYLOR
Efficiency 1 (2.65) 97 (–0.64) BAYLOR
First Down Rate 4 (0.864) 105 (0.794) BAYLOR
Avail. Yds. % 1 (0.705) 83 (0.489) BAYLOR
Explosive Drives 1 (0.424) 59 (0.132) BAYLOR
Methodical Drives 102 (0.106) 84 (0.147) K-state
Value Drives 1 (0.655) 89 (0.433) BAYLOR

Uh oh, guys. We’re not a methodical team. But given the fact that the Bears are #1 in nearly every other ranking, it’s not all that concerning. They eat up 70% of the available yards per drive, which is a fun thing to think about in terms of explosiveness. They get yards in CHUNKS, and the thing is, they just don’t go slow. SR–71, y’all.

I’m out of things to say here. Does anyone have any questions about FEI or this side of the ball, specifically? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Let’s shift.

When Kansas State Has the Ball…

Factor Stat K-state Baylor EDGE
S&P+ 94 (25.7) 69 (28.5) Baylor
EFFICIENCY Success Rate 78 (41.20%) 17 (34.40%) BAYLOR
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 116 (1.15) 92 (1.33) Baylor
FINISHING DRIVES Avg. FP 32 (32.1) 66 (29.7) K-state
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 59 (4.9) 78 (4.76) K-state

Well this is a matchup of titanic proportions. The stats above are indicative of Kansas State’s struggles this season. They’ve struggled to be successful and are not explosive in any sense of the term. Additionally, they are average in terms of scoring points inside the 40 yard line with an average of under 5 points per trip inside the 40. They do get good field position, though. But let’s move into some of the nitty gritty.

Rushing Statistics

Rushing Stats K-state Baylor EDGE
Rushing S&P+ 29 (115) 14 (128.7) Baylor
Rushing Success Rate 37 (45.70%) 23 (35.50%) Baylor
Rushing IsoPPP 101 (0.99) 24 (0.94) BAYLOR
Adj. Line Yards 35 (111) 17 (120) Baylor
Opportunity Rate 25 (42.60%) 10 (30.90%) Baylor
Power Success Rate 92 (61.90%) 30 (57.70%) BAYLOR
Stuff Rate 43 (17.70%) 24 (24.20%) Baylor

Ah, the Snydercat rushing attack. They’re successful, but by no means are they explosive. Think “three yards and a cloud of dust.” Or, judging by their Opportunity Rate, call it 5 yards. It’s how they were able to dominate TCU in the first half of that game. They ran all over the Frogs, but forgot that the rushing attack even existed in the second half and watched the lead that they built evaporate. This is the sort of offense Snyder tries to use to beat Baylor - slow, methodical, time consuming. Keep Baylor’s explosive offense off the field and chew up as much clock as possible. Thankfully for the Bears, their rushing defense has improved drastically as the season continued, and is now a legitimate top 25 rushing defense in most aspects. Shut down the Wildctats’ rushing attack and the Bears can make things much more difficult.

Passing Statistics

Passing Stats K-state Baylor EDGE
Passing S&P+ 96 (90.7) 56 (104.1) Baylor
Passing Success Rate 108 (35.30%) 16 (32.80%) BAYLOR
Passing IsoPPP 82 (1.42) 126 (1.89) K-STATE
Adj. Sack Rate 107 (71.9) 77 (90.5) Baylor

Huh. The Bears’ passing defense remains so very interesting to me. They’re excellent at preventing successful passing plays, but when passes are given up, they’re given up for big yards. I suppose that means they’re susceptible to the deep ball. Fortunately for the Bears, K-State’s not especially fantastic at passing in general. Its offensive line is also in the bottom in terms of giving up sacks. If the Bears can force them into the air, the Wildcats could be in for a very difficult day.

Situational Stats

Standard Downs K-state Baylor EDGE
Standard Downs S&P+ 86 (96.6) 9 (125.5) BAYLOR
Standard Downs Success Rate 92 (44.90%) 11 (37.00%) BAYLOR
Standard Downs IsoPPP 102 (1.01) 51 (1.05) BAYLOR
SD Line Yards per Carry 44 (3.04) 9 (2.19) Baylor
SD Sack Rate 65 (5.10%) 93 (3.80%) K-state
Passing Downs K-state Baylor EDGE
Passing Downs S&P+ 47 (109.5) 58 (102.2) K-state
Passing Downs Success Rate 40 (33.30%) 64 (30.00%) K-state
Passing Downs IsoPPP 111 (1.53) 90 (1.89) Baylor
PD Line Yards per Carry 65 (3.21) 119 (4.04) K-STATE
PD Sack Rate 126 (14.60%) 32 (9.70%) BAYLOR

Once again, Baylor shows itself to be absolutely dominant on standard downs, but completely fallible on Passing downs. Mark and I have discussed it on the podcast a couple of times - it seems like the sweet spot for the Bears’ defense is 3rd-and-medium. Something less than 10 but more than 3. The good news is, though, is that Baylor has improved in Power success rate drastically over the past few weeks.

FEI’s Look

FEI Stats K-state Baylor EDGE
FEI 56 (0.1) 38 (0.3) Baylor
Efficiency 76 (0.07) 43 (0.1) Baylor
First Down Rate 78 (0.7) 61 (0.729) Baylor
Avail. Yds. % 96 (0.393) 41 (0.406) BAYLOR
Explosive Drives 127 (0.029) 26 (0.086) BAYLOR
Methodical Drives 117 (0.086) 29 (0.1) BAYLOR
Value Drives 96 (0.316) 24 (0.277) BAYLOR

I don’t think this is what I was expecting. While it doesn’t love them, FEI likes Baylor’s defense quite a bit, but I’ll take it. K-State’s offense isn’t incredibly efficient. Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot more to say here. I was all excited to include the FEI stats once they came out, and now that they’re in the post, I find myself out of words.


Honestly, the outcome of this game may come in a way that the stats can’t predict. How will Stidham perform? Will he live up to the expectations and dreams of every Baylor fan in the country, or will Snyder be able to rattle him and then take control of the game and play true Snyderball? You have to be sure that the Snyderfans are thinking revenge for 2012 in this game, seeing it as an opportunity to destroy the Bears’ season and deal the same sort of defeat that Baylor did to K-State three years ago.

One way or another, I think this game is the proving ground for Stidham and he’s the key to a Baylor victory. If Stid gets going and isn’t rattled by a hostile environment during primetime on national television, it should go very well for the Bears.