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Final Regular Season Advanced Stat Rankings: The Big 12 Conference

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Taking a final look at how the Big 12 stacks up against itself through the eyes of F/+, FEI, and S&P+.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the final Big 12 Rankings according to the advanced stats. We took a few weeks off from this post late in the season because we weren't seeing very much in the way of movement. Now that the regular season is over, we're taking one final look at the Big 12 Conference and seeing how the teams stack up against each other after the entire schedule has been played. Most of the results are in line with what we were seeing, with a few notable exceptions below.

Here are the charts. As always, all numbers are courtesy of the metrics at FootballOutsiders.com. Also, a special thanks to Addicted to Quack contributor Kalon for generating the tables, saving me an incredible amount of time.

Okay, let's do this.

2014 RANKS Baylor TCU OU KSU WVU UT OKST TT ISU KU
OVERALL:
F+/ S&P+ /FEI
9 / 8 / 9 5 / 10 / 8 13 / 12 / 22 21 / 25 / 24 34 / 22 / 38 57 / 32 / 64 68 / 73 / 80 76 / 77 / 85 91 / 112 / 87 107 / 102 / 98
F/+ Special Teams
33 10 24 4 59 117 8 84 61 121
FPA 7 4 30 12 107 113 68 112 69 110

We stopped doing these because it seemed like the movement relative to one another settled down, and the final rankings reflect that also.

Big 12 Rankings According to Overall F/+:
1: TCU
2: Baylor
3: Oklahoma
4: K-State
5: West Virginia
6: Texas
7: Oklahoma State
8: Texas Tech
9: Iowa State
10: Kansas

TCU remains the most enigmatic ranking for me, given the fact that their F/+ ranking is higher than either FEI or S&P+. Prashanth and Mark speculated that it was based on the inclusion of Special Teams into the overall F/+ rankings, or perhaps how they calculated F/+ overall. Regardless, TCU's overall ranking is several spots higher than either FEI or S&P+.  Baylor's consistent Top 10 ranking across all three metrics doesn't surprise me at all, and I'm happy to see that we finished off well in the rankings overall. Another interesting anomaly remains the weakness of both West Virginia and Texas in the Field Position Advantage metric, where both teams rank in the Bottom 25, yet each are solidly in the top half (or top third, in WVU's case) overall.

Offensive Categories

Offensive Categories
Baylor TCU OU KSU WVU UT OkSt TT ISU KU
F/+ Rk
11 20 10 16 49 94 77 41 64 117
FEI Rk 12 23 13 15 58 104 80 32 54 115
FD Rk 3 15 64 21 35 112 105 54 89 123
AY Rk 4 14 21 12 59 110 108 33 83 123
Ex Rk 4 14 21 12 59 110 108 33 83 123
Me Rk 6 117 86 57 64 73 111 97 4 112
Va Rk 6 19 15 10 36 97 109 48 67 124
S&P+ Rk
11 16 7 27 37 66 80 47 92 117
Success Rate
11 16 7 27 37 66 80 47 92 117
ISOPPP
11 16 7 27 37 66 80 47 92 117
Rushing S&P Rk 23 13 2 45 62 51 85 43 46 116
Passing S&P Rk 11 36 13 23 30 86 45 27 70 88
Std. Downs S&P Rk 15 25 5 36 39 67 70 43 68 112
Pass. Downs S&P Rk 24 27 15 20 48 92 50 8 47 98

Big 12 Rankings According to Offensive F/+:
1: OU
2: Baylor
3: KSU
4: TCU
5: TT
6: WVU
7: ISU
8: OkSt
9: UT
10: Kansas

Oklahoma's offense remains loved by the advanced statistics, finishing tops overall in the conference. The Sooners' ranking was bolstered heavily by the high marks given to it by S&P+; the FEI components range from very good to pedestrian. What surprised me was that TCU's offense was the fourth overall in the conference, behind us and K-State. I didn't look closely at the relative positions of each team before the K-State game, so I can't say how much of that is due to the Snydercats' success against our defense. Tech's final game was against us the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the numbers they put up there certainly helped them as they crawled out of S&P+ garbage time and made it an interesting game.

Baylor remains the only offense on which the numbers pretty much agree; every component ranking for both FEI and S&P+ rank within the Top 25. Granted, FEI puts us in the top 10 across the board before opponent adjustments while S&P+ has us just outside, but there are no glaring anomalies like TCU's struggle to methodically move the ball or Iowa State's high ranking in the same FEI stat. I remain impressed with that consistency. Despite the fact that we all felt like there was a midseason lull and that the offense was trying to rely too heavily on the big play, Baylor's offense can beat you explosively or methodically, and are content to take what the defense gives them. It will be interesting to see how they match up against Michigan State either later this week or early next.

Defensive Categories

Defensive Categories
Baylor TCU OU KSU WVU UT OkSt TT ISU KU
F/+ Rk
16 6 36 51 25 14 71 109 113 62
FEI Rk 23 6 46 60 25 15 75 110 109 56
FD Rk 12 6 18 47 54 23 40 121 118 107
AY Rk 29 12 20 66 45 13 72 115 119 98
Ex Rk 94 71 41 22 50 9 93 123 101 98
Me Rk 22 25 42 116 15 74 59 46 122 43
Va Rk 31 20 24 65 43 14 77 117 122 92
S&P+ Rk
11 13 24 38 22 18 61 106 119 74
Success Rate
11 13 24 38 22 18 61 106 119 74
ISOPPP
11 13 24 38 22 18 61 106 119 74
Rushing S&P Rk 19 6 20 27 17 33 41 106 124 60
Passing S&P Rk 45 34 28 51 14 4 53 67 79 42
Std. Downs S&P Rk 40 18 28 43 10 8 46 101 119 31
Pass. Downs S&P Rk 24 26 22 37 23 7 57 97 62 83

Big 12 Rankings According to Defensive F/+:
1: TCU
2: UT
3: Baylor
4: WVU
5: OU
6: KSU
7: KU
8: OkSt
9: TT
10: ISU

Those rankings are not quite what I expected, but also not surprising. Charlie Strong is known for strong defense; Texas had the players in place, they just needed the system. They shed early season struggles and finished strong, despite a struggling offense. In fact, despite a big disparity in the final score of their game against TCU on Thanksgiving, Texas' defense looked to be the best unit on the field for the vast majority of the game. There is much to be optimistic about in Austin from a defensive perspective. On the flip side of that game, TCU's defense likely reaped the benefit of playing an offense that shot itself in the foot at multiple points throughout the game, surrendering excellent field position and turning the ball over multiple times. Despite that, TCU's defense remains very, very good and will be interesting to see them face off against Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.

Most surprising to me in this group is the WVU defense finishing in the Top 25. After last season's debacle, I don't think anyone expected WVU's defense to finish fourth in the conference and 25th overall. The Mountaineers' defense finished ahead of both Oklahoma and K-State, which I wouldn't have said was possible without looking at the numbers. Despite the disappointing finish to the season for WVU, their numbers remain respectable and will make the Liberty Bowl against the Aggies very interesting.

Baylor's defense, despite being just outside the Top 15 overall, continues to struggle with the deep ball. Their numbers against explosive drives remain abysmal, and Kansas State was able to exploit our secondary. The most interesting thing about that game was that it was less about the deep ball home run shots, and more about providing Waters with time in the pocket, allowing Lockett and Sexton to get open for moderate gains. The secondary has been the issue all season, and I imagine it will be something of a focus in the offseason.

A Note On Schedule

Given the fact that we're still over two weeks out from the bowl game, I haven't quite figured out how we're going to approach the stats preview for Michigan State and the Cotton Bowl. I'm thinking that I will break it into two posts, one focusing in on when Baylor has the ball, the other focusing on how Baylor's defense matches up against Michigan State. Look for those posts later on this week or next week before Christmas, most likely. Don't hold me to that, though.