VARSITY NUMBERS: A New F/+ Rating

And special teams gets a larger seat at the table in the new Varsity Numbers.

For a while now, it has been evident that special teams need to play a bit more of a role in our numbers. They have always played a bit of a role in Brian Fremeau's -- obviously special teams play a role in both field position and your ability to convert drives into points -- but I was looking for a bit of a direct connection. And considering last week's Game the Century of the Year was decided almost entirely by special teams (LSU advanced inside Alabama's 35 just three times and emerged with three field goals; Alabama advanced inside LSU's 35 seven times but missed four field goals and lost by three), now seemed like a pretty good time to look into things.

We will visit this issue in full this offseason, but I wanted to see what would happen if we isolated Brian's Special Teams Efficiency rating and gave it a seat at the F/+ table.

In its current iteration, the correlation between F/+ and win percentage for 2011 is right around 0.84. This is, honestly, quite good. You actually do not want the correlation to get too much better than that, but I wanted to see if adding special teams did anything for those correlations. It did. Using Special Teams Efficiency as 14 percent of the F/+ formula (this resulted in the most optimal correlations), the correlations between the 'new' F/+ and win percentage rose to 0.85. I'll take that.

Below are the 'new' F/+ ratings, along with a comparison to the 'original' ratings. Adding special teams to the equation significantly aided teams like Ole Miss, Rutgers, Auburn, Miami and Texas, and it goes without saying that it strengthened LSU's grip on the No. 1 spot. They are now a distant No. 1, with No. 2 Alabama still rather far ahead of the logjam fighting for No. 3. Meanwhile, teams like South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Baylor get downgraded a decent amount. As mentioned above, we will pursue this in more detail this offseason. For now, however, this does appear to represent a slight upgrade for a measure I liked quite a bit already.

"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
1 LSU 9-0 39.0% 13.5% 5 21.5% 1 4.0% 1 1 0
2 Alabama 8-1 34.4% 12.9% 6 21.2% 2 0.4% 53 2 0
3 Boise State 8-0 28.2% 12.1% 10 13.4% 5 2.7% 9 3 0
4 Oklahoma State 9-0 26.1% 10.3% 13 14.3% 4 1.5% 19 4 0
5 Oregon 8-1 24.6% 12.5% 7 10.4% 8 1.7% 17 7 2
6 Oklahoma 8-1 23.9% 12.3% 9 11.3% 6 0.3% 54 5 -1
7 Wisconsin 7-2 23.1% 17.8% 1 5.4% 23 -0.1% 62 6 -1
8 Florida State 6-3 18.7% 6.8% 29 9.3% 12 2.7% 10 10 2
9 Stanford 9-0 18.6% 12.5% 8 5.1% 26 0.9% 31 8 -1
10 Notre Dame 6-3 17.8% 9.5% 18 7.9% 16 0.5% 49 9 -1
11 Texas 6-2 15.9% 3.3% 44 8.8% 14 3.8% 2 20 9
12 Michigan State 7-2 14.8% 4.6% 37 8.2% 15 2.0% 13 16 4
13 Nebraska 7-2 14.4% 7.0% 26 4.6% 29 2.8% 8 21 8
14 Penn State 8-1 14.3% -1.1% 66 15.2% 3 0.2% 58 12 -2
15 Texas A&M 5-4 13.7% 10.1% 14 3.1% 38 0.4% 50 14 -1
"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
16 Clemson 8-1 13.6% 13.6% 4 -1.5% 69 1.4% 23 19 3
17 USC 7-2 13.3% 11.8% 11 0.6% 56 0.8% 35 18 1
18 Georgia 7-2 13.1% 9.7% 16 4.9% 27 -1.5% 92 11 -7
19 Ohio State 6-3 12.9% 0.0% 56 10.4% 7 2.5% 11 26 7
20 Virginia Tech 8-1 12.5% 4.8% 35 8.9% 13 -1.2% 87 13 -7
21 Southern Miss 8-1 12.1% 4.1% 39 7.4% 17 0.6% 45 22 1
22 Miami-FL 5-4 12.1% 14.1% 2 -5.2% 92 3.1% 4 31 9
23 Arkansas 8-1 11.7% 9.0% 20 1.1% 50 1.5% 18 27 4
24 Arizona State 6-3 11.3% 8.9% 21 2.6% 41 -0.1% 64 23 -1
25 Michigan 7-2 11.3% 7.4% 24 5.3% 24 -1.4% 90 17 -8

Full list at Outsiders. And if you've missed anything else I've done this week...

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