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Which college football teams improved and regressed the most over 2014

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Using a weekly percentile rating to look at which college football teams improved and regressed the most over the course of the 2014 season.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

I've had a lot of fun with my ratings redesign of late. The new S&P+ and F/+ ratings should be ready for reveal in the next couple of weeks -- which is good because the 2015 season preview series starts in A WEEK AND A FREAKING HALF -- but in the meantime, I wanted to play with some of the toys I've created recently.

The new S&P+ brings with it a Game Rating of sorts; it's similar to the Adj. Score that I've used in the past, though it gets a bit more complex. It also relates a team's single-game performance (adjusted for opponent) to a percentile figure, like a standardized test. Your Week 1 performance might have been in the 98th percentile, Week 2 in the 76th percentile, etc.

Using these per-game percentile scores, we can pretty clearly look at who improved as the season went on and (though I won't mention Ole Miss by name, ahem) who fell apart.

The "Season Average" figure you see below isn't any sort of full-season S&P+ rating -- the to-be-revealed ratings go a bit further than what you see here -- but this gives you a nice, clean look at how each FBS team's season flowed, from the first quarter of the season, to the second, etc.

Team Weeks 1-4 Rk Weeks 5-8 Rk Weeks 9-12 Rk Weeks 13+ Rk Season Average Rk
Alabama 95.2% 4 80.2% 11 90.0% 4 92.7% 3 90.1% 1
Ohio State 81.3% 17 94.1% 2 94.9% 3 88.6% 6 89.9% 2
Oregon 87.2% 10 78.1% 15 87.7% 8 86.9% 9 85.4% 3
Auburn 94.3% 5 89.1% 4 79.8% 15 79.9% 14 85.3% 4
Georgia 86.0% 12 86.8% 5 73.2% 25 80.7% 12 82.1% 5
TCU 85.3% 13 79.0% 12 68.4% 30 95.2% 1 80.5% 6
Georgia Tech 72.8% 36 66.1% 34 95.5% 2 84.0% 11 80.2% 7
Arkansas 82.3% 16 55.6% 55 89.8% 5 91.5% 4 80.0% 8
Ole Miss 97.9% 1 97.3% 1 71.0% 28 43.3% 77 78.9% 9
Michigan State 78.8% 24 75.3% 19 76.2% 20 85.6% 10 78.7% 10
UCLA 70.1% 41 76.8% 16 88.2% 6 79.3% 15 78.5% 11
Baylor 96.3% 2 68.7% 30 87.9% 7 70.1% 24 78.4% 12
Mississippi State 92.2% 7 90.2% 3 72.9% 26 55.6% 55 77.5% 13
Florida State 74.6% 33 85.5% 7 80.1% 14 63.4% 38 75.7% 14
Oklahoma 91.9% 8 75.9% 17 74.5% 23 53.8% 56 75.4% 15
Marshall 80.3% 22 85.8% 6 84.4% 10 55.8% 54 75.3% 16
Stanford 93.9% 6 63.2% 37 56.1% 55 91.2% 5 75.1% 17
Boise State 71.5% 39 59.7% 45 72.6% 27 88.1% 7 73.9% 18
Louisville 75.3% 30 81.0% 10 70.6% 29 61.3% 42 73.1% 19
LSU 82.3% 15 72.2% 23 59.3% 47 75.3% 19 72.8% 20
Clemson 61.3% 58 68.8% 28 64.9% 39 94.4% 2 72.1% 21
Missouri 80.7% 20 57.7% 47 76.5% 19 68.4% 28 71.4% 22
USC 59.7% 60 78.9% 13 77.0% 17 64.7% 36 70.8% 23
Wisconsin 75.6% 28 55.6% 54 96.5% 1 51.7% 63 70.5% 24
Notre Dame 86.6% 11 73.6% 22 65.6% 36 52.4% 58 69.9% 25

Full-season ratings can be tricky sometimes because the team that finishes the season is sometimes drastically different than the one that played a good portion of the year. Ole Miss is an almost-too-perfect example of that. Spoiler alert: the Rebels are going to rank quite high in the full-season ratings, and it's pretty obvious why. They were by far the best team of the first eight weeks of the season, averaging a performance in the 97th percentile from game to game. But they lost a couple of games and suffered probably the single most painful loss of the season (the Auburn game). Here are their last six performances of the season:

LSU: 61st percentile
Auburn: 60th percentile
Presbyterian: 92nd percentile
Arkansas: 23rd percentile
Mississippi State: 96th percentile
TCU: 11th percentile

The good team was still in there, as evidenced by the performances against Presbyterian (immediately suffocating, no hope given to a bad team) and Mississippi State. But the Rebs faltered offensively against LSU and defensively against Auburn and got simply wrecked by Arkansas and (especially) TCU. It was a fragile end for a team that was incredible through seven games.

Team Weeks 1-4 Rk Weeks 5-8 Rk Weeks 9-12 Rk Weeks 13+ Rk Season Average Rk
Florida 63.8% 50 50.7% 63 83.3% 12 80.2% 13 69.5% 26
Kansas State 63.6% 52 78.4% 14 76.8% 18 60.7% 44 69.1% 27
Tennessee 68.7% 47 66.1% 33 73.2% 24 68.5% 27 68.9% 28
Arizona State 81.0% 18 62.9% 39 68.3% 31 61.5% 41 68.4% 29
Nebraska 80.3% 21 67.5% 32 62.0% 42 58.0% 52 68.0% 30
Virginia Tech 80.9% 19 70.5% 25 45.2% 74 63.4% 39 66.2% 31
Miami-FL 74.3% 34 82.2% 8 84.3% 11 20.7% 111 66.1% 32
Arizona 70.1% 42 73.7% 21 58.4% 51 65.7% 33 66.0% 33
Cincinnati 75.2% 31 44.5% 77 77.4% 16 74.2% 20 66.0% 34
Texas A&M 95.9% 3 39.0% 88 58.5% 50 68.9% 26 65.6% 35
Boston College 67.5% 48 69.5% 26 59.3% 48 65.2% 35 65.5% 36
Texas 62.9% 54 71.7% 24 75.4% 22 33.1% 96 64.9% 37
Minnesota 69.2% 44 61.8% 41 65.5% 37 59.1% 50 64.3% 38
South Carolina 65.3% 49 65.5% 35 54.3% 58 70.7% 23 64.0% 39
Louisiana Tech 52.9% 70 56.3% 52 83.0% 13 66.6% 31 64.0% 40
West Virginia 69.4% 43 73.8% 20 56.4% 53 50.9% 65 63.2% 41
Utah 87.9% 9 47.4% 70 65.0% 38 50.6% 66 62.9% 42
Virginia 72.1% 38 69.2% 27 36.7% 92 73.5% 21 62.8% 43
Pittsburgh 74.7% 32 50.7% 62 39.6% 85 78.9% 16 62.0% 44
Memphis 68.7% 46 43.8% 80 60.7% 45 70.0% 25 60.8% 45
BYU 76.8% 27 35.8% 97 59.4% 46 65.5% 34 60.7% 46
Penn State 79.9% 23 22.8% 114 63.8% 41 52.2% 61 59.8% 47
Navy 57.4% 64 53.2% 58 61.2% 44 62.0% 40 58.4% 48
NC State 83.2% 14 27.1% 110 46.6% 69 87.7% 8 58.2% 49
Michigan 58.2% 63 60.4% 44 64.2% 40 45.5% 73 58.1% 50

I'm annoyed with you, Miami. The Hurricanes started slowly with a freshman quarterback but looked so good in the second and third quarters of the year that I pretty much had to point them out. And then they lost to Florida State and looked absolutely horrific down the stretch.

Miami's last seven games:

Cincinnati: 99th percentile
Virginia Tech: 99th percentile
North Carolina: 98th percentile
Florida State: 56th percentile
Virginia: 10th percentile
Pitt: 22nd percentile
South Carolina: 30th percentile

Again, Miami's full-season averages are good enough to make them outliers from a win-loss standpoint. But the end was ... forgettable.

Meanwhile ... hello there, N.C. State, playing like Appalachian State in the second quarter of the year and Florida State in the fourth. Sample sizes are an issue with the Wolfpack -- they only actually played two games in the fourth quarter, but they looked spectacular.

And how about Florida, basically sealing Will Muschamp's fate with awful performances against Alabama (28th percentile) and Missouri (21st), then relaxing and actually playing mostly well the rest of the way.

Team Weeks 1-4 Rk Weeks 5-8 Rk Weeks 9-12 Rk Weeks 13+ Rk Season Average Rk
Utah State 38.8% 86 81.3% 9 58.9% 49 59.2% 49 58.0% 51
Western Kentucky 50.7% 73 49.3% 68 52.4% 61 78.3% 18 57.3% 52
Maryland 73.0% 35 54.5% 56 41.4% 82 52.2% 60 56.6% 53
Georgia Southern 57.4% 65 56.8% 50 55.6% 56 43.0% 78 55.4% 54
Air Force 42.0% 79 55.9% 53 66.9% 33 56.4% 53 55.3% 55
Colorado State 39.6% 85 61.0% 42 75.7% 21 39.6% 86 54.5% 56
North Carolina 62.5% 55 57.2% 49 51.7% 62 41.8% 83 53.6% 57
Kentucky 77.2% 26 64.2% 36 27.8% 102 31.5% 97 52.6% 58
UL-Lafayette 27.8% 104 75.4% 18 66.0% 35 48.1% 70 52.3% 59
Arkansas State 44.2% 78 57.3% 48 66.2% 34 39.4% 88 51.2% 60
Iowa 51.1% 72 63.0% 38 61.2% 43 26.2% 106 50.4% 61
Oklahoma State 72.8% 37 44.5% 76 20.5% 114 64.7% 37 50.2% 62
Toledo 40.0% 83 45.9% 72 45.3% 73 72.4% 22 50.1% 63
Western Michigan 47.9% 75 34.4% 98 87.1% 9 35.4% 94 49.9% 64
Rutgers 61.8% 57 50.7% 64 38.3% 88 44.0% 75 49.7% 65
Texas Tech 58.5% 61 43.5% 81 36.9% 91 67.4% 30 49.6% 66
Duke 71.5% 40 45.5% 75 45.8% 70 28.3% 103 49.6% 67
Central Florida 41.2% 81 54.1% 57 53.6% 59 49.5% 68 49.6% 68
California 75.4% 29 41.9% 82 39.0% 87 41.8% 82 49.6% 69
Illinois 62.9% 53 33.1% 101 31.4% 97 66.3% 32 49.5% 70
Temple 63.8% 51 45.7% 74 43.4% 78 46.2% 72 49.5% 71
Rice 10.1% 125 68.8% 29 56.2% 54 60.6% 46 49.5% 72
Washington State 62.3% 56 60.5% 43 36.0% 95 21.8% 110 48.5% 73
East Carolina 53.9% 69 37.6% 94 25.7% 105 60.6% 45 47.9% 74
Washington 57.4% 66 38.8% 90 37.5% 90 58.0% 51 47.8% 75

We'll say Kentucky was a prototypical young team -- solid and exciting early, tired and bereft of answers late. Texas Tech was the opposite, lumbering through most of the year before starting to figure some things out late (50th percentile against Iowa State, 85th against Baylor)

Then there are Utah State and UL-Lafayette, laying eggs against big teams early, then relaxing and playing at a high level thereafter. (Remember, the performances are indeed adjusted for opponent.)

Team Weeks 1-4 Rk Weeks 5-8 Rk Weeks 9-12 Rk Weeks 13+ Rk Season Average Rk
Oregon State 78.4% 25 31.7% 106 50.2% 63 16.9% 115 47.1% 76
Colorado 55.6% 68 37.8% 93 46.8% 68 42.0% 80 46.7% 77
Purdue 60.6% 59 52.1% 60 18.8% 119 30.7% 98 45.8% 78
South Alabama 30.6% 100 68.4% 31 47.5% 65 35.6% 92 45.7% 79
San Diego State 26.9% 109 44.1% 79 42.0% 81 68.2% 29 45.2% 80
Northern Illinois 37.4% 88 39.5% 86 45.5% 72 60.9% 43 45.2% 81
Nevada 37.2% 90 46.9% 71 53.6% 60 42.4% 79 45.2% 82
Indiana 69.0% 45 51.7% 61 7.1% 128 52.1% 62 44.9% 83
UAB 56.0% 67 38.5% 92 18.2% 120 78.4% 17 44.4% 84
Northwestern 44.4% 77 58.9% 46 23.7% 112 41.0% 85 43.5% 85
Central Michigan 22.2% 114 62.8% 40 55.5% 57 28.5% 102 43.4% 86
Syracuse 58.3% 62 40.3% 84 48.0% 64 19.3% 113 43.2% 87
UTEP 52.2% 71 17.7% 119 67.7% 32 22.3% 109 42.1% 88
Houston 39.8% 84 49.5% 67 43.5% 77 36.6% 91 41.6% 89
Middle Tennessee 37.3% 89 56.7% 51 20.2% 115 41.0% 84 41.5% 90
Kansas 50.1% 74 31.9% 105 57.3% 52 5.7% 126 38.5% 91
New Mexico 27.2% 107 41.3% 83 42.2% 80 39.4% 87 37.7% 92
UL-Monroe 41.6% 80 19.3% 117 39.8% 84 50.0% 67 36.8% 93
Tulane 36.3% 92 40.2% 85 47.1% 67 13.3% 117 36.1% 94
Fresno State 22.9% 113 50.3% 65 30.3% 99 37.0% 90 35.8% 95
Iowa State 40.1% 82 45.7% 73 13.9% 122 29.5% 100 35.0% 96
Florida Atlantic 31.9% 98 38.8% 89 28.1% 101 44.0% 76 34.7% 97
Appalachian State 28.8% 101 22.9% 113 44.6% 75 51.4% 64 34.6% 98
Ohio 31.3% 99 32.5% 103 39.1% 86 35.5% 93 34.0% 99
Bowling Green 24.0% 111 52.7% 59 44.4% 76 19.9% 112 33.9% 100

Purdue was a poor man's Miami, playing just well enough early on (compared to expectations, at least) that I started paying attention, then faltering. Of course, the Boilers had nothing on Mike Riley's last Oregon State team in this regard. And poor Indiana completely bottomed out following the injury to quarterback Nate Sudfeld, then rallied late when it was too late to do something with the season.

Team Weeks 1-4 Rk Weeks 5-8 Rk Weeks 9-12 Rk Weeks 13+ Rk Season Average Rk
Kent State 20.0% 116 32.5% 102 40.0% 83 59.8% 48 33.6% 101
Akron 32.8% 97 48.5% 69 22.5% 113 14.8% 116 33.1% 102
UTSA 47.1% 76 35.9% 96 12.9% 124 34.1% 95 32.7% 103
Miami-OH 23.6% 112 44.4% 78 25.1% 106 37.5% 89 32.1% 104
Vanderbilt 27.0% 108 27.7% 109 43.2% 79 27.2% 105 31.3% 105
Southern Miss 25.9% 110 37.1% 95 37.5% 89 6.8% 124 31.0% 106
Old Dominion 38.8% 87 16.1% 121 24.6% 109 44.9% 74 30.6% 107
Texas State 33.2% 96 22.3% 116 19.5% 117 60.2% 47 30.4% 108
Georgia State 34.6% 94 33.3% 100 8.9% 126 49.1% 69 30.3% 109
Florida International 28.0% 103 39.0% 87 30.7% 98 1.9% 128 30.1% 110
Wyoming 36.3% 91 14.7% 124 45.7% 71 12.0% 120 29.2% 111
San Jose State 27.2% 106 49.6% 66 24.3% 110 4.0% 127 28.0% 112
Wake Forest 33.8% 95 14.8% 123 19.7% 116 46.2% 71 27.6% 113
Idaho 19.8% 117 32.4% 104 27.8% 103 29.0% 101 27.4% 114
North Texas 34.9% 93 4.2% 128 24.9% 107 41.9% 81 25.9% 115
Ball State 14.4% 123 14.6% 125 33.6% 96 53.7% 57 25.8% 116
South Florida 28.4% 102 38.8% 91 12.6% 125 18.5% 114 25.4% 117
Buffalo 17.2% 119 13.6% 126 36.5% 93 52.3% 59 24.6% 118
Tulsa 17.1% 120 22.6% 115 24.8% 108 30.5% 99 23.1% 119
UNLV 20.5% 115 17.9% 118 25.9% 104 24.3% 108 22.2% 120
Connecticut 16.7% 122 24.7% 112 47.5% 66 9.1% 122 22.0% 121
Troy 9.7% 126 31.3% 107 28.8% 100 13.2% 118 21.7% 122
Massachusetts 11.2% 124 24.8% 111 36.2% 94 6.8% 125 21.6% 123
Army 27.3% 105 15.1% 122 15.5% 121 25.0% 107 19.9% 124
SMU 4.5% 128 16.9% 120 24.0% 111 28.2% 104 18.4% 125
Hawaii 16.8% 121 29.4% 108 13.1% 123 13.1% 119 18.0% 126
New Mexico State 19.7% 118 11.5% 127 19.5% 118 10.4% 121 15.4% 127
Eastern Michigan 6.7% 127 34.2% 99 8.7% 127 8.4% 123 14.4% 128

There's no automatic correlation between late-season performance and the next year's performance, but needless to say, teams like Kent State, Texas State, Georgia State, Wake Forest, Ball State, and Buffalo have to like how they finished the season compared to how they started it. Ball State was bad to a baffling degree for the first half of the year (only one performance in the first seven games was above the 13th percentile), then looked decent in beating EMU (35th) and great in smoking BGSU (72nd).

That's something, at least. Other teams never really got off the ground. Or in UConn's case, the Huskies started to get off the ground, then crashed and burned.