The college football season began with Manny Diaz losing to Florida on national television.
It was a great way to kick things off.
I’ve been reading a lot about college ball this week, and ESPN has some interesting stories involving a still somewhat new projection model they’ve been using called SP+, which was created by Bill Connelly at Football Outsiders in 2008. He says SP+, in simple terms, is a “tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency,” which is boiled down to these three main factors:
Recent history: I use a weighted five-year history as a way of gauging program health. For most programs, what they have done of late is what they will most likely do moving forward.
Returning production: Instead of using returning starters, I created a formula for returning production based on which units seem to have the most effect on a team’s improvement or regression. As it turns out, continuity at quarterback, receiver and the secondary is far more impactful on SP+ rating the next year than continuity in other units. Accordingly, turnover in those areas takes on heavier weight.
Recent recruiting: Returning production measures what a program lost, and a two-year recruiting average fills in the gaps on what kind of talent and athleticism it has acquired to replace the lost producers.
Ok. I’m sold. I’m interested in SP+.
Connelly and ESPN used this metric to list each Division 1 program from one to 130, and Temple actually ranks pretty admirably, after the jump:
#62 overall for the Owls. That’s good. They are right up there with some of the mid-tier and bottom-half “Power Five” conference teams, which is a nice place to be for an AAC squad.
That number in the far right column, 2.4, that represents an adjusted points per game figure. In layman’s terms, Connelly projects Temple to be 2.4 points better than the average FBS team. The Marshall Thundering Turd, down there at 71, are 0.2 points worse than your typical team. Bama is #1 with a 35.3, for reference.
If you’re a Penn State guy or gal, the Nittany Lions ranked out at #16 with a 17.7 number, which seems to match how they’ve been ranked in the AP and USA Today polls.
ESPN also did conference SP+ projections and has the American looking like this:
7.5 wins seems about right. That would mean the Owls would likely knock off Bucknell, Buffalo, Memphis, Tulane, UConn, ECU, and SMU, then the games with Cincy, UCF, USF, Maryland, and Georgia Tech are iffy.
Here’s how Penn State rates out:
8.8 average projected wins, six in conference.
Anyway, I’m a huge college football dork. I could eat this stuff up for days.