Below are our final offensive efficiency ratings for Division I College Football. Clemson ended up ninth and if you look at the teams above them it’s really hard to argue, with perhaps one exception (more on that in a minute).
The rankings are pretty self-explanatory and consist of two equally weighted factors. First, the number of plays run (tempo). The adjusted tempo is how your team compares to the “average” team. For example, Clemson’s adjusted tempo is 114.33. This means when the average team runs 100 plays Clemson runs 114.33. Another way to look at it is Clemson’s tempo is 114.33% of the average team.
The second factor is efficiency and equates to yards per play. Similarly to adjusted tempo, adjusted efficiency is how your team compares to the “average” team. In this ranking Clemson averages 109.60% of the average team in terms of yards per play.
We mentioned above that one team above Clemson is questionable and that team is Marshall. Marshall was first in adjusted tempo and 45th in efficiency, but that was good enough for the overall number 5 ranking. The disparity between those rankings makes me consider the possibility that some adjustment is needed.
I think we all know that the ACC is not currently a premier conference, but you have to wonder if strength of schedule was factored into this equation would Marshall, as a Conference USA member, fall and/or Clemson rise?
We are endeavoring to fix this issue in time for the 2013 season by incorporating strength of schedule into the algorithm.
That said, the current state of the ACC is not one that is going to generally improve a teams strength of schedule ratings no matter what metric you are measuring (offense, defense or special teams), so it remains to be seen if adding a strength of schedule component will help or hurt Clemson in this case.
Looking at the larger picture however, adding a strength of schedule will allow us to move towards a more level playing field, similar to what we have done with the tempo and efficiency rankings.