ESPN Football Power Index
The last time we took at look at the top 40 teams in the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) there was just enough statistical data to provide a picture of what to watch for in these teams.
There has been more than a fair share of disruption to this year’s schedule ranging from losses, upsets and weather induced cancellations. That won’t hold us back at this point as heading into week five, we’ve got more than enough information to generate some interesting questions.
We’ll take a look at the top teams in the ACC plus Notre Dame in both the FPI and Team Efficiencies categories. The numbers from September 13 and this week will allow us to fill in the blanks as we go.
As we’re headed into a weekend featuring a big conference clash between #2 Clemson and #12 Virginia Tech, we’ll focus a bit on their numbers first.
Here are the team efficiency numbers for both teams from September 13 and those available today (September 28).
ESPN Football Power Index – ACC Nation Podcast
The Tigers have climbed one spot but there is a slight drop in the defensive numbers and overall total. On the plus side, both the offense and special teams performance has improved. Clemson’s strengths are defense and offense while the special teams could use a bump.
The Hokies have moved 17 spots and there is a drop off in their special teams numbers. On the plus side, the offense and defense have improved. Virginia Tech’s strengths are defense and special teams with further improvement needed offensively.
Where would we attack if we called the plays? As a Clemson coach we’d let our defense attack Virginia Tech’s freshman quarterback without mercy to throw off their offense rhythm. If we were coaching Virginia Tech, we’d cut loose against Clemson’s special teams so that means you should look for trick plays.
In reality, this will be a defensive battle first and foremost. Call it the Venables versus Foster Bowl, if you’d like.
ESPN Football Power Index – The Pick
Here’s how teams looked in an earlier ESPN Football Power Index. Keep in mind these numbers may change daily. (09/13/17)
And now, let’s take a look at the newest numbers. (09/28/17)
ESPN Football Power Index – Team Efficiency
Here’s a look at Team Efficiency from earlier this month. (09/13/17)
And now, the most recent numbers. Be sure to compare and see how teams have improved or tapered off (not all teams on previous list) as the season has progressed. (09/28/17)
We’ve highlighted the improvements in bold green and any areas where a team has fallen off in bold red. (+/- 5.0)
ESPN Football Power Index – ACC Nation Power Poll
What do the numbers tell us about the ACC teams (including Notre Dame) that are in the top 40 teams in the nation?
Consistency counts and then some when it comes to delivering wins. When there are soft spots, as indicated in the numbers in each category, a team may find themselves on the losing end of games. That’s if an opponent can exploit that weakness. Sometimes, even when there is a perceived shortcoming, another element of a team’s game overwhelms an opponent.
ESPN Football Power Index – ACC Football Schedule
As we said last time, keep the team efficiency in mind when watching this week’s football games. Watch for strengths and weaknesses in these categories with each of the teams. See if you can spot the areas where there needs to be improvement and whether opposing coaches take advantage.
Even though stats can lead you down the right road, the human element is still one factor that can’t be accurately weighed.