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Red Raider Gridiron | The Big 12 Projected F/+ Rankings

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I've been meaning to get to this for a while, which is Football Study Hall's Bill Connelly and his F/+ Projections. For a bit of an explanation of what F/+ Projections are, here's a quick summary:

** F/+ rankings are the official rankings for the college portion of Football Outsiders. They combine my own S&P+ rankings (based on play-by-play data) with Brian Fremeau's drives-based FEI rankings.

Connelly isn't done, he still has to account for Draft Points and this is something that I've suggested, which is that having players that are highly drafted, or even drafted at all, can be more of a loss to a team than a player that doesn't get drafted or asked to the combine or picked up as a free agent. Here's Bill:

This is a concept I originally discussed in Varsity Numbers in 2010. [...] The idea is that some lost starters mean more than others, and while there is not a perfect correlation between the perceived quality of a player getting drafted highly (or at all) and the quality of that player in college, there is obviously a strong enough correlation to use this. We will see if the points I defined in that article are still best for use, but this will be factored in to some degree.

Who This May Help: Oklahoma, Oregon. Oklahoma is not projected to have anybody selected in the first round of the draft, though Ronnell Lewis may be close. In all, they have only two or three players that may be drafted at all. Meanwhile, Oregon might see LaMichael James (second or third round) and Cliff Harris (later) drafted. Of the projected top-five teams, the Sooners and Ducks will have the fewest players drafted by far.

Who This May Hurt: Stanford, Baylor, Oklahoma State. As much as anybody else, these three teams took hefty steps forward in recent years, spurred mostly by players that are expected to be taken quite high in this month's draft. Stanford could not only see Andrew Luck go No. 1, but they could see two offensive linemen -- David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin -- gone by the end of the first round. Baylor will have both Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright plucked on the first day. Oklahoma State should see Justin Blackmon gone in the first five to seven picks, followed by Brandon Weeden in the first few rounds. None of these teams are expected to have double-digit players drafted, but these players were difference makers, and this will ding them regardless.

Team New Proj. F/+ Rank February Rk Change
Oklahoma Sooners 27.40% 3 4 1
Oklahoma St. Cowboys 26.80% 4 3 -1
Texas Longhorns 18.40% 10 9 -1
West Virginia Mountaineers 14.70% 17 23 6
TCU Horned Frogs 13.90% 21 22 1
Baylor Bears 9.60% 28 24 -4
Kansas St. Wildcats 7.20% 35 32 -3
Texas Tech Red Raiders 6.50% 38 36 -2
Iowa St. Cyclones -8.40% 85 70 -15
Kansas Jayhawks -14.30% 105 103 -2

That's kind of what I've thought, which is that it seems logical that losing a really good player would count for something, or even one of the top 200 or so players. It's obviously not an original thought by me since Connelly thought of it two years ago. Again, there are coaching wizards that are able to coach above the talent level on the field, but generally speaking coaching wizards are rare and that generally speaking, the more talent that a team has, the better the team.

I would add one other bit, which is that in Connelly's rankings, recruiting rankings do make up a part of the equation and that recruiting rankings are relatively predictive of how well a team will do. Again, when doing these sort of things, no one ever says or should say that it's 100% accurate, but as Connelly has done this, there is a correlation between successful teams and recruiting rankings. So the table includes Connelly's somewhat early projections for the Big 12, without taking out the "draft points".

Is anyone surprised that Connelly thinks that Texas Tech is the 38th best team in the nation? So how accurate is this? How big of a fall (if at all) do you expect Oklahoma St. and Baylor to take for losing their first rounders (Blackmon, maybe Weeden as teams reach for quarterbacks, Griffin and Wright). Iowa St. has whipped Texas Tech the last two years, but there is a significant difference between what these two teams.