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Adjusted Stats Preview South Carolina-East Carolina and Ole Miss-Vandy Games

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A weekly look at how the adjusted stats project upcoming SEC match-ups. Can South Carolina bounce back from its collapse? Will Ole Miss cause the creation of a "Fire Derek Mason" domain name. Stay tuned to find out.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

As previously mentioned, this weekend's slate of SEC games are crimes against humanity. Thankfully no SEC fan cards will be voided Saturday if wandering eyes turn to the goings-on in Columbus and the west coast. In the SEC, there are two games carrying the theme of redemption: South Carolina-East Carolina and Ole Miss-Vanderbilt. Do the F/+ stats think South Carolina and Vanderbilt can redeem themselves? Let's find out, but keep in mind, these ratings are taking into account Week One performances along with preseason data, so a grain of salt is required.

The S&P+ ratings, combined with the FEI ratings, provide the overall F/+ rankings.

S&P+ was created by Bill Connelly. Connelly is an author at SBNation, RockMNation, Football Study Hall and Football Outsiders. S&P+ is an advanced statistical measure which combines success rate, explosiveness per play and opponent adjustments.

FEI is the Fremeau Efficiency Index, created by Brian Fremeau. Fremeau is an author at Football Outsiders, ESPN and BCFToys. FEI is an advanced statistical measure for college football that tracks drive efficiency instead of per-play success.

This is how Fremeau and Connelly describe their ratings:

The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) considers each of the nearly 20,000 possessions every season in major college football. All drives are filtered to eliminate first-half clock-kills and end-of-game garbage drives and scores. A scoring rate analysis of the remaining possessions then determines the baseline possession expectations against which each team is measured. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams - win or lose; and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.

The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from both play-by-play and drive data from all 800+ of a season's FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays). There are four key components to the S&P+

If interested, here is a glossary for additional use.

Lastly, keep in mind that the F/+ percentage ratings measure every team against a perfectly average team. So, if the F/+ rating of a team is 0% that team is considered perfectly average by this rating system.

South Carolina versus East Carolina

South Carolina versus East Carolina

Category

South Carolina

East Carolina

F/+

17 (15.8%)

66 (1.7%)

S&P+ Rk (Offense)

16 (117)

47 (105.1)

S&P+ Rk (Defense)

47 (106.2)

61 (102.2)

FEI Rk (Overall)

.204 (13)

-0.10 (66)

FEI Game Projection

40-14 (South Carolina)

-

According to S&P+ and FEI after Week One, South Carolina is across the board better than East Carolina, but ECU still has respectable scores that can pose a threat. In fact, ECU currently has higher F/+ rankings than Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. Stop me if you've heard this before.

South Carolina's offense looked far better than its defense did last Thursday night. Dylan Thompson connected on big plays to his receivers, and if the offense wasn't playing catch-up the entire game, Mike Davis would have probably played more of a factor. Davis is now expected to play, but his carries will likely be limited. In any case, South Carolina's offense, which will see some changes, should be enough against East Carolina's 61st ranked defense. For comparison's sake, Texas A&M's defense is ranked 60th, and South Carolina managed 28 points despite a turnover and high risk/high reward play-calling after halftime.

The larger area of concern for South Carolina fans is the defense. The systemic failure of last week is attributable to a number of factors: no pass rush, poor tackling, and young corners. The poor pass rush can be explained by Texas A&M's stellar offensive line, while young corners will almost always be a match-up problem for Texas A&M's offense. The head-scratching linebacker issues aren't as easily dismissed. This unit was expected to a strength of this team, but their poor tackling and pass coverage was a surprised. Could their play also be attributed to match-up problems?

We'll find out as ECU's offense is another pass-heavy offense that will look to test South Carolina. ECU returns a quarterback and its two leading receivers, but South Carolina should be a mismatch in the trenches as ECU lost three starters, two of which were first and second team C-USA selections. ECU will put points on the board, but South Carolina has had an entire week to reflect on their previous performance, and now earns a second week of practice against a less-talented version of A&M's offense. That should be more than enough to prevent their offense from being overtaken barring turnovers.

Ole Miss versus Vanderbilt


Ole Miss versus Vanderbilt

Category

Ole Miss

Vanderbilt

F/+

20 (14.6%)

72 (-2.0%)

S&P+ Rk (Offense)

51 (102.2)

106 (83.3)

S&P+ Rk (Defense)

13 (121.1)

36 (111.1)

FEI Rk (Overall)

16 (0.180)

68 (-0.013)

FEI Game Projection

28-15 (Ole Miss)

-

Ole Miss travels to Nashville to take on a Vanderbilt team that rivaled South Carolina for most depressing SEC performance last week. Ole Miss has a clear F/+ advantage ranked 20th to Vanderbilt's 72nd, and that distinct edge continues through the other rating variables too. Vanderbilt starting the season 0-2 is a very real possibility.

Ole Miss' offense will take on a Vanderbilt defense that S&P+ ranks at 36th, and will look to improve upon the 35 points scored against Boise State last week (Boise State's defense is ranked 28th).  Scoring that many points against Boise State is impressive especially considering Ole Miss also committed three turnovers. Explosive plays in the fourth quarter helped Ole Miss pull away, which could be a theme for their offense this season. The vulnerability of this offense won't be Laquon Treadwell's ability, but rather the seeming likelihood of turnovers and questionable effectiveness in running the ball.

Vanderbilt's defense will have a chance to create some turnovers on Saturday. Vandy's defense is likely better than the score against Temple indicates, as 27 of the 37 points scored by Temple came as a result of seven turnovers. It was also the first game in a new defense with a brand new secondary. An inexperienced secondary will be challenged by Dr. Bo and Treadwell, but it will have opportunities for interceptions. Also, Vandy's run defense may very well hold its own against Ole Miss. Derek Mason will not be out-schemed by Hugh Freeze.

At the same time, Ole Miss' defense will probably lock down a Vanderbilt offense that is still looking for a quarterback and playmakers. Vandy will probably not be able to sustain drives against Ole Miss' impressive defensive line, and what is perhaps the league's best secondary. In fact, more Vandy turnovers are likely on the horizon. Vanderbilt's experienced offensive line seemingly made the transition to a zone blocking scheme, and that usually takes months, if not a season, to successfully implement and execute. That won't help a system already short on play-makers and one rotating quarterbacks

Vanderbilt's defense looks competitive, but the offense's woes probably continue against a very good Ole Miss defense. Sooner or later Ole Miss will connect on big plays in this game, and Vanderbilt does not have the offense to play from behind.