Is No. 4 TCU actually the best team in college football?
The rankings and initial eye test would say no, that honor belongs to the Alabama Crimson Tide, per usual. But in an era where advanced metrics paint an increasingly detailed picture, the Horned Frogs have a say in the race for college football’s top spot.
In fact, according to the Fremeau Efficiency Index, which is “a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted drive efficiency,” TCU is the No. 1 team in the entire nation with an FEI rating of .312.
Football Outsiders provided a more detailed look at what’s factored into the advanced metric that TCU currently sits atop of.
“Offensive FEI (OFEI) is value generated per offensive non-garbage possession adjusted for the strength of opponent defenses faced. Defensive FEI (DFEI) is value generated per opponent offensive non-garbage possession adjusted for the strength of opponent offenses faced. Special Teams Efficiency (STE) is the average value generated per non-garbage possession by a team’s non-offensive and non-defensive units.”
While this measure may not matter much in regards to something like the College Football Playoff picture, it certainly seems to validate TCU’s current placement at No. 4 in the AP poll.
The Horned Frogs began the season unranked, but have continually inched their way towards the top of the college football totem poll and now boast a 6-0 record highlighted by a 44-31 road win over then-No. 6 Oklahoma State.
Next up, the Horned Frogs will host a 1-5 Kansas Jayhawks team that hasn’t won since the season opener and has dropped all three of its Big 12 games after allowing an average of 55.3 points per game. With a win against Kansas, which is widely expected per ESPN’s FPI, TCU will surpass last season’s win total with five regular season games still to come.