A closer look at a balanced effort by Alabama and Clemson reveals why they are the consensus top two teams in America.
An advanced stat by ESPN called “Team Efficiencies” shows Alabama is ranked one and two in offense and defense, Clemson is seventh and first, and Georgia is third and fourth. These are calculated based on the point contributions of each unit to the team’s scoring margin, on a per-play basis.
The values are adjusted for strength of schedule and down-weighted for “garbage time” (based on win probability). The scale goes from zero to 100; higher numbers are better and the average is roughly 50 for all categories. Efficiencies update daily during the season.
Factoring in offense, defense and special teams, Alabama has a 98.6 grade, which is No. 1, Georgia is second at 93.0, Clemson is third at 92.1, Michigan is fourth at 89.0. Interestingly, Notre Dame, which is widely viewed as a top-four team, is ranked No. 12 in overall team efficiency rankings with a score of 78.2, which is behind Oklahoma, West Virginia, Fresno State, LSU, Utah, Utah State and Iowa.
The Fighting Irish are 25th in offense, and 17th in defense.
ESPN researcher Chris Fallica outlined the notable teams in the top 25.
3 teams in Top 10 nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency – Alabama 1/2, Clemson 7/1, Georgia 3/4. Only 3 others in Top 25 in both – Notre Dame 25/17, Michigan 14/3, Fresno State 23/10.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) November 7, 2018