ESPN Insider Brad Edwards has used a college football version of the expected points added (EPA) metric that our ESPN's Production Analytics team used with the NFL to see which teams could be primed for improvements and slides in the 2013 season.
Our college EPA operates in the same framework as the NFL, except for one significant addition -- an adjustment must be made for opponent strength, since it varies so greatly across college schedules. Offensive performance is graded against the quality of the opposing defenses, defensive performance is graded against the quality of the opposing offenses, and even the special teams are graded against the quality of the opposing units (kick return versus kick coverage, etc.).
Teams of note that could be on the upswing? USC, which looked like a top-25 offense last season, according to Edwards.
Who could be in for a downswing? Notre Dame … but not because of its offense, exactly.
The defense, he argues, allowed offenses into field goal range fairly frequently, while the offense was actually better than average against some of the top defenses it faced. Of course, with no Everett Golson this year, the challenge will be amplified.
You can read Edwards' full story on teams that could potentially slide here .