Where Big 12 teams rank in preseason FPI

ESPN Stats & Information released its automated preseason ratings on Monday for all 128 FBS teams. The ratings derive from a statistical model designed to predict how strong each team will be this coming season, based on offense, defense and special teams. Basically it’s a preseason version of last year's Football Power Index (FPI).

The methodology uses historical data such as past performance, the quantity and quality of returnees and recent recruiting trends to come up with expected points added (EPA) on offense, defense and special teams. Overall, it tells us a lot about how teams can be expected to perform the next season. The overall preseason FPI scores represent how much better or worse a team would be against an average FBS opponent on a neutral field.

Below is a breakdown of each Big 12 team ranks in each category and overall -- plus a few of my thoughts at the end:

7. Oklahoma

  • Offense ranking: 19

  • Defense ranking: 4

  • Special teams ranking: 38

  • FPI preseason score: 20.3

11. Baylor

  • Offense ranking: 4

  • Defense ranking: 29

  • Special teams ranking: 88

  • FPI preseason score: 19.6

21. Oklahoma State

  • Offense ranking: 35

  • Defense ranking: 15

  • Special teams ranking: 11

  • FPI preseason score: 15.1

25. Texas

  • Offense ranking: 38

  • Defense ranking: 22

  • Special teams ranking: 94

  • FPI preseason score: 12.2

33. Texas Tech

  • Offense ranking: 13

  • Defense ranking: 59

  • Special teams ranking: 107

  • FPI preseason score: 10.4

36. TCU

  • Offense ranking: 87

  • Defense ranking: 5

  • Special teams ranking: 26

  • FPI preseason score: 9.4

44. Kansas State

  • Offense ranking: 31

  • Defense ranking: 61

  • Special teams ranking: 9

  • FPI preseason score: 7.9

56. West Virginia

  • Offense ranking: 65

  • Defense ranking: 44

  • Special teams ranking: 90

  • FPI preseason score: 4.5

62. Iowa State

  • Offense ranking: 46

  • Defense ranking: 79

  • Special teams ranking: 71

  • FPI preseason score: 2.4

83. Kansas

  • Offense ranking: 110

  • Defense ranking: 47

  • Special teams ranking: 67

  • FPI preseason score: -4.1

A few thoughts:

  • The FPI is very bullish on Oklahoma State, even though the Cowboys only return nine starters. The reason? Under Mike Gundy, the Cowboys boast one of college football’s best winning percentages over the last five years -- in other words, a proven track record. Thanks to its state-of-the-art facilities, Oklahoma State has also recruited well.

  • The FPI also likes TCU, which is powered by having the fifth-best defensive ranking behind only Florida State, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs also have a strong special teams rating.

  • Kansas State comes in surprisingly low at 44th. Keep in mind, K-State returns only four starters defensively, which might be playing a part in the No. 61 defensive ranking. Otherwise, the offense and special teams EPAs smack of a top-25-caliber club.

  • The FPI loves the Baylor offense and the Oklahoma defense -- and rightfully so. Both units should be formidable.

  • The FPI doesn’t think much of the special teams in the league. Only the units of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas State rank in the top 65 nationally.

  • The FPI does, however, think a lot of the league’s offenses, even after a relatively mediocre 2013 season according to past standards. Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Iowa State all have top 50 offenses, according to the FPI.