Preview Palooza...and Another Thing

To get you extra ready for Friday night, prime your liver, grab a cold one, and follow below the jump to links to every dang one of our N. C. State—Tennessee previews, now all conveniently warehoused in one post.

But before you jump, check out the table below, as it will be regular feature for future Pack football previews. Akula always brings us the telling "four factors" during basketball season, and I have been looking for a similar advanced metric for football. Enter Football Outsiders and the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI).

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 efficiency 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 statistics only consider games between FBS competitors. The four factors we will use for football are the rankings for overall FEI, offensive FEI, defensive FEI, and special teams efficiency, which is explained here and makes up part of the formula for overall FEI. For now, last season’s FEI will be used, but 2012 numbers will be incorporated as they become available.

Football Outsiders Metric

N. C. State Rank

Tennessee Rank

Overall FEI

50th

57th

Offesnive FEI

58th

77th

Defensive FEI

25th

32nd

Special Teams Efficiency

92nd

96th

As you can see, special teams continued to plague the Pack last year, but things could take a big leap forward in that regard as the then-freshmen trio of kicker, punter, and long snapper mature. But the return units must improve as well. State has lost all of its linebackers from that very solid defensive unit, and Tennessee has nowhere to go but up offensively if it can keep Bray and Hunter on the field this year. If these teams played in December, the Pack would have clearly been the better team, but a lot has changed since then.

About 80 days ago, it began with the pre-preview series preview.

UT season recap (the first "official" preview of the series).

A thousand or so words on…kickers. And returners.

Fun with names.

The big uglies (and now we are having to number these things).

Interior D-linemen and the DE.

The LBs, one spot where UT has a clear advantage on paper as well as computer monitors.

A look at the UT wide receivers, a unit led by Da’Rick Rogers Justin Hunter, and the guys like C. J. Wilson Dontae Johnson that will cover them.

Wolfpack wideouts (UPDATE: Bryan Underwood is back at practice and will be a game-time decision).

Tight ends aren’t just for bikini bottoms, or something.

Slow starts? Pshaw!

The running game (or total lack thereof)

It’s pretty simple. Take the ball from the other team a lot and you win.

An excuse to post the Taylor Gentry superman dive picture.

Judging from the one comment on this one (and it was from me), you guys don’t care that much for statistics.

Tennessee DBs.

A bit on Bray.

People we're kind of hoping not to see: backup QBs.

YPP doesn’t bode well for the Pack.

Orange pants.

Jon Tenuta is hailed as a savior.

The book on Bible and Chaney.

Bray vs. Glennon.

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