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S&P+ loves FSU's Peach Bowl chances against Houston

The popular metric is quite bullish on the 'Noles in Atlanta.

FSU Cheerleaders
FSU Cheerleaders
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Advanced metrics have become very useful in evaluating the relative strengths of college football teams, and at least one is showing a great deal of confidence in the Seminoles ahead of their New Year's Eve game against the Houston Cougars.

The S&P+, devised by Bill Connelly, examines efficiency, explosiveness, field position, and the ability to finish drives in establishing each team's rating, and these factors have the metric smiling strongly on the 'Noles, who rank fifth, nationally, behind only Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Ohio State. The Cougars, on the other hand, have a rather low S&P+ rating, coming in at 48th, just ahead of a pair of squads Florida State has already topped this year, No. 49 South Florida and No. 50 Miami. UH is also ranked lower than three other teams FSU has bested in 2015: No. 17 Florida, No. 27 NC State, and No. 32 Louisville.

All of this has the S&P+ bowl projections looking better for the Seminoles than almost every other team this postseason. For only one other game features a larger predicted margin of victory for the favorite: Arkansas is forecasted to beat Kansas State by 16.3, while FSU is calculated to be 14.7 points better than Houston. The Razorbacks are also the only team with a higher win percentage (82.6%) than the 'Noles (80.1%).

That 14.7 projected point spread is 7.2 points higher than the Vegas line of 7.5; only two other teams have a greater gap between the S&P+ margin projection and the oddsmakers' line: West Virginia is forecasted to win by 9.6 points more than the line, and Western Kentucky is supposed to be 8 points better than the spread.

Not every advanced metric is as high on the Seminoles, though. The FEI ratings examine non-garbage time and inconsequential drives, with weighting placed on performance against tougher opponents. Houston sports a No. 11 FEI rank, while the 'Noles are at No. 16. The FEI and S&P+ are combined to arrive at F+ ratings, where FSU finishes at No. 9 and holds a significant advantage over UH, at No. 32.