Phil Steele's Daily Blog - Wednesday July 15th

A few weeks ago I took a look at the top team games of 2008 taking into account not just the scores of the games but the statistics, venue and opponent. The top effort was USC which played to a 125.13 level in their 44-10 win over an Oregon team that finished #10 in the final polls. USC had a commanding 598-239 yard edge in that game. For a complete list check out the Daily Blog on June 23rd.

I have done my power ratings the same for over a decade now so I am starting to go back into past years. Today I look at the 2007 season. 2007 was a strange year as all the major teams had at least two losses and LSU which appeared to be eliminated from the title chase with a last game loss to Arkansas somehow got to play in the title game after everyone in front of them lost. LSU defeated Ohio St in the Superdome.

Here are the top 10 individual game efforts from 2007. I will then have my computers average ranking for each team for the year and list the Top 20 of my computer and compare them to the final Top 25 at the end of the year after the bowls.

1. LSU 128.15 level in 48-7 win over Virginia Tech
VT finished ##9 in the country but not only did LSU win this game by 41 points at the start of the year the Tigers had a 598-149 yard edge.

2. Missouri 119.63 level in 55-10 win at Colorado
The Tigers were only a 3 point favorite and were playing on the road in Boulder Colorado. Colorado led 10-7 after 1Q but Missouri destroyed them the rest of the way finishing with a 598-196 yard edge over a team headed for the Independence Bowl.

3. South Florida 119.08 level in 64-12 win over UCF
UCF would go on to be the CUSA champion in 2007 with a 44-25 win over Tulsa in the CUSA title game. USF rolled to a 52 point route and had a 543-145 yard edge at home.

4. Nebraska 115.78 level in 52-10 win over Nevada
Nevada played in the New Mexico bowl but in their season opener they were no match for the Huskers which rolled up a 625-185 yard edge in their 42 point romp.

5. Boise St 115.77 level in 58-0 win over New Mexico St
NMST averaged 424 ypg on the season but here they were held to just 89 total yards offense as they were outgained 604-89 in the 58-0 win for the Broncoes.

6. Oregon 112.75 level in 53-7 win over Wash St
Keep in mind this was not last years woebegone Wash St squad as their 2007 squaqd was 5-7 and not only just missed out on a bowl, they outgained foes by an average of 436-422 on the year. The Ducks rolled to the 46 point romp
and had a 551-314 yard edge.

7. Clemson 112.20 level in 70-14 win over Central Michigan
Central Michigan won the MAC title and played in the Motor City bowl and averaged 447 ypg on offense. Clemson had a 405-164 yard edge at half and 656-292 yard edge for the game.

8. Oregon 111.93 level in 39-7 win AT Michigan
Michigan finished 9-4 and beat Florida in the Capital One Bowl. The Ducks went into the Big House and rolled up a 32 point win and had a dominating 624-365 yard edge.

9. Utah 111.65 level in 50-0 win vs Wyoming
Then Wyoming coach Joe Glenn guaranteed a win in this game and a very motivated Utah team wanted a blowout and got it including a late onside kick. Utah ahd a 515-122 yard edge.

10. USC 110.83 level in 44-24 win AT Arizona St
Arizona St came in #7 in the polls and 10-1 and was at home in the desert for this showdown. USC led 44-17 before a late TD and the Trojans had a 508-259 yard edge and ended the game deep in ASU territory.

11. West Virginia 110.55 level in 48-7 win over East Carolina
The Pirates finished 8-5 with a bowl win over Boise St. They were no match for the Mountaineers here as WV rolled up 599 yards offense including 397 rush yards (7.4) while EC had 170 total yards.

1. LSU
2. Georgia
3. USC
4. Missouri
5. Ohio State
6. West Virginia
7. Kansas
8. Oklahoma
9. Virginia Tech
10. Texas

My Computer Game by Game season average
1. USC (11-2) 94.66 avg game
2. LSU (12-2) 93.66
3. Oklahoma (11-3) 93.13
4. Oregon (9-4) 92.95
5. West Virginia (11-2) 92.72
6. Missouri (12-2) 91.3
7. Ohio State (11-2) 90.69
8. Florida (9-4) 89.99
9. Texas Tech (9-4) 88.42
10. Texas (10-3) 87.81

There was talk after USC obliterated Illinois in the Rose Bowl that a USC/LSU title game would have been a tremendous national title game and that Pete Carroll and company should have been playing in the big game. My computer had them #1 at the end of the year and they did not get the chance. Oregon actually played at the #1 level most of the year until they lost QB Dixon to injury and dropped their last 3 regular season games but their season average still had them #4. They topped a 100 rating in 4 different games including their 56-21 rout of South Florida in the Sun Bowl. Florida and Texas Tech were a couple of other 4 loss teams in 2007 that my computer said were Top Ten teams despite their record. How did the three top ten party crashers (on my computers Top Ten but in the AP poll they were Florida #14, Texas Tech #22 and Oregon unranked)? Florida won the national title in 2008, Texas Tech was 11-0 and #2 in the country before losing their season finale and Oregon finished the year #10 in the final polls of 2008.

There were three teams in the AP top ten at the end of 2007 that my computer did not have as top ten squads. Georgia finished the 2007 season #2 in the final polls but my computer only had them #15 at the end of the year with a 84.7 average game. Only once in 2007 did they even play at over a 100 level and that was a 102.85 effort vs Auburn. They had a 61.05 game in their 35-14 loss to Tennessee and a 78.65 game the next week barely getting past Vanderbilt 20-17 (thanks to a late Vandy fumble). Based on the final record and final game performance they were #2 in the AP in 2007 and #1 in the AP poll in the preseason of 2008 but were only #16 after the regular season in 2008 showing they were overrated.

Kansas did have a solid 2007 season and my computer had them #12 at the end of the year in terms of average. They did not beat a single team that finished the regular season ranked during the regular season but did dominate Virginia Tech in the bowl. Kansas last year was #14 in the preseason poll but after their 35-7 loss to Texas they fell to 6-5 and got the fortune of beating a Missouri team that was looking ahead to the Big 12 title game the next week. They finished the season unranked.

Virginia Tech was 11-3 in 2007 but only once all year did they play above the 100 rating level and that was a 101.48 effort at Georgia Tech. They took on my #50 rated schedule but only out gained foes by a 331-297 yard edge on the year. USC my #1 rated team in the computer took on a similar schedule at #46 but out gained foes by an average of 435-273 or 162 ypg. VT was only #21 in my computer rankings after the 2007 season and last year opened the season in the top 20 but went thru most of the year unranked. They were 6-4 after their loss to Miami Florida. They did rebound to finish #15 winning
their last 4 games.

In a future blog I will take a look at 2006 and 2005 and see if the Top Ten thing had similar results as far as teams being over or underrated for the next season. I will then take a look at the 2008 ratings for the season from my computer. I am really looking forward to updating these power ratings on a weekly basis on this site!