Phil Steele's Daily Blog - Friday July 17th

A few days ago I took a look at the 2007 season and analyzed the top 10 individual team performances from the season as judged by my computer. Keep in mind this does not just look at the final score of the game, but the total yards rushing, passing, strength of opponent faced and the site (winning on the road is tougher than at home). I also analyzed the top 10 teams as per my computer and compared them to the AP Top Ten at the end of the year. As I mentioned on my Wednesday blog there were 3 teams in my computers top ten at the end of 2007 that were not in the AP Top Ten at the end of the year and those 3 teams were Florida (won National Title), Texas Tech (got to 11-0 and #2) and Oregon (finished #10). There were 3 teams in the AP final Top Ten that were not in my computers and they were Georgia (preseason #1 in '08, did not finish top 10), Virginia Tech and Kansas (#14 preseason, unranked end of '08).

Now lets take a look at the top performances of 2006 and then the my computers top ten at the end of the year. Here are the top 10 individual game efforts of 2006.

1. Florida 119.63 level in 41-14 win over Ohio State
The Gators were the clear underdog to an undefeated Ohio St squad which had been rated #1 all year and the Buckeyes returned the opening kickoff for a TD and led 7-0. The rest of the game was amazing as Florida had a 370-82 yard edge (yes OSU less than 100 yards). The best performance of the year and it came in the biggest game!

2. Oregon at 115.23 level in 48-13 win over Arizona State on the road!
The Ducks were actually a 1 point underdog in the desert for this game but dominated from the opening kickoff. They had a 24-3 halftime lead and finished with a 574-175 yard edge and were never threatened.

3. Arizona St at 113.85 level in 47-0 win over Washington St
This came 5 games after being on the wrong side of the #2 performance. I know you are thinking Wash St is a poor team but they were not in 2006. In fact they climbed to #25 in the polls and were 6-3 with their only losses to #4 Auburn, #3 USC (28-22) and #10 California. The score was indicative of the game as Arizona St had a 562-190 yard edge.

4. TCU at a 113.03 level in 52-0 win over San Diego St
The Aztecs were just 2-7 at the time but only lost at Wisconsin 14-0 and also had 7, 2 and 3 point losses coming in. TCU manhandled that Aztecs with a 30-6 FD edge and 624-87 yard edge.

5. BYU at 112.48 level in 38-8 bowl win over Oregon
While the Ducks finished just 7-6, at one point they were 7-2 and were ranked as high as #11 during the year. Oregon averaged 436 ypg on offense and allowed just 303 ypg during the year. BYU clearly wanted this game much more than Oregon and BYU not only won by 30 they had a 548-260 yard edge.

6. Ohio State at 110.28 level in 44-0 win over Minnesota
The Gophers went to the Insight bowl in 2006 so this was a dominating win over a bowl squad. The Buckeyes had a 484-182 yard edge and 29-10 FD edge.

7. Nebraska at 109.73 level in 56-0 win over Troy
Troy was not chopped liver in 2006 as they went 8-5 and beat Rice 41-17 in their bowl game. They almost upset #9 Florida St two weeks prior to this game. The Huskers had a 597-140 yard edge in their 58 point home shutout.

8. LSU at 109.18 level in 41-14 win over Notre Dame
This is already the 3rd bowl game that makes the top ten list. ND had Brady Quinn and company and the Irish came in 10-2 and #11 in the country but left at the wrong end of a beat down with LSU having a 597-291 yard edge.

9. Florida at 109.17 level in 42-0 win over UCF
UCF did finish just 4-8 on the year but Florida not only won 42-0, they had a dominating 637-153 yard edge in the game. UCF was +4 in turnovers and still lost by 42-0, this one was far worse than the score!

10. LSU 109.17 rating in 49-0 win over Kentucky
Kentucky had Andre Woodson at QB and Keenan Burton at WR and beat Clemson in the Music City bowl. LSU played at the level of the final score of 49-0 as they had a 546-227 yard edge.

AP Final Top 10 2006
1. Florida
2. Ohio State
3. LSU
4. USC
5. Boise St
6. Louisville
7. Wisconsin
8. Michigan
9. Auburn
10. West Virginia

My Computer Game by Game season average
1. L.S.U. (11-2) 92.15 avg game
2. U.S.C. (11-2) 91.07
3. Ohio State (12-1) 90.54
4. Florida (13-1) 89.94
5. Louisville (12-1) 88.42
6. BYU (11-2) 88.42
7. Michigan (11-2) 87.91
8. Oklahoma (11-3) 85.62
9. West Virginia (11-2) 85.4
10. Texas (10-3) 85.1

Now lets look for the differences between the AP Poll and my computers power ratings. Despite Florida winning the National Title and playing the best game of the year in the biggest game, they were not the best team over the entire course of the season. LSU had a 22-14 FD edge vs them but the Gators won thanks to being +3 in turnovers. Alabama had a couple of late TO's and lost a late lead. Florida blocked 2 FG's and a crucial xp to get past South Carolina by 1 point! I got beat up by Gator fans when I had them ranked out of the Top 10 (#14) in the 2007 preseason poll (lower than everyone else) and the Gators finished 2007 at #13. My computer did not have Boise St in the Top 10 despite their upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and in 2007 Boise finished unranked. My computer did not have Wisconsin in the Top 10 at the end of 2006 showing they were overrated. They entered 2007 #7 in the AP poll but I did not have them in my top 15 and the Badgers finished the 2007 season 9-4 and barely inside the top 25 at #24. My computer did not have Auburn in the top 10 at the end of '06 and in '07 the Tigers opened 1-2 and were a lucky team winning 4 games by 7 or less and won their bowl game in OT to just get up to #15 after falling out of the rankings for 4 weeks. Just like 2007 the teams my computer did NOT have in the Top 10 in 2006 all underachieved most peoples expectations (not mine) the next year.

Now lets look at the teams that made my computers top 10, that were not in the AP Top 10. My computer had BYU #6 in the country at the end of the year but they were only #16 in the AP poll. BYU entered 2007 unranked and but went 11-2 and finished ahead of everyone’s expectations at #14. Oklahoma was not in the AP Top 10 at the end of the year but was #8 in my computer's ranking. They won the Big 12 and were #3 at the end of the regular season. Texas was the 3rd team not in the 2006 AP Top 10 that was in my computers rankings and they finished 2007 in the top 10. My Computer's #1 team in 2006 was LSU (which was only #3 in the AP poll). How did they fare in 2007? They won the
National Title in 2007!