Phil Steele's Daily Blog - Monday July 20th

At the end of the 2008 season we devised a formula which plugged in the stats from the just completed season and then factored in the opponents and the site the game was played and came up with an individual team power rating for each game. I was very pleased that the formula did indeed assign a true power rating for each game and it was highly accurate. All you have to do is look at the Top 10 performances of 2008 and you will see how accurate. Check out my blog on Tuesday June 23rd.

Since then I have run the computer system into our stats for both the 2007 and 2006 seasons and I have been very pleased with the results and put them in my July 15th and July 17th blogs. Now I will take a look at 2005.

The first thing that jumps out to me about 2005 was that not only did the BCS get a true national title matchup between the only two unbeaten teams but how dominating those teams were during the season. If you look at the Top 11 performances of 2005, FOUR were by USC and FOUR were by Texas, WOW! In 2008, 2007 and 2006 the most Top Ten performances any team had was TWO. In 2005 2 teams EACH had FOUR. Very surprising.

Here are the top 11 performances from 2005.

1. USC at 118.8 level in 55-13 win over Wash St.
Wash St was just 4-7 in 2005 but actually outscored their foes during the year 35.6- 29.2 ppg (outscored foes by a FULL TD) if you take away their effort in this game. They faced three other ranked teams and lost to #12 UCLA in OT by 3, lost to #25 Cal by 4 on the road and lost to #11 Oregon by 3. Here they were outgained by an amazing 745-284!

2. LSU at 116.88 level in 40-3 win over Miami Florida
Miami Florida was 9-2 during the regular season and had won their games by an average of 29.2-12! Miami Florida was favored by a full TD in this Peach Bowl matchup as they were ranked #9 and LSU #10. The score was indicative of the game as LSU had a 26-6 FD edge and 468-153 yard edge!

3. USC at 116.88 level in 66-19 win over UCLA.
UCLA came in 10-1 and #11 in the country but USC had an amazing 679 yards offense in this while the Bruins managed just 275!

4. USC at 116.05 level in 45-13 win over Oregon
The Ducks finished the regular season #6 in the polls and they were 10-1. Their lone loss was a 32 point pummeling at the hands of the mighty Trojans. USC had an amazing 593 yards offense with the Ducks allowing just 336 ypg in their other 11.

5. Texas at 115.78 level in 70-3 win over Colorado
The Buffs did lose their last 3 games by a 119-16 margin but they were a strong team most of the year and this was the Big 12 title game so they were champs of the North.

6. USC at 115.5 level in 70-17 win at Arkansas
Arkansas may have finished 4-7 on the year but were much better than their final record, in fact in my 2006 magazine they were my most improved team and ended up playing in the 2006 SEC Title game. Taking away this beat down Arkansas outscored foes by an average of 26.6-20.1 on the year and they lost by 3 to #4 Georgia in Athens and lost by 2 to #3 LSU in Death Valley! USC had a 736-326 yard edge and Arkansas got one of their TD’s late.

7. Texas at 114.95 level in 62-0 win over Baylor
Baylor was 5-6 and came within a 3 point OT loss at Texas A&M of a winning record. Two weeks prior to this game Baylor lost to Oklahoma in Norman in OT and could easily have pulled that road upset. Texas had a 645-201 yard edge in their 62 pt shutout win.

8. Ohio State at 113.03 level in 31-6 win over Iowa
Iowa finished the year in the Outback Bowl vs Florida and taking away this game outscored their foes by an average of 13.2 ppg. Ohio St controlled this one with the Hawkeyes rushing for –9 yards and OSU had a 530-137 yard edge.

9. Texas at 110.93 level in 45-12 win over Oklahoma
The Sooners were off their national title year of 2004 and won the Holiday Bowl over Oregon. Texas had a 444-171 yard edge in this 33 point romp.

10. Arizona St at 110.83 level in 52-21 win over Northwestern
Taking away this game Northwestern was 7-3 in the regular season and they beat two ranked teams during the year in #14 Wisconsin and #22 Mich St (on the road). Here Ariz St rolled up 773 yards offense (WOW) while the Cats did manage 416. Arizona St had 532 yards in the FIRST HALF and ended the game on the Wildcat 7 or the score could have been worse.

11. Texas at 110.0 level in 66-14 win over Kansas
Kansas won the Fort Worth Bowl 42-13 over Houston in 2005. Texas at the HALF had a 17-1 FD edge, 381-41 yard edge and led 52-0. This one could have been much worse!

By the way for years whenever I need to get the recap of the game from a prior year I just grab one of my regional magazines from a past year and flip to the past history section and there it is. I just made things a lot easier for myself this year and now I use Go to the team pages link on the left. Click on Texas. Over on the right hand side you will see Past Histories and see that we already have 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 up and ready for you. 2008 will be up soon. Just click on the year you want and all the recaps for the entire season are at your fingertips! Pretty soon when you click on the last 12 years matchups for each game and then click on the year, the past histories will be there as well!

Now lets look at the AP top ten and my computers top ten for the season.
AP 2005 Final Top Ten
Texas (13-0)
U.S.C. (12-1)
Penn State (11-1)
Ohio State (10-2)
West Virginia (11-1)
L.S.U. (11-2)
Virginia Tech (11-2)
Alabama (10-2)
Notre Dame (9-3)
Georgia (10-3)

My computers final Top Ten for 2005
1. U.S.C. 100.59 avg rating for year
2. Texas 99.83
3. Ohio State 94.3
4. Penn State 89.49
5. Virginia Tech 89.21
6. Notre Dame 86.81
7. L.S.U.. 84.32
8. Louisville 83.97
9. Michigan 83.94
10. Georgia 83.91

The BCS got the right title game and what a game it was as USC was stopped short on 4th and inches late in the game on a play that would have clinched it. Prior to the title game ESPN ran a piece which debated whether USC was the greatest team of all time and my computer had them at the top at the end of the year with Texas closely behind and a big gap to #3. I have noticed a trend when writing these blogs for 2006 and 2007 that shows teams in the AP Top Ten but not in my computers are overrated the next year and teams in my computers Top Ten but not in the AP Top Ten are underrated. Lets see if that holds true to form.

West Virginia upset Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and vaulted to #5. My computer which takes into account each game of the season took into account WV’s #77 ranked schedule and some far from dominating wins like a 5 point win over a 5-6 East Carolina, 3 OT win over Louisville (miracle comeback), and a 17 point loss to Virg Tech. For the season WV’s average game grade was only good enough for #22. Keep in mind these rankings have nothing to do with the fact WV was not ranked until week 8 but everything to do with their rushing yards, passing yards and points vs the level of competition faced. In 2006 WV entered #5 and while they finished the regular season #13 in the polls they did win their bowl and finished #10. Alabama was 10-2 and finished 2005 with a bowl win over Texas Tech and were ##8 in the AP poll. They took on my #55 rated schedule and only averaged 21.9 ppg on offense. My computer did not have them in the top 15. The next year Alabama finished 6-6 and when they lost the Independence Bowl they were 6-7 on the year. Those were the only two (other two years each had 3).

Now lets look at the teams that my computer had Top Ten that were not there in the final rankings. Louisville was #19 in the AP poll but were actually the most dominant team in the Big East and would have been in the Sugar Bowl if not for a blown lead at West Virginia, a game they were dominating mid 3Q. The next year Louisville went 12-1 and their only loss was at Rutgers, the week after they beat WV at home and it was on a Thursday night and UL actually led 25-7 but lost on a last second FG. Change one play in that game and Louisville would have played Ohio St in the national title game in 2006! The other team not in the AP Top Ten was Michigan which finished 2005 at just 7-5. Michigan took on the 2nd toughest schedule in the country in 2005 and had losses by 7, 3, 3, 4 and 4! The next year (2006) Michigan was 11-0 and #2 in the country when they played #1 Ohio State in Columbus and after losing that game by just 3, many felt they should have played Ohio State in the title game rather than Florida!

We have a clear trend here for over and underrated teams the next year. I will go back and look at 2004 in the next couple of days and then I will give you the final rankings for the AP poll from last year and my computers final top ten rankings and give you the over and underrated teams for 2009.