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Most Improved Defensive Points 2009

In my 2009 College Preview Magazine on pgs 324 and 327 I included my computer’s projected stats in 2009 for all 120 FBS teams. There were several different categories including rush offense/defense, pass offense/defense, offensive pts and defensive pts.

On the right hand side of the page I listed the teams that my computer projected to be most improved in ’09 compared to ’08 season in 6 different categories. I had them ranked in order from Most Improved all the way down to the Least Improved and included the top 15 in each category along with the bottom 5.

In today’s blog I have included my projections of the teams I thought would be most improved in defensive ppg heading into the 2009 season and how they finished in the final NCAA rankings.

In the coming days I will feature a different category in each blog and I think you will be happy with the results of the accuracy of my projections.

Preseason Projection

Rank Team
1 North Texas
2 Washington
3 Kansas St
4 SMU
5 San Diego St
6 Idaho
7 Pittsburgh
8 UCLA
9 Washington St
10 Marshall
11 Nevada
12 Nebraska
13 Toledo
14 UNLV
15 Arkansas
116 Cincinnati
117 New Mexico
118 N Iliinois
119 Bowling Green
120 Wake Forest

Final Rankings

Rank Team 09 DEF PPG 08 DEF PPG Diff
4 North Texas 35.58 47.58 -12
5 Washington 26.67 38.58 -11.91
3 Kansas St 23.33 35.83 -12.5
7 SMU 27.62 38.17 -10.55
13 San Diego St 30.5 37.17 -6.67
12 Idaho 36 42.75 -6.75
44 Pittsburgh 19.77 21.46 -1.69
11 UCLA 21.23 29 -7.77
20 Washington St 38.5 43.85 -5.35
31 Marshall 24.31 27.67 -3.36
28 Nevada 28.54 32.31 -3.77
1 Nebraska 10.43 28.54 -18.11
107 Toledo 37.67 31.42 6.25
68 UNLV 32.42 32.58 -0.16
16 Arkansas 25.08 31.17 -6.09
86 Cincinnati 23.08 20.14 2.94
120 New Mexico 35.92 22.75 13.17
90 N Iliinois 21.62 18 3.62
96 Bowling Green 27.46 23.17 4.29
111 Wake Forest 26.25 18.31 7.94

As you can see my projections were pretty close. I nailed 4 of the top 5 most improved teams (80%) and 10 of the top 20! 13 of my projected top 15 (87%) saw a decrease in their ppg in 2009. North Texas who was my #1 Most Improved Team went from allowing 47.58 ppg in ’08 to allowing 35.58 ppg in ’09 a 12 ppg improvement and finished #4! Washington who was my #2 team finished #5 with a 11.91 ppg improvement. In my magazine I called for Kansas St to have the #3 most improved defensive ppg and the Wildcats gave up just 23.33 ppg in ’09 and finished #3 exactly where I had them in the preseason! Finally Nebraska who finished as the #1 most improved team in ’09 was ranked #12 in my preseason projection.

My bottom 5 results were just as accurate. All 5 of my projected bottom teams in defensive ppg saw their ppg increase at least 2.94 ppg in 09 and all 5 of the teams including Sugar Bowl bound Cincinnati finished 86th or worse! Wake Forest who I projected to be the least improved team in defensive ppg went from allowing just 18.31 ppg in ’08 to allowing 26.25 ppg in ’09 and increase of nearly 8 ppg.

Heading into the season I thought New Mexico would struggle on both sides of the ball as they would have to adjust to completely new schemes with new HC Locksley. On defense, the Lobos were really hurt by the loss of HC Rocky Long who specialized on that side of the ball with his 3-3-5 defense. In my preseason magazine I called for the Lobos to have one of the least improved defensive ppg and they went from allowing 22.75 ppg in ’08 to 35.92 ppg in ’09 an increase of 13.17 ppg!

Overall 18 of the 20 teams (90%) that were featured in my magazine finished with either a higher ppg or lower ppg just as I projected!

Here is a complete list of all 120 teams and how they fared from 2008 to 2009.

Most Improved Defensive Points 2009

Rank Team 09 PPG 08 PPG Diff
1 Nebraska 10.43 28.54 -18.11
2 Iowa St. 21.85 35.83 -13.98
3 Kansas St. 23.33 35.83 -12.5
4 North Texas 35.58 47.58 -12
5 Washington 26.67 38.58 -11.91
6 Central Mich. 18.93 30.23 -11.3
7 SMU 27.62 38.17 -10.55
8 Oklahoma 14.54 24.5 -9.96
9 Kent St. 22.42 31.67 -9.25
10 LSU 16.23 24.15 -7.92
11 UCLA 21.23 29 -7.77
12 Idaho 36 42.75 -6.75
13 San Diego St. 30.5 37.17 -6.67
14 Air Force 15.69 22.23 -6.54
15 Oklahoma St. 21.69 28.08 -6.39
16 Arkansas 25.08 31.17 -6.09
17 Ohio 21.29 27.25 -5.96
18 Indiana 29.5 35.25 -5.75
19 Texas Tech 22.46 27.85 -5.39
20 Washington St. 38.5 43.85 -5.35
21 Wisconsin 21.77 26.54 -4.77
22 Syracuse 27.92 32.67 -4.75
23 Buffalo 23.75 28.21 -4.46
24 Oregon 23.77 28.23 -4.46
25 North Carolina 17.08 21.15 -4.07
26 Texas A&M 33.54 37.42 -3.88
27 ULM 27.33 31.17 -3.84
28 Nevada 28.54 32.31 -3.77
29 Louisville 26.25 29.83 -3.58
30 UTEP 33.5 37 -3.5
31 Marshall 24.31 27.67 -3.36
32 Louisiana 30.33 33.67 -3.34
33 Fresno St. 28.38 31.08 -2.7
34 Alabama 11.71 14.29 -2.58
35 Navy 19.43 22 -2.57
36 Akron 28.75 31.25 -2.5
37 New Mexico St. 31.62 34.08 -2.46
38 Penn St. 12.23 14.38 -2.15
39 Baylor 27.25 29.33 -2.08
40 Texas 16.71 18.77 -2.06
41 Miami, FL 22.15 24.15 -2
42 Missouri 25.38 27.21 -1.83
43 Army 21.92 23.67 -1.75
44 Pittsburgh 19.77 21.46 -1.69
45 Arizona St. 21.08 22.67 -1.59
46 UCF 22.54 24.08 -1.54
47 Michigan 27.5 28.92 -1.42
48 Ohio St. 12.54 13.92 -1.38
49 Mississippi 17.69 19 -1.31
50 Middle Tenn. St. 23.69 24.92 -1.23
51 Virginia Tech 15.62 16.71 -1.09
52 Minnesota 23.77 24.77 -1
53 Rutgers 17.92 18.85 -0.93
54 Stanford 26.54 27.42 -0.88
55 Houston 30.07 30.92 -0.85
56 Temple 22.31 23.08 -0.77
57 South Carolina 20.38 21.08 -0.7
58 Utah St. 34 34.67 -0.67
59 Tulsa 27.33 27.93 -0.6
60 Arkansas St. 23.25 23.75 -0.5
61 Florida 12.43 12.93 -0.5
62 Wyoming 27.31 27.75 -0.44
63 Kansas 28.42 28.85 -0.43
64 Colorado 28.83 29.25 -0.42
65 Colorado St. 29.83 30.23 -0.4
66 BYU 21.54 21.92 -0.38
67 South Florida 19.77 20 -0.23
68 UNLV 32.42 32.58 -0.16
69 Hawaii 29.46 28.86 0.6
70 East Carolina 21.93 21.07 0.86
71 UAB 32.33 31.25 1.08
72 Kentucky 22.69 21.46 1.23
73 Georgia 25.92 24.54 1.38
74 Boston College 19.77 18.36 1.41
75 TCU 12.77 11.31 1.46
76 Miami, OH 34.17 32.67 1.5
77 Southern Miss. 25.85 24.08 1.77
78 Oregon St. 25 23.08 1.92
79 Louisiana Tech 25.75 23.69 2.06
80 Mississippi St. 26.75 24.67 2.08
81 Tulane 36.67 34.5 2.17
82 Iowa 15.38 13 2.38
83 Western Mich. 27.5 24.92 2.58
84 Arizona 23.92 21.31 2.61
85 Eastern Mich. 38.25 35.58 2.67
86 Cincinnati 23.08 20.14 2.94
87 Utah 20.23 17.23 3
88 Clemson 20.43 17.31 3.12
89 Illinois 30.17 26.58 3.59
90 Northern Ill. 21.62 18 3.62
91 Vanderbilt 23.33 19.62 3.71
92 Notre Dame 25.92 22.15 3.77
93 Connecticut 23.62 19.77 3.85
94 Purdue 29.08 25.08 4
95 Michigan St. 26.31 22.08 4.23
96 Bowling Green 27.46 23.17 4.29
97 Northwestern 24.46 20.15 4.31
98 Georgia Tech 24.79 20.31 4.48
99 Boise St. 17.14 12.62 4.52
100 Virginia 26.33 21.67 4.66
101 West Virginia 21.69 17 4.69
102 North Carolina St. 31.17 26.31 4.86
103 Duke 28.33 23.42 4.91
104 Florida Atlantic 33.75 28.69 5.06
105 Tennessee 22.23 16.75 5.48
106 California 25.46 19.92 5.54
107 Toledo 37.67 31.42 6.25
108 FIU 35.33 28.33 7
109 Ball St. 28.17 20.5 7.67
110 Memphis 34.83 27.15 7.68
111 Wake Forest 26.25 18.31 7.94
112 Troy 29.77 21.31 8.46
113 Maryland 31.25 22.46 8.79
114 Auburn 27.54 18 9.54
115 Rice 43.08 33.31 9.77
116 Florida St. 30 20.15 9.85
117 USC 19.85 9 10.85
118 Western Ky. 39.58 27.17 12.41
119 San Jose St. 34.5 21.58 12.92
120 New Mexico 35.92 22.75 13.17
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  • Dennis E Imrie

    Highpoint of 09 for me your preseason ranking of Notre Dame….
    Where are you putting them for 2010…. I noticed they did
    not make the ap 25 ! !
    dennis in Houston

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    Dennis,
    I dont think Notre Dame will be ranked in the AP top 25 but they have a chance to make my top 25 when I finalize my rankings in May. I do think Brian Kelly steps into a great situation even with the loss of Clausen and Tate to the draft. He inherits a good QB in Dayne Crist and remember in 08 Kelly won a BE title with 5 different QBs. Also Notre Dame last year lost all 6 games by a TD or less and their situation reminds me of Alabama who lost all 6 of their games in 07 by less than a TD and they went on to finish with 12 wins in 08. Last year Iowa was in the same situation with all 4 of their losses in 08 by a TD or less and the Hawkeyes were probably a QB injury away from an undefeated season in '09. Im not saying ND will have an undefeated season but they should definitely improve upon last years 6 win total

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    Dennis,
    I dont think Notre Dame will be ranked in the AP top 25 but they have a chance to make my top 25 when I finalize my rankings in May. I do think Brian Kelly steps into a great situation even with the loss of Clausen and Tate to the draft. He inherits a good QB in Dayne Crist and remember in 08 Kelly won a BE title with 5 different QBs. Also Notre Dame last year lost all 6 games by a TD or less and their situation reminds me of Alabama who lost all 6 of their games in 07 by less than a TD and they went on to finish with 12 wins in 08. Last year Iowa was in the same situation with all 4 of their losses in 08 by a TD or less and the Hawkeyes were probably a QB injury away from an undefeated season in '09. Im not saying ND will have an undefeated season but they should definitely improve upon last years 6 win total