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2009′s Top Team Performances

 

After the 2008 season was completed I devised a power ratings system, which lets me analyze at what level each team played during an individual game. This “game grade” takes into account the yards rushing, yards passing, points scored, rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed and points allowed and factors them in against the opponent played and even factors in the site the game was played at.

With all these factors taken into consideration you will see teams that lost the game having a better individual game grade than teams that beat them simply because the team they played was superior and much less was expected of them.

The ratings on each game can vary significantly. For example last year’s highest “game grade” went to the Florida Gators in their dominating performance over Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. The Gators received a 123.2 rating for the game. Meanwhile at the bottom of the ratings is Tulane who received only a 25.0 rating for their 49-0 loss to UCF in which the Green Wave were outgained 504-50!

2009’s Top Individual Game Performances

RANK TEAM OPPONENT GRADE
1 Florida † Cincinnati 123.2
2 Florida     Troy 120.5
3 Oklahoma     Texas A&M 119.1
4 Texas Tech     Kansas St 117.4
5 Texas     UTEP 117.2
6 Texas Tech     Oklahoma 113.6
6 Alabama † Florida 113.6
8 Alabama † Virginia Tech 112.5
9 Nebraska † Arizona 111.9
10 Florida AT Kentucky 110.3
11 Texas AT Missouri 108.4
12 Stanford AT USC 107.0
13 Oregon     California 106.975
14 TCU AT BYU 106.4
15 Oregon     USC 105.6

1. As mentioned earlier, Florida’s 51-24 demolition of Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl graded out as the top performance for 2009. Prior to the bowl Urban Meyer announced he was quitting then said he would take a leave of absence instead. Undefeated #4 Cincy was without HC Brian Kelly and the Gators played with passion in Tebow’s final game as they outgained the Bearcats 659-246!

2. The Gators took the #2 spot as well with a 56-6 win over Troy in the 2nd week of the season. Florida outgained Troy 663-139 which is very impressive considering the Trojans finished the season 9-4 (4th straight year with 8 or more wins) and they have a had a recent history of playing BCS opponents competitively.

3. Oklahoma, despite an 8-5 season, had several impressive performances last year. Their best one came against Texas A&M where the Sooners crushed the bowl-bound Aggies 65-10 with a 640-226 yd edge!

4. Texas Tech also had some dominating games last year including their 66-14 win over Kansas St. The Red Raiders passed for 554 yds and racked up amazing 739 total yds while allowing just 284.

5. While Texas had other more important wins in 2009, their highest game grade came against UTEP where the Longhorns won 64-7 with an incredible 639-53 yd edge. It was the most points scored by the Longhorns since 2005 and the 53 yds allowed came against a Miner team that avg 429 ypg last year.

6. Texas Tech had never beaten Oklahoma by more than 10 but thrashed the Sooners 41-13. The Red Raiders racked up 549 yds and handed the Sooners their only loss of the season by more than 7 points.

6. Then #2 Alabama’s big 32-13 win over #1 Florida in the SEC Title game was one of the most dominating big game performances in several years. The Tide had a 490-335 yd edge including a 251-88 rush edge. The Crimson Tide controlled the line of scrimmage as well as the clock having a 39:37-20:23 TOP edge as they advanced to the national title game.

8. Alabama opened the ’09 season in impressive fashion with a 34-24 win over Virginia Tech. The game was not as close as the scoreboard indicated with the Tide having a 498-155 yd edge but the Hokies special teams kept it close.

9. Nebraska easily handled Arizona in the Holiday Bowl 33-0. The Huskers defense was dominating as usual holding the Wildcats to just 109 total yards while the offense finally came to life with a balanced attack (223 rush/173 pass).

10. The Gators appear in the Top 15 for a third time in a game that would be remembered more for Tebow’s concussion than Florida’s outstanding play. Florida dominated early before Tebow’s injury and finished with a 495-179 yd edge over a Kentucky team that would go on to its 4th straight bowl.

11. Many thought Texas would be in a flat spot coming off their win over Oklahoma in the Red River shootout but the Longhorns played magnificently on the road with a 41-7 win over Missouri. The racked up 400 yds and held the high-powered Tiger offense to just 173 ttl yds by far their lowest total on the season.

12. In 2007, Stanford upset #2 USC in what arguably is the biggest upset in college football history. Flash forward two years to ’09 and this time the Cardinal not only upset USC but after leading 28-21 into the 4Q, scored 27 points including a late 2 pt conversion which didn’t make former USC HC Pete Carroll too happy. It was USC’s worst loss in the Coliseum since 1966! (Notre Dame 51-0)

13. Oregon was a rare home underdog to #6 Cal but destroyed them 42-3 with a 524-207 yd edge. Even though the Ducks came into the game with 2 straight wins it was this performance that turned their season around and got them started on the road to Pasadena.

14. TCU had a very impressive season last year averaging 38.3 ppg and 457 ttl ypg while giving up just 12.8 ppg and 240 ttl ypg. In their most dominating performance of the season the Horned Frogs went into Provo (ESPN Gameday on hand) and crushed #16 BYU 38-7 with a 412-298 edge.

15. Autzen Stadium turned into a House of Horrors on Halloween night for #4 USC. The #10 Ducks crushed the Trojans 47-20 as they racked up 613 yds of offense including 391 rush yds against the once-proud Trojan D. At that point, it was the most points allowed by USC in HC Carroll’s tenure and was the worst loss for the Trojans since 1997.

A good way to analyze teams is to see how many times they played at a “high” level. This where I developed a “Top 10 Grade.” There were 1,522 games played by FBS teams last year with 120 teams times 12 equaling 1,440 games before the bowls, conference title and extra games are added. A Top 10 Grade is among the top 8.3% of the NCAA (10 divided by 120 teams). If you take 8.3% and multiply it by the 1522 games played last year you get 126.83 which means the top 127 “game grades” games would be considered a Top 10 performance.

If I go down to the 127th best performance of the year, it was Iowa’s win over Penn St. Despite a 307-298 yd edge for Penn St, the Hawkeyes got an impressive 21-10 win on the road and did have 163-109 rush edge over the Nittany Lions. Iowa played to a 93.5 power rating. Therefore any team that played at a 93.5 level or higher in a game was a Top 10 performance.

Here are the teams that achieved a Top 10 performance three times or more last season:

Alabama 7

Florida 7

TCU 7

Texas 6

Oklahoma 6

Virginia Tech 5

BYU 5

Texas Tech 4

Wisconsin 4

Arkansas 3

Auburn 3

Boise St 3

Georgia Tech 3

Iowa 3

Miami, Fl 3

Nevada 3

Ohio St 3

Tennessee 3

USC 3

As you can see many of the top teams from last year played at an outstanding level several times during the course of the season.

In Monday’s Blog, I will take a look at teams with the highest Game Grade averages for 2009. These averages then figure into my computer’s overall ranking for each team. I will also take a look at my Computer’s Final Top 10 and see how it compares to the AP Final Top 10 and give you several examples from past years on what that means for several teams this year.

Have a great weekend!

Only 75 Days Until the First College Football Game!!

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  • http://twitter.com/astromquist Angie Stromquist

    Can you explain why USC is the only team in the Pac-10, although Oregon won the Pac-10. Also, they finished in fourth place so how can they have the most Top 10 performances of the year? Thanks.

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

    Angie,
    While USC had more top 10 performances than any other team in the Pac 10 they also had some very poor performances. Oregon and Stanford both had two of the best performances last year against USC. When you take all 12 games into account, USC finished with a 80.3 game grade avg for the season which was behind Oregon (85.2 #8 in country), Arizona (81.5 #21) and Stanford (80.3 #27). Check out today's blog for more explanation. Thanks for the great question, Phil

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

    Angie,
    While USC had more top 10 performances than any other team in the Pac 10 they also had some very poor performances. Oregon and Stanford both had two of the best performances last year against USC. When you take all 12 games into account, USC finished with a 80.3 game grade avg for the season which was behind Oregon (85.2 #8 in country), Arizona (81.5 #21) and Stanford (80.3 #27). Check out today's blog for more explanation. Thanks for the great question, Phil