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Archive for July, 2012

2011 Starts Lost To Injury!

July 5th, 2012 No comments

Remember when Oklahoma won the National Title in 2000? Not a single OU starter lost a single start due to injury! My research has shown that teams that benefited from very few injuries, in this case 6 or less, usually have a weaker season the next year.

The bottom line is, teams that have suffered a lot of injuries the previous year will generally have a better year the next season. A lot of backups were forced to play during the injury-riddled year, gaining valuable experience and the team figures to not be so injury-prone the next year.

In a study over the last 8 years, my research shows that if a team had 32 or more starts lost to injury the prior season, they improved or had the same record the next year on 62 out of 76 occasions for an 81.6% success rate. How about teams that are really banged up? Well from 2001-2005 12 teams went through seasons of having 40 or more combined starts lost and ALL 12 had the same or better record the next season. It surprises me that 17 teams met that criteria in 2006-’07 but only 7 had a stronger record the next year and 9 had a weaker record.

In 2008, Utah was at the top of the chart with 51 starts lost to injury and they went from 9-4 to 13-0 and #2 in the country! 2010 was another solid year as 9 teams had 35 or more starts lost to injury in ‘09 and 8 of the 9 improved or had the same record (88%!). Here are the teams that suffered 32 or more starts lost to injury last year:

Most Amount of Starts Lost to Injury in 2011

Rk Team Starts Lost
1
Maryland 59
2
Boston College 55
2
Ohio State 55
4
Oregon St 54
5
Toledo 53
6
Colorado St 52
7
Army 51
8
Florida St 46
9
Memphis 44
10
Miami, Fl 42
10
Vanderbilt 42

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# of Sr, Jr, Soph, Frosh on a Roster

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

I have developed several pet peeves after covering college football for nearly three decades. Three of them concern coach speak. The first is when a new HC or a new OC or new DC is hired you always hear them say in the press conference that they are going to have a more attacking style on both sides of the ball. You never hear a HC say that the team is going to be more laid back, play more soft coverage, ease up on offense.

The 2nd coach speak comes on Signing Day. I don’t think I have ever heard a coach say that “this year we really missed the boat on several recruits and we have a disappointing class coming in.” I always hear “I really like my class” and “we addressed a lot of needs.”

My final coach speak is when I hear a coach say that we are young and inexperienced and have more underclassmen than upperclassmen. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. First, when you consider that most freshman end up red-shirting their freshman seasons, it is almost like having another class when you add them to the true incoming freshman class. This means you basically have five classes on a football roster (true frosh, rFr, Soph, Jr, Sr) and that means roughly 60% of your roster should be filled with underclassmen. Second, usually on signing day teams sign anywhere between 20-25 recruits on avg but after three years of injuries, transfers, early entries to the NFL draft, that class is usually down at least 5-10 players which means your senior class is smaller than your freshman class.

Today’s blog I decided to take the official rosters on all 124 teams and add up the total number of Seniors (incl 5th yr), Juniors, Sophomores and Freshman (including true and redshirts) to see if indeed there are far more underclassmen on a roster than upperclassmen.

Below is a chart of every team and naturally those numbers could be in flux due to transfers, suspensions, etc but I do think you get a reasonably accurate look at the number for each class and each team.

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Way Back When: My Proposed 4-Team Playoff in 2000.

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

With yesterday’s announcement of an official 4-team seeded playoff that will begin in 2014 and run for 12 years, I thought it would be a great day to take a step back in time and take a look at what I wrote way back in 2000 which I believe was the first significant proposal of a “Final 4” for college football. First, let me say that the champagne tasted good last night after the announcement and I am very pleased that the contract was signed for a long-term deal.

In the first two years of the BCS, I thought that the best team in the country for that year (Ohio St ’98 and Nebraska ’99) did not get a chance to play in the national title game. This prompted me to come up with a solution to include all deserving teams of a chance at taking home the title. My proposed system was to include four teams and seed them #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3. The semi-finals would include the current bowls with those games being played on January 1st and the national championship game would be played at a later date.

Naturally the main reason I chose just four teams and not eight or 16 was to preserve what I think without question is the best regular season in all of sport! You cannot give me a single plausible argument as to why teams with two or more losses should be given a chance to play for a national title. I think you will find in most years there are three teams that are fighting for those top two spots and as long as you include those teams, I don’t think it really matters as to who is the #4 or #5 team as long as the true deserving teams are in the field.

Below is the complete article that I wrote in 2000 and also make sure you are checking out my May 30 Blog which includes what I wrote in this year’s magazine 13 years later.

In the next couple of weeks, I will break down year-by-year of the BCS Era and show you which system (Current BCS, 4-team or 8-team model) would have worked best. Look for it in a future blog.

Determining the National Champ
Bowls or Playoffs?

This is a copy of the first article written way back in 2000!!!!
Read Phil Steele’s orginial thoughts! Download your copy now!

Conference Polls Are Open!

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

The Conference Polls Are Open!!!

The last couple of years I have I put up a poll for everyone to pick who would win each conference game during the year. I found these results fascinating prior to the year. When you vote in the poll, it tabulates the current % of votes for each team in each individual game. Here are the results of the fan poll from 2011.

Three years ago you guys scored a low of 121 points, which was 11 points lower than GamePlan. Some of the conferences and divisions you did the best in were the SEC East (0 pts!) SEC West (4 pts) and the Mountain West 8 points.  Two years ago you guys finished right behind Lindy’s and ATS Consultants for 4th place with 116 points.

The scores are figured by taking each publication’s forecasting accuracy by comparing the predicted finish with the actual finish of each team in the conference. Keep in mind the chart is similar to Golf scores in that the lower the score the more accurate.

If you have any questions on the scoring or need further explanation please refer to pages 306-307 of this year’s magazine or visit stassen.com or check out the May 16 Blog.

We put the polls up today for this year’s games on the homepage for four conferences and this is a great way for me to gauge how the public views each game. When you vote you have the entire conference schedule in front of you and the home team is capitalized. Get your votes in today and see how the fans think the big games like Oklahoma-Texas, Oregon at USC, LSU at Alabama and Michigan at Ohio St are going to shake out! To vote you do have register your e-mail address but this is just to make sure there is no stuffing of the ballot box. I will do a complete break down of the fan vote in a couple of weeks!

Who Will Be This Year’s Most Improved Team?

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

Making my Most Improved List has generally been a blessing for teams, as they usually make big turnarounds. In 1999, the #1 most improved team in my Preseason Rankings was Hawaii and they had the NCAA’s largest turnaround on record, going from a winless season in 1998 (0-12) to 9-4 and a bowl victory one year later!!!

The year 2000 was a VERY successful season as well for my Most Improved Teams. Of the top 14 Most Improved Teams that year, TEN went from a losing season to being bowl eligible!!!! South Carolina was my #6 Most Improved Team (MIT) and they went from 0-11 in 1999 to beating Ohio St in a Jan 1 bowl to finish 8-4.

In 2001 and 2002, nine of the 20 teams on my Most Improved List list each year went from having a non-winning season to making a bowl. Colorado went from 3-8 to just missing out on the National Title game in ’01. In 2003, 8 of the top 20 teams went from a .500 or losing seasons to being bowl eligible. Memphis, my #8 Most Improved Team. The Tigers went from 3-9 to a super 9-4!!!!!

There was a total of TEN teams that did not have winning records in ’03 who improved to a winning record in ’04. NINE (90%) of them were on my list! My #1 Most Improved Team, Texas A&M, went from 4-8 to the Cotton Bowl.

In 2005, the top 16 MIT’s on my list in ’05 had a comb record of 66-111 (37%) in ’04 and improved to 102-84 (55%) in ’05. Penn State went from 4-7 to #3 AP and nearly played in the National Title game. Oregon went from 5-6 to #6 after the regular season, finishing at 10-2!!

2006 was another great year for this list. My #1 Most Improved Team was Arkansas which went from 4-7 to SEC West Champs and rose as high as #5 AP!!

2007 was another terrific year! The 22 teams on my list had a comb record of 92-177 (34.2%) in ’06 but were 145-134 (52%) in ’07.

In 2008 twelve of my top 13 Most Improved Teams went from non-winning seasons to bowl eligibility or 92%!!! Those 13 went from a combined 50-95 (34.5%) in ’07 to a 94-62 (60.3%) record in ’08!!!

2009 was another successful season with 22 teams making my list and of the 22, 12 went from a losing record to bowl eligibility. Ohio won the MAC East after going 4-8 in ’08 and SMU went from 1-11 to 8-5!!!

In 2010 my #1 Most improved team Tulsa went from 5-7 to 10-3 and #24 AP! The 19 teams that made the list had a combined record of 82-149 35.5% in ’09 and improved to a combined 132-109 54.8%!!

Read more…

Which Teams Will Go 11-1/12-0?

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

If you are a follower of my magazine, I am sure you are familiar with the fact that I have NINE different sets of power ratings that I create each preseason to give me 9 different ways of analyzing a team. One is based on the individual talent level and performance of each position on each team and those are added up for the rating. Another is based on my Power Plays numbers, which include rushing and passing offenses, defenses and special teams. Another is a continually updated power rating based on the score of the games and the strength of opponent. Finally a few years back, before computers became part of the BCS rankings system, there was without a doubt some flaws in the polls. Teams rated #2 or #3 in the country really were not that talented and were maybe the 5th or 6th best. One internet site decided to produce a poll of some of the top analysts and experts each week and invited me to join. I myself work 365 days a year. During magazine time (March, April, May) and throughout the football season (August through January) there are many 15-18 hour days put in and all of them are spent solely working on FOOTBALL. When they invited me to join the poll, I wanted to give them the best set of power ratings in the country to help make the poll as accurate as possible. The dilemma I had was which set?

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