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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%!!

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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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NFL Magazine Sneak Peek

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Three years ago, I decided to put out a full color NFL Preview Magazine and I could not have been more pleased with the results. I correctly predicted 7 out of 8 division winners which was more than any other preview magazine and I was the only magazine to predict the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints to win the NFC South! Last year with the NFL Lockout, I waited to publish my magazine until August to have the latest and most accurate information and now in the last 3 years I have correctly predicted 16 out of 24 division winners!

This year the NFL and Fantasy Football Preview Magazine was sent off to the press earlier than ever before and today the truck showed up to our offices.

You should be able to find my NFL Magazine on the newsstands in early July but if you’re like me and want to have your hands on new information ASAP, try ordering thru the PhilSteele.com store or call our offices at 1-866-918-7711 and you will get it in your hands at least a full week before it officially hits the newsstands. The cost is just $13.25 (includes priority shipping) and we will ship it out of our offices within 24 hours unless ordered on the weekend and in that case it will get shipped 1st thing on Monday.

Unlike the College magazine where I write each of the 124 team previews myself, the NFL magazine was written by others including Erik Kuselias who wrote the Fantasy Section for the 2nd year in a row. I did do the forecast for each team using my 5 sets of Power ratings that I have for the NFL (I use 9 different sets for the colleges).

This year’s magazine is 288 pages which is considerably thicker than most NFL magazines out there. Here on the blog today I thought I would put the six pages of the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Below you can see how the pages look and click here to download the pdf version from this years magazine and this will show you all the information on each of the 32 teams that we produce. I will not go into great detail as to what is on the pages as you can see for yourself and I think you will agree that it is more information than any other NFL preview.

Download the PDF Version!

Who Will Be the Top Non-AQ Team This Year?

June 21st, 2012 2 comments

The non AQ conference WOULD HAVE HAD a berth in the National Title game just 3 years ago if Texas had missed a last second FG (vs Neb) as TCU was #3 in the BCS and would have played Alabama. In ’10 TCU came very close again and may have got there if they were one of two remaining undefeated teams. LY Boise probably would have played LSU if not for the missed FG. Many of my sets of power ratings called for Houston to go 12-0 LY and they would have been in a BCS bowl if they won the CUSA Title game at home.

In 2006, my top non-AQ team was Boise St and I PROJECTED THEM INTO A BCS BOWL and they went undefeated and got to the Fiesta Bowl where they beat Oklahoma. In 2007, I called for Hawaii to go 12-0 and grab a SUGAR BOWL BERTH and that is exactly what they did! In 2008 my top non-AQ team was Utah and while they were NOT RANKED in the preseason and no one picked them to even win the MW at the start of the year except me, they finished unbeaten and #2 in the country! In 2009 my Top non-AQ team was Boise St and when they beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl they finished #4 and the top non-AQ team in the country. 2010 it was FIVE in a row. EVERYONE had Boise St as their top non AQ team but I went against the grain and picked TCU and coach Patterson and company did not disappoint as they knocked off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished #2 in the country, naturally the top rated non-AQ team out there (TCU #2!).

Last year I pegged the Boise State Broncos as my top non-AQ team and it did not look well when they lost to TCU at home on a missed FG. That missed FG might have prevented them from playing LSU in the Title game!!!! They did finish the year the TOP RANKED non-AQ team (#8)!! Also last year in my magazine I listed my top 6 Non-AQ teams in the following order: 1. Boise St 2. TCU 3. Southern Miss 4. Houston 5. BYU and 6. Ohio! I was simply thrilled with the final AP Top 25 rankings as each of my Top 4 Non-AQ teams finished ranked and BYU finished #26 while Ohio won their bowl game!!

That means in the last 6 years the team that I have predicated as my Top non-AQ school in ALL SIX years has finished as the best non-AQ team with FIVE of them making BCS bowls!

This year I’m going for SEVEN IN A ROW, my call is for the UCF Knights to go unbeaten in CUSA play and be the top non-AQ team in the country this year as they are my Most Improved Team!

Top 200 Freshman for 2013!

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Covering college football as I do takes 52 weeks a year as it is and while I personally do not scout the high school games and rate each player I do compile my rankings based on the many different recruiting services across the country that follow and scout HS football year round. I not only like to use all of the biggest and best services, but I also use regional reports as well. The colleges themselves use many of these services to get the latest information on recruits.

When we receive a recruiting magazine, we translate each player’s ranking into a points system from 1-100 and then log each and every player into the computer and give them a point total from each source. Naturally, the more they are mentioned and the higher they are rated by each publication, the more total points they accrue. After months of entering all of this information, I sort the list by position and by total points and then rank the players from most points to least. The preseason top HS Senior lists have already been released by ESPN, Rivals, 247 Sports and Scout and all of them were compiled into this Pre-Season list.

In today’s blog I have included the top High School Seniors that will be incoming frosh for 2013. By no means is this list final and it will be fluid until next February after the players sign. Since we want the college preview to continue to be the most in-depth and accurate magazine out there, if you find any information that is wrong or if you are questioning a player’s ranking please contact brandon@philsteele.com.

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Who Will Be This Year’s Surprise Team?

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Do you think it is easy picking a National Champ prior to the year?

Since 1994, only 3 times has the preseason #1 team gone on to win the National Title. However, I am happy that I have correctly pegged the national champ in two of the last four years!

Last year Oklahoma was the preseason #1 team but I had Alabama #1 and the Crimson Tide came thru for me by easily winning the rematch vs LSU in the national title game!  In 2008, Georgia was the preseason #1 team but I had FLORIDA to win the title and the Gators delivered for me!! Athlon was the only other source to have Florida #1.
Only in 1999 (everyone with Florida St), 2001 (two magazines with Miami, Fl) and 2004 (everyone with USC) did any of the Big 9 preseason magazines correctly pick the National Champ.

Past Surprise Teams

In 2002, it was yet another Surprise Team taking home the National Title. Ohio St was not even ranked in the preseason Top 10. In fact, only three magazines even picked them to win the Big Ten, let alone contend for a National Title. I am pleased to report I had OSU at #7, which was higher than any other publication and when the smoke cleared, they had beaten Miami, FL in the Fiesta Bowl and took home the National Title.

In 2003, there was another surprise champ and that was LSU. If you read my 2003 College Football Preview, you know I had LSU pegged as my #2 Surprise Team in the country saying they had a great shot at going undefeated and attaining the National Title. At the start of the year, not only did 8 of the Big 9 magazines NOT have LSU as a National Title contender, but NONE had LSU even winning the SEC WEST DIVISION. That year LSU simply won the SEC outright and shared the National Title!! The other half of the National Title went to USC who I had listed as my #5 Surprise Team despite the fact they had to replace their Heisman Trophy winning QB Carson Palmer.

In ’04 almost everyone including myself pegged USC and Oklahoma to play in the Orange Bowl game so there was no Surprise Team in the title game BUT Auburn made no major publication’s Top 10 and almost got to the big game with its unbeaten season. I had Auburn listed as my #7 Surprise Team in ’04.

In ’05 the #1 and #2 preseason teams met in the title game so there was no Surprise Team. Penn St was not ranked in the preseason and finished #3 in the final polls after having a losing season in ’04. While they did not make my Surprise List, they were my #3 Most Improved Team.

The 2006 season was a VERY GOOD year for my Surprise Teams and almost a GREAT YEAR! I say almost a GREAT year because my #1 Surprise Team was Louisville and they came within inches of playing for the National Title. When I wrote the magazine I had expected the “Derby City Duo” of RB Michael Bush and QB Brian Brohm to be one of the top QB/RB combos in the country. Bush was lost in the 3Q of the opening game and Brohm was injured a few games later. Brohm was only a few games back from injury when the #3 Cards blew a 25-7 3Q lead and lost to Rutgers on a FG on the last play (which was a 2nd chance FG after the first one was missed but the Cardinals were penalized for being offsides). Had they held on and won they would have been #2 in the BCS poll and we would have had a pair of unbeatens meet for the title. As we saw, the Buckeyes were greatly affected by their 51 day layoff and were a vulnerable team. Louisville could have been the fourth team in FIVE YEARS to merit National Championship consideration that was one of my Top 10 Surprise Teams. That is a pretty good record considering I do not pick any of the projected preseason Top 10 teams.

In 2007, I had Ohio St listed as my #4 Surprise Team and they entered the season #11 but played in the National Title game. I had USF (unranked preseason) as my #5 Surprise Team and they climbed as high as #2 in the polls. I had Georgia (#13 AP) as my #6 Surprise Team and they finished #2 and almost played in the title game. I had Oregon my #10 Surprise Team and they were #2 when QB Dennis Dixon was injured. Had Dixon not been injured, they likely would have been in the title game. I had Missouri my #9 Surprise Team and despite being UNRANKED in the AP preseason poll, they were #1 when they faced Oklahoma in the Big 12 Title game and finished #4! I also had Hawaii going unbeaten in the regular season and playing in the Sugar Bowl which is exactly what happened!

In 2008, I had Texas Tech my #3 Surprise Team and they got to 10-0 (#2) and came very close (3-way B12 South Division tie) to playing for the Big 12 Championship and possibly the National Title game. Penn St opened the year #22 in the AP poll but was my #5 Surprise team and had they not given away a 9 point 4Q lead vs Iowa they would have been in the title game.

In 2009, the title game was Texas vs Alabama (both top 5 prior to year) so there were no surprise teams.

In 2010, I had AUBURN my #5 surprise team and despite entering the year #22 in the AP poll they ran thetable and won the national title!

So, what have we learned from all this information? Clearly, every year there has been an unexpected Top 10 team and some years there are big surprises like Oklahoma, Ohio St, LSU and Auburn who all took home the title after a 5-loss season (Auburn also had 5 losses in 2003 before going unbeaten in 2004). Now comes the question, “Who will be this year’s Surprise Team?”

The last couple of February’s on PhilSteele.com, I have posted my projected AP Top 10 for the upcoming year. I have hit 9 of 10 the last three years. The last 3 years ESPN has produced its preseason Top 25 and it comes out in April. Here is my expected list of the teams that will likely be ranked in this year’s preseason AP Top 10 and I put them in order of how they will likely be ranked: USC, LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida St, South Carolina, Michigan and West Virginia. It’s likely these 11 teams will make up the Top 11 this year, so I will NOT use any of them. Now let’s take a look at this year’s potential surprise teams.

I do want to reiterate that Ohio St and North Carolina both have the talent and schedules to run the table but I could not pick either because they are not eligible for the BCS Title.

This year my #1 Surprise Team is the Texas Longhorns! The ESPN April ranking had them at #22 and they are 13-12 the last two years finishing unranked each year. Last year Texas did not have a Top 10 D (#11) by NCAA standards but had my #2 rated D as they held 5 opponent’s to season lows and took on 6 of the top 13 offenses in the country. The 2nd best defense in the Big 12 confernce taking on these type of powerhouse offenses was Oklahoma and they finished #55 in the NCAA rankings! Texas has a top ten D again with 6 st’rs back but get a big upgrade on offense with my #4 set of RB’s, #11 Rec’s and #8 O-line and they will get the best QB play since Colt McCoy left after ’09. Keep in mind Texas finished in the Top 10 seven of nine yrs (#12 in ’03, #13 in ’06) from 2001-’09 and that included five Top 5 finishes. Their toughest two gms are at Okla St and their Red River Rivalry vs Oklahoma. This is the 2nd year for their new coor’s systems and remember four Nat’l Champs the last 12 years have been off 5 loss seasons.

70 points. Ask anyone about My #2 Surprise Team the Clemson Tigers and the first thing they will say is 70 pts or “West Virginia just scored again.” Clemson had a great season getting to 8-0 and #6 but went 2-4 down the stretch still managing to win the ACC Title. This year they have one of the top QB, RB and WR combos in the country with QB Boyd, RB Ellington, WR’s Watkins and Hopkins. They played a lot of VHT true frosh LY and they are all now exp’d sophs. Most of their toughest ACC foes are in Death Valley and they should be favored in as many as 10 gms this year with 1 tossup (Auburn) and one clear cut underdog (at Florida St). Naturally I think Fla St will win that game but I expected VT to beat them in Blacksburg last year and Clemson prevailed even in a letdown situation off two big wins at home. How quickly the OL comes around (just 2 ret sts) will determine if this is a surprise National Title contender.

In 2010 everyone in the country made the mistake of assuming a large drop off by My #3 Surprise team the Oklahoma State Cowboys as they had to replace QB Zac Robinson (career passing leader), a thousand yd RB and WR Dez Bryant (1st Tm AA). There were 47 different tms that were picked among the various publications Top 25 and the Cowboys were not ranked by a single source! Brand new QB Weeden had a fine year. After spring the coaches wondered if a feature WR would emerge and it took until the end of August but Justin Blackmon did and had a huge year. OSU went 23-3 the last 2 yrs with those two. This year they depart and my biggest apprehension is that they go from a 28 year old QB to a true frosh, perhaps the largest dropoff EVER for a college QB position (10 years age diff!). OSU does have a solid O-line and my #8 set of RB’s but their biggest difference is that the defense which was #107 LY could have a Michigan ’11 type of improvement, as they have Top 25 defensive talent. They do draw Oklahoma on the road but could be favored in all their other road games meaning if they take care of business at home they could be a surprise team despite not being in the Top 15.

My #4 Surprise Team is the Wisconsin Badgers. LY AFTER my magazine was on the newsstands, Wisconsin signed Russell Wilson who had led the ACC in td passes each of the previous 3 years! Wilson is a tireless worker that came in and gave 100% effort every snap including in practice and elevated the team to the Rose Bowl (2 Hail Mary’s away from a poss Nat’l Title appearance). Had I known that he was coming in and that Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno would not be coaching their respective teams when Wisconsin faced them, I would have had the Badgers #1 by themselves as opposed to tied for #1 in the Big Ten Leaders. Danny O’Brien is NOT Russell Wilson but the Maryland transfer is a good fit for the offense and they caught a huge break when Heisman finalist Montee Ball opted to return for his Sr season. UW avoids Michigan out of the Legends and their road games all fall into the winnable category with the toughest at Nebraska and Oregon St. They face my #56 schedule with only 3 ranked teams (no Top 10) and with two of those 3 in the friendly confines of Camp Randall.

In 2010 in this spot I had a 2nd year coach in Gene Chizik who was not a popular hire (showing fans can actually be wrong) and was coming off an 8-5 season and My #5 Surprise Team, the Florida Gators, also have a 2nd year HC that is off a disappointing season at 7-6. A first year HC has to learn the players strengths and weaknesses and the team must learn his new systems. Year two everyone is up to speed. In 2000 Bob Stoops in his 2nd year shockingly won the Title. 2002 was Jim Tressel’s 2nd year at Ohio St and he was the surprise National Title winner! Urban Meyer in his 2nd year at Florida took home a National Title in 2006. In 2010 Gene Chizik (2nd year) took home the title after going 8-5 his first year at Auburn. Third yr HC’s have also won 4 in that span in ’09-Saban Alabama, ’07-Miles LSU, ’03-Carroll USC and ’97-Carr Michigan. LY Florida used 3 different QB’s due to injury, they were -12 in turnovers, go from just 9 ret sts to 17 and go from only 3 SEC home gms to just 3 SEC true road gms (Texas A&M, Tennessee, Vanderbilt). They do have to face four Top 10 teams but only one of them on the road (Florida State). No one is talking about Florida to even win the SEC East but they will be at the end of the year.

If you want my complete list of 2012 Surprise Teams (12) make sure you check out pages 20-22 of this year’s magazine!