College Football’s Most Overrated and Underrated Teams of the Past Decade

Unfortunately for the ACC, Members Such as Florida State and Miami Rank Among College Football’s Most Overrated

Over on SB Nation, Bill Connelly brought up an interesting point the other day: Has Florida State underachieved this year? It’s a fair question when looking at the overall weakness of the ACC, coupled with the talent FSU possesses on both sides of the ball and their continual refusal to dominate weaker in-conference opponents. The bigger issue here, however, is in the question itself. How do we define “underachievement” in college football? The best measure would likely be the polls, despite obvious flaws. How does a team annually stack up against its expectations that are set by preseason polling? And better, if we want to get a significant sample size, how does a team stack up to expectations over the span of a decade (2003-2012)?

We decided to take on that question, by digging through the last 10 years of the ESPN/USA Today Coach’s Poll. For each season, we took a look at every team’s preseason and postseason rankings (except for 2012, where the most recent rankings are used), and measure the distance between expectation and reality. To get even more data, we also included teams that “also received votes” and listed them in order, as if the polls continued past 25. If a team appeared in the preseason poll (let’s say there were 50 teams altogether), and not the postseason poll, that team’s postseason rank would be 51 — one past the total number of teams. This is repeated for each additional team in that situation so we can get the differentials, even for teams that fail to be included in both polls. Lastly, we averaged the differentials for each team based on however many years they appeared in the polls, and that gets you a picture of just how “overrated” or underrated these teams may be. In general, if it’s within five full spots or so on the poll, a team can be considered “accurately” ranked.

We’ll start with the “underrated” teams, before the yelling starts later on for the “overrated” ones:

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Florida State vs. Notre Dame in the BCS Championship: Could the ACC’s Dream Scenario Happen?

Both Sitting at 4-0, Could Florida State and Notre Dame Meet for the National Championship?

There exists a dream scenario for the ACC — an ideal ending to the season, where Florida State meets Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game – in the Orange Bowl, no less!

Could it happen? Currently Florida State and Notre Dame are #4 and #11, respectively. For them to play each other in the BCS national championship game they would have to be #1 and #2. So the questions are who’s ahead of them, and what would have to happen for these two teams to climb that high?

Florida State

The Seminoles are already #4, so they only need to move up two spots. Two of those teams are Alabama and LSU, who play each other, thus guaranteeing a loss to one of them. Could FSU possibly jump them both?

Alabama plays consecutive road games at Missouri, then Tennessee. If Missouri is able to at least work them hard enough, it’s certainly possible for the Volunteers to finish the job  and give the Crimson Tide its first loss of the season. Alabama then has to travel to LSU — another possible loss. Two losses would certainly be enough to knock Alabama out of the national championship game. Even one loss should be enough to allow an undefeated FSU team to pass them.

Between the top two SEC teams, LSU appears to have the tougher conference schedule. In addition to the SEC West teams, the Tigers must travel to Florida and also host South Carolina (note: to make it even more difficult, those games are back-to-back). So a loss outside of the ‘Bama game is certainly possible for the Bayou Bengals. Furthermore, if Florida beats LSU, that would be ideal because Florida States plays the Gators and could not only take them down but also hurt LSU’s strength of schedule at the same time.

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Conference Realignment: Which BCS Schools Have a Right to Complain About Their League?

Which Teams Have Severely Outperformed Their Conference-mates Over the Past Five Seasons?

Though conference realignment talk has simmered a bit over the past week, it’s still a hot topic in the back of everyone’s heads as we await news on what the college football playoffs will look like. Teams like Florida State claim they pull more than their own weight when it comes to the product on the field in the ACC. But there’s also plenty of other schools that either fail to do so, or consistently do so, yet are mum on the subject. This is where our debate starts today.

We’ve broken down each of the six current “BCS conferences,” calculating the average wins over the last five years on both a per-conference, and per-school basis. While wins aren’t the only factors in conference realignment, the thought is that actual football performance may still matter somewhat in the game of “who brings the most televisions to market” — or at least that’s what we hope. As a forewarning, for some this exercise was a point of validation (Oregon, Alabama, in particular), while for others it was a sobering glance at ineptitude (Washington State and Syracuse, to name a few). Enjoy… Continue reading

ACC Football Chat: About Arkansas Firing Bobby Petrino

Former Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino Messed Up. Is He the Only College Coach With Some Baggage, Though?

In our weekly chats, Mike and I discuss different topics pertaining to ACC football and then post the conversation up here. Disagree with us? By all means, share your thoughts below. Happy to continue to the debate.

This week’s topic: The Bobby Petrino scandal and subsequent firing at Arkansas

John: First off, what do u think of Bobby Petrino’s decision to be fired, rather than dealing with penalties from Arkansas? Dumb move on his part?

Mike: He chose to be fired. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I can see why the school wanted to take action. His conduct reflected poorly on the school. But the Razorbacks are a solid team, and choosing to be fired just makes him look like more of a quitter, especially after the way he left the Atlanta Falcons. And the team was good enough that they probably couldve survived a game or two without him

J: … And don’t forget how he left Louisville, too. So what impact does this have on Arkansas? Footnote, or differencemaker?

M: He’s not a bad coach. If he misses a few cupcake games, no big deal, but not coming back at all will cause them to underperform.

J: If Doug Marrone had done the same, what would ur stance be?

M: Probably the same. Screwing around on your wife isn’t illegal, and he shouldn’t lose his job for it, even if the girl was a subordinate (unless his contract specifically forbids it). However, he’s a public figure, and his conduct makes his employer look bad, so a suspension is warranted. I’d say the same about Marrone, or anyone, really. Continue reading