2011 College Football Program Power Rankings

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor hands off the ball to tailback Dane Sanzenbacher in the third quarter at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans during the 77th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl January 4, 2011. The Buckeyes won 31-26 UPI/Dave Fornell

Almost a year ago we decided to try to quantify the stature of college football programs so that we could rank them against one another. (Click here for the 2010 Rankings.) Then our football guru, Anthony Stalter, wrote a little bit about each program and the direction that it’s headed.

Here’s how the total points are determined — 20 points for a national championship, 10 for a BCS title game loss, seven for a BCS bowl win, five for a BCS bowl loss, five for a BCS conference championship, three for a mid-major conference championship, two for a BCS conference runner-up and one for a major bowl appearance (i.e. a bowl that has a recent payout of more than $2 million, so for 2011 that would be Capital One, Outback, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Gator, Insight, Holiday, Champs Sports and Alamo.) You’ll see the total points in parenthesis after the team’s name.

We put some thought into the point values for each accomplishment, paying special attention to how the point values are relative to one another. For example, we figured that one national championship would equate to four BCS conference championships, or three BCS bowl wins. We only looked at the last five years, as college football has increasingly become a fluid and fickle sport, and that’s about how far back a recruit will go when deciding amongst a list of schools.

Lastly, since a program is so dependent on the guy in charge, we added or subtracted points if the program saw an upgrade or downgrade at the head coach position in the last five years. A max of 10 points would be granted (or docked) based on the level of upgrade or downgrade. Again, we tried to quantify the hire relative to the program’s other accomplishments. For example, hiring Nick Saban is probably worth two BCS bowl appearances, or 10 points. (Sure, he might lead Alabama to more, but he also might bolt for another job in a year or two.)

So, without further ado, here are the rankings. Every year we’ll go through and update the numbers based on what the program did that year (while throwing out the oldest year of data), so don’t fret if your team isn’t quite where you want them right now. Everyone has a chance to move up.

1. Ohio State (58)

Previous Rank: #2 (+1)
Some college football fans will take issue with the Buckeyes being No. 1 because of their “soft schedule.” But this is a team that has dominated its conference five of the past six years and has finished no worse than second in each of the past six seasons. They’ve also appeared in two title games (though they lost both) and nine straight BCS bowl games, winning the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl in the past two years. They’ve got an interesting season coming up though. Five of their players including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron and receiver DeVier Posey will miss the first five games next year after being suspended. Can the Buckeyes stay unscathed until those players return?

2. Florida (51)

Previous Rank: #1 (-1)
If it weren’t for Urban Meyer leaving the program (and their lousy 2010 season), the Gators would probably still be ranked No. 1. They have three conference championships and two national championships in two years, but the lose of Meyer hurts big-time in these rankings. But don’t fret Florida fans, if Will Muschamp gets the program back on the right track then the Gators won’t be at No. 2 for long.

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College Football Program Power Rankings

Welcome to a new feature on The Scores Report. We thought it would be interesting to tally up all the major accomplishments of a college football program and assign a point value to each category in order to rank them against one another. Then our football guru, Anthony Stalter, wrote a little bit about each program and the direction that it’s headed.

Here’s how the points are calculated — 20 points for a national championship, 10 for a BCS title game loss, seven for a BCS bowl win, five for a BCS bowl loss, five for a BCS conference championship, three for a mid-major conference championship, two for a BCS conference runner-up and one for a major bowl appearance (i.e. a bowl that has a recent payout of more than $2 million — Capital One, Outback, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Gator, Holiday, Champs Sports and Alamo.) You’ll see the total points in parenthesis after the team’s name.

We put some thought into the point values for each accomplishment, paying special attention to how the point values are relative to one another. For example, we figured that one national championship would equate to four BCS conference championships, or three BCS bowl wins. We only looked at the last five years, as college football has increasingly become a fluid and fickle sport, and that’s about how far back a recruit will go when deciding amongst a list of schools.

Lastly, since a program is so dependent on the guy in charge, we added or subtracted points if the program upgraded or downgraded its head coach in the last five years. A max of 10 points would be granted (or docked) based on the level of upgrade or downgrade. Again, we tried to quantify the hire relative to the program’s other accomplishments. For example, hiring Nick Saban is probably worth two BCS bowl appearances, or 10 points. (Sure, he might lead Alabama to more, but he also might bolt for another job in a year or two.)

So, without further ado, here are the rankings. Every year we’ll go through and update the numbers based on what the program did that year (while throwing out the oldest year of data), so don’t fret if your team isn’t quite where you want them right now. Everyone has a chance to move up.

1. Florida Gators (61)

National Championship: ’08-W, ’06-W
BCS Bowl: ’09-W
Conference Championship: ’09-RU, ’08-W, ’06-W
Major Bowl Appearance: ’07, ’05

It’s hard to argue that the Gators don’t deserve the top spot with two national championship victories, three BCS bowl wins, two conference championships and five bowl appearances in the past five years. Considering they play in college football’s toughest conference, what Urban Meyer’s program has been able to accomplish in the past five years has been incredibly impressive. The program dodged a bullet when Meyer rejoined the team.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (58)

National Championship: ’07-L, ’06-RU
BCS Bowl: ’09-W, ’08-L, ’05-W
Conference Championship: ’09-W, ’08-RU, ’07-W, ’06-W, ’05-RU

The Buckeyes are subjected to criticism every year because they play in a weak conference that doesn’t have a title game, but keep in mind that they have absolutely owned the Big Ten over the past five years. They have finished no worse than second in each of the past five seasons and have also appeared in two title games. While it’s true they lost in both of those appearances, just getting there helped them greatly in these rankings.

3. Texas Longhorns (49)

National Championship: ’09-L, ’05-W
BCS Bowl: ’08-W,
Conference Championship: ’09-W, ’05-W
Major Bowl Appearance: ’07, ’06

The Longhorns have been a model of consistency. They’ve made a bowl appearance in each of the last five years, won a national championship in 2005 and made a title appearance this past last year. It’ll be interesting to see how Mack Brown’s program fares in 2010 now that Colt McCoy has graduated and youngster Garrett Gilbert is set to take over at quarterback.

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