Friday, January 16, 2009

Florida Is The Best

Stewart Mandel has given the Gators plenty of praise in his recent columns, but I couldn’t help but note this gem under the “Story Highlights” section of his article about the Gators winning the BCS

The Florida program is quickly starting to resemble Pete Carroll's Trojans

To which I say –

Pete Carroll wishes his program resembled ours.

I cast a somewhat controversial vote for Utah as number 1 in my BlogPoll ballot, but I stated then – and restate here – Florida is the best college football team right now, bar none. Florida also has the best program.

Everyone knows Florida has won two of the last 3 BCS titles. What isn’t as widely recognized is the level of competition Florida had to face in accomplishing that task.

Over the past three years the Gators have posted a record of 35-6 on route to their 2 SEC and BCS titles. No team has faced a harder schedule during that time. Florida has played teams since 2006 with a cumulative record of 280 wins and 155 losses, or a winning percentage of 64.37%.

In fact, no other team even comes close.

The top ten toughest schedules for the past 3 years are (with winning percentage) –

1 Florida 64.37%
2 Georgia 58.94%
3 Oklahoma 58.81%
4 Arkansas 58.56%
5 Virginia Tech 58.33%
6 Oklahoma St. 58.25%
7 Kentucky 58.21%
8 SMU 58.16%
9 Oregon St. 57.91%
10 Michigan 57.84%

Florida faced teams with a winning percentage 5.43% better than the team with the second toughest schedule Georgia. But win-losses, the Gators played teams that won 46 more games, and lost 8 fewer, than the second place Bulldogs.

And what of those Trojan’s that the ever praiseful Mr. Mandel thinks that Meyer’s Gators are beginning to resemble?

Well they did lose one less game than Florida in the past three years, but they also won one less to, for a 34-5 overall record. In doing so they played teams with a cumulative record of 195-208, or a winning percentage of 48.39%. Or, rather, a losing percentage of 51.61%. This record of tepid achievement places them 79th of the NCAA’s 119 teams.

In other words Florida played teams with a nearly 16% better winning record than USC, or teams with a cumulative 85 more wins over only a 3 year period. The same teams Florida played also had 53 less losses.

Even more interestingly, Florida has faced the toughest schedule in the SEC while over the past 3 years, while USC has faced the softest in their conference. By conference –















Not only have the teams with the 4 toughest schedules in the SEC played a tougher slate than the top Pac Ten team in Oregon State, EVERY SEC team has played a harder schedule than Southern Cal by a significant margin. In fact every SEC team played a harder or as hard schedule over the last three years than the bottom 4 Pac Ten teams.

It’s harder to be Vanderbilt than it is to be USC.


To sum:

2006-2008

Florida

Record: 35-6
Opponents Records: 280-155 (64.37%)
Opponents Records Rank: 1st in NCAA
2 Conference Titles
2 BCS Titles

USC

Record: 34-5
Opponents Records: 195-208 (48.39%)
Opponents Records Rank: 79th in NCAA
3 Conference Titles
No BCS Titles

I know which program I’d rather resemble.

17 comments:

JD said...

Funny how USC honks on TV & radio never mention the level of competition. I wonder how they stack up against the WAC or Mountain West? Maybe the Pac10 should lose their BCS auto-bid.

Griffin Caprio said...

JD,

Funny you should say that. I just posted an analysis of USC & the Pac-10 on my blog:

http://www.threesapattern.com/blog/2009/01/07/usc-the-pac-10-and-the-bcs/

And wondered aloud about revoking the Pac-10s bid vs revoking the ACC and/or Big East bid.

Adam Silverstein said...

USC faces the softest schedule in their conference because, well, they don't play USC.

Loved the rest of the post. Just wanted to point that out.

Carl said...

@Adam Silverstein:

By that measure, Florida should also face the softest schedule in the SEC.

And yet...

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Carl > Adam Silverstein

RHOmea said...

"USC faces the softest schedule in their conference because, well, they don't play USC."

and Big 12 Defenses stats stink because they have to play Big 12 Offenses?

Pretzel Logic.

Trader Rick said...

"I cast a somewhat controversial vote for Utah as number 1 in my BlogPoll ballot, but I stated then – and restate here – Florida is the best college football team right now, bar none."

Makes sense: Don't vote for the best team as #1--good strategy.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Trader rick,

As Mergz has consistently pointed out there are no set criteria for any voter in any poll. Some vote the best resume, some vote for what they think is the best team, etc. And that's what's fucked (among other things) about this "system" we have.

Mergz said...

A pretty good case can be made the Giants were not the best NFL team last season.

RHOmea said...

Hey Mergz,

any chance you can apply your formula to UF vs Utah in the last 3 years?

I'd love to see where the Utes come in as I just don't believe they have met the standard to be voted Nr 1 in the country based on their schedule.

As much as the BCS system sucks (which is more than a lot), IMO it succeeded in crowning the best team in NCAA Div I football this year.

Adam Silverstein said...

Sorry, not a constant visitor so didn't get to see all the replies to my comment until now.

My point was that, unlike Florida, the remainder of the Pac-10 is not as strong as the remainder of the SEC is. Therefore, for the rest of the conference having to play USC is a big disadvantage as opposed to them not having to play themselves.

Mergz, is there any way to e-mail you or talk by Google Chat? Had some questions to ask ya...

the Swedish Chef said...

C'mon, Mergz - you're better than this.

You know as well as anyone that straight win-loss record isn't an accurate indicator of strength. Hell, even the NCAA included opponents-opponents record when they were tabulating strength of schedule. And we all know what morons they can be.

If you go by straight win-loss, the Gators aren't the national champion in either 2006 or 2008 - Boise State and Utah were both 13-0 those years. And your 9-4 record in 2007 would put you 20th in the rankings at best.

And you neglect to mention that since the addition of the 12th game, Pac-10 teams take an extra 5 losses each year since they play each other, while SEC teams can go 12-0 against whoever. So over three years, there's 15 extra losses right there and a possible difference of 21, figuring for two extra SEC teams.

You usually do great stuff here, and I know you're a Gator homer, but this is just a lame attempt to cherry-pick stats that suit your argument.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Chef, He's not just going by W-L record.

Also, with regards to this:

If you go by straight win-loss, the Gators aren't the national champion in either 2006 or 2008 - Boise State and Utah were both 13-0 those years. And your 9-4 record in 2007 would put you 20th in the rankings at best.

The truth is the Gators don't have any national championships and neither do any other teams in the history of division 1A. It's a sham. Teams have claims to "championships" awarded by third parties like the Associated Press, the New York Times, etc. There's no NCAA championship in big time college football. And that's why there a is a debate. On Sunday we will all know who the NFL champion is. No polls will be necessary. No debate will be had.

the Swedish Chef said...

If he's not going by W-L Henry, then what's he going by? Those are the only stats I see in the post...

And no, the debate isn't because there's not a NCAA certified championship - there's a debate because of the way that the championships are decided. Reducing the argument down to the point that the "championships" don't even exist is ridiculous and doesn't add anything to the discussion.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Chef,

Were you born dense or was it acquired? Mergz' post talks about wins and losses as well as strength of schedule and program reputation. USC with a weaker strength of schedule than Utah would have played in the BCS championship with an undefeated record. That's a FACT.

And you must not read this blog very often. I suggest you start with Mergz series about the so-called "National Championship". You can find it in the sidebar. I'll say it one more time, the NCAA does not award and has never awarded a national championship for D1A college football.

Educate yourself dude before you go around lecturing.

the Swedish Chef said...

"Mergz' post talks about wins and losses as well as strength of schedule and program reputation"

Henry, Mergz's SoS is based purely on Wins and Losses - that's the problem with it. Strength of schedule compilations are based on what criteria you want to include, and my point (which I thought I backed up well in my previous post) is that winning percentage alone is not an accurate representation of strength, therefore a SoS based on winning percentage alone is not accurate. Just like rankings, SoS is subjective, so any FACTS you want to throw out there about SoS are still just OPINION. (And where is this "program reputation" that you talk about? Is that based on winning percentage too?)

"I'll say it one more time, the NCAA does not award and has never awarded a national championship for D1A college football."

Just because the NCAA doesn't award a national championship doesn't mean that ones awarded by other entities aren't recognized. Everybody knows that national championships go to the teams who finish #1 in the AP or Coaches polls in January - they've been doing it that way for decades. You can choose not to recognize them if you want to, but everybody else in college football does - that's the reality.

There's more sides to the argument than Mergz's.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Tiresome and boring is how I describe this exchange.

There are varying formulas for calculating Strength of Schedule. As we have pointed out on this blog most of them have some "black box" element to them which makes us suspicious. Take a look at the wide variation among the SoS scores just in the computers used by the BCS.

The NCAA, which does NOT sanction a national championship, DOES IN FACT sanction a strength of schedule ranking. And guess what? It's a simple W-L record of the competition faced. Admittedly it's not sophisticated but if the ultimate stat in football is wins and losses then a team that wins against teams with winning records has a better resume than another team that has the same record against teams with a losing record. Of course the level of competition those records are obtained against are variable. But that's the big freaking mess that college football is.

As for reputation, I never mentioned it as a criteria for ranking teams. That's one of the things that's crazy about this shit. Mergz alludes to the reputation of USC and dismantles the argument.

And if you want to consider the shampionship that exists now a true championship, that's up to you.

We don't believe in that bullshit here.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are NFL champions today. Nobody can make a "claim" to it. There's no split title. Nobody voted them in. Maybe that's too straight forward for you.