Monday, January 15, 2007

Who beat the number two’s?

One of the popular refrains from Buckeye fans this year was that they had faced and beaten “two number two teams”. (Purportedly they were to do this thrice in facing Florida).

But did they really?

Sure, Texas and Michigan were both 2nd ranked at the time Ohio State played and defeated them. However, I submit that rankings, especially as early as the Texas game, are highly suspect. Take these Coaches’ Poll rankings to start the year –

3. Notre Dame (tied)
10. Florida State
11. Miami

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now, I will submit both Texas and Michigan were good teams this year. But were they really number 2?

In the final Coaches’ Poll of the year, Michigan ended up ranked 9th after its twin defeats, and Texas ended up 13th.

I would say it was more accurate Ohio State beat the 9th and 13th teams in their two best wins of the year.

Earlier in the year, I wrote a post stating that Florida’s three game span against LSU, Auburn and Georgia was “unprecedented” in that it would be the first time a Florida team had ever faced 3 top ten opponents in a row. Well, Georgia and Auburn both managed to lose before we could play them, so my observation did not truly come to pass. It would be inaccurate to say we faced 3 "top 10" teams.

Obviously, Texas and Michigan did not prove worthy of those lofty early rankings. And, since two teams cannot be “number 2” in the final poll, it is impossible to say anyone truly played “two number twos” in a single season.

Florida, however, did the next best thing. Florida beat number 2 and number 3 in the final poll. (Ohio State and LSU).

I am not sure if this has ever been done before; suffice to say it has not been done in recent history. While in the BCS era it is pretty common for the number one team to have defeated the number 2 team (pretty much the BCS goal), having the final number 1 beat the final number 2 AND 3 might be unprecedented.

Having beat them by a combined 40 points speaks very loudly.


Anonymous said...

> Now, I will submit both Texas and Michigan were good teams this year. But were they really number 2?

My momma told me if it looks like #2 and it smells like #2, then it's probably #2. The way UM looked against USC and the way UT smelled against TAMU fits momma's criteria.

They were really #2!

jimcaserta said...

Pre and early season rankings are worthless. 5 big time teams in 2006 started the season unranked - Arkansas, Boise St., Wisconsin, Rutgers & Wake Forest. Florida will play the role of Texas this year, probably being pre-season #2, but will end up 10-2. It'll be inexcusable, but I think the underestimated team in the big10 will be Wisc. again.

The fact that ND was #1 preseason in a lot of polls highlights the point that people really don't care about defense. It's hard to quantify and requires watching a lot of actual games. But ND had 9 starters returning on defense!

My question #1 for the gators is how they replace the 9 starters they're losing.

In 1995 UF beat #2 and #5 in the coach's poll, and lost to #1. 1991 we beat #4 and #5. This year Arkansas suffered losses to #1, #3, #4 - tough!

Anonymous said...

In 1971 Nebraska went 13-0-0 and beat #2 Oklahoma and #3 Colorado.