Beyond the Box Score: Final '+' Rankings

Alright, I have finally officially finished my play-by-play entry for 2008, and therefore I have my final '+' rankings as well.  I'll go into detail if anybody wants me to, but for now here's my Top 50.  Reactions after the jump.

Team Final Rank Offense Rank Defense Rank Off Run Rank Def Run Rank Off Pass Rank Def Pass Rank Final AP Rank
USC 1 3 3 7 7 2 3 3
Florida 2 2 4 1 12 3 5 1
Oklahoma 3 1 7 6 9 1 8 5
TCU 4 55 1 39 1 82 1 7
Texas 5 10 2 31 2 8 2 4
Penn State 6 4 10 2 8 7 22 8
Boise State 7 13 5 67 6 5 7 11
Ohio State 8 12 6 9 35 14 4 9
Alabama 9 7 9 4 5 23 27 6
Missouri 10 14 16 28 11 12 21 19
Oregon 11 6 29 3 16 33 36 10
Iowa 12 22 11 14 4 39 30 20
Georgia 13 5 60 27 69 4 38 13
Oklahoma State 14 15 32 16 47 11 28 16
Oregon State 15 24 19 38 25 20 14 18
Kansas 16 19 28 19 34 24 25
Texas Tech 17 9 45 5 83 19 18 12
Utah 18 25 23 41 20 21 32 2
Cincinnati 19 40 13 61 17 28 12 17
Ole Miss 20 16 38 48 23 6 56 14
Nebraska 21 18 41 46 61 9 29
Pittsburgh 22 39 20 15 30 62 13
South Florida 23 21 37 36 10 15 84
Illinois 24 32 30 44 36 22 34
Wisconsin 25 29 36 12 41 57 31
California 26 48 15 37 26 66 11
LSU 27 28 40 17 62 36 26
Florida State 28 26 49 11 57 51 44 21
Arizona 29 23 51 22 85 30 23
UConn 30 68 14 30 33 105 9
Tennessee 31 80 8 45 3 100 48
Michigan State 32 56 24 64 29 43 19 24
Clemson 33 71 18 77 24 67 24
Rutgers 34 34 53 63 27 17 94
South Carolina 35 60 26 71 37 49 17
Arkansas 36 35 55 35 63 27 47
West Virginia 37 27 68 18 80 31 57 23
Nevada 38 31 66 13 54 55 69
Boston College 39 49 35 50 22 59 58
North Carolina 40 42 50 65 40 25 67
Virginia Tech 41 76 21 53 14 94 42 15
Georgia Tech 42 20 79 8 78 61 80 22
Troy 43 75 22 75 19 69 33
Wake Forest 44 92 12 96 15 81 10
BYU 45 8 107 25 96 10 106 25
Stanford 46 11 106 10 97 13 104
Maryland 47 38 73 33 46 38 92
Ball State 48 46 52 62 51 48 55
Northwestern 49 57 44 82 43 37 45
Rice 50 17 100 21 103 16 98
Baylor 51 44 70 34 70 56 61
Colorado 78 113 31 100 56 110 16
Kansas State 84 72 82 87 91 58 74
Texas A&M 100 85 89 94 100 73 73
Iowa State 106 100 98 92 79 95 113

Thoughts...and remember, this is a per-play measure.  So that means, among other things, a) these rankings don't take actual wins and losses into account, and b) what is taken into account is what you did on every (close-game) play against a given opponent compared to what the average team did against said opponent.

  • Other teams of interest:  Tulsa #55 (due to a #90 defense), East Carolina #59 (#89 offense), Notre Dame #60 (remember this every time you see them ranked in somebody's preseason Top 25...or higher), Michigan #73 (#96 offense), Buffalo #86 (Gill's Bulls were really only good at one thing in particular: playing close games...but they were very good at that).
  • Bottom 5: Washington State #120, Idaho #119, Western Kentucky #118, North Texas #117, Miami-OH (?) #116.
  • Mizzou played 6 teams in the Top 25, going 2-4.
  • Mizzou the #21 pass defense?  Really?  How's that happen?  That happens because a) Mizzou played against one of the best collections of passing offenses in the country, and b) these rankings focus only on "close-game" plays, and a ton of the yardage Mizzou gave up came when they were either up or down quite a bit.  I realize this isn't going to convince any scarred fans that Mizzou's defense was only okay and not ABOMINABLY AWFUL FIRE MATT EBERFLUS!!!!1!!!1!ONE!!!!, but just throwing it out there...
  • It's this same concept that resulted in Oklahoma having a Top 10 defense.  Very few offenses moved the ball well against OU when the game was close...and those who did, had great offenses.
  • It was USC, Florida, OU...and everybody else.  The difference between #3 OU and #4 TCU was the same as the difference between #12 Iowa and #26 California.
  • Kansas #16?  That's what happens when you end up with a winning record after playing three of the Top 10 and six of the Top 25.  (I added a slight strength-of-opponents component to the rankings.)
  • Illinois #24?  On a play-by-play basis, they were a rock solid team.  They just couldn't close out games.  As Dr. Saturday pointed out recently, it just furthers the continuing bizarre trend of Illinois' stats not at all matching their results.  Depending on your point of view, that either says good things about their bounce-back potential in 2009, or further confirms that Ron Zook isn't a very good coach.  Your call.
  • Tennessee #31?  That's what happens when you have a fantastic defense, play a tough(ish) schedule, and lose three games by a possession or less.  If Phil Fulmer had stayed, there would have been some decent bounceback potential in 2009, and there may still be, but we'll see how Lane Kiffin's mix-'n-match coaching staff gels, and how quickly.
  • '+' rankings: not too impressed with the Big East and ACC.  Or Conference USA, for that matter.
  • The top three bowl games, according to '+' Rankings: 1) BCS Championship Game, 2) Rose Bowl, 3) ...Poinsettia Bowl.  Those three and the Fiesta Bowl occupied all of the Top 8 teams.  In other words, well done, bowl games.
  • Irony: Pete Carroll hates the computers, yet this computer gives his team justification for feeling like #1.
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