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|
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.