Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Staying on Top is Harder Than You Think

The 2010 season was a struggle for the Georgia Bulldogs as their record fell to 6-6. But after going 8-5 during the 2009 season, this drop was not as dramatic as some other college football programs suffered this fall. In looking at the teams that finished in the top 15 of final Coaches’ Poll last year, you will see a number of schools really struggled this year. Here are those 15 schools:

Rank School Final Record
1 Alabama 14-0
2 Texas 13-1
3 Florida 13-1
4 Boise State 14-0
5 Ohio State 11-2
6 TCU 12-1
7 Iowa 11-2
8 Penn State 11-2
9 Cincinnati 12-1
10 Virginia Tech 10-3
11 Oregon 10-3
12 BYU 11-2
13 Georgia Tech 11-3
14 Nebraska 10-4
15 Pitt 10-3

Of those schools, eight schools (Alabama, Texas, Boise State, Ohio State, TCU, Cincy, Oregon, Georgia Tech) were declared champions of their respective conference. In addition, two others (Florida and Nebraska) played in conference championship games. Twelve of the fifteen schools to finish 2009 ranked in the top 15 found themselves ranked in the top 15 again in the preseason Coaches’ Poll. Georgia Tech was still in the top 25 (at #17) while BYU and Cincinnati were unranked. Now take a look at those same programs’ records during the 2010 season:

Alabama 9-3
Texas 5-7
Florida 7-5
Boise State 10-1
Ohio State 11-1
TCU 12-0
Iowa 7-5
Penn State 7-5
Cincinnati 4-7
Virginia Tech 10-2
Oregon 11-0
BYU 6-6
Georgia Tech 6-6
Nebraska 10-2
Pitt 6-5

Three of these schools (TCU, Ohio State, Oregon) have already clinched a conference championship and 4 others are still alive for theirs (Boise State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Pitt). And while these fifteen schools still remained competitive in 2010, there has been a dramatic drop off in the overall records of these schools. Two of the schools, Texas and Cincinnati, who both went undefeated during regular season last year failed to reach bowl eligibility. Over half (8) of these programs failed to win more than 7 games this fall and only one school (Oregon) has already guaranteed itself a better record in ’10 than it had in ’09. Virginia Tech, Nebraska, and TCU can improve on their ’09 win totals by winning either their conference championship or bowl games.

What does this all mean? That getting to the top and staying there in college football is a pretty tough thing to do. Because teams often see success in years when they are filled with senior leaders and talented juniors, the following season can often mean a slight decline in victories. While Georgia’s drop from 8-5 to 6-6 may seem bad in a historical context, it was definitely not a significant single year fall. Just be glad we are not Texas, who went from the National Championship game to being stuck at home for the entire winter break.


Anonymous said...

Georgia fans love to complain, that's for sure. To some extent, I understand. However, Georgia was competitive in every loss--save maybe MSU. Colorado was an embarrassment, but they were competitive in their losses and dominant in their wins. I mean, with a couple of breaks, the Dawgs are easily 9-3. I know, woulda, coulda, shoulda, but aint. Texas was awful in their losses--it wasn't even close. So, there were no Tennessee beat down's from '09 or Bama in '08 type games the way Texas had. Despite the record, I think they actually had a better season than '09 with a sh!t ton more to build on going forward.

AUMaverick said...

I have to also say when Cam leaves, Auburn may face the same let-down as Texas or Florida. I just hope its not the supernova black-hole type of let down Texas has seen this year.

alex gibbs said...

I completely agree with Anon....This season, to me, was much better than last season. We have much more to build on, we have a QB that is going to shine even more next year, and hopefully the defense will keep figuring out this system even more. We'll all have a short drive to the bowl we go to, and short time until spring's not so bad after all.