Biggest jumps: SMU (0.096); Northern Ill. (0.048); Temple (0.039); FIU (0.035); LA-Monroe (0.028)
Biggest drops: Pittsburgh (-0.064); Clemson (-0.054); Wake Forest (-0.031); Maryland (-0.031); Boston College (-0.029)
Full rankings after the jump.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Eddie and I got distracted by life after the end of the championship game, but over a month later here is your final TFG top 25 for the 2011 - 2012 season.
Rankings through games of 2012-01-15
New entries: Temple, West Virginia.
Dropped out: Nebraska, Texas.
In a surprise to effectively no one, the Alabama Crimson Tide end the season atop the rankings. Certainly some say that Oklahoma State deserved a shot at the title in place of Alabama. I'm not going to re-hash those arguments here, but I will make this observation: based on nearly twelve years of data, the Crimson Tide had the highest end-of-season rankings we've seen here. If they played the 2003 USC Trojans, they would be 73% likely to win. They'd be two-to-one favorites against the 2008 Tebow Gators, as well as Vince Young and the 2005 Texas Longhorns. The 2011 Oklahoma State Cowboys would have had a one-in-four shot of winning a title game against LSU.
Their odds against Alabama?
One in eight.
That's not to say that they absolutely, positively would have lost; there's a reason we play the games. But that is to say to call the Cowboys "underdogs" in this context would be a polite understatement of the highest order.
Let me also take a moment to address some expected criticism.
Wisconsin and Oregon effectively played to a tie. As a friend of mine from LSU said, "Wisconsin obviously took a page from the 'Les Miles School of Clock Management', but forgot to take the more advanced 'Pulling Wins Out of Your Ass'." We were one second and a Hail Mary away from OT.
Stanford was the better team. If it weren't for some poor FG kicking, they would have won. If it hadn't been for two uncharacteristic turnovers and two uncharacteristic lapses on defense, it wouldn't have been close. If this game gets played ten times, Stanford wins six of them.
Boise State is still third because of how they played all season, despite their game against TCU. They gave Georgia their second-worst loss of the year (behind LSU), barely lost to an 11-2 TCU team, and beat Arizona State more soundly than Oregon.
In the end, though, this was Alabama's season. The 2011 Crimson Tide will go down as the most dominant team in the Tempo-Free Gridiron era, despite their one loss. Let's just hope they can get a better kicking game next year.
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