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Computer Rankings and National Titles: 1993-1995 | 1996-1998 | 1999-2002 | 2003-2005 | 2006-2008 | 2009-2011 | 2012-2014 |

Computer Rankings And National Titles

by Mike Mitchell
Updated 1/10/13

Here is a year-by-year look at how the computer has fared with its' preseason national title picks beginning with 1993, the first year of the Congrove Computer Rankings.

Before the 2003 season began, I took a look back at previous Congrove Computer Rankings to see how they have performed in predetermining championship game opponents over the years. Now, it has become an annual ritual to keep that research updated.

Including the 2012 season, the computer has picked at least one of the national title game contestants 12 times in its 20-year history (1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011) and 8 times in 14 BCS seasons. The team it picked to win the title has played in the title game seven times (1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005), and won the title three times (1993, 1998, 1999).

1993 (1st year of rankings)
National Champion Prediction: Florida State
Predicted Participants (Orange): Florida State (12-0) vs. Nebraska (11-0)
Actual Participants (Orange): Florida State (11-1) vs. Nebraska (11-0)
Computer line: Florida State by 16
Final: Florida State 18, Nebraska 16
National Champ: Florida State
Comment: Not a bad start for the rankings as they correctly projected Florida State and Nebraska as the top two teams that would compete for the national title. In fact, Congrove's computer offered the only preseason forecast that put Nebraska higher than No. 3 and the consensus of season preview magazines put the Cornhuskers at No. 8 according to Congrove's 1993 preseason forecast also determined the exact matchup for 7 of the 19 bowls that were in existence at the time, and put 27 of 38 teams in the correct bowls before a single snap of the season was taken. His computer then went 14-5 in picking bowl winners and 11-8 against the spread.

See: 1993 Final Computer Rankings

National Champion Prediction: Penn State
Predicted Participants (Rose): Arizona (11-0) vs. Penn State (11-0)
Actual Participants (Orange): Nebraska (12-0) vs. Miami, Fla. (10-1)
Computer Line: Miami by 4
Final: Nebraska 24, Miami 17
National Champ: Nebraska (AP, Coaches Poll)
Penn State (Congrove Computer Rankings)
Comment: Penn State was crowned the champs by the Congrove Computer Rankings, mere percentage points ahead of Nebraska. The Nittany Lions finished the season at 12-0 after whipping Oregon 38-20 in the Rose Bowl.

Arizona slipped to 8-4, losing to Utah in the Freedom Bowl, 16-13.
See: 1994 Final Computer Rankings

National Champion Prediction: Florida State
Predicted Participants (Fiesta): Florida State (11-0) vs. Nebraska (11-0)
Actual Participants (Fiesta): Florida (12-0) vs. Nebraska (10-1)
Computer Line: Florida by 9
Final: Nebraska 62, Florida 24
National Champ: Nebraska
Comment: The first year of the Alliance (predecessor to the BCS) produced a true title match-up between the top-ranked teams in the nation. Danny Wuerffel and the Gators, however, were gunned down 62-24 by Tommy Frazier and the Cornhuskers.

Florida State was beaten by the Gators at the end of the regular season, 35-24. It was the second loss of the season for the Seminoles who fell to Virginia 33-28 earlier in the year. They downed Notre Dame 31-26 in the Orange Bowl.

See: 1995 Final Computer Rankings


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