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College Football Season

Bowl Notes, Facts

by Mike Mitchell
Updated December 17, 2008

For just the fifth time in 16 years, the Congrove Computer Rankings' preseason forecast missed on picking at least one of the national championship game participants. Like most, the CCR pegged Georgia and Ohio State to advance to the title game. Oklahoma was preseason ranked No. 9 and Florida was No. 6.

Still, the computer has picked at least one of the national title game contestants 11 times in its 16-year history (1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007). 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).

For 2008, it projected the exact regular season record of 22 teams, doubling the total of 11 from a year ago. It came within one victory on 26 others.

The computer correctly picked the winner in 75.7% of all games played in 2008 while beating the spread in 52% of the games, almost exactly the same percentages it had prior to the 2006 bowl games.

During the season, the computer went 11-1 or better on the weekly picks of 25 teams, including unbeaten marks with Akron, Baylor, Iowa State, Michigan State, and SMU.

Against the spread, the computer was 10-1 with Ohio and Troy. It was 9-2 with Miami (Ohio) and 8-2 with Texas Tech. It missed just three times with Bowling Green, Clemson, Marshall, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, San Diego State, and South Carolina.

The computer had an .875 winning percentage straight up on Big 12 teams, and .860 on PAC-10 teams. It was 64-8 with Big 12 North teams.

The computer hit 71.6% against the spread on MAC games, and 58.9 percent on Big East games. It was .500 or better with 87 of the 120 teams.

The computer's preseason rankings correctly tabbed the winners of five conferences - ACC, Big Ten, Mountain West, PAC-10, and WAC. It also nailed the division winners of the ACC Coastal and CUSA West. Nine more conferences or divisions were won by teams that the computer picked to finish second.

Bowl First-Timer
Despite the explosion in the number of bowl games, they have featured just one first-time participant in each of the last three seasons. This year, it's Buffalo. Last year it was FAU. In 2006, it was Middle Tennessee.

First time in a long time
These teams have had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
Vanderbilt, 1982
Arizona, 1998
Louisiana Tech, 2001
Mississippi, 2003
North Carolina, 2004
Pittsburgh, 2004

Still Waiting
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl absence:
FIU, Never
Louisiana-Lafayette, Never
Louisiana-Monroe, Never
Western Kentucky, Never
New Mexico State, 1960
Kent State, 1972
Temple, 1979
SMU, 1984
Eastern Michigan, 1987
Baylor, 1994
Duke, 1995
Army, 1996
Utah State, 1997
Idaho, 1998
San Diego State, 1998

Bowl Appearance Streak
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances, including this year:
Florida State, 27
Florida, 18
Virginia Tech, 16
Georgia, 12
Georgia Tech, 12

Bowl Winning Streak
Boston College, 8 (Last loss, 1999)
Utah, 7 (1996)
Oregon State, 4 (2002)
Texas, 4 (2003)
California, 3 (2004)
Cincinnati, 3 (2002)
LSU, 3 (2004)
Mississippi State, 3 (1998)
N.C. State, 3 (2001)
Penn State, 3 (2002)
TCU, 3 (2003)
UNLV, 3 (Never)
West Virginia, 3 (2004)

Bowl Losing Streak
Notre Dame, 9 (Last win, 1993)
Houston, 8 (1980)
Northwestern, 5 (1948)
Ball State, 4 (Never)
UTEP, 4 (1967)
Colorado State, 3 (2001)
Georgia Tech, 3 (2004)
Ohio, 3 (Never)
Rice, 4 (1953)
San Diego State, 3 (1969)
Texas A&M, 3 (2001)
Western Michigan, 3 (Never)

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Ball State, 0-4
Ohio, 0-3
Western Michigan, 0-3
Central Florida, 0-2
Akron, 0-1
Arkansas State, 0-1
Kent State, 0-1
Middle Tennessee, 0-1
UAB, 0-1

Best Bowl Winning Percentage (Minimum 20 appearance. Source: College Football Data Warehouse)
Penn State, .675 (26-12-2)
USC, .652 (30-16)
Mississippi, .613 (19-12)
Georgia Tech, .611 (22-14)
Oklahoma, .598 (24-16)

Most Bowl Wins
Alabama, 31
Southern Cal, 30
Penn State, 26
Tennessee, 25
Georgia, 24
Oklahoma, 24
Texas, 24
Georgia Tech, 22
Nebraska, 22
Florida State, 20

4 teams finished the regular season unbeaten: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State and Utah. However, Alabama and Ball State each lost in their respective conference championship games, leaving Boise State and Utah by themselves.

This is Boise State's third undefeated regular season in the last five years. Utah went undefeated in 2004 and beat Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl. This year, the Utes will face Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record through the bowl season.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

Washington was the only winless team.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

3 teams failed to defeat a FBS school: SMU, Washington, and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were renamed late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

FBS teams went 85-2 (.977) against FCS teams this season, and are 375-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams participated in a total of 87 games that pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each played two such games.

ACC teams played more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

Utah has won 13 straight games. Plays Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl.

Boise State has won 12 straight overall, 19 consecutive home games, 49 straight regular season home games, and has never lost at home to a fellow WAC conference member (32-0). Overall, the Broncos have won 38 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season when it was a member of the Big West. Plays TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Florida has won 9 straight. Plays Oklahoma for the BCS title.

USC has won 9 straight. Plays Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

Oklahoma has won 23 straight home games. Plays Florida for the BCS title.

BYU has won 18 consecutive home games. Plays Arizona in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Washington has the longest losing streak in the nation at 14 games, and has lost 8 straight home games. Season complete.

SMU has lost 10 straight overall, 17 straight conference games, 15 consecutive road games, and 21 straight to FBS teams. Season complete.

Iowa State has lost 10 straight overall, and 17 consecutive road games. Season complete.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year began with 18 2008 coaching changes, and grew to 19 when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.

Only one team with a new coach failed to defeat an FBS school - SMU.

Arkansas 5-7 Bobby Petrino Season complete
Baylor 4-8 Art Briles Season complete
Colorado State 6-6 Steve Fairchild 12/20, vs. Fresno State
Duke 4-8 David Cutcliffe Season complete
Georgia Tech 9-3 Paul Johnson 12/31, vs. LSU
Hawaii 7-6 Greg McMackin 12/24, vs. Notre Dame
Houston 7-5 Kevin Sumlin 12/31, vs. Air Force
Michigan 3-9 Rich Rodriguez Season complete
Mississippi 8-4 Houston Nutt 1/2, vs. Texas Tech
Navy 8-4 Ken Nuimatalolo 12/20, vs. Wake Forest
Nebraska 8-4 Bo Pelini 1/1, vs. Clemson
Northern Illinois 6-6 Jerry Kill 12/28, vs. Louisiana Tech
SMU 1-11 June Jones Season complete
Southern Miss 6-6 Larry Fedora 12/21, vs. Troy
Texas A&M 4-8 Mike Sherman Season complete
UCLA 4-8 Rick Neuheisel Season complete
Washington State 2-11 Paul Wulff Season complete
West Virginia 8-4 Bill Stewart 12/27, vs. North Carolina

Midseason Change:      
Clemson 4-2 Dabo Swinney 1/1, vs. Nebraska

The 2008 season wasn't close to being over when jobs started opening up for 2009. (See Coaching Changes for details):

As of today's date, there will be 20 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks next season.

14 positions have been filled as of today's date.

Only 3 have served previously as a FBS head coach - Gene Chizik, Brady Hoke, who switched from Ball State to San Diego State; and Bill Snyder, who returned to Kansas State for a second stint.

Of the remaining 11, 6 were offensive coordinators in their most-recent job - Doug Marrone (New Orleans Saints); Dave Clawson (Tennessee); Dan Mullen (Florida); Mike Locksley (Illinois); Steve Sarkisian (USC): and Dave Christensen (Missouri).

2 were defensive coordinators - Gary Andersen (Utah); and Tim Beckman (Oklahoma State).

1 was a wide receivers coach - Dabo Swinney (Clemson), who took over as interim coach when Tommy Bowden steeped down in midseason.

1 was an NFL head coach - Lane Kiffin (Oakland Raiders).

1 was a FCS head coach - Danny Hope (Eastern Kentucky. Spent this season as OC at Purdue.

Army - Stan Brock out.
Auburn - Tommy Tuberville out. Gene Chizik in.
Ball State - Brady Hoke out.
Bowling Green - Gregg Brandon out. Dave Clawson in.
Clemson - Tommy Bowden out. Dabo Swinney in.
Eastern Michigan - Jeff Genyk out.
Iowa State - Gene Chizik out.
Kansas State
- Ron Prince out. Bill Snyder in.
Miami (O.) - Shane Montgomery out.
Mississippi State - Sylvester Croom out. Dan Mullen in.
New Mexico - Rocky Long out. Mike Locksley in.
New Mexico State - Hal Mumme out.
San Diego State - Chuck Long out. Brady Hoke in.
Syracuse - Greg Robinson out. Doug Marrone in.
Tennessee - Phillip Fulmer out. Lane Kiffin in.
Toledo - Tom Amstutz out. Tim Beckman in.
Utah State - Brent Guy out. Gray Andersen in.
Washington - Ty Willingham out. Steve Sarkisian in.
Wyoming - Joe Glenn out. Dave Christensen in.

Purdue - Joe Tiller announced in January that this would be his last season, and former assistant Danny Hope was hired away from Eastern Kentucky to become his successor. Tiller was 87-62 in 12 seasons at Purdue, and 126-92-1 when you include his 6 seasons at Wyoming from 1991-1996. Purdue was just 4-8 (2-6, Big Ten) this year.


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