2005's Top Over-Achievers and Under-Performers
by Mike Mitchell
Based on the power ratings of the 2005 Congrove Computer Rankings, these are the top over-achievers of the season. I took the power rating of each team prior to their first game and matched it to their power rating after their final game.
The results included some surprises.
For example, USC and Texas were expected to play in the title game but both teams still managed to increase their power ratings beyond their lofty expectations. Texas led all gainers with an increase of 12.42 power points while USC came in eighth with a gain of 6.65.
West Virginia, Notre Dame, TCU and Penn State are four teams that easily spring to mind when you think of programs that performed better than expected. Indeed, West Virginia had the year's second-largest gain at 11.49 points.
The Mountaineers began the year with an inexperienced team. They were missing well over half of their starters from the previous season and didn't return any of their top offensive performers. But quarterback Pat White replaced Adam Bednarik and became a star while the defense improved dramatically. Thus, West Virginia went from a last-place Big East projection to a first-place finish and defeated Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to conclude a remarkable 11-1 season.
On the other hand, some would suggest that Virginia Tech did not fare as well as anticipated, yet the Hokies picked up 6.10 power points over the course of the season to place tenth on the list of over-achievers. Virginia Tech lost to Florida State in the ACC title game.
Florida State finished just 0.53 points below the computer's forecast which picked the Seminoles to go 6-5 in the regular season. They went 7-4.
UCF, which began the year with the nation's longest losing streak but finished 8-5 after its loss in the Hawaii Bowl, did not make the top ten. The Golden Knights only picked up 4.03 power points which could indicate that some of the teams on their schedule were not as good as they were expected to be.
Here are the top ten gainers of 2005.
|Top 10 Over-Achievers
Kent State barely edged Tulane to lead the list of under-performers. The Golden Flashes lost 15.76 points as they turned an 8-3 forecast into a 1-10 disaster and a last-place MAC east finish.
Tulane was forecasted to win the west division of CUSA but Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on their home base of New Orleans and flooded the Green Wave's campus. As a result, Tulane played 11 games in 11 different venues and limped home with a courageous, but disappointing 2-9 season. They lost 15.75 power points along the way.
North Texas finished 8th on the list of under-performers. The writing was on the wall when the Mean Green finished the 2004 season with their fourth consecutive Sun Belt title but led that year's list of under-performers.
|Top 10 Under-Performers
||New Mexico St.
For the second straight year, only 38 teams improved their power rating while 81 teams fell. The average of all 119 teams was a loss of 1.94 power points.