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College Football Season

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
Pos. Team Preseason
1. Texas 88.46 100.88 12.42
2. West Virginia 65.48 76.98 11.50
3. Notre Dame 68.80 78.67 9.87
4. Tulsa 62.36 72.18 9.82
5. TCU 68.40 78.18 9.78
6. Navy 56.41 65.84 9.43
7. Penn State 75.08 84.02 8.94
8. USC 89.39 96.03 6.64
9. Wisconsin 70.79 77.12 6.33
10. Virginia Tech 81.38 87.48 6.10

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
Pos. Team Preseason
1. Kent State 66.63 50.87 15.76
1. Tulane 69.59 53.84 15.75
3. Temple 59.80 44.93 14.87
4. Oklahoma State 73.68 61.55 12.13
5. Buffalo 61.32 49.77 11.55
6. Duke 63.15 51.61 11.54
7. New Mexico St. 59.69 48.19 11.50
8. North Texas 60.16 48.76 11.40
9. FIU 60.67 50.19 10.48
10. Cincinnati 64.35 54.48 9.87

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.

01/22: 2005's Top Over-Acievers and Under-Performers
12/04: Trojans and Longhorns Crush Foes 136-22
11/27: Conference Title Games Set
11/20: USC Dodges Fresno St. Bullet; Ga. Tech Upsets Miami
11/13: Alabama Suffers First Loss; Spurrier Gets Win Over Gators
11/06: Hokies, Bruins Go Down In Flames
10/30: Georgia Loss Trims List Of Undefeated Teams To Five
10/23: Six Teams Still Undefeated
10/16: USC-ND Tops Day Of Fantastic Finishes
10/09: Longhorns Break Through; Penn State Leads Big 10
10/02: 15 Teams Lose For First Time
09/27: Tennessee Rallies Past LSU; Louisville and Purdue Fall
09/18: Miami, Michigan St. Win OT Games
09/11: Bad Week For Big 10
09/05: College Football Weekend Recap


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