Mark Schlabach has ranked the ten BCS Champions and magically puts the four SEC national champions in four of the bottom five spots. If Schlabach wasn’t a former writer for the AJC, where he covered the UGA beat quite competently for several years, I’d be fulminating about his being biased against SEC teams. Instead, I simply think that he underrates the importance of strength of schedule and overrates rolling up big numbers in one or two games.
Take his treatment of 2004 USC and 2005 Texas, for example. The 2004 USC team was excellent, but they did have a number of close calls against pretty average opponents. The luster of that team comes from the beatdown they put on Oklahoma in the national title game, but in retrospect, is beating Oklahoma in a BCS game really that much of an accomplishment? In contrast, 2005 Texas was a more dominant team from start to finish. They blew out every opponent, save for an excellent Ohio State team (on the road, no less). They then beat much the same USC team (OK, USC’s defense wasn’t the same, but their offense was intact and even better than 2004) in Southern California. For my money, 2005 Texas is the only team in the past ten years that would give 2001 Miami a run for its money.
To test Schlabach’s conclusions, I decided to take a look at Sagarin’s rankings for the same time period and here’s what the computer says: