An OP Original A data-based analysis of "Bluebloods" and Oklahoma State's changing place in that story

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Nov 8, 2013
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#1

Alum in AZ
August 2018​
Several weeks ago a “Blue Blood” comment got me curious about what technically makes a Blue Blood. We all inherently know the Blue Blood programs… but what’s the data behind the reputation? How does this change over time? How does Oklahoma State fit into the Blue Blood story and how are we trending? This triggered an investigation to pull some data into a spreadsheet and see what it tells me. I started with a quick Google search and found a 2016 ESPN article titled, “Which schools should be considered college football royalty?". I took their Top 60 as a starting point (a cutoff which included OSU as tied for #32). Then I independently created my own data-based criteria and began building the spreadsheet and making some observations. I wanted to see if my ideas as to what constituted a “Blue Blood” would create a list similar to the one made by the sportswriters at ESPN. Naturally, I also wanted to view the data through orange-colored lenses too. I thought it would be an interesting topic as we eagerly wait for the season to start. This article contains my methodology, results and observations. To get to a concluding punchline… I think Oklahoma State is in the process of elevating the level the program in a manner that is extremely rare in collegiate football! We are the only program substantially rising in the college football ranks with a long-standing history in a P5-equivalent conference and a direct rivalry with one of the nation’s elite programs. Quite the accomplishment-in-the-making for Coach Gundy, Coach Holder, and Mr. Pickens.
To create my ranked list, I needed to establish criteria and associated point values. I based my criteria on readily-available data and subjectively assigned points based on what I thought was important.
My Criteria:
  • Championships – This is what really matters, right? Each Natty is worth 10 points. Since there is no clear NCAA champion in CFP, I took the championships “claimed” by each school on the ever-reliable source… Wikipedia. Yes, OSU claims 1945… but we don’t claim the 2011 championship selected by “Colley Matrix”. Alabama claims everything.
  • Wins – There’s a reason we track Win/Loss records. Seems secondary in importance only to Championships. Each win worth 0.1 point. No points for ties. Source: sports-reference.com/cfb/schools. To keep it simple, I did not make adjustments applied after the fact by the NCAA (e.g., USC gets 11 wins for 2005, not 0).
  • Heisman Trophies – Each Heisman is worth 10 points. The ultimate individual award – but one that requires program excellence and brings a lot of visibility to the program. Source: Each program’s Wikipedia page.
  • Bowl Games – Part of the pageantry and tradition of College Football. 1 point for an appearance in a Bowl… 2 more for winning the game. Source: Source: sports-reference.com/cfb/schools.
  • College Football Playoff/BCS Championship Game Appearances – Each appearance is worth 5 points (win or lose). This metric has some recency bias as the BCS Championship Game has only been in effect since the end of the 1998 season. But still seemed appropriate to recognize significance of reaching the “Final Four” (or Finals) equivalent. Source: Source: sports-reference.com/cfb/schools.
  • Conference Championships – Each Conference Championship is worth 3 points. I debated whether to include this, since it works against Independents like Note Dame, Penn State (for much of their history), and Army. But I ultimately decided that claiming a championship – and the publicity that goes with it – is relevant to the discussion. Source: Usually each program’s Wikipedia page.
  • And finally…

  • History – History is clearly important, but recent history is more important. I addressed this by creating four eras and discounting the value of points depending on how much dust is on the trophy. Here are the eras: 1) “Pre-1950” (think leather helmets) – 20% weighting, 2) “50’s/60’s/70’s” (think single-bar facemasks) – 50% weighting, 3) “80’s-90’s” (think massive shoulder pads) – 80% weighting, and 4) “2000+” (think HD TV highlights) – 100% weighting. This means that OSU’s claimed 1945 National Championship is only worth 2 points (10 x 20%).
Other criteria I considered but eliminated to keep things simple or because I didn’t know where to get data (or didn’t want to spend the time getting the data!) included 1st Round Draft Picks, Recruiting Rankings, Consensus All Americans, “New Year’s Six” Bowls (or similar premium for an upper tier bowl), etc. Ultimately I figured these would just reinforce the data I was already collecting.

Summary of Results and Observations

As expected, my ranking closely mirrored ESPN’s list. In fact the Top 20 of both lists were the same schools except for two – my list included BYU and Washington and did not include Michigan State and UCLA. In my analysis, BYU benefitted from many small conference championships over the years and Washington benefitted from 3 (old) national championships. Independents did indeed suffer in my rankings without points from conference championships. And less traditional schools tended to place a bit higher in my rankings as there was not a premium placed on “Power 5” wins. The images are eye-charts, but they show the Top 10 from my rankings (plus Oklahoma State) with the values driving ranking points as well as points obtained by category and era. Also shown are images of the full “Top 60” and how my ranking compares to ESPN’s list.
Top 10 (plus Oklahoma State) – Raw Data and Total Points
top 10 plus raw.jpg

Top 10 (plus Oklahoma State) – Points by Category and by Era
top 10 plus points.jpg


ESPN’s “Top 60” Ordered by My Point Totals
top 60 part 1.jpg
top 60 part 2.jpg

Analyzing the Trend Across the Four Eras
It was really interesting to study the trends of the programs over the course of the four eras. I grouped the programs into 5 “buckets” in each era – the elite Top 10 (dark green), the next 13 (light green), the middle 14 (yellow), a lower 13 (orange), and the Bottom 10 (red). By grouping and sorting with these colors, I subjectively created seven “categories” for the 60 college football programs. These labels are: True Blue Bloods, New Blue Bloods, Fading Powers, Rising Powers, Respectable Non-Elite, Mediocre, and “Smithsonian”. In the images below you will see some program names in red font. Those are the programs that have won National Championships since 2000.


True Blue Bloods: Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Nebraska, Texas, Georgia. These are the only programs that are “green” in each of the eras. All but Georgia and Nebraska have won a championship in the 2000’s. Nebraska is barely hanging on, but with a Heisman in the 2000’s, they still fall into this category.
true blue.jpg


New Blue Bloods: Florida State, Florida, Miami, Clemson, LSU, Auburn. These programs were not “green” across the board like the True Bluebloods, but they are all green since the 80’s-90’s era and all have won a championship in the 2000’s. (LSU is a slight outlier in that they were “yellow” in the 80’s-90’s but are Top 10 in the 2000’s).

new blue.jpg


Fading Powers: Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame, BYU, Penn State, Washington, Michigan State, UCLA, Arizona State, Colorado. These programs have all dropped from peaks in either the 80’s90’s or the 50’s-70’s. BYU and Michigan State both score in the green for the 2000’s, but they are clearly below their Top 10 peaks in earlier eras.

fading power.jpg


Rising Powers: Oregon, Wisconsin, TCU, West Virginia, Utah, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Louisville. An interesting list of programs with “green” success in the 2000’s, but nothing of note in prior eras. Oregon is Top 10 for the 2000's and is closest to being able to break into the "New Blue Bloods" category.


rising power.jpg

Respectable Non-Elites: Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Iowa, Arkansas, Pittsburgh, Stanford, NC State, Texas Tech. I was surprised to see Stanford land here, but they only have 10 bowl appearances and 5 bowl wins in the 2000's. Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, and Georgia Tech could perhaps fit into the Fading Powers category.

respectable non elites.jpg


Smithsonian (a Blue Blood of a bygone era): Syracuse, Minnesota, Missouri, Cal, Illinois, Purdue, Army. Lots of dust on these trophies and lots of “red” since the 80’s.

smithsonian.jpg



 
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Nov 8, 2013
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#2
Mediocrity: These programs never scored well enough in any of my four eras to hit the “green”. Each has probably had decent stretches, but not enough across a 20-30 year period.

mediocrity.jpg



Gradually Erasing History
After studying the data from this perspective (with rankings from all eras comprehended, I then decided to look at the data while incrementally disregarding older eras. First, I dropped all data from pre-1950 (essentially taking the weighting from 20% to 0%). Then I did the same for the 50’s-70’s (taking weighting from 50% to 0%) and ultimately the 80’s-90’s as well (taking weighting from 80% to 0%). This left us with the ranking for just the 2000’s. What I wanted to see in this case is who moved up and down as we gradually erased history. Below is the image showing the ranking of just the Top 40 (of all 60 programs) when incrementally removing eras from the calculation. I then show the delta – how many positions the programs moved up or down in the rankings. The far right column shows the difference in ranking when considering all eras vs. just the 2000’s. This revealed three interesting groupings of programs – the “Exclusives”, the “Falling Rocks”, and the “Shooting Stars”.

erasing history.jpg


The “Exclusives”: Alabama, OU, Ohio State, USC, Florida State. These 5 programs remain the same regardless of how you slice the data (order changes, but appearance in Top 5 remains). Note that I hate the team from Norman as much as anyone on this message board, but that’s what we’re dealing with.
exclusives.jpg


The “Falling Rocks”: Tennessee (-27), Colorado (-24), Notre Dame (-21), Ole Miss (-21), Michigan (-20), UCLA (-20), Washington (-18), Nebraska (-15), Arkansas (-15), Arizona State (-14), Syracuse (-14). A fascinating list. Most of these are big-name programs that always remain in the limelight. Big-name coaches regularly take these jobs with claims of restoring glory. Can they do it? Harbaugh is trying at Michigan. Kelly and Frost are taking their shots at UCLA and Nebraska. And word on the street is that Tennessee tried to hire a really good coach recently too.

falling rocks.jpg

The “Shooting Stars”: Boise State (+29), Louisville (+26), Boston College (+19), Kansas State (+19), South Carolina (+16), Virginia Tech (+15), Oregon State (+15), Oregon (+13), Oklahoma State (+13), TCU (+12), Utah (+12), Texas Tech (+12), Mississippi State (+12). Of course, this is the list I am most interested in. Some of these programs have risen from very low in the overall rankings but remain quite low in the 2000’s rankings and really aren’t that interesting. For example – Oregon State jumped 15 spots from #56 to #41. Similar stories exist for Boston College, Kansas State, South Carolina, Texas Tech, and Mississippi State.
That leaves Boise State, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Utah as programs in the “Top 25” of the 2000’s that have jumped substantially in the rankings. Of these programs, only Oregon and Oklahoma State are long-standing members of P5-equivalent conferences. Interestingly, all but Boise State have now established themselves in P5 conferences. Oklahoma State is the only program to do this that has a direct rivalry with one of the exclusive “Top 5”. That may be the most impressive observation from the entire analysis.

shooting stars.jpg

Other Observations

Iowa State and Kansas score very poorly in my analysis as you’d expect. Kansas only scored 50.5 points and Iowa State came in lowest of all Big8/XII programs at 45.7 points.

It is really hard to break through to become a “New Blue Blood”. I thought Oregon would be there. But they were just short. Only Florida State, Miami, and Georgia have emerged from the Orange or Red colors to become a New Blue Blood.

The frequent comparisons of us against Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin are quite fair per my data. Almost Stanford as well.

Trend Lines

I also took the annual win total from a select group of teams to see what 10-year moving average lines looked like for a few interesting teams from the various categories. Interesting to see what a few True Blue Blood (OU, Nebraska), New Blue Blood (Florida State, Clemson, Miami), Fading Power (Michigan, Tennessee), and Rising Power (Oklahoma State) programs look like.


trend lines.jpg
 
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Nov 8, 2013
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#7
I have updated the data based on 2018 results. Not unexpectedly, a single season does not change much when considering the entire time horizon as described in my analysis. Only 3 of 60 teams moved up by 2 positions - Clemson jumped Florida and Miami into 9th (not a surprise!), Oregon passed Michigan State and Georgia Tech into 21st, and Baylor eased past Boston College and North Carolina into 44th. Similarly, only 3 teams dropped by 2 positions... Ole Miss to 30th, Louisville to 43rd, and North Carolina to 46th. Oklahoma State remained unchanged at 36th. Of the 60 teams on the list, only 15 had 10 or more wins this season. 27 had 7-9 wins and 18 had losing seasons. 7 wins was the most common and median win total for 2018.
 

andylicious

Territorial Marshal
Nov 16, 2013
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#8
That is some well done data. I hate the goons as much as anyone, but you can't argue with numbers. What's interesting is the after 2000's the ranking of schools the Big XII has 5 teams of the Top 25, the SEC has 6 teams in the Top 25, the Big X has 4, PAC has 3 teams in the Top 25, ACC has 5 teams in the Top 25 and the Power 5 has 1. That explains a lot about who gets into the playoffs and who doesn't.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#9
When looking at just the 2000's, Oklahoma State moved *up* one place in the rankings from #23 to #22 thanks to 7 wins and a bowl victory. The biggest movers in a positive direction were 7 places for Notre Dame (from #37 to #30), 6 places for Washington (#38 to #32), 5 places for Minnesota (#50 to #45), 4 places for Baylor (#40 to #36), and 3 places for both Clemson and Texas A&M (#8 to #5 and #29 to #26, respectively). The biggest losers were -6 spots for Kansas State (#33 to #39) and -3 spots for UCLA (#44 to #47), South Carolina (#35 to #38), Pittsburgh (#34 to #37), NC State (#32 to #35), and Arkansas (#48 to #51).
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#10
That is some well done data. I hate the goons as much as anyone, but you can't argue with numbers. What's interesting is the after 2000's the ranking of schools the Big XII has 5 teams of the Top 25, the SEC has 6 teams in the Top 25, the Big X has 4, PAC has 3 teams in the Top 25, ACC has 5 teams in the Top 25 and the Power 5 has 1. That explains a lot about who gets into the playoffs and who doesn't.
Thanks. Note that I didn't update the charts in the post above - the new data is only in these new comments. Eventually I will post new charts.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#11
Here is a look at the updated Top 25 *for just the 2000's*. You can see how many points each program added to their total. Remember, points available for Championship, CFP Appearance, Heisman, Conference Championship, Bowl Appearance, Bowl Win, and Wins. Remember Notre Dame is not in the Top 25 for the 2000's - but reaching the CFP helped them jump 7 spots.
Rank Program Total Pts (Delta Pts) (Delta Rank)
1 Alabama 208.2 (+13.4) (0)
2 Oklahoma 166.7 (+20.2) (0)
3 Ohio State 151.6 (+7.3) (0)
4 USC 134.0 (+0.5) (0)
5 Clemson 123.2 (+25.5) (3)
6 Florida State 121.5 (+0.5) (-1)
7 LSU 108.7 (+4.0) (-1)
8 Florida 103.0 (+4.0) (-1)
9 Boise State 96.7 (+2.0) (0)
10 Oregon 96.6 (+3.9) (0)
11 Auburn 92.6 (+3.8) (0)
12 Georgia 83.6 (+2.1) (0)
13 Texas 81.3 (+4.0) (0)
14 TCU 77.7 (+3.7) (0)
15 Louisville 72.6 (+0.2) (0)
16 Virginia Tech 66.5 (+1.6) (0)
17 Miami 66.1 (+1.7) (0)
18 Utah 65.8 (+1.9) (0)
19 Wisconsin 64.8 (+3.8) (1)
20 West Virginia 64.6 (+1.8) (-1)
21 Nebraska 54.4 (+0.4) (0)
22 Oklahoma State 54.2 (+3.7) (1)
23 BYU 54.1 (+3.7) (1)
24 Michigan State 53.5 (+1.7) (-2)
25 Iowa 53.1 (+3.9) (0)
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#13
Time for a post-2019 season update to the entire post. This is a good window, as it completes a 20-year window for the current era, matching the 80's-90'. Here comes a series of posts that basically serve to update the original post done in August 2018. After 2 years, there have been some notable changes, such as Nebraska dropping out of the True Blue Blood category and falling to the Fading Powers category.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#14
A data-based analysis of College Football "Blue Bloods"

and Oklahoma State's changing place in that story

Updated January 2020

In August of 2018 a “Blue Blood” comment got me curious about what technically makes a Blue Blood. We all inherently know the Blue Blood programs. They are *historically* good. Being “great” for a just a few years doesn’t cut it. But I wanted more details. What’s the data behind the reputation? How does it change over time? How does Oklahoma State fit into the Blue Blood story and how are we trending? This triggered an investigation to pull some data into a spreadsheet and see what it tells me. I did my initial analysis prior to the 2018 season and then updated it following the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

I started with a quick Google search and found a 2016 ESPN article titled, “Which schools should be considered college football royalty?". I took their Top 60 as a starting point (a cutoff which included OSU as tied for #32). Then I independently created my own data-based criteria and began building the spreadsheet and making some observations. I wanted to see if my ideas as to what constituted a “Blue Blood” would create a list similar to the one made by the sportswriters at ESPN. Naturally, I also wanted to view the data through orange-colored lenses too. This article contains my methodology, results and observations. To get to a concluding punchline… I think Oklahoma State is in the process of elevating the level the program in a manner that is extremely rare in collegiate football. We are the only program substantially rising in the college football ranks with a long-standing history in a P5-equivalent conference and a direct rivalry with one of the nation’s elite programs. Quite the accomplishment-in-the-making for Coach Gundy, Coach Holder, Mr. Pickens, and all the players & staff associated with Oklahoma State football in recent years.

To create my ranked list, I needed to establish criteria and associated point values. I based my criteria on readily-available data and subjectively assigned points based on what I thought was important.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#15
My Criteria:

  • Championships – This is what really matters, right? Each Natty is worth 10 points. Since there is no clear NCAA champion in CFP, I took the championships “claimed” by each school on the ever-reliable source… Wikipedia. Yes, OSU claims 1945… but we don’t claim the 2011 championship selected by “Colley Matrix”. Alabama claims everything.
  • Wins – There’s a reason we track Win/Loss records. Seems secondary in importance only to Championships. Each win worth 0.1 point. No points for ties. Source: sports-reference.com/cfb/schools. To keep it simple, I did not make adjustments applied after the fact by the NCAA (e.g., USC gets 11 wins for 2005, not 0).
  • Heisman Trophies – Each Heisman is worth 10 points. The ultimate individual award – but one that requires program excellence and brings a lot of visibility to the program. Source: Each program’s Wikipedia page.
  • Bowl Games – Part of the pageantry and tradition of College Football. 1 point for an appearance in a Bowl… 2 more for winning the game. Source: Source: sports-reference.com/cfb/schools.
  • College Football Playoff/BCS Championship Game Appearances – Each appearance is worth 5 points (win or lose). This metric has some recency bias as the BCS Championship Game has only been in effect since the end of the 1998 season. But still seemed appropriate to recognize significance of reaching the “Final Four” (or Finals) equivalent. Source: Source: sports-reference.com/cfb/schools.
  • Conference Championships – Each Conference Championship is worth 3 points. I debated whether to include this, since it works against Independents like Notre Dame, Penn State (for much of their history), and Army. But I ultimately decided that claiming a championship – and the publicity that goes with it – is relevant to the discussion. Source: Usually each program’s Wikipedia page.

  • And finally…

  • History – History is clearly important, but recent history is more important. I addressed this by creating four eras and discounting the value of points depending on how much dust is on the trophy. Here are the eras: 1) “Pre-1950” (think leather helmets) – 20% weighting, 2) “50’s/60’s/70’s” (think single-bar facemasks) – 50% weighting, 3) “80’s-90’s” (think massive shoulder pads) – 80% weighting, and 4) “2000+” (think HD TV highlights) – 100% weighting. This means that OSU’s claimed 1945 National Championship is only worth 2 points (10 x 20%).
Other criteria I considered but eliminated to keep things simple or because I didn’t know where to get data (or didn’t want to spend the time getting the data!) included 1st Round Draft Picks, Recruiting Rankings, Consensus All Americans, “New Year’s Six” Bowls (or similar premium for an upper tier bowl), etc. Ultimately, I figured that information would just reinforce the data I was already collecting.
 
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Nov 8, 2013
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#17
Here's the rest of my updated analysis without the pictures.

Summary of Results and Observations
As expected, my ranking closely mirrored ESPN’s list. In fact the Top 20 of both lists were the same schools except for two – my list included BYU and Washington and did not include Michigan State and UCLA. In my analysis, BYU benefitted from many small conference championships over the years and Washington benefitted from 3 (old) national championships. Independents did indeed suffer in my rankings without points from conference championships. And less traditional schools tended to place a bit higher in my rankings as there was not a premium placed on “Power 5” wins.

Ranking the 60
1 Alabama
2 Oklahoma
3 Ohio State
4 USC
5 Florida State
6 Nebraska
7 Clemson
8 LSU
9 Michigan
10 Texas
11 Florida
12 Miami
13 Georgia
14 Auburn
15 Notre Dame
16 Tennessee
17 BYU
18 Penn State
19 Washington
20 Texas A&M
21 Oregon
22 Michigan State
23 Georgia Tech
24 Wisconsin
25 UCLA
26 TCU
27 West Virginia
28 Iowa
29 Arizona State
30 Utah
31 Virginia Tech
32 Ole Miss
33 Pittsburgh
34 Colorado
35 Arkansas
36 Oklahoma State
37 Boise State
38 Stanford
39 Syracuse
40 Minnesota
41 Louisville
42 NC State
43 Texas Tech
44 North Carolina
45 Baylor
46 Boston College
47 Missouri
48 Cal
49 Navy
50 Illinois
51 South Carolina
52 Kansas State
53 Purdue
54 Mississippi State
55 Virginia
56 Arizona
57 Oregon State
58 Army
59 Washington State
60 Northwestern
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#18
Analyzing the Trend Across the Four Eras

It was really interesting to study the trends of the programs over the course of the four eras. I grouped the programs into 5 “buckets” in each era – the elite Top 10 (dark green), the next 13 (light green), the middle 14 (yellow), a lower 13 (orange), and the Bottom 10 (red). By grouping and sorting with these colors, I subjectively created seven “categories” for the 60 college football programs. These labels are: True Blue Bloods, New Blue Bloods, Fading Powers, Rising Powers, Respectable Non-Elite, Mediocre, and “Smithsonian”.

True Blue Bloods: Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Texas, Georgia. These are the only programs that are “green” in each of the eras. As recently as two years ago Nebraska was hanging on in this group, but the 2010’s were not kind to fans in Lincoln. Each of the programs in this category have won at least one championship in the 2000’s. It is interesting that the top 4 from this category in the 2000’s (Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and USC) were the same top four in the 50’s-70’s – but they were all outside the top ten in the 80’s-90’s.

New Blue Bloods: Florida State, Clemson, LSU, Florida, Miami, Auburn. These programs were not “green” across the board like the True Bluebloods, but other than LSU they have been green since the 80’s-90’s era and all have won a championship in the 2000’s. Half of these programs were strong as far back as the 50’s-70’s – Clemson, LSU, and Auburn. Auburn is a borderline member of this group since they aren’t in the top ten for any of the four eras (but they’re #11 for the 2000’s). Interestingly, all six of these New Blue Bloods are from the south.

Fading Powers: Nebraska, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, BYU, Penn State, Washington, UCLA, Arizona State, Ole Miss. These programs are all in the middle/lower tiers (yellow/orange) for the 2000’s but have dropped noticeably from peaks in the 80’s-90’s and/or the 50’s-70’s. With the exception of UCLA, each of these programs ranked in the top ten in one of the previous eras (the highest rank for the 2000’s is 24th by BYU). Several of these programs – including Nebraska, Michigan, and Notre Dame – would classically be referred to as Blue Bloods. But their on-field performance spanning 2000-2019 drops them to this category despite some strong individual seasons. However, none of these programs has won a National Championship in the last twenty years.

Rising Powers: Oregon, Michigan State, Wisconsin, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa, Utah, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Louisville. An interesting list of programs with “green” success in the 2000’s, but nothing of note in prior eras other than Michigan State who had a top ten ranking in the 50’s-70’s. Oregon is Top 10 for the 2000's and is closest to being able to break into the "New Blue Bloods" category, but a particularly weak history prior to the 2000’s leaves the Ducks on the outside looking in for now. Several teams in this category, including TCU, Utah, Virginia Tech, Boise State, and Louisville have long histories outside “P5-equivalent” conferences.

Respectable Non-Elites: Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Colorado, Arkansas, Stanford, Syracuse, NC State. All of these programs have an era or two in the green but nothing of substance in the 2000’s. “Respectable” is an adjective earned historically, not recently. I was surprised to see Stanford land here, but they only have 11 bowl appearances and 5 bowl wins in the 2000’s. Colorado is really struggling since their move to the Pac 12 and is barely hanging on in this category.

Smithsonian (a Blue Blood of a bygone era): Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Missouri, Cal, Illinois, Purdue, Army. There is a lot of dust on these trophies for these programs and not much success since the 50’s. Sure, there are great seasons here and there, such as Minnesota in 2019. But only Pittsburgh has managed to stay out of the bottom ten since the Pre-1950 era. ESPN clearly included these programs in their original list due to their accomplishments a long time ago.

Mediocrity: These programs never scored well enough in any of my four eras to hit the “green”. Each has probably had decent stretches of ~5 years, but not enough across a 20-30 year period. Baylor and Texas Tech are the only programs in this list who never landed in the Bottom Ten (red). But since this is my list, it made me happier to include them here than to bump them up into the “Respectable Non-Elite” category.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#19
Gradually Erasing History

After studying the data from this perspective (with rankings from all eras comprehended), I then decided to look at the data while incrementally disregarding older eras. First, I dropped all data from pre-1950 (essentially taking the weighting from 20% to 0%). Then I did the same for the 50’s-70’s (taking weighting from 50% to 0%) and ultimately the 80’s-90’s as well (taking weighting from 80% to 0%). This left us with the ranking for just the 2000’s. What I wanted to see in this case is who moved up and down as we gradually erased history. Below is the image showing the ranking of just the Top 40 (of all 60 programs) when incrementally removing eras from the calculation. I then show the delta – how many positions the programs moved up or down in the rankings. The far right column shows the difference in ranking when considering all eras vs. just the 2000’s. This revealed three interesting groupings of programs – the “Exclusives”, the “Falling Rocks”, and the “Shooting Stars”.

The “Exclusives”: Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Florida State, Clemson, LSU. No matter how much history you want to include or exclude, these three programs remain in the top ten. Note that I hate the team from Norman as much as anyone on this message board, but that’s what we’re dealing with.

The “Falling Rocks”: Tennessee (-26), Colorado (-25), UCLA (-23), Michigan (-20), Nebraska (-19), Ole Miss (-18), Arkansas (-16), Arizona State (-14), Notre Dame (-13), Syracuse (-13), Washington (-12), Georgia Tech (-11), and North Carolina (-10). A fascinating list. A mix of Fading Powers, Respectable Non-Elites, Smithsonians, and Mediocrities. Most of these are big-name programs that always remain in the limelight. Big-name coaches regularly take these jobs with claims of restoring glory. Many of these programs still get high-ranking recruiting classes and national TV exposure. Which of these programs will stop the skidding and successfully restore results? Recency bias would indicate Notre Dame is making some progress but Nebraska is not.

The “Shooting Stars”: Boise State (+27), Louisville (+26), Boston College (+16), Virginia Tech (+15), Utah (+13), Oklahoma State (+13), Kansas State (+13), Oregon (+12), TCU (+12), Oregon State (+12), Navy (+11), South carolina (+11), Northwestern (+11), Texas Tech (+10), Baylor (+10), Mississippi State (+10). Of course, this is the list I am most interested in. Some of these programs have risen from very low in the overall rankings but remain quite low in the 2000’s rankings and really aren’t that interesting. For example – Kansas State jumped 13 spots from #52 to #39. Similar stories exist for Boston College, Navy, South Carolina, Northwestern, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Mississippi State. That leaves Boise State, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Utah as programs in the “Top 25” of the 2000’s that have jumped substantially in the rankings. Of these programs, only Oregon and Oklahoma State are long-standing members of P5-equivalent conferences. Interestingly, all but Boise State have now established themselves in P5 conferences. Oklahoma State is the only program to do this that has a direct rivalry with one of the “Exclusives”. That may be the most impressive observation from the entire analysis.
 

llcoolw

Territorial Marshal
Feb 7, 2005
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Sammamish, Washington.Dallas, Texas.Maui, Hawaii
#20
Gradually Erasing History

After studying the data from this perspective (with rankings from all eras comprehended), I then decided to look at the data while incrementally disregarding older eras. First, I dropped all data from pre-1950 (essentially taking the weighting from 20% to 0%). Then I did the same for the 50’s-70’s (taking weighting from 50% to 0%) and ultimately the 80’s-90’s as well (taking weighting from 80% to 0%). This left us with the ranking for just the 2000’s. What I wanted to see in this case is who moved up and down as we gradually erased history. Below is the image showing the ranking of just the Top 40 (of all 60 programs) when incrementally removing eras from the calculation. I then show the delta – how many positions the programs moved up or down in the rankings. The far right column shows the difference in ranking when considering all eras vs. just the 2000’s. This revealed three interesting groupings of programs – the “Exclusives”, the “Falling Rocks”, and the “Shooting Stars”.

The “Exclusives”: Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Florida State, Clemson, LSU. No matter how much history you want to include or exclude, these three programs remain in the top ten. Note that I hate the team from Norman as much as anyone on this message board, but that’s what we’re dealing with.

The “Falling Rocks”: Tennessee (-26), Colorado (-25), UCLA (-23), Michigan (-20), Nebraska (-19), Ole Miss (-18), Arkansas (-16), Arizona State (-14), Notre Dame (-13), Syracuse (-13), Washington (-12), Georgia Tech (-11), and North Carolina (-10). A fascinating list. A mix of Fading Powers, Respectable Non-Elites, Smithsonians, and Mediocrities. Most of these are big-name programs that always remain in the limelight. Big-name coaches regularly take these jobs with claims of restoring glory. Many of these programs still get high-ranking recruiting classes and national TV exposure. Which of these programs will stop the skidding and successfully restore results? Recency bias would indicate Notre Dame is making some progress but Nebraska is not.

The “Shooting Stars”: Boise State (+27), Louisville (+26), Boston College (+16), Virginia Tech (+15), Utah (+13), Oklahoma State (+13), Kansas State (+13), Oregon (+12), TCU (+12), Oregon State (+12), Navy (+11), South carolina (+11), Northwestern (+11), Texas Tech (+10), Baylor (+10), Mississippi State (+10). Of course, this is the list I am most interested in. Some of these programs have risen from very low in the overall rankings but remain quite low in the 2000’s rankings and really aren’t that interesting. For example – Kansas State jumped 13 spots from #52 to #39. Similar stories exist for Boston College, Navy, South Carolina, Northwestern, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Mississippi State. That leaves Boise State, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Utah as programs in the “Top 25” of the 2000’s that have jumped substantially in the rankings. Of these programs, only Oregon and Oklahoma State are long-standing members of P5-equivalent conferences. Interestingly, all but Boise State have now established themselves in P5 conferences. Oklahoma State is the only program to do this that has a direct rivalry with one of the “Exclusives”. That may be the most impressive observation from the entire analysis.
Great read. Thanks for the work.