A Review of P5 Records vs Ranked Teams in the 1970s

selmaborntidefan

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This information will piggyback on the previous thread regarding whether P5 conferences NOWADAYS are one-team races sans the Big Ten and SEC. (In general, they are). Since I already compiled a lot of the data for Bo Schembechler and Paul Bryant on that thread, I will bring the data over here and add to it each day or so. If you have a P5 that you want me to run then let me know. After the data for Michigan and Alabama is posted, I plan on doing (most immediate) Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Ohio St, Nebraska, and Penn State for starters. A few rules:

1) This is one of those search missions upon which I embark; I have NO IDEA what the data will actually show before compiling it. Sometimes they affirm my assumptions, sometimes they overturn it. For those who are unaware, I have made this basic assertion before (so nobody misunderstands me): while in no way do I disparage Coach Bryant or Alabama, a quick overview has shown that MOST YEARS Alabama: a) did not have an overly challenging schedule; and b) the SEC AS A WHOLE in the 1970s was not the monster conference of 1954-1966 or 1980-onwards. IN NO WAY am I impugning the great coach. Indeed, I suspect (and the research on Bo sort of proved it) that while Alabama may not have played a powerhouse schedule every year during the 1970s, neither did hardly anyone else (my presumed exceptions at this time are Notre Dame and USC - and the Irish played a horrible schedule in 1973 as I've said on this board many times).

2) When I say "beat ranked teams," what I mean is this: "beat teams that were ranked AT THE END OF THE SEASON regardless of whether they were ranked when the two teams played." This is the only fair way - in my view - to do this. Northwestern opened the season at #20 in 1971 and Michigan beat them. They fell out of the rankings and never got back into them. This game does not count for Michigan as beating a ranked team, because they beat a ranked team in September that shouldn't have been ranked. It also enables us to allot for situations where a 3-loss team beats another good team in a bowl game and ends the year at #19.

3) I will be using the Associated Press poll during these years.

There are two reasons for this: 1) the AP poll was generally considered the more respected of the two. Yes, the UPI national championships counted, but prior to 1974, the UPI didn't conduct a post-bowl game poll. This could change the results at least a bit since a team might be #17 in the final UPI poll and then get blown out in the bowl game by an unranked team that replaces them.

4) I've long considered it my self-appointed (divinely appointed?) duty to inform Tide fans how to most effectively defend Alabama football FAIRLY AND ACCURATELY at all points. The 1989 team was overrated, no question (as Jon correctly pointed out, Homer Smith bailed out Bill Curry a bunch). The 1986 team underachieved, the 1985 team was demonstrably underrated. The 1971 and 1974 Alabama teams played powerhouse schedules; the 1979 team did not. And the 1978 schedule was a bit of an illusion how "tough" it actually was, though it was difficult.

These points are made via data - not assumption or appeals to tradition.

And so with my next post, which features both Alabama and Michigan, here we go.
 

selmaborntidefan

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MICHIGAN VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
1970 - 0-1, lost to #5 Ohio State
1971 - 0-1, lost the Rose Bowl to Stanford (barely beat 6-4 Ohio State AT HOME)
1972 - 1-1, beat UCLA, lost to Ohio St
1973 - 0-0-1, tied Ohio St
1974 - 1-1, beat Sparty but lost to.......Ohio St
1975 - 0-2, lost to Ohio State and the Orange Bowl to Oklahoma (also had ties against 6-5 Stanford and 3-6-2 Baylor)
1976 - 1-1, beat Ohio State then lost Rose Bowl to USC
1977 - 1-1, beat Ohio State then lost Rose Bowl to Washington
1978 - 3-1, beat N Dame, Purdue, Sparty - then lost controversial Rose Bowl to USC
1979 - 1-2, beat Indiana, lost to Purdue and Ohio St

Overall record vs ranked teams: 8-10-1

ALABAMA VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79

1970- 0-5-1, lost to USC/Ole Miss/Tenn/Auburn/LSU, tied Oklahoma in Bluebonnet Bowl
1971 - 5-1, beat USC/Ole Miss/Tenn/Auburn/LSU, lost Orange Bowl to Nebraska
1972 - 2-2 , beat Tenn/LSU, lost to Auburn and Texas
1973 - 2-1, beat Tenn/LSU, lost to Notre Dame
1974 - 4-1, beat Maryland, Tenn/MSU, Auburn, lost to N Dame
1975 - 1-0, beat Penn St
1976 - 2-2, beat MSU and UCLA, lost to N Dame and UGA
1977 - 1-1, beat Ohio St, lost to Nebraska
1978 - 3-1, beat Nebraska, Missouri, Penn State, lost to USC
1979 - 3-0, beat Baylor, Auburn, Arkansas


Overall record vs ranked teams: 23-14-1
 
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selmaborntidefan

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OKLAHOMA VS RANKED TEAMS

Chuck Fairbanks

1970 - 0-2-1, losses to Texas, Nebraska, tie with Alabama in Bluebonnet Bowl
1971 - 4-1, beat USC, Texas, Auburn, Colorado, lost to Nebraska
1972 - 3-1, beat Texas, Nebraska, Penn St, lost to Colorado
Barry Switzer
1973 - 4-0-1, tied USC, beat Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri
1974 - 2-0, beat Texas and Nebraska
1975 - 4-0, beat Pitt, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska

1976 - 2-2, beat Nebraska and Iowa St, lost to Colorado and Okie St
1977 - 2-2, beat Ohio St and Nebraska, lost to Texas and Ark
1978 - 4-1, beat Missouri, Stanford, Texas, and Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; lost to Nebraska (reg season)
1979 - 2-1, beat Nebraska and FSU, lost to Texas

Overall record: 27-10-2

NOTRE DAME VS RANKED TEAMS
Parseghian

1970 - 2-1, beat Texas and LSU, lost to USC
1971 - 0-2, lost to USC and LSU
1972 - 0-2, lost to USC and Penn St
1973 - 2-0, beat USC and Alabama
1974 - 2-1, beat Pitt and Alabama, lost to USC
Dan Devine
1975 - 0-2, lost to USC and Pitt
1976 - 1-2, beat Alabama, lost to USC and Pitt
1977 - 4-0, beat Clemson, USC, Texas, Pitt
1978 - 3-3, beat Purdue, Sparty, and Houston; lost to USC, Michigan, Missouri
1979 - 1-2, beat Michigan, lost to Purdue and USC

Overall record: 15-15


I'm not gonna lie - that .500 record for Notre Dame absolutely stuns me.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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USC VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
John McKay

1970- 1-1-1, beat N Dame, lost to Stanford (Jim Plunkett), tied Nebraska (co-national champs)
1971 - 2-3, beat N Dame and Washington, lost to Alabama, Oklahoma, Stanford
1972 - 4-0, beat Wazzu, UCLA, N Dame, Ohio State (Rose Bowl, national title game)
1973 - 1-2-1, beat UCLA, tied Oklahoma, lost to N Dame and Ohio State (Rose Bowl)
1974 - 2-0, beat N Dame and Ohio St (Rose Bowl)
1975 - 1-2, beat ATM (Liberty Bowl), lost to UCLA and Cal
John Robinson
1976 - 3-0, UCLA, N Dame, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
1977 - 0-2, lost to Alabama, N Dame
1978 - 6-0, beat Alabama, Sparty, Stanford, UCLA, N Dame, Michigan
1979 - 2-0, beat Washington and Ohio St (Rose)

Overall record: 22-10-2



OHIO STATE VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
Woody Hayes

1970- 1-1, beat Michigan, lost to Stanford (Rose Bowl)
1971 - 0-2, lost to Colorado and Michigan
1972 - 2-1, beat N Carolina and Michigan, lost to USC (Rose Bowl, national title game, 1 vs 3)
1973 - 1-0-1, tied Michigan, beat USC (Rose Bowl)
1974 - 1-1, beat Michigan, lost to USC (Rose Bowl)
1975 - 3-1, beat Penn St, UCLA (reg season), Michigan; lost to UCLA (Rose Bowl)
1976 - 1-1-1, beat Colorado (Orange Bowl), lost to Michigan, tied UCLA (reg season game)
1977 - 0-3, lost to Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama (Sugar)
1978 - 0-4, lost to Penn St, Purdue, Michigan, Clemson (Gator)
Earle Bruce
1979 - 1-1, beat Michigan, lost to USC (Rose)

Overall record: 10-15-2
 
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selmaborntidefan

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NEBRASKA VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
Bob Devaney
1970- 2-0-1, beat Oklahoma and LSU (Orange Bowl), tied USC
1971 - 3-0, beat Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alabama (Orange Bowl national title game)

1972 - 2-2, beat Colorado and N Dame, lost to UCLA and Oklahoma
Tom Osborne
1973 - 4-2, beat UCLA, NC St, Kansas, and Texas (Cotton), lost to Oklahoma and Missouri
1974 - 1-1, lost to Oklahoma, beat Florida (Sugar Bowl)
1975 - 1-2, beat Colorado, lost to Oklahoma and Arizona St (Fiesta Bowl)
1976 - 3-2, beat Colorado, Okie St, Texas Tech (Bluebonnet), lost to Oklahoma and Iowa St
1977 - 2-1, beat Alabama and N Carolina (Liberty Bowl), lost to Oklahoma
1978 - 1-3, beat Oklahoma (reg season), lost to Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma (Orange Bowl rematch)
1979 - 1-2, beat Penn St, lost to Oklahoma and Houston

Overall record: 20-15-1

Devaney: 7-2-1
Osborne: 13-13
 

selmaborntidefan

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PENN STATE VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
1970- no games vs teams ranked at end of season
1971 - 1-1, lost to Tennessee, beat Texas (Cotton Bowl)
1972 - 1-2, beat NC State, lost to Tennessee and Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl)
1973 - 3-0, beat NC State, Maryland, LSU (Orange)
1974 - 2-1, beat Maryland and Baylor (Cotton), lost to NC State
1975 - 2-2, beat Maryland and Pitt, lost to Ohio State and Alabama (Sugar)
1976 - 0-4, lost to Ohio St, Kentucky, Pitt, N Dame
1977 - 2-1, beat Pitt and Arizona St (Fiesta), lost to Kentucky
1978 - 2-1, beat NC St and Maryland, lost to Alabama (Sugar)
1979 - 1-2, beat #20 Maryland, lost to Nebraska and Pitt

Overall record: 14-14


1) I think this is probably how people who lived through it recall Penn State rising to national recognition. Start by playing a bunch of nobodies, gradually increase SoS with tougher games, win more of them - lose a national title game and then eventually break through to win. The data supports that memory.

2) It might be even more stunning that Penn State's record is almost exactly the same as Notre Dame's record, given the Irish were touted as this great program and Penn St as an obscure Eastern school. When it comes to RANKED opponents, it's nearly a wash. In fact, if Penn State had beaten Notre Dame when they met in 1976, they'd be 15-13 and the Irish would be 14-16 in the same decade.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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How do we rank these cream of the crop programs of the 70s? Any other teams you want me to do other than maybe Texas?

Oklahoma 27-10-1 (.723), two national championships, beat 13 different teams at least once
USC 22-10-2 (.676), two national championships, beat 11 different teams
Alabama 23-14-1 (.618), three national championships, beat 14 different teams
Nebraska 20-15-1 (.569), two national championships, beat 14 different teams
Notre Dame 15-15 (.500), two national championships, beat 11 different teams
Penn State 14-14 (.500), beat 7 different teams
Michigan 8-10-1 (.447), beat 6 different teams
Ohio State 10-15-2 (.407), beat 6 different teams

I'm not asking who was "the team of the 70s" as Alabama holds that title?
Who actually did better in the big games? It's not as simple as percentages, folks.

But it appears there are only three viable candidates: Oklahoma, USC, and Alabama.

1) There are two MAJOR MARKS against Oklahoma.

The first one is obvious: Oklahoma was hit with TWO probations because of things done during the 1970s, one in 1973 (two-year TV ban) and one in November 1980, which though minor affected things from 1978 and 79 and were financial aid issues. Since the idea of probation is to somehow punish the team for illegally benefit, how can that be calculated here (and for that matter, should it)?

The second one is almost as obvious: Oklahoma's 8-3 record against Nebraska makes up 29% of their entire record. Of course, subtract this and the Sooners still only lose .001 in the winning pct, but then you have the reality that NINE MORE games are Texas. In other words, Oklahoma's big percentage is based primarily on TWO OPPONENTS that made up 20 of their 39 games against ranked teams. Fully half their wins are against those two teams.

2) USC's numbers are heavily weighted by ONE very good season, 1978.

Take away that spectacular 6-0 year from the Trojans and in the other nine seasons they're 16-10-2 and probably rank with Nebraska rather than with the Big Three. Eight of the USC wins come against Notre Dame at a time they absolutely owned that series.

3) Alabama's overall numbers are also weighted - negatively - by one very bad season, 1970.

In the case of both USC and Alabama, you don't have a generally average season that evens things out. In Alabama's case is a horrific season right before the wishbone was installed and USC, by contrast, has a slightly better than expected season in 1978. Of course, there's another problem in 1978: USC lost to an Arizona St team that ended the year unranked. Of course, there's yet another problem: USC literally owned Alabama head-to-head in that game that was never particularly close most of the day.

4) The head-to-head provides some interesting scenarios.

USC and Alabama met four times during this time frame - and the visiting team went 4-0. Twice, the #1 team went down to defeat in the game.

Oklahoma and Alabama met once - and tied in a year neither was very good.

Oklahoma beat USC once and tied them the other time.

USC owned Notre Dame (8-2) while Notre Dame owned Alabama (0-3).


5) It depends...

If you drop 1970 from the calculation, which was a bad year for all of the Big Three then you have:
Alabama: 23-9
Oklahoma: 27-8-1
USC: 21-9-1

This gives a more reliable overall picture, plus it doesn't move the number of wins or big games that much.

6) If you even out the bowl games.....

If you exclude Alabama's bowl games from when USC could not play anything but the Rose AND to modify for Oklahoma not having bowls due to probation, it favors the Tide a little more.


I'll let the reader think about it and bring up things. I'm gonna sleep on it and probably see something else tomorrow.
 
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81usaf92

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NEBRASKA VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
Bob Devaney
1970- 2-0-1, beat Oklahoma and LSU (Orange Bowl), tied USC
1971 - 3-0, beat Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alabama (Orange Bowl national title game)

1972 - 2-2, beat Colorado and N Dame, lost to UCLA and Oklahoma
Tom Osborne
1973 - 4-2, beat UCLA, NC St, Kansas, and Texas (Cotton), lost to Oklahoma and Missouri
1974 - 1-1, lost to Oklahoma, beat Florida (Sugar Bowl)
1975 - 1-2, beat Colorado, lost to Oklahoma and Arizona St (Fiesta Bowl)
1976 - 3-2, beat Colorado, Okie St, Texas Tech (Bluebonnet), lost to Oklahoma and Iowa St
1977 - 2-1, beat Alabama and N Carolina (Liberty Bowl), lost to Oklahoma
1978 - 1-3, beat Oklahoma (reg season), lost to Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma (Orange Bowl rematch)
1979 - 1-2, beat Penn St, lost to Oklahoma and Houston

Overall record: 20-15-1

Devaney: 7-2-1
Osborne: 13-13
This is why I don’t get the Bear Bryant treatment for Osborne and the Frank Thomas treatment for Devaney by Nebraska fans. Without Devaney there would be no Nebraska or Tom Osborne and Devaney actually beat the best peers of his time on a consistent basis. Osborne was Switzer’s whipping boy 5-12.

Osborne started winning championships when Oklahoma was an easy win on the schedule and Miami’s reign of terror was ending. Devaney won during Bear Bryant and Ara were running college football.
 

selmaborntidefan

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This is why I don’t get the Bear Bryant treatment for Osborne and the Frank Thomas treatment for Devaney by Nebraska fans. Without Devaney there would be no Nebraska or Tom Osborne and Devaney actually beat the best peers of his time on a consistent basis. Osborne was Switzer’s whipping boy 5-12.
And Osborne's greatest success was early - with Devaney's players, 1976 excepted (in this scenario).
 

81usaf92

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And Osborne's greatest success was early - with Devaney's players, 1976 excepted (in this scenario).
Yeah and I just don’t get it. Osborne is so revered for going for 2 instead of championship and those 3* titles but everyone seems to forget Devaney and Switzer for some odd reason. 2 way better coaches than Osborne.
 

selmaborntidefan

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How much time did that take?
Look at the posting times.

Took 38 minutes to do Oklahoma and Notre Dame together (I got interrupted)
Took 31 minutes to do USC and Ohio St together
Took 18 to do Nebraska
Took 17 to do Penn State

Alabama and Michigan were done in probably a TOTAL of about 40 minutes (most of that was done yesterday).

So....2 hours, 23 minutes for eight teams........which including multiple verification when necessary (there were a few where a team wound up, say, 16 in the UPI but unranked in the AP).
 

selmaborntidefan

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Yeah and I just don’t get it. Osborne is so revered for going for 2 instead of championship and those 3* titles but everyone seems to forget Devaney and Switzer for some odd reason. 2 way better coaches than Osborne.
Osborne won my undying respect for going for 2 when he COULD have gone for one and probably made out like a bandit. It's very unlikely the voters would have punished him since he had the nation's only remaining undefeated team, a team that had been incessantly overhyped all year long. (I'm not quite sure you're old enough to remember it, but I had the misfortune of living in Germany where ALL WE GOT 24/7 was how great Nebraska was; the closest I can say is if you lived in Boston during their years of suffering).

When Osborne said he could not in good conscience vote for a team that played for a tie, he won my respect despite all the other stuff that happened later. (It's believed him dropping Colorado to fourth is what gave Georgia Tech just enough points to share the 1990 national title).

It's hard to imagine now, of course, but that was such a big thing back then. No overtime, do you play for the tie or the win? Switzer said Osborne was crazy for going for it.


Of course, we were deprived of the game everyone wanted to see: #1 Nebraska vs #2 Texas, because of the bowl arrangements.

I've said before Osborne was a GOOD coach; he was NEVER (not even at the end) an all-time great. It's sort of a reverse Parcells and Belichick, with the REAL genius winning first and the puppet winning later. Hell, the argument can be made that Tom Osborne was never even the best coach in the Big Eight until (maybe) the final year of the conference. I'd rate McCartney ahead of Osborne.



Anyone want me to do powerhouses of the 1980s?????

:)
 
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selmaborntidefan

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TEXAS LONGHORNS VS RANKED TEAMS 1970-79
Darrell Royal

1970 - 2-1, beat Arky and OU, lost to N Dame (Cotton)
1971 - 0-3, lost to Arky, OU, and Penn State (Cotton)
1972 - 1-1, lost OU, beat Alabama (Cotton)
1973 - 1-2, beat Texas Tech, lost to OU and Nebraska (Cotton)
1974 - 1-3, beat ATM, lost to Oklahoma, Baylor, and Auburn (Gator)
1975 - 2-2, beat Arky and Colorado (Bluebonnet), lost to Oklahoma and ATM
1976 - 0-3-1, tied Oklahoma, lost to Texas Tech, ATM, Houston
Fred Akers
1977 - 2-1, beat Oklahoma and Arky, lost to N Dame (Cotton - national title game)
1978 - 3-2, beat Arky, ATM, Maryland (Sun Bowl), lost to Oklahoma and Houston
1979 - 3-2, beat Oklahoma, Houston, Baylor; lost to Arky and Washington (Sun Bowl)

Overall record: 15-20-1

Verdict? All hat and no cattle.......


took me about 16 minutes......
 
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selmaborntidefan

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I honestly don't know what this is going to show. Arizona State was the WAC powerhouse before LaVell Edwards launched BYU into the national consciousness. They were often passed by the networks as well as the polls. A lot of fans know that Joe Paterno was somehow considered a victim of the polls because he had three unbeaten teams that got zero recognition in the polls. (He later had another one in 1994, but the first three made him a legend). But the Sun Devils had two undefeated teams (1970 and 1975) and Frank Kush notched A LOT of wins in the 70s. But ASU is barely even remembered even though it was their feeling of being passed over that led to the creation of the Fiesta Bowl. (In one of the strangest ironies - it was Joe Paterno's 1986 team that put the Fiesta Bowl on the map nationally).

So let's look at Kush's job in Tempe.

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS 1970-79 VS RANKED TEAMS
Frank Kush

1970 - no ranked teams faced
1971 - 1-0, Houston
1972 - no ranked teams faced
1973 - no ranked teams faced
1974 - 0-1, lost to NC State (Lou Holtz)
1975 - 2-0, beat Arizona and Nebraska (Fiesta Bowl)
1976 - 0-1, lost to UCLA
1977 - 1-1, beat BYU, lost to Penn St (Fiesta Bowl)
ASU leaves the WAC and joins the Pac 8, turning it into the Pac 10
1978 - 1-1, beat USC, lost to Stanford
1979 - 1-1, beat Washington, lost to FSU (Win over Washington later vacated)

Overall record: 6-5

Arizona State AVERAGED basically one ranked team per season, a total of 11 in ten years.
During that same time, they played 13 teams that won one game and one that went winless for the year.
They played nine teams that won only 2 games that particular year.
In a below average conference.

The setting aside of Arizona State was fully justified even then.
 

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@selmaborntidefan - I'm posting these as front page articles. Putting the first couple of paragraphs and then link to the thread.

 
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