20 Years: How we stacked up (Rev 2)

After picking up the Phil Steele preseason guide the past few seasons, I have concluded this is one of the better investments one can make for the joy of statistics.

I've only recently discovered that there's a ton of efficiently stacked information on his website. On a quick glance I determined the Hokies were ranked way more than half of the past 20 seasons (his site has a 1994-2013 window that still hasn't been updated). Later I began to wonder how we stacked up to other major programs, and a project evolved.

Shortly after the Commonwealth cup I did some quick math to figure out the teams that had been ranked close to or above 40% of the 94-13 window. After the initial crunch, I grabbed the 2014 & 2015 rankings from the USA Today Coaches Wikipedia page (same poll Phil uses). The teams ranked more than half the time were the 19 "Big Dogs". Indeed these teams account for all of the championship game wins and 80% of the time in the top 5.

From the '94-'13 time-frame presented on the site, Virginia Tech did quite well. To make the stats up-to-date, I replaced the '94-95 seasons with '14-15. This made me sad. Also, Wisconsin and Penn State dropped out; Clemson jumped in. West Virginia was just outside each time.

Following the Clemson/Alabama game I compared this new "Big" super-conference out of sheer winter and boredom. Here follows those results (I used a calculator, so if you seek mistakes your effort will likely be rewarded):

(Revision 1: added 1 team for 19 total)
(Revision 2: fixed NC chart, +1 new table, + round robins, added logos)

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


In some good company. Would like to see the bowl records go positive in the next few years. Also, would like to see the #1-#5 bowl record to break the ofer.

Nice blizzard analysis.

The Dude Abides

I'd say we haven't been putting our best foot forward. It feels like we've been a great program that ends up coasting along indifferently in big games.

No blizzard where I'm at, but NE Ohio is chronically sunless and driven by bad weather. It's fun to keep up on the weather in Va here and on Facebook, though. I finished this up quickly once I realized a few statistic fans might be stuck indoors and bored.

Thank you for posting, interesting information about Hokie football. I enjoyed reading it and was very enlightened by the information posted. Nice to see someone take the time to post that.

Life's short, If you dont do it, somebody else will.

Wow, great work finding all of the information and compiling it into the stats seen above! I enjoyed reading the tables and comparing us to the Blue Bloods of college football...

This is a REALLY great testament to the program that Frank built here at Tech, and the consistency and winning culture he built up from the ground. Yet another reason to be thankful for our Beloved Ball Coach, the list keeps on and on and on!!! Dagnabbit who brought those stinkin' onions around again...

"It's a miracle in Blacksburg, TYROD DID IT MIKEY, TYROD DID IT!"


Wiley, Brown, Russell, Drakeford, Gray, Banks, Prioleau, Charleton, Midget, Bird, McCadam, Pile, Hall, Green, Fuller, Williams, Hamilton, Rouse, Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Hosley, Fuller, Exum, Jarrett

Sure is nice seeing us on all of those lists - and leading one category.

That "bowl games in a row" category is a big deal to me. I don't want to hear about how many bowl games there are, or how easy it is to get to a bowl. We are the best at it, dammit, and I want us to go to a bowl game every year for the rest of my life.
Go Hokies!

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

The first chart shows how Bama has gotten a ton of media poll love the past decade.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Notre Dame is constantly in over their head in bowl games. USC seemed to be the most overrated. The fact that USC has had a number of awful seasons, yet they've only spent one season completely out of the rankings was telling.

In the second chart, Alabama (and Texas) started the season 8 times in the top five but only finished there 5 times. The overrated tag would certainly apply there. To be fair though, they only started 2 seasons ranked #1 and finished that way 4 times. Both Alabama and USC had a lot of awful seasons coupled with a few dominant ones.

Only FSU and USC had a season where they were ranked #1 from start to finish.

I don't believe that bowl wins/losses really mean much. I'd much rather see more out of conference matchups between top teams, and assess from that. It still matters then.

Memphis's performance in their bowl loss isn't an accurate reflection of how the team performed during the year, clearly. Coaching changes, NFL prospects, etc. all interfere with how bowls are viewed. Mid-season out of conference matchups are where it's at!

The bowl statistics were easy to grab, but you're right- assessing Wins and Losses against ranked/Top 5 opponents would be a better metric.

That's funny, I don't see an orange T in any of these columns.

Shoot. I was a little too hasty. They were stuck behind Texas in my printouts.

I fixed the charts and totals.

Dammit, now I sound like I actually LIKE Tennessee. Looking back on it, from `95 to `15 they were only really good for 6 or 7 of those years. Their ranking is skewed by being a top tier team from '95 to 2000.

Yeah, I screwed that up for you- my bad. If it's any consolation, my initial reply started "Orange? That's kind"...

There were 18 teams until KSt got un-Pluto'd. Because we all make a Tennessee every now and then

Haha, I was actually really close to writing "sickly yellowish T".

I'm confused about the chart that lists teams' records in NC games aka games where the #1 team played. How is the overall total 20-19? How can there be more winners than losers of NC games?

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

They counted those pathetic 2006 and 2007 Ohio State teams that got blitzed in the NC as one.

edit: If you want to thank anyone for all the SEC bias that some of y'all complain about (I don't agree, I think it's earned) but Ohio State looking like children against Florida and LSU those two years jump started that cause.

I'm actually noticing a few errors with that particular chart. It says Florida won 3 but j think they only won 2. And I believe fsu went 2-2 not 2-3. And Oklahoma went 1-3 not 1-2. There may be more but that might explain the 20-19 record.

Although I enjoy the idea that the two Ohio state teams combined for just one loss haha

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

This chart encompasses 1996-2015 and uses the Coaches Poll (Or the poll Phil Steele uses in his histories) as the primary means of ranking for consistency. The "National Championship Game" is simply the game in which the "#1 team" played over the course of the past 20 years. Here is how I got those results (I'm planning on adding a change for the '97 and '03 seasons):


In 1996 and 1997, there were no BCS Championship games. I didn't realize when I started this that the results went so far back, but for ALL of my results I took the #1 team game as the "Championship" game. In retrospect, I could have used the "Bowl Alliance" and the "BCS Championship game" results, too.

I'm pretty happy that Ties rolled off these results by 1996. Ties are aggravating!

- In 1996, #3 Florida beat #1 FSU 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl (This is probably the one that got you to the UF and FSU records you have)
- In 1997, #1 Michigan beat #8 Washington St (not depicted on chart as they were < 50% ranked over this 20 year span) in the Rose Bowl

In this game, the #1 team played, but the Bowl Alliance called the #2 Neb/#3 Ten game the "Championship game", this can be edited.

- In 1998, #1 Tennessee beat #2 FSU 23-16 in the Fiesta Bowl
- In 1999, They didn't have a NC game at all that I recall (The runner-up the year before, FSU would be given the NC by default I think is how they do it)
- In 2000, #1 Oklahoma beat #3 FSU 13-2 in the Orange Bowl
- In 2001, Miami>Nebraska
- In 2002, OSU>Miami
- In 2003, #2 LSU beat #3 Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl
#1 USC beat #4 Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl
(This season probably needs changed. In Phil Steele's team history sheets, USC is listed as the #1 team at the conclusion of the season. On the Wikipedia page for polls, USC is listed as AP champs, LSU is listed as the Coaches poll champ and Oklahoma is listed as the BCS poll "champ". Going to leave this one for now but the "Championship" game was actually Oklahoma and LSU.

For now I have USC winning the "NC (really the #1 game)" and listed as the post-season champ for consistency in these results. This could be modified to reflect the actual coaches poll result and the Sugar Bowl as the actual championship game. Gotta head to work soon, though).

- In 2004, #1 USC beat #2 Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl
- In 2005, Texas>USC
- In 2006, #2 Florida beat #1 Ohio St 41-14 in the BCS Championship game
- In 2007, LSU>>>OSU
- In 2008, #1 Florida beat #2 Oklahoma 24-14 in the BCS Championship game
- In 2009, Ala>Tex
- In 2010, Aub>Ore
- In 2011, Ala>LSU
- In 2012, Ala>>> ND
- In 2013, #1 FSU beat #2 Auburn 34-31 in the BCS Championship game

2014 and 2015 I used the Playoff results.

In the "Finish (Start)" #1 column, Penn State was Ranked #1 to start the 1997 season, and they are not part of the 19 teams listed --> 20(19) result for Post(Pre) #1 rankings

In the "NC games (W-L)" chart, Washington St. lost in 1997, and they are not part of the 19 teams listed --> 20-19 record for the teams listed

FSU went 2-3 (Wins: 99, 13 - Losses: 96, 98, 00)
Florida went 3-0 (96, 06, 08)
Oklahoma went 1-2 (Win: 00 - Losses: 04-08)

Makes sense. Damn college football has some confusing championship history

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

I fixed a few things, added a few more and came up with two different logos.

I think it could be named either the BINC (Big imaginary numbers conference) or the Big Eleventy.