Compilation and Comparison to Recent National Championsip Teams and Their Run-Up Seasons

Submitted by justthinking on November 24th, 2010 at 10:57 AM

A Consideration: Take a good look at these recent National Championship Teams and how they got there. Most had plenty of Ups and Downs before their NC Season -- some more than others. The Combined Average Points Allowed in their NC Seasons was 14.2, again telling the tale that DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Yes, Michigan must improve on the Defensive side of the ball (obviously), but by looking at these other teams I am trying to show that most of them slogged through the muck with plenty of Losing and 5 Loss Winning Seasons before reaching the pinnacle of football success.

We are not as far away from the top as we seem, IMHO. Keep The Faith!

Go BLUE!

 


Compilations of National Championship Teams Since 2000, and Their "Run Up" Seasons Prior To Their NC Season.

 

OKLAHOMA'S RUN TO NC IN 2000

YEAR

RECORD

AVE. POINTS ALLOWED

1994

6-6 (.500)

22

1995

5-5-1 (.500)

25

1996

3-8 (L)

36

1997

4-8 (L)

32

1998

5-6 (L)

21

1999

7-5 (W-5L)

19 (improving)

2000

13-0 (NC)

15 (STRONG)

  • Two .500 seasons, followed by three losing seasons, a Five Loss winning season and then the NC season in 2000.
  • Average Score in 2000 NC Season: 37-15.
  • Big 12 South. Kept very good Nebraska and Texas teams to 14 points in each of those games. It was the lowest score for Texas that year, who averaged 38 points in their 9-3 season. Also, lowest points scored by Nebraska who was averaging 48 points in their 10-2 season as well. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

 


 

MIAMI'S RUN TO NC 2001

YEAR

RECORD

AVE. POINTS ALLOWED

1997

5-6 (L)

26

1998

9-3 (W)

25

1999

9-4 (W)

17

2000

11-1 (W)

16

2001

12-0 (NC)

10

  • Losing season in '97, followed by 3 & 4 loss winning seasons with increasingly stronger Defenses. Noticeable improvement in NC season with a SUFFOCATING Defense.

 


 

OHIO STATE'S RUN TO NC IN 2002

YEAR

RECORD

AVE. POINTS ALLOWED

1999

6-6 (.500)

24

2000

8-4 (W)

19

2001

7-5 (W-5L)

20

2002

14-0 (NC)

13 (Suffocating)

  • A .500 season in '99, just four years from NC, followed by Four Loss and then Five Loss winning seasons. Defenses were improving and then noticeable improvement for NC year in 2002.
  • Average score in 2002 was 30-13. A VERY TOUGH Big 10 year to win it all. Their Defense held when their Offense stalled (under their season average of 30 points per game). Wisconsin game 19-14; Penn State game 13-7; Purdue game 10-6; Michigan game 14-9. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

 


 

USC's RUN TO (SPLIT) NC IN 2003 (& 2004/no chart)

YEAR

RECORD

AVERAGE SCORE

1996

6-6 (.500)

27-22

1997

6-5 (W-5L)

21-21

1998

8-5 (W-5L)

27-19

1999

6-6 (.500)

29-23

2000

5-7 (L)

26-28

2001

6-6 (.500)

25-17 (Improved D)

2002

11-2 (W)

36-18 (Strong O & D)

2003

12-1 (NC)

41-18 (Strong O & D)

  • A .500 in '96 season followed by two, Five Loss winning seasons, followed by another .500 season, then another losing season and then again another .500 season just two years before NC year in 2003.
  • A weaker Offense and Defense combined for 5 years from '96-'00, and then Defense takes a noticeable improvement to holding opponents to 17, 18 and 18 points per game average. Offense is still MEH in 2001 with the 6-6 season, but jumps for '02 and then in '03 for the NC season. Better D over Carrol's 3 years and a much higher powered Offense.

 


 

LSU's RUN TO (SPLIT) NC IN 2003

YEAR

RECORD

AVERAGE SCORE

1998

4-7 (L)

31-25

1999

3-8 (L)

20-24

2000

8-4 (W)

27-20

2001

10-3 (W)

32-23

2002

8-5 (W-5L)

25-18

2003

13-1 (NC)

34-11

  • Two losing seasons followed by four and three loss winning seasons. Those four years saw about the same output from the Defense. Then a Five Loss season in 2002 right before the NC season, but notice - the Defense showed improvement that year. The '03 season showed a SUFFOCATING Defense, allowing only 11 points per game average in their NC season.

 


 

TEXAS' RUN TO NC IN 2005

YEAR

RECORD

2001

11-2 (W)

2002

11-2 (W)

2003

10-3 (W)

2004

11-1 (W)

2005

13-0 (NC)

  • A good run up in prior seasons, unlike previous NC winners who had plently of BLAH seasons before their NC season. 2005 had Texas averaging scores of 50-16, with a wild Offense and Great D -- DUE TO VERY WEAK N & S BIG 12 CONFERENCES.
  • A 70-3 win over a 7-6 Colorado team, who had 4 straight losses leading up to the Big 12 Championship game.

 


 

FLORIDA'S RUN TO NCs IN 2006 & 2008

YEAR

RECORD

AVE. SCORE

2002

8-5 (W-5L)

26-25

2003

8-5 (W-5L)

30-21

2004

7-5 (W-5L)

32-21

2005

9-3 (W)

29-19

2006

13-1 (W)

30-14 (STRONG D)

2007

9-4 (W)

43-26

2008

13-1 (NC)

44-13 (STRONG D)

  • Three Five Loss winning seasons starting in 2002, with MEH Defenses followed by a 9-3 season with an improved D in 2005, which was Urban Meyer's 2nd season. The 2006 NC season showed a slightly better Offense, but a much improved D, holding opponents to 14 points per game average. A slight slip in their '07 season with 4 losses, but their Offense was really starting to roll. This was followed by their 2nd NC season in 2008 with a high powered Offense and a SUFFOCATING D.

 



LSU's RUN TO NC IN 2007

YEAR

RECORD

AVERAGE SCORE

2004

9-3 (W)

29-17

2005

11-2 (W)

30-14

2006

11-2 (W)

34-13

2007

12-2 (NC)

39-20

  • Les Miles had a 2007 team with a good Offense which put up an average of 39 points in that 12-2 season. The Defense was good, but not SUFFOCATING, compared to allowing just 11 points per game average in their '03 NC season.
  • Two NC's in just four years is a great accomplishment, but it also brings high expectations from their fanbase to keep it up.
  • After '07 NC, 2008 and 2009 were also winning seasons, but they came with Five Losses (W-5L) and four losses respectively and the LSU fanbase started getting more vocal in their displeasure.
  • 2008 averaged scores of 31-24 (MEH D) and '09 was 25-16 (Good D, Meh O). Their high-powered Offensive output since '07 dropped dramatically (from 39 to 31 to 25 points per game), but the D did their part in keeping opponents to just 16 points per game average.

 



** ALABAMA'S DYSFUNCTIONAL RUN-UP to 2009+ **

YEAR

RECORD

AVERAGE SCORE

1996

10-3 (W)

24-15 (Strong D)

1997

4-7 (L)

22-23

1998

7-5 (W-5L)

21-24

1999

10-3 (W)

29-20 (Decent D)

2000

3-8 (L)

21-22

2001

7-5 (W-5L)

27-19

2002

10-3 (W)

28-15 (Strong D)

2003

4-9 (L)

25-26

2004

6-6 (.500)

25-16

2005

10-2 (W)

22-11 (SUFFOCATING D)

2006

6-7 (L)

23-19

2007

8-5 (W-5L)

27-22

2008

12-2 (W)

30-14 (Strong D)

2009

14-0 (W-Cycle Break)

32-12 (Strong D)

2010

9-2 (so far)

35-13 (Strong D)

 

  • I don't know if there has ever been a more cyclically dysfunctional team than Alabama. Starting in 1996 through 2009: A 10-3 winning season, a bad losing season, a Five Loss winning season, a 10-3 winning season, a bad losing season, a Five Loss winning season, a 10-3 winning season, a bad losing season, a .500 season, a 10-2 winning season, a losing season, a Five Loss winning season, a 12-2 winning season, and a 14-0 NC season.
  • Over 12 years, the six, 2 or 3 loss Winning Seasons all had Great Defenses allowing just 15 points per game average (Surprised? No). Those great seasons were ALWAYS IMMEDIATELY followed by TERRIBLE seasons 4-7, 3-8, 4-9, 6-7 respectively. Then, those TERRIBLE seasons were always followed with three, Five Loss winning seasons (W-5L) and one .500 season. Then, coming full circle, the good winning season with the Suffocating Defense followed. Thus the crazy, dysfunctional cycle of Alabama Football.
  • As in past cycles, '08 (W) followed the Five Loss (W-5L) '07 season as Alabama went back to a Great Defense (allowing just 14 ppg) and 12-2 record. BUT (change of direction) in 2009, instead of falling off the planet again with a terrible losing season, they go and win a NC with their highest output Offense of 32 points per game and their second most Suffocating Defense, (giving up just 12 points per game average) in a 14-0 season. They are again continuing to buck the crazy 14-year rollercoaster trend in 2010 by averaging 35-13 scores over 11 games in a 9-2 season, thus far.

First Question: How did the Crimson Tide fanbase fare MENTALLY over those horrifically cyclical seasons of big wins, then big losses, and then Five Loss winning seasons (repeat again and again) for over a decade before the last two, "cycle breaking", back to back, incredible seasons of '08 and '09? (Me thinks Michigan fans would have been suicidal at that point).

Second Question: Is the excessive medical redshirting by Nick Saban at Alabama making the difference in "Breaking the Cycle"?

Comments

bluebrains98

November 24th, 2010 at 11:06 AM ^

I can now enjoy my turkey in peace. In all seriousness, we need to understand that M football has been way ahead of the curve since the advent of college football. We had to go through a stretch like this eventually. Unlike other similar programs (read, ND), we will have more glory soon.

GoPackGo

November 24th, 2010 at 11:08 AM ^

really enjoyed reading that, and it definitely provides some hope...adding two wins a year...I like our trajectory...unfortunately, now cue all the naysayers who say how Michigan now is still in none of these team's league when they were struggling....

Undefeated dre…

November 24th, 2010 at 11:35 AM ^

Obviously a lot of work here, and thank you for the analysis. But in this case you're selecting on the dependent variable. How many teams have had similar track records but then not won, or come near to winning, a national championship? Many.

I have no dog in the "Who should coach" hunt, so please don't misunderstand. And it's important to dispel the myth that other great teams have always been great and always will be great. It's just that there's nothing here that we can use to extrapolate to Michigan -- if you're hopeful, this keeps you hopeful, if you're pessimistic, there's nothing here to change your mind.

PurpleStuff

November 24th, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

The USC leap I think is one that really negates a lot of the criticism I've seen leveled at Rodriguez and Co. to diminish the progress we've seen so far (e.g. not beating good teams, etc.).

The 2001 Trojans beat only one team with a winning record (7-4 UCLA).  They lost 10-6 at home to a Kansas State team that finished 6-6 on the year (Norm Chow and Carson Palmer must have sucked to only put up two field goals, right?).  They lost to a 5-6 Notre Dame team that got Bob Davie fired.  At the end of the season they made a nice run to get bowl eligible by beating all the teams with losing records in the Pac 10 and pulling the "upset" over a fairly mediocre UCLA squad (a mid conference squad a'la Illinois).  After all that they ended up in the Las Vegas bowl where they lost (again by a 10-6 score) to a Utah team that had gone 4-3 in the MWC and whose coach would also be fired a season later.

Only close observers noted that Palmer was learning his third offense in four years or saw the black hole that injuries had created at the running back position (such that Sonny Byrd, a big white backup fullback, was the starting tailback late in the year).  Those who weren't happy with the Pete Carroll hire dismissed all the returning starters reasoning that the team wasn't going to get any better with these guys no matter how old they got.

Everybody got a year older, the injured players got healthy, and they added one instant impact recruit (Mike Williams) and they won the Orange Bowl a year later.  And then they were awesome for close to a decade after that.

Just something to keep in mind about how teams improve when you don't "see" the progress/possibility.

maiznblue

November 24th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

I agree with Undefeated. Obviously this is pretty biased because you're starting out by picking teams that won a National Championship.

I also know that you weren't trying to prove teams that start out with a bad record will turn into nat'l champs. You're just trying to show it's possible and it's been done.

Love the optimism!  And I hope in the next 3 years we can be added to the list!

BostonWolverine

November 24th, 2010 at 12:12 PM ^

but this list doesn't work for me. Here's why:

Bob Stoops took over after Oklahoma's 5-6 season in 1998. After a 7-5 start to his Oklahoma career, he coaches the Sooners to a national title in his second year.

Coker took over for Miami that year, and coached a Butch Davis team to a national title. The pieces were all there, the buildup was all there.

Tressel's second year, he won the title after a not-so-good first year adjustment (7-5)

Pete Carroll won it in his 3rd year after being hired in 2001. The two previous seasons under Carroll were outstanding.

Saban won it in his 4th year at LSU - and he built a pretty impressive D in those years.

In Texas, Mack Brown had a winning tradition in place for a number of years, so it was only a matter of time for him.

Florida won in Urban Meyer's second year, after a year of buildup (again) - then lost some seniors. Then won it again 2 years later.

Les Miles won a championship in his 3rd year at LSU after 2 pretty impressive years, anyway.

And now we're back to Saban, who led an Alabama team in his first year to an 8-5 record. Keep in mind, that was a 6-7 team the year prior. He then had a great second season, and won a championship in his third.

Almost all of those dramatic buildups or turnarounds were due to coaching changes. Those down years were with the coaches who got fired or replaced in all of these situations (except Mack Brown).

I think you're right that the buildup is there. But, "I am trying to show that most of them slogged through the muck with plenty of Losing and 5 Loss Winning Seasons before reaching the pinnacle of football success" doesn't work for me, because those crappy seasons were ALL right before a coaching change.

I don't think we need a coaching change, and I haven't lost confidence in RR. But this isn't the argument for future success.

Communist Football

November 24th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

I'm not worried about the statistical issues other are. The important point to remember is that a lot of these teams faced 5-loss seasons (or worse) before their MNC seasons.  The margin between victory and defeat can be very small, and one year can make all the difference. (In our case it's probably more like 2 years to true MNC contention.)

Bill45

November 24th, 2010 at 4:14 PM ^

 Your analysis is really an argument against keeping Rich Rod.

That fact that Stoops won a National Championship in Year 2; Corker in Year 1; Tressel in Year 2; Carroll in Year 3; Meyer in Years 2 and 4; Miles in Year 3;  and Saban  in Year 3 just makes comparisons with Rich Rod at UM all the more pathetic.  Rich Rod's barely eking out a winning record in Year 3 just makes his failings all the more glaring.

Rather than being competitive for a national championship or even a Big Ten title in his Year 3, Rich Rod's signature accomplishment is now having UM fans thinkings in terms of "games we are supposed to lose".  Rich Rod's next most noteworthy accomplishments are to have divided one half of the UM fanbase against the other and to get the pro-Rich Rod half to clutch at straws which, with all due respect, is all your post is.