ESPN- 20 Teams that can win it all

Submitted by ATLalumni on May 29th, 2012 at 3:14 PM

ESPN has a paywalled LINK to its top 20 teams that could win the NC this year.  Michigan is not one of them, although with their schedule I guess that is somewhat justified. The inclusion of Ohio is downright ridiculous, as they state that even though they're ineligible, they still rank them. 


20. Texas

19. Clemson

18. South Carolina

17. TCU

16. Arkansas

15. West Virginia

14. Georgia

13. Wisconsin

12. FSU

11. Boise State

10. Stanford

9. OHIO   (wtf?)

8. VaTech

7. Oklahoma State

6. USC

5. Florida

4. Oregon

3. Oklahoma

2. LSU

1. Bama


Mr. Rager

May 29th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

This is really bad.

Did anyone tell ESPN that we beat Va Tech in the Sugar Bowl?  I didn't know they kept everyone and we lost almost our entire team...


May 29th, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

They return a QB that should be a first round pick, produce RBs on a consistent basis and always have solid defense. I don't see them going undefeated, but it's a realistic outcome if Thomas takes a step forward this season. Comparing our schedule to theirs it's easy to see why they'd have a better chance.


May 29th, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

It uses a metric that measures program success over the last five years.

Michigan's last five seasons (starting with The Horror) included one very good season, two bad seasons, a really bad season, and a clusterf*ck season. So yeah, based on that metric I wouldn't include MIchigan either. But If you can tell me what 2007 has to do with 2012, I'm all ears.


May 29th, 2012 at 11:03 PM ^

Yes, but other than last year (the obvious very good season), which is which?  Not sure if 2008 is a "really bad season" or a "clusterf*ck season," although both would be apt descriptions.


May 29th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

If you read the article, you'd know why Michigan isn't on the list. It's using a formula based on drive efficiency over the past five years with the most recent years weighted more heavily. Considering our less than stellar seasons under RichRod, it makes perfect sense that we aren't on the list. And hence that also explains why Ohio State is on the list, and if you click the link it specifically says:

(Note: Ohio State checks in at No. 9, so even though the Buckeyes are ineligible to compete in the postseason, we'll have a preview on them as well.)



May 29th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

I didn't read it because I'd rather not pay money to ESPN, and this is one of the reasons why.  Giving something a title that's going to stir emotions, giving a preview of that something that's going to stir up people up even more (especially U of M fans' emotions by inserting Ohio but not us), all to have it be something utterly irrelevant to what they were insinuating.  It's like a magician getting a bunch of little kids excited by saying he's going to pull a fluffy, cute bunny that everyone can pet out of his hat, only to have that bunny be nothing more than a stuffed toy.

No thanks, I'll pass on reading it and thus forgo supporting the greasy Donald Trump of the sports news/television world.


May 29th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

What the hell? If Boise State is on the list at 11 Michigan at least deserves inclusion.

Boise returns only SIX starters on offense and defense combined and if they are even ranked at the end of this season Chris Petersen deserves auto coach of the year.


May 29th, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

Maybe this is ESPN's version of the Trojan Horse.  Include Ohio in your overly simplistic list of who may win the championship to throw buckeye nation off the scent of your lawsuit.  Knowing Cbus, this just may work. 


May 29th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

Did Urban Meyer write this while he was still at ESPN?   

I'm not sure how they ended up rated higher than Wisconsin when they have to travel to both Michigan State and Wisconsin and also have to play us and Nebraska.    Wisconsin gets Ohio and Michigan State at home and miss playing us.   The only tough road game they have is Nebraska.

Ohio's got a tough B10 schedule and will be adjusting to a new scheme.   I think they'll have a better year and could win 10, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they ended up 8-4.


May 29th, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

But, for the hell of it, my three WTF's from this list are (besides OHIO...that's just stupid): 1. Texas. Why are they on here at all if Michigan isn't? What have you done for me lately? I really like them, though. Texas forever. 2. I think USC should've been ranked a little higher and Stanford lower. Stanford without Luck isn't going to be too successful IMO. USC is hungry and Barkley looks to be a top thought that comes to mind for the Heisman, pre-season of course. 3. Why is Clemson on here? Same thought as Texas. If UM isn't, they DEFINATELY shouldn't be.


May 29th, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

Alabama loses the bulk of their defensive talent and half of their offense in Richardson. Maybe the formula plays off of the fact that a one-loss SEC team is guaranteed to be pushed in.

death by trident

May 29th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

that Michigan isn't included, you should at least read the article.  From the article describing the metric used to create this list.

The Program FEI (PFEI) ratings published on this site represent a rolling five year period of drive efficiency data, weighted for more recent seasons. PFEI has a strong correlation with next-year FEI ratings (.752) and is used as the baseline data for my annual FEI projections. For years in which drive data is unavailable, I have developed an Approximated Program FEI (APFEI) rating based on final scores instead of possessions.


A top PFEI rating is no guarantee of elite success each season. Last year, Alabama became the first national champion since Florida State in 1999 to win the title after starting the year with the top program rating in the country. That said, it is rare for national championship contenders to emerge in a given year without having built sustained success over time.

■In the nine-year history of FEI, only two teams have finished in the top-5 with a PFEI/APFEI rating outside the top-40 at the start of the season: 2007 Oregon and 2010 Stanford.
■Only two teams have finished outside the top-40 in FEI with a PFEI/APFEI top-5 rating at the start of the season: 2010 Texas and 2011 Florida.
■In each of the last eight seasons, both participants in the BCS championship game were ranked among the top-20 in PFEI/APFEI at the start of the season.
■The national champion(s) in 23 of the last 27 seasons was ranked among the PFEI/APFEI top-20 at the start of the season. 

Kind of a misleading title, but this isn't exactly a Bleacher Report slideshow made by an illiterate 13 year old.  This is simply a report of data.


May 29th, 2012 at 6:23 PM ^

But most Espn writers do not choose the title of their pieces. Some one who knows a lot less about the subject saw the stat about how many champs came out of the top twenty and put an inaccurate title on the piece because it will get eyeballs.


May 29th, 2012 at 6:23 PM ^

The more I learn about this list, the more ridiculous it is. Not saying that Michigan should or should not be on the list, but using a 5 year trend analysis which does not account for major star loses (Luck), unexpected lose of coach (Arkansas), virtually no returning starters (Boise State) and then including a team that is not even eligible for its conference title, let alone a National Championship game, just removes any creditability to the list. They would have been just better writing out the top 20 teams that they actually think may win it all, but that would have required some actual critical thinking.

South TX MFan

May 29th, 2012 at 7:39 PM ^

Forget Michigan not being listed, what the hell is Florida doing at #5? They were 7-6 last year and their locker room is in complete disarray. Just further proof that ESPN loves to swing off the SEC's nuts.


May 29th, 2012 at 8:25 PM ^

They really think Boise will win game 1 next season without Kellen? Same goes for Okie St. Those 2 schools are in the running for biggest dropoff next year. Wtf??? Texas can't find their way out of the locker room these days, Arkansas just fired their coach, Stanford lost Luck, and FSU is the Notre Dame of the south. Every day I completely lose faith in ESPN all over again.


May 29th, 2012 at 8:27 PM ^

As mentioned by some astute posters above...  More than half those teams won't make it out of their conference let alone play in a BCS game or the NC game.  Since this list seems to be predicated on a lot of fairy or pixie dust being used, I submit ND and UM to be added as well.  Since, by ESPNs criteria, they could win it all...


May 30th, 2012 at 1:24 AM ^

Arkansas? Ha! Even state fans would agree it will be a cold day in hell before a John L. Smith coached team wins a national championship.


May 30th, 2012 at 1:52 AM ^

This list is pretty terrible.  More than half those teams have no chance in hell of contending.  For example, FSU hasn't done a thing for many years and shows no signs of contending for anything.

Perkis-Size Me

May 30th, 2012 at 9:21 AM ^

Had this list been done right, I think UM not being included is justified. Too many question marks and a brutal schedule on top of that.

But Ohio, are you kidding me? Even regardless of a postseason ban, learning new schemes, having no proven wideouts of any kind, questionable linebackers (Denard and Fitz made them look like shit).

Boise State is losing at least one game next year. I think Petersen will help this team reload, and no one can deny his ability to coach his players up. At the end of the day, they play in a weak as shit conference that they should own. But I would not be surprised to see them get mauled by MSU. They have 5-6 starters coming back, tops.

What has Texas done in the last 2 years to make anyone think they are national title ready? Did ESPN see their games against Oklahoma and Baylor last year?

Same goes for FSU. I think they can challenge for a BCS bowl, but not a NC. Not yet anyway. And Will Muschamp has Florida nowhere close to playing for a NC again. Good defense, but they have 0 offense, and by the time they get back to Urban Meyer levels, a third of the team may be in jail anyway.

I'm almost insulted to read this list.