After nearly two months of G5 posts interspersed with some basketball musings, we return to the Power Five. At least in name. This week we examine the Pac-12.
Here are the Pac-12 standings.
Maybe Pump the Brakes on Washington State
The 2018 season was one of the best in Washington State history. Their eleven wins were the most in school history, their SRS of 12.19 was the eighth best in school history (fifth best since World War II), and their final AP rank of tenth was tied for third. And the Cougars accomplished all this despite dubious preseason expectations. The Cougars were not ranked in the preseason poll and some of the sharpest prognosticators in the college football business (yours truly included) thought they would lose their season opener to Wyoming. A few weeks ago, I offered fans of Auburn, Miami, and Wisconsin hope heading into 2019. Teams that start the season ranked in the top-ten of the AP Poll and wind up unranked tend to bounce back the following season. Now I want to look at the converse (or is it inverse? I never payed close attention in geometry or philosophy). How do teams that start out unranked and finish in the top-ten perform the next season?
From 2005-2017, 27 teams began the year unranked and finished in the top-ten of the final AP Poll. They are listed in the table below along with their regular season record in the year they finished ranked, their regular season record the next season, and the difference in record between the two seasons.
lost to Kentucky for the first time since the Reagan administration, were not even ranked for good until the first week of October, and lost by three touchdowns at home to Missouri. The Gators recruit significantly better than Washington State, so their program has a sturdier frame, but they also play in the SEC which means they will face a more arduous schedule. I expect to hear and read a lot of Florida darkhorse hype over the summer, but I would be wary of proclamations of their return to glory just yet.