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August 1, 2007

ESPN's Top 119 Programs for the Past 10 Years -- Georgia Comments

Image: Jim Hipple

Over the past week or so, ESPN has been releasing its Top 119 Programs from the past 10 years (1997-2006). Fifteen of ESPN's college football "experts" and analysts ranked all 119 Division I-A programs, taking into account:
    Attendance and support
    Other criteria
Georgia came in ranked at #11. The Bulldogs are the highest program on the list without a national title.

I initially wanted to use this space to argue that we’ve passed Tennessee (#10 on the list), and I still think that we have. If they were limiting the discussion to the past 5 or 7 years, I definitely believe that we’ve passed the Vols. But the National Title carries so much weight that over a 10 year horizon, I can see listing them above us.

Why should UGA be ranked so high? Our overall resume:
  • Georgia’s 96 overall wins during that period is tied with Michigan and Florida State for 3rd in among BCS conference members. UGA has only two fewer wins than Texas who leads all BCS schools with 98 victories since '97.

  • Two conference championships in the nation’s toughest league ties UGA for #1 in SEC titles over that period.

  • Georgia's 3 SEC Championship game appearances is tied for 2nd in the SEC since '97.

  • Five seasons with 10 wins or more during the period.

  • The most bowl wins over the past 10 years in the nation (8-2 record)
In the next post, we'll talk about the most outrageous ranking on the list. Boise State coming in at #16.

See Also:
-- SEC Teams Ranked by Wins since '97 - GSB



Anonymous said...

Even as a Tennessee fan, I agree that Uga has passed us in the past 5 or so years. But if you're taking a 10 year period (back to 1997), Tennessee does have 4 SECCG appearances, 2 SECCs, and 1 NC.

Like Florida State and Miami, Tennessee made the top 10 on the strength of its resume from the late 90s through 2001 or so. If we're talking the last 5 or so years, Tennessee would probably be fringe top-20.

The lack of national title is a glaring hole on the Georgia resume. And no one outside the SEC really cares about conference championships (not saying I agree with that, but it's true). No one is talking up Lloyd Carr's multiple Big-10 titles or Pete Carroll's 5 straight Pac-10 crowns. Even programs like Iowa have as many conference titles as Georgia the last 5 or 6 years. Texas is considered football royalty and they've won their conference ONCE, and they conference isn't even that good.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. You have to look at the lack of a National Title as the blemish on the UGA record. However, if you give UGA a national title, then where would they rank. I mean at that point they are in the top 5 maybe the top 3. Basically, UGA is a national championship away from being USC/TEXAS/OSU type program. I actually think of Georgia as sitting in the same position as Texas a few years back when they kept saying how Mack Brown couldn't win it all. He just couldn't get over that OU road bump, and his program wasn't considered college football royalty. All it took was one season to change everything. Florida is to Georgia what OU was to Texas until 2 years ago.

Unknown said...

Part of the problem is that so many in the national media AND fans seem to forget how rare and difficult it is to win a national title.

OSU went ~35 years between titles
Michigan went 49 years b/w titles
Nebraska went ~25 years b/w titles
USC went ~25 years b/w titles
UF went 90+ years without ANY titles
Tenn went 47 years b/w titles
Texas went 35 yers b/w titles

FSU experienced unrivaled dominance for 14 years and only 2 MNCs to show for it

Spurrier is one of the greatest coaches in history and has 1 MNC.

It's much tougher and much more rare to win a national title than people make out.

Miami's 5 titles in 17 or so years is the exception in the modern era. Not the rule. And I'd wager the rest of college football wasn't playing by the same rules as the Canes during that period given their probation following it.


LD said...

The team that's ahead of UGA that shouldn't be is LSU, not Tennessee.

The only thing LSU has over UGA is a national title - and their 2003 title is no better than our 2002 season:
Both went 13-1.
Both lost to a Ron Zook coached Florida team (UGA lost by 7 in Jacksonville, LSU lost by 12 in Baton Rouge).

The only reason why LSU has a title and UGA doesn't is the fact that other teams lost in 2003, while other teams didn't in 2002. Had Oklahoma beaten K-State in the Big XII title game and had California not beaten USC, LSU doesn't even play in that title game. Likewise, had Miami and Ohio State each dropped a game, UGA could've won a title that year.

Point is: if you eliminate everything outside of the control of that team, LSU's 2003 season is no better than UGA's 2002.

UGA has the same number of conference titles, more wins, a better winning percentage, more bowl games, more bowl wins, and UGA is 4-2 head to head over that timespan against LSU.

Though "tradition" is completely subjective, I think UGA's is better than LSU's (more conference titles, more Heisman Trophy winners).

Perhaps recruiting is an advantage LSU has over UGA, but that's a completely subjective category. And if LSU recruits so much better than UGA, well, why aren't they winning a higher percentage of games? And why does UGA currently have more NFL players (51 vs 48)?

Attendance: UGA's drawn more (and a higher percentage in each of the last 4 years.

Coaching: Are they talking current coaches or is LSU getting credit for Saban while we're getting marked for Donnan? If not just current, this is the dumbest way to compare programs. If just current, LSU has no advantage whatsoever.

Facilities: If LSU has an advantage on UGA in facilities enough to make up for the rest of this, I'll be shocked.

I'm OK with UT over UGA (UGA has no argument as to UT's MNC), but LSU doesn't have much of a leg to stand on.

Nathan said...

As PWD said, a MNC is so rare - it basically makes a decade for a team, at least.

Hard to say UGA should be ahead of LSU and UT just for that reason alone.

LD said...

But not all MNCs are created equal.

Personally, I think Auburn's 2004 season was far superior to LSU's 2003 season. Auburn doesn't even have a share of a title, but LSU can claim one.

Point is that LSU's title, in my opinion, shouldn't be given the same weight as some other ones. And if that's the only thing LSU has over UGA, I don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

Good point about MNCs. If you want flukey, look at how UF won their 2 NCs.

In 1996 they got a rematch against a team they freaking lost to in the last regular season game of the year. How goofy is that?

In 2006 it took USC losing and a LOT of cry-baby begging from Meyer to even get the shot at the NC.

Billy Merck said...

Are you saying that #16 for Boise St. is ridiculous because it's too high or because it's too low?

JasonC said...

Good stuff.
Billy, I didn't say it, but my guess is that 16 is too high for BSU. Over the past 5 years, maybe, but over the past 10 they aren't 16. Really, all we knew about BSU ten years ago is that they had the funny blue turf where GT usually went to play around Xmas time.

Also, life is good... sitting at the beach, reading about football and my girlfriend brings me a bowl of ice cream to enjoy. Ahhhhhhh...

Anonymous said...

great comments on here, couldnt be more unbiased and knowledgeable. Clearly the MNC is THE hole on UGA's resume, but the FLORIDA game might be even bigger, the comment about UF owning UGA like OK owned TX is exactly the point.

We win that game just 50% like AU and no problem, but when a team owns you its hard to say you belong. Who can figure the hex, we beat plenty of teams that beat them!

Last comment, LSU 2003, for those that seem to have forgotten was one of the best football teams EVER in the SEC. Even pesimistic LSU fans say that was just a special group. The Defense was extraordinary and the offense was stout. NO ONE was going to beat them in 03.

Honestly though, I think UGA 02 wins a MNC if they had a shot at Miami or OhState, they just had that momentum which is hard to put a finger on.


Anonymous said...

UGA was 9-4 last season with inexplicable losses to both intramural vandie and to Kentucky when we did have the Number 8 NCAA Total Defense to rely upon.

This season UGA will once again be 9-4 and we don't have a typical Coach Richt Top 10 NCAA Total Defense this season for certain.

Ok, 15 of 17 is also on the side of putting UGA with our strength of schedule (not taken into account to put Boise State Number 16) with a worse ranking than those teams who play far weaker schedules.

Ok, on MNC too. That UGA has not had one since 1980, 27 years ago.

Facilities. Well, UGA has no indoor practice facility. Pitiful that we have to still say that. (And, frankly Stegosaurus is not an even reasonable basketball gym.)

All that said on the negative side, the facts remain that UGA is the only team in the nation ranked in every single Final AP Poll over the entire last ten years (Decade.) And, we are tied for 3rd in Wins over the 10-year span. In attendance, we are once again Number 4. In tradition (tradition is not decade but since 1892 where we are Number 11 in all-time wins with six (6) National Championships recognized in the Official NCAA Football 1-A Records Book.), UGA is once again better than Number 11. SEC Championships UGA has 12 and 2 of the last 5. In NFL, only 2 other have more on NFL Rosters today than UGA. In recruiting, not LSU but UGA in The Coach Richt Era averages a Top 5 Recruiting Class every year for tops in the SEC in both Rivals and and the average of the two - there is no other recruiting measuring stick available but this. So, don't be giving me this junk about Florida tops in the nation in recruiting talent when it is California, then Florida, then Texas and then Georgia who go on to the NFL from high schools here - there is not that much drop off from # 2 to # 4 state for high school talent that this drops UGA to Number 11 either. Georgia is doing a great job in every category discussed. And, whether 3 years from now as Coach Richt said once again yesterday that there is an advantage to Florida playing at The Gator Bowl every year against us, Coach Richt gets his wish for our players to have an equal footing or not – the facts remain even taking into account losing 15 of 17, UGA is NOT Number 11. Sorry. And, that takes into account everything in this post.

Anonymous said...

NO ONE was going to beat them in 03.

When you say NO ONE, I'm assuming you mean Florida? By the way, that game was in Death Valley and Leak was making just his third start, under Ron Zook.

I'll be the first to say that the BCS title puts LSU above us on the list, but the 2003 LSU Tigers have achieved a status in the minds of SEC fans that they didn't really match on the field. They were great, but they weren't 'once in a decade' great.

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