In an off-season full of rumors, conference re-alignment, and some bitter and oft contentious comparisons between the big four "non-BCS" teams, I decided to look up all comparable stats, create a table, and see how closely these teams actually do compare.
I took the results and gave each team points based upon the order they finish, relating to the other three.
All numbers are based upon the "BCS" era (1999-present), and are figured with end of season rankings (EOS)
Total Wins Boise 122 (4pts), BYU 89 (1pt), TCU 103 (3pts), Utah 95 (2pts)
Wins goes to Boise St easy. However, it's interesting to note that strength of schedule is inversely proportionate.
Avg S.O.S. rank Boise 100 (1pt), BYU 57 (4pts), TCU 84 (2pts), Utah 69 (3pts)
Give credit to BYU for scheduling difficult teams. The Cougs played 21 games against teams that finished ranked in the top 25. Compared to 17 for Utah, 16 for TCU and 15 for Boise. BYU took on top ranked USC twice while the other teams met their biggest challenges in bowl games. How did they fare in those games though?
Wins against teams that finish the season ranked:
Boise 8-7 (4pts), BYU 2-19 (1pt), TCU 7-9 (3pts), Utah (6-11) (2pts)
Boise wins again, with impressive wins over notable teams like Oregon, TCU, and Oklahoma. How about best win?
Best win Boise #6 TCU (4pts), BYU #18 Utah (1pt), TCU #11 Boise (2pts), Utah #6 Alabama (4pts)
It's hard to argue with quality BCS wins when factoring which team is moving the national scales. Tie Boise and Utah. I purposely only rate teams that are ranked at the end of the year. Wins over teams that are ranked at the time of the game are impressive, but are ultimately empty in retrospect. Who then has BCS wins and appearances?
BCS appearances Boise 2 (4pts), BYU 0 (1pt), TCU 1 (2pts), Utah 2 (4pts).
Again, tie Boise and Utah.
BCS wins Boise 2 (4pts), BYU 0 (2pts), TCU 0 (2pts), Utah 2 (4pts).
There is definitely a correlation between going undefeated and appearing in BCS games, however there was an undefeated season that didn't result in a BCS game. Ending a season with no losses is a fantastic accomplishment.
Undefeated reg seasons Boise 3 (4pts), BYU 0 (1pt), TCU 1 (2pts), Utah 2 (3pts)
Undefeated seasons Boise 2 (4pts), BYU 0 (2 pts), TCU 0 (2pts), Utah 2 (4pts)
Hopefully one day the Mountain West can have a BCS team that does not have to go undefeated. Simply being ranked in the top of the polls should carry enough weight.
Times ranked at E.O.S. Boise 6 (3pts), BYU 5 (2pts), TCU 7 (4pts), Utah 4 (1pt)
TCU impressively ended 7 different seasons ranked, and finished highest this year at #6.
Highest rank (EOS) Boise #4 (3pts), BYU #12 (1pt), TCU #6 (2pts), Utah #2 (4pts)
These final rankings are great to move the national barometer. I think the other way is to watch these teams play BCS conference opponents.
Wins over BCS opponents Boise 6 (1pt), BYU 14 (3pts), TCU 14 (3pts), Utah 20 (4pts)
Utah has a decided advantage here. How about win percentage against BCS teams?
BCS win pct Boise .375 (1pt), BYU .438 (2pts), TCU .666 (4pts), Utah (.645) (3pts)
TCU gets the advantage here with a lot of wins over bottom feeders like Baylor, Vanderbilt and Northwestern. Perhaps it's better to look at Bowl appearances because you know you will be playing winning teams.
Bowl appearances Boise 10 (4pts), BYU 7 (1pt), TCU 9 (3pts), Utah 9 (3pts)
Boise again, but how did they fare in these games?
Bowl wins Boise 6 (3pts), BYU 4 (1pt), TCU 6 (3pts), Utah 9 (4pts).
Utah of course has won 9 straight bowl games. Is there any other way of gauging the success of a program? How about NFL draftees?
NFL draftees Boise 12 (1pt), BYU 21 (3pts), TCU 21 (3pts), Utah 23 (4pts)
Utah had more, what about first round talent?
1st round draftees Boise 2 (4pts), BYU 1 (1pt), TCU 2 (4pts), Utah 2 (4pts)
Three way tie there. Utah did have the #1 overall with Alex Smith. What about the incoming classes? Who has the best recruiting?
Avg recruit ratings Boise #78 (1pt), BYU #65 (3pts), TCU #65 (3pts), Utah #61(4pts).
I work with a Boise graduate, and he desperately wants me to include Conference championships, but I can't bring myself to do it as three of the teams play in the same conference and beat each other up, while his team racks up titles year after year. I can compare head to head matchups though.
Head to Head % Boise .857 (4pts), BYU .389 (1pt), TCU .462 (2pts), Utah .500 (3pts)
Boise is an impressive 6-1 versus the other teams.
The final results of these comparisons?
Boise (54pts), BYU (30pts), TCU (48pts), Utah (60pts)
I've thought about other statistics to include that relate to computer rankings, order to complete the accomplishments, Road versus Home records, etc. No matter what I look at it comes down to Boise and Utah, with TCU closely behind....then trailing in almost every single catagory is BYU.
Thoughts are welcome. I have one co-worker (big USC fan) that thinks that I can only include numbers that can be compared and rated versus BCS schools (rankings, draftees, recruiting, and bowl stats). My Boise friend wants me to get rid of any stat that is based off of polls or human opinion. He simply wants wins, titles, and head to head matchups. I think you need to include both because college football is based upon both.