Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: Connecticut - Ranking The BCS Bowl Teams

When UConn won the Big East last year, they officially staked their claim to "Worst BCS Participant" status, at least for the last six seasons (i.e. the era for which we have play-by-play data). As I say in today's team profile, I doubt they mind too much -- the banner still says "Big East Champs." But still ... they were easily the worst.

BCS Bowl Participants Ranked According to F/+ (2005-10)
1. 2005 Texas (13-0, first overall, first in 2005)
2. 2008 Florida (13-1, second overall, first in 2008)
3. 2009 Alabama (14-0, third overall, first in 2009)
4. 2005 USC (12-1, fourth overall, second in 2005)
5. 2008 USC (12-1, fifth overall, second in 2008)
6. 2009 Florida (13-1, sixth overall, second in 2009)
7. 2008 Oklahoma (12-2, seventh overall, third in 2008)
8. 2005 Ohio State (10-2, eighth overall, third in 2005)
9. 2010 Auburn (14-0, ninth overall, first in 2010)
10. 2006 Florida (13-1, 10th overall, first in 2006)
11. 2005 Penn State (11-1, 12th overall, fourth in 2005)
12. 2008 Texas (12-1, 14th overall, fourth in 2008)
13. 2009 TCU (12-1, 15th overall, third in 2009)
14. 2006 LSU (11-2, 16th overall, second in 2006)
15. 2006 Ohio State (12-1, 17th overall, third in 2006)
16. 2006 USC (11-2, 19th overall, fourth in 2006)
17. 2010 Stanford (12-1, 20th overall, fourth in 2010)
18. 2008 Penn State (11-2, 21st overall, fifth in 2008)
19. 2006 Louisville (12-1, 22nd overall, fifth in 2006)
20. 2010 Ohio State (12-1, 23rd overall, fifth in 2010)
21. 2007 USC (11-2, 24th overall, first in 2007)
22. 2007 LSU (12-2, 25th overall, second in 2007)
23. 2007 West Virginia (11-2, 27th overall, third in 2007)
24. 2009 Texas (13-1, 28th overall, fifth in 2009)
25. 2010 TCU (13-0, 29th overall, sixth in 2010)
26. 2009 Ohio State (11-2, 32nd overall, sixth in 2009)
27. 2006 Michigan (11-2, 33rd overall, sixth in 2006)
28. 2007 Ohio State (11-2, 36th overall, sixth in 2007)
29. 2010 Arkansas (10-3, 37th overall, seventh in 2010)
30. 2010 Oklahoma (12-2, 39th overall, eighth in 2010)
31. 2008 Alabama (12-2, 43rd overall, seventh in 2008)
32. 2009 Oregon (10-3, 44th overall, eighth in 2009)
33. 2010 Oregon (12-1, 45th overall, ninth in 2010)
34. 2010 Virginia Tech (11-3, 47th overall, 10th in 2010)
35. 2005 Notre Dame (9-3, 48th overall, ninth in 2005)
36. 2005 Georgia (10-3, 50th overall, 10th in 2005)
37. 2010 Wisconsin (11-2, 51st overall, 12th in 2010)
38. 2008 Ohio State (10-3, 55th overall, eighth in 2008)
39. 2006 Boise State (13-0, 56th overall, 11th in 2006)
40. 2009 Iowa (11-2, 57th overall, ninth in 2009)
41. 2009 Boise State (14-0, 60th overall, 10th in 2009)
42. 2006 Oklahoma (11-3, 62nd overall, 13th in 2006)
43. 2007 Oklahoma (11-3, 63rd overall, seventh in 2007)
44. 2007 Virginia Tech (11-3, 67th overall, eighth in 2007)
45. 2005 West Virginia (11-1, 78th overall, 13th in 2005)
46. 2007 Georgia (11-2, 80th overall, 11th in 2007)
47. 2009 Cincinnati (12-1, 84th overall, 15th in 2009)
48. 2008 Utah (13-0, 88th overall, 11th in 2008)
49. 2009 Georgia Tech (11-3, 89th overall, 17th in 2009)
50. 2005 Florida State (8-5, 117th overall, 20th in 2005)
51. 2006 Notre Dame (10-3, 118th overall, 24th in 2006)
52. 2007 Kansas (12-1, 124th overall, 19th in 2007)
53. 2008 Cincinnati (11-3, 135th overall, 18th in 2008)
54. 2007 Illinois (9-4, 140th overall, 24th in 2007)
55. 2008 Virginia Tech (10-4, 148th overall, 22nd in 2008)
56. 2006 Wake Forest (11-3, 190th overall, 32nd in 2006)
57. 2007 Hawaii (12-1, 267th overall, 48th in 2007)
58. 2010 Connecticut (8-5, 341st overall, 55th in 2010)

Twenty-two of the top 25 teams of the last six seasons have played in BCS bowls. UConn certainly wasn't the norm; most of the time, if you are a truly great team, you're finding a spot in a truly big bowl. There are obviously exceptions -- UConn, Hawaii, Wake Forest -- but most of the time, the BCS gets it right, as strange as that is to say.

When the BCS doesn't get it right, who misses out?

20 Best Teams Not to Play in a BCS Bowl (2005-10)
1. 2010 Boise State (12-1, 11th overall, second in 2010)
2. 2010 Alabama (10-3, 13th overall, third in 2010)
3. 2005 Virginia Tech (11-2, 18th overall, fifth in 2005)
4. 2009 Virginia Tech (10-3, 26th overall, fourth in 2009)
5. 2008 TCU (11-2, 30th overall, sixth in 2008)
6. 2007 Florida (9-4, 31st overall, fourth in 2007)
7. 2006 West Virginia (11-2, 34th overall, seventh in 2006)
8. 2007 Oregon (9-4, 35th overall, fifth in 2007)
9. 2005 LSU (11-2, 38th overall, sixth in 2005)
10. 2005 Miami (9-3, 40th overall, seventh in 2005)
11. 2009 Penn State (11-2, 41st overall, seventh in 2009)
12. 2006 BYU (11-2, 42nd overall, eighth in 2006)
13. 2005 Alabama (10-2, 46th overall, eighth in 2005)
14. 2010 South Carolina (9-5, 49th overall, 11th in 2010)
15. 2006 Rutgers (11-2, 52nd overall, ninth in 2006)
16. 2006 Virginia Tech (10-3, 53rd overall, 10th in 2006)
17. 2005 Michigan (7-5, 54th overall, 11th in 2005)
18. 2005 Auburn (9-3, 58th overall, 12th in 2005)
19. 2006 Arkansas (10-4, 59th overall, 12th in 2006)
20. 2009 Oklahoma (8-5, 61st overall, 11th in 2009)

Oddly, the correlation between the strength of Virginia Tech's team and their ability to make a BCS bowl is not very strong. Two great Hokie teams (2005, 2009) missed out, while two quite iffy ones (2007, 2008) did not.

The general meme is that the Big East (or, sometimes, ACC) steals BCS bowl bids away from strong mid-major teams, but while TONS of teams were better than 2010 UConn, really only a few great non-BCS conference squads have been on the outside looking in -- 2010 Boise State, 2008 TCU, 2006 BYU. Most of the time the great teams missing out are BCS conference teams who lost too many close games (2010 Alabama, 2007 Florida, etc.) or saw their star quarterback go down at a horribly inopportune time (2007 Oregon).

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