Best _-Loss Teams (Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: South Carolina)

UPDATE: Talkative Ball Coaches And The South Carolina Gamecocks is now up at the mothership.

I'm not saying South Carolina should be considered the far-and-away favorite for the SEC East, not with their schedule. But they absolutely have the best combination of talent and worthwhile experience in the division. And I would be willing to say that if this exact team were wearing Florida Gator helmets this fall, they would be considered national title contenders. But stigma dies hard, and even though South Carolina took a giant step forward last season with their first East title, they probably still have quite a bit to prove.


As I was writing today's South Carolina profile, I couldn't escape the thought that South Carolina was easily the best five-loss team of the F/+ era (2005-10). Indeed they were, though they got some competition from 2005 Michigan. But in the process of looking up that little tidbit, I found other lists like it just as interesting. So here are a series of "Best _-loss teams" lists.

Best Undefeated Teams

We'll do all of them, since there have been only seven.

1. 2005 Texas (+38.4%, first in 2005)
2. 2009 Alabama (+36.2%, first)
3. 2010 Auburn (+32.1%, first)
4. 2010 TCU (+25.2%, sixth)
5. 2006 Boise State (+19.8%, 11th)
6. 2009 Boise State (+19.6%, 10th)
7. 2008 Utah (+16.6%, 11th)

Five Best One-Loss Teams

We seem to have a duopoly here.

1. 2008 Florida (+38.3%, first in 2008)
2. 2005 USC (+36.1%, second)
3. 2008 USC (+35.5%, second)
4. 2009 Florida (+33.4%, second)
5. 2006 Florida (+31.4%, first)

Five Best Two-Loss Teams

You'll notice 2007 LSU doesn't make this list. What an odd, semi-stupid year. Things may have been so much easier down the stretch had Oregon's Dennis Dixon not gotten hurt.

1. 2008 Oklahoma (+32.4%, third in 2008)
2. 2005 Ohio State (+32.2%, third)
3. 2006 LSU (+28.7%, second)
4. 2005 Virginia Tech (+28.3%, fifth)
5. 2006 USC (+28.1%, fourth)

Five Best Three-Loss Teams

It's worth noting that 2009 Virginia Tech and 2009 Oregon both made BCS bowls the next year.

1. 2010 Alabama (+29.2%, third in 2010)
2. 2009 Virginia Tech (+25.8%, fourth)
3. 2010 Arkansas (+23.2%, seventh)
4. 2005 Miami (+22.7%, seventh)
5. 2009 Oregon (+21.8%, eighth)

Five Best Four-Loss Teams

Two four-loss teams made the Top Five in 2007. Again. Odd and semi-stupid.

1. 2007 Florida (+24.7%, fourth in 2007)
2. 2007 Oregon (+23.8%, fifth)
3. 2006 Arkansas (+19.6%, 12th)
4. 2009 Miami (+19.1%, 12th)
5. 2006 Tennessee (+18.6%, 15th)

Five Best Five-Loss Teams

It's also worth noting that both 2005 Michigan and 2009 Oklahoma followed up five-loss seasons with BCS bowl appearances the next year. Just saying.

1. 2010 South Carolina (+21.0%, 11th in 2010)
2. 2005 Michigan (+20.0%, 11th)
3. 2009 Oklahoma (+19.6%, 11th)
4. 2009 Clemson (+17.1%, 14th)
5. 2010 Notre Dame (+16.7%, 17th)

Five Best Six-Loss Teams

Here you go, Vols fans: "Yeah, but we had two of the four best six-loss teams of the last six years!" Redemption!

1. 2010 Miami (+15.5%, 19th in 2010)
2. 2007 California (+14.4%, 16th)
3. 2009 Tennessee (+13.3%, 23rd)
4. 2005 Tennessee (+11.8%, 25th)
5. 2009 Florida State (+10.7%, 29th)

Ten Best Teams With Losing Records

Evidently 2005 was every bit as odd as 2007, only with two spectacular teams distracting us at the top. (That, and the 11-game seasons probably helped.)

1. 2005 Maryland (5-6, +7.2%, 34th in 2005)
2. 2005 Michigan State (5-6, +6.0%, 40th)
3. 2005 Purdue (5-6, +3.8%, 46th)
4. 2005 Texas A&M (5-6, +2.2%, 49th)
5. 2005 UAB (5-6, +1.4%, 52nd)

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