UPDATE: Wins, Losses And The Alabama Crimson Tide is now up at the mothership.
When evaluating the true quality of a football team, how much should wins matter? Your answer to this question completely impacts your view of the 2010 Alabama Crimson Tide. From the perspective of advanced stats, 'Bama was sensational, posting a +29.2% F/+ rating that really wasn't that far below their +36.2% rating of the previous season. Did they take a step backwards in 2010? Of course. This past fall, they fielded only the 13th-best team of the last six seasons; their 2009 team was third-best. But they did lose three times -- at home to F/+ No. 1 Auburn and on the road against No. 11 South Carolina and No. 13 LSU.
Just about any team would have lost at least three times against the schedule Alabama faced ... but they did, in fact, lose. Three times. Therefore something must have been wrong, right? It's hard for some to get past that, and it's perhaps especially hard for 'Bama fans who a) have seen their team win bigger than any other program in this win-based sport, and b) had to watch their bitter rivals walking off with the national title. For them, 2010 was a frustrating experience. But with the bones of this program built as sturdy as any in the country, this type of "frustration" is both unlikely to continue and yearned for by most of the country.
I was asked to write two pieces for this year's Maple Street Press Crimson Tide Kickoff -- one was an altered version of today's SBN profile; the other was a look at Alabama's ridiculously dominant performance in January 1's Capital One Bowl.
Only one bowl performance can even come close to competing with 'Bama's destruction of Michigan State: that 2005 Peach Bowl whipping LSU put on Miami that put the Larry Coker era on its last legs. It is unwise of us to draw too many conclusions from bowl performances, but ... that doesn't mean we can't admire them, right?
|The 20 Best Bowl Performances According to Adj. Score (2005-10)
|2010||Alabama||Michigan State||Capital One||49-7||55.6||-4.8||+60.5|
|2006||Florida||Ohio State||BCS Championship||41-14||36.9||-4.3||+41.2|
|2007||New Mexico||Nevada||New Mexico||23-0||28.9||-7.7||+36.5|
Something about the Capital One bowl inspires teams, eh? Three of the top 18 performances on this list came in Orlando. To that extent, TCU loves San Diego, and Tulsa loves Mobile, as well.