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In my season-ending Varsity Numbers column at Football Outsiders, I share 10 thoughts on the season and the year-end rankings.
8. For a while, I thought Texas A&M was destined to be overrated heading into 2013. Now, I'm not sure they won't be completely properly rated. Quarterback Johnny Manziel's return alone all but guaranteed that A&M would be a preseason top-10 team in 2013. But I was fearing the losses of Outland winner Luke Joeckel, two other awesome starting offensive linemen (A&M either had the best or second-best line in the country this year depending on your view of Alabama), defensive end Damontre Moore (a surefire top-10 pick), and offensive safety valves like receiver Ryan Swope and running back Christine Michael. But it appears that tackle Jake Matthews is returning for his senior season, meaning the drop-off up front won't be as dramatic as I thought; second, A&M looked so good over the course of the final four or five games that I'm pretty sure they really might be one of the country's top 5-to-10 teams next year. Remember: we shouldn't overreact to a bowl performance, but a team that gets hot over a longer period of time could sustain said heat heading into the next fall as long as they return a good portion of their difference-makers. A&M was one of the country's two or three best teams in the final weeks of the season and in their bowl game; that probably means something.
9. Stanford lost Andrew Luck ... and improved from ninth in F/+ in 2011 to eighth in 2012. Damn.
10. There are changes heading your way. Each year as the season ends, I begin to come up with ways to potentially make adjustments to S&P+ and, therefore, F/+. Honestly, that's the way it should be; it's still a young measure (I began playing with the idea just five years ago), and it is far from a finished product. In the coming weeks, then, I will be finalizing some rather dramatic changes, both in how measures like S&P+ and equivalent points are calculated and in what defines a standard or passing down. And I hope to get quite a bit more data overall posted at FO in the coming months. Hope you enjoy it. Hope you enjoyed the 2012 season, while we're at it. I know I did.