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Bowl Game Dominance (Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: Alabama)

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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)
Year Team Opponent Bowl Score Adj.
Off. Pts
Def. Pts
2005 LSU Miami Peach 40-3 62.8 2.4 +60.5
2010 Alabama Michigan State Capital One 49-7 55.6 -4.8 +60.5
2010 Stanford Virginia Tech Orange 40-12 55.9 7.1 +48.8
2008 Tulsa Ball State GMAC 45-13 36.7 -7.0 +43.7
2006 Florida Ohio State BCS Championship 41-14 36.9 -4.3 +41.2
2007 Georgia Hawaii Sugar 41-10 38.7 -2.3 +41.0
2009 Florida Cincinnati Sugar 51-24 56.0 15.1 +40.9
2006 Rutgers Kansas State Texas 37-10 35.9 -3.7 +39.6
2010 Washington Nebraska Holiday 19-7 33.8 -5.8 +39.5
2007 Oregon South Florida Sun 56-21 48.3 10.2 +38.1
2009 Nebraska Arizona Holiday 33-0 32.1 -4.8 +36.8
2008 Connecticut Buffalo International 38-20 33.5 -3.2 +36.7
2007 New Mexico Nevada New Mexico 23-0 28.9 -7.7 +36.5
2010 Boise State Utah Maaco 26-3 30.0 -6.2 +36.2
2006 TCU Northern Illinois Poinsettia 37-7 31.7 -3.4 +35.1
2008 Utah Alabama Sugar 31-17 45.8 11.0 +34.8
2005 Wisconsin Auburn Capital One 24-10 45.8 11.6 +34.1
2006 Arkansas Wisconsin Capital One 14-17 29.2 -3.7 +32.9
2007 Tulsa Bowling Green GMAC 63-7 39.0 6.3 +32.7
2008 TCU Boise State Poinsettia 17-16 40.0 7.4 +32.6

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.