Phil Steele and 11 Teams That Fit the National Championship Mode

Phil Steele takes a statistical look at which teams fit the championship mold for the 2012 season:

I used a combo of 24 different categories/stats from every National Title winner and contender from the last 20 years to come up with a list of just 11 teams that meet all of the criteria and in my opinion legitimately fit the national championship mode.

Before I get to those 11 teams, I thought it would be interesting to break down each and every category and analyze which stats/categories eliminate which teams. I also must say that for many categories I did not count the 1995 Arizona St (6-5) team which would go on to nearly win the national title in ‘96 because their stats particularly on defense that year were far outliers and it would not have allowed me to eliminate any teams in those categories.

Needless to say, it’s a fine read.

So who’s in his final 11?

So here are the final 11 teams that met all of the criteria and in my opinion fit a championship mold for the upcoming season based on the last 20 years. While there may be a couple of teams left out (especially USC), all 11 of these teams made my preseason Top 23 and six of the teams made my top 7 including my top 3 in Florida St, Oklahoma and LSU!

The Final 11 Teams Who Fit the
National Championship Mold for 2012!

Alabama (5) Oklahoma (2)
Florida St (1) Oregon (6)
LSU (3) South Carolina (23)
Michigan (22) Stanford (18)
Michigan St (19) Texas (7)
Nebraska (17)

[I’ve included Steele’s preseason rank in parenthesis. ]

That’s not a bad list and may be more accurate than his previously published preseason top 10, but it also paints the picture that the preseason rankings for 11 – 20 are fairly hard to predict.  Not one school picked by Steele for positions eight through 16 make the list.

I’m a bit surprised that Southern Cal isn’t on the list and a bit surprised that Texas is.  In fact, I’m a bit surprised by Texas’ lofty preseason ranking by Steele.  Another notable not making the list is Georgia, Steele’s #8 preseason team.

Based on the preseason ranking, South Carolina is the biggest surprise on the list.  The Gamecocks have a stiff schedule in 2012, but I think they have a great shot to win the SEC East.