Where Can This Bowl Team rank All-Time in KSU History?
by Grant Thome
First and foremost it needs to be noted that no Bill Snyder team has ever finished a bowl season with 8 wins. The 1993 regular season ended 8-2-1 before winning the Copper Bowl. So if this year’s team can pull off an 8th victory they will be unique from that standpoint. But as you begin to categorize all 17 KSU bowl teams (one advantage of a crappy football history, because this post would otherwise take hours). As I began to think about how this football team could punctuate this season, I began to ask myself “that’s all fine and good with the 8 wins and all, but really what would that mean?”
So I set out to come up with a way look at that thought and rank the bowl teams objectively with Math and numbers. So how have previously KSU teams punctuated their regular seasons? In one sense you could just take all the Bowl teams that won and rank them by number of wins first, and then rank those that lost; or you could look at the bowl performance in addition to their regular season accomplishments. This is not a ranking trying to say one team above another would beat the one below. No but instead this is a ranking of what the bowl performance plus the regular season meant together. If I were comparing regular seasons alone it, would likely look different.
There are some inherent flaws that my system is up against. For instance, since 2006 there have been 12 game regular seasons in place of the previous 11. Also realignment gave us the lack of a conference championship game, but a 9-game conference schedule starting in 2011. There were also tie games allowable up until 1995. However, I think in the formula I’m about to reveal, the tie takes care of itself. Prior to 2006, there were only 4 BCS bowls, until they made it 4 + 1 which could have affected big-12 BCS ‘at large’ considerations, and therefore the following tie-ins(see 1998 & 1999). And lastly since 2010 the Alamo Bowl swapped places with the Holiday Bowl from what I consider a 3rd tier bowl to a 2nd place bowl tie-in. So as you can see I constants that have changed.
Now on to my formula. Lowest composite score wins, period.
- First and foremost is the prestige of the Bowl game itself. BCS/Alliance Bowl = 1, second tier Bowl = 2 (Cotton and 3rd tie-in), and third tier Bowl = 3 (all bowls under 3rd tie-in).
- Next a 1 is awarded for winning the bowl, 2 for losing.
- Total wins on the year. Most wins in KSU history is 11. So 11 = 1, 10 = 2, 9 = 3 and so on.
- Lastly, total losses on the year. 1 = 1, 2 = 2, 3 = 3 and so on.
Whenever there were composite score ties, I used these tie-breakers to continue the ranking: Prestige of bowl game opponent, and regular season accomplishments (big 12 title game appearances, #1 ranking, beating “greatest college football team ever”, or win over top 5 team). With that being said, here are my rankings:
- 1997 Fiesta v. Syracuse (W, 11-1): 1+1+1+1 = 4
- 1999 Holiday v. Washington (W, 11-1): 2+1+1+1 = 5
- 2012 Fiesta v. Oregon (L, 11-2): 1+2+1+2 = 6
- 2000 Cotton v. Tennessee (W, 10-3): 2+1+1+3 = 7
- 2002 Holiday v. Arizona State (W, 10-2): 2+1+2+2 = 7
- 1995 Holiday v. Colorado State (W, 10-2): 2+1+2+2 = 7
- 2003 Fiesta v. Ohio State (L, 11-4): 1+2+1+4 = 8
- 1998 Alamo v. Purdue (L, 11-2): 3*+2+1+2 = 8
- 2011 Cotton v. Arkansas (L, 10-3): 2+2+2+3 = 9
- 1993 Copper v. Wyoming (W, 9-2-1): 3+1+3+2 = 9
- 1996 Cotton v. BYU (L, 9-3): 2+2+3+3 = 10
- 1994 Aloha v. Boston College (L, 9-3): 3+2+3+3 = 11
- 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings with Win (W, 8-5): 3+1+4+5 = 13
- 2006 Texas v. Rutgers (L, 7-6): 3+2+5+6 = 16
- 2010 Pinstripe v. Syracuse (L, 7-6): 3+2+5+6 = 16
- 1982 Independence v. Wisconsin (L, 6-5-1): 3+2+6+5 = 16
- 2001 Insight v. Syracuse (L, 6-6): 3+2+6+6 = 17
Win or lose this year, I still think #13 goes to this team, based off of the prestige of playing Michigan as the composite score would end up 16 with the loss. However I guess you could make a case for Ron Prince’s team that beat #4 UT that year…but it’s Ron Prince. I think the order of 4-8 (possibly 4-9) could be debated. I am willing to put 1998 and 2003 team accomplishments ahead of 4-6. And if you in turn did that, I could start to listen to why the 2011 squad in the Cotton Bowl was a better Bowl team than the Kavanaugh team that beat CSU; but they did win big 54-21. Maybe look at winning a Big 12 title being worth a minus 1. But beyond that I think the composite scoring is pretty accurate.
*1998 inherently gets screwed because of the windfall of ending up in a 3rd tier bowl which should have never happened. Should be a 1 or 2 at the worst for the first category. However the way that season ended, and as much as we as KSU fans want to never think about it again maybe the lower score is fitting. But I think no question the best Bowl team ever was the 1997 Fiesta Bowl team hands down.