CFN 2006 Program Analysis
USC's Pete Carroll
Posted Aug 27, 2006

CFN 2006 Three-Year Program Analysis  

1 to 10 | 11 to 25 | 26-39 | 40-59 | 60-79 |  80-99 | 100-119
Conf. Team Rankings | Conf. Category Rankings | Attendance | Bad Losses
Conference Winning % | Total Wins | Draft | APR | Elite Wins |
Quality Wins   

Using several factors in order to determine the best all-around programs in college football, here's our 4th Annual CFN Three Year Program Analysis.  To do this, eight factors are used from attendance and graduation to big wins and bad losses, but it all comes down to winning. If you win, few other things matter.

The Scoring System 

- Attendance. How much fan support is there? Obviously some stadiums are far bigger than others so this might not seem fair, but it's a good indication of interest in the program counting the average attendance for home dates from 2003 to 2005 and divided by 10,000 to get the score. For example, Iowa averaged 68,927 fans per game over the last three seasons, so the program gets a score of 6.89. 
Why this is important: Some stadiums are bigger than others and some teams get more support, but that's the point. It's a big deal to the bottom line of an athletic department, and the relevance of the football program to recruits and the national media, to get 100,000+ butts in the seats at places like Ohio State, Tennessee and Penn State. How can Eastern Michigan and its average of 11,000 fans per game compete when compared to Michigan and its average of 112,000 fans? Exactly.  

- APR. From the most recent batch of Academic Performance Rates available from the NCAA, if a program finished in the top 10%, it got a score of 10. If a program finished in the 40%-49% range, it got a score of 5. For example, Boise State's most recently released APR for football players was 60-70%, so it gets a score of 7.
Why this is important: After all, these are supposed to be student-athletes out there playing. This is a good indicator for how much emphasis a program places on academics rather than simply using the football players for their on-the-field talents. 

- Wins over the last three years. The number of wins over Division-I teams a program has from 2003-2005  (wins over D-IAA teams aren't counted.)
Why this is important: At the end of the day, this is all that really matters to college football fans. Winning games makes everything else forgivable.

- Quality wins over the last three years. How many wins from 2003 to 2005 does a program have over Division-I teams that finished with a winning record?
Why this is important: This goes to show the consistency of programs when compared to the above-average. Programs that consistently win these games are always in the hunt for conference titles and big bowl games. 

- Players drafted over the last three years. The number of players selected in the NFL Draft from 2003 to 2005 divided by two for the score. 
Why this is important: This is a bigger deal than you might think. If a blue-chip recruit is trying to decide between two schools, he'll most likely go to the one with the better track record of sending its players to the next level. If a big-time program has a low score, that might mean less emphasis is put on player development and readiness for the NFL.

- Conference winning percentage over the last three years. From 2003 to 2005, this is what percentage of conference games has a team won. Conference championship games don't count in the conference winning percentages (those count in the total wins and, more often than not, in the Quality Win component.) Keep in mind that some programs switched leagues; that's taken into account. For the teams without a conference affiliation for a given year, their overall winning percentages were used.
Why this is important: All teams shoot for conference titles first and foremost. BCS bowl games and national titles are great, but those require a certain amount of good fortune. Take care of conference play and everything else will fall into place.

- Elite Wins. This is how many wins a program has from 2003 to 2005 over teams that finished a season with two losses or fewer, or wins on the road or in a bowl game over teams that finished with three losses or fewer. An extra 0.5 is added for an Elite Win on the road, but that doesn't get added for wins over teams with three losses. If a team beats a team that finished with three losses twice, it gets credit for two Elite Wins. For example, in 2004 Auburn beat Tennessee, who finished with three losses, twice last year and gets Elite credit for both wins.
Why this is important: These are, more often than not, the types of wins that make good programs great, and are the wins the fans remember.

- Bad Losses. These are the number of losses a program has from 2003 to 2005 against teams that finished a season with three wins or fewer. This number is subtracted from the overall score. An extra 0.5 is taken off a bad loss at home.
Why this is important: Lose to a bad team and the win the week before gets quickly forgotten about. These are the losses that suck the life out of a team and a season.