Chat with ESPN researcher Chris Fallica
Fallica and fellow researchers Nick Loucks and Harold Shelton ranked college football programs based on their prestige formula. Fallica will explain how the rankings work and where your team fits in. On Monday, we released teams 21-119. We'll unveil the rest of the top 20 in groups of 5.
Send your questions now and join Fallica in The Show Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Chris Fallica (2:02 PM)
Ready to talk some college football. It is a year round sport these days so this helps bridge the gap between the national title and signing day. Fire away!
Mike, Shickshinny Pa
I like the scoring system, but there's nothing for an undefeated season. I think that should count for something. I love it though!!
Chris Fallica (2:03 PM)
That is a good point. It is something we kicked around but we figured an undefeated season would be something that fell under the category of national title, 10 win season or major bowl. It is something that was on the list, but then we trimmed it down. We also did not want to go over the top since it would be adding on with 10+ win season, national title, major bowl etc. We felt it fell under the other major categories and that is why it got cut.
In your opinion, what are the top five teams in college football history?
Chris Fallica (2:06 PM)
I'll pick mine. Without giving away the Ultimate Top 5. Going into the calculations I would have guessed it would have been, in no particular order: Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, Nebraska and Oklahoma. A little bit of a teaser, I was kind of surprised at how the Top 10 and Top 5 shook out.
Rick (Athens, Ga.)
Will there be many surprises as we count down to No. 1?
Chris Fallica (2:08 PM)
I would not say major surprises. I was somewhat surprised at the order 2-12, that may be a little surprising. But there will be a few, I'm sure, from the Top 12. Not necessarily with the teams but with the order.
Chris, How do you think Alabama will do in 2009? And what do you do in the offseason?
Chris Fallica (2:11 PM)
Other than having hand surgery this offseason, I cover some college hoops, cover some horse racing and count down the days to the next season. As for Bama, obviously they need to replace that group of seniors, replace that leadership, but with Julio Jones and Mark Ingram they have young playmakers, and if they can get those young QBs to perfom the offense will keep improving. But next year they will have a lot of expectations on them, while this year they took everyone by surprise. Next season they will be the hunted in that first game against Virginia Tech and boy I cannot wait to be in Atlanta for that one.
SEC homer (Auburn, Ala.)
Auburn at No. 21? Surely, your math skills need some work. Why didn't the Tigers make the top 15?
Chris Fallica (2:14 PM)
They only have the one national title, which weighs heavy. Losing all those points to probation ended up coasting them 39 points. But they got better through the decades. And over the last 20 years they only have the one major bowl, the Sugar Bowl, granted in the season they should have been playing for the national title. But in the BCS era you are ranked seven spots higher than Alabama, which I'm sure you'll be happy to hear. But they are one of the surprises for me personally, I did not expect them to be ranked lower than Georgia Tech or UCLA.
Ryan, Memphis, TN
8 points for the Heisman award seems to be a bit much. The award is way more subjective and skewed, plus its an individual award, not a team award, thoughts?
Chris Fallica (2:17 PM)
It could seem a little high, but having a Heisman winner does so much for the prestige and allure of that particular school. You alway associate Heisman winners with the success of a program. And subjectivity is what the sport is based on unfortunately. Florida will be associated with Tebow, Ohio State with two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin. The Heisman Trophy is synonymous with college football probably more than any other award in any sport, and that alone, we felt, justified the point value.
Why did you not put more weight on recent titles than ones in the past. It's much tougher to win these days.
Chris Fallica (2:21 PM)
Funny you bring it up, it was another thing we actually tried to see if we could include. We could not come up with a way to weight it. What Notre Dame did in the 30s and 40s is still very impressive. Yes what USC is doing now is also very impressive, and may be more difficult, but we were not sure how to quatify it. That is why we have a year by year breakdown and came up with an era ranking. We felt the BCS era was the best way to do gage recent success. And the BCA top 5 are: 1) USC, 2) Ohio State, 3) Oklahoma,4) Florida,5) Miami
Paul (Detroit, MI)
Chris: SI has dropped hint of a rumor that Notre Dame will hire John Gruden once the recruiting class is bound. What are your thoughts on this?
Chris Fallica (2:23 PM)
I have not heard or read it, but if Charlie Weis wants to focus more from removing himself from the playcalling, then Jon Gruden would be a great OC. He would certainly go over well in the college game, as his name was often linked to the Tennessee job earlier in the year. I have not heard about this, but I would not be surprised if Charlie Weis reached out to a great NFL mind, and it would be a great hire if they could bring Gruden in as the new Offensive Coordinator.
With all the points given to #1 draft picks and taken away for NCAA probation, it seems like you put a lot of thought into where Miami should be ranked. So, forgetting all of that, when will Miami be back in the title hunt?
Chris Fallica (2:28 PM)
Gee it sounds like someone knows that Miami is my alma mater. It will be tough to get back into it in the next three years, with USC, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma doing so well. These teams are on the upswing and seem to have a lock on those top spots. Randy Shannon needs to bring in an OC to improve the offense. In a weak ACC, they could win the conference in the next three years, but I would be surprised to see them playing for the national title in that time. But one of the elements discussed was No. 1 picks, and my argument was if you produce NFL players, doesn't that make people want to go to your school? I feel producing NFL talent helps the prestige of your program, and attracts people to it.
Nick in Bristol
People are talking about kicking the Big East out of the BCS and including the Mountain West... Do the recent Prestige Rankings back that up?
Chris Fallica (2:33 PM)
This is an argument we heard in 2005, when the Big East was down and then WVU beat Georgia in the dome and that saved the perception of the league. And then the next year Rutgers, Louisville and WVU helped boost the conference image again. But if you look at the Prestige Rankings in the BCS era you see that Boise State, from the WAC, is ahead of any other team in the Big East in the BCS era, and there are also two Mountain West teams in the BCS era Top 20, versus only one Big East school. And then when you consider Utah's season and TCU's finish, it would seem to back up your point; but I have my doubts about those teams. If Utah had to play every week in the SEC, for example, how would they do? And while we are there, one of the big topics was Utah being ranked No. 1 at the end of the season, since they beat Bama by more points than Florida. But people have to realize that when Alabama lost the SEC it was very hard for them to get back up for the Sugar Bowl, especially after losing a chance to play for the national title and and their great OT. Alabama had put all their eggs in the basket with the SEC title game. So Utah had a huge emotional advantage going into the game, and that is not to take anything away from Utah, who came out and punched Alabama in the face and really dominated the game. But I think it is improtant to realize the state of Alabama after the SEC title game loss.
I've yet to see where they fall in the rankings but how can you rank Miami and Ohio State ahead of Texas in the BCS era?
Chris Fallica (2:40 PM)
Texas did not have a major bowl win 1998 to 2003 and they did not have a major bowl berth during that time either. Miami and Ohio State had much longer runs at No. 1 in that time and each won a national tile in that time, and Miami and Ohio State had more major bowl berths. Another thing that helped is Texas had 13 first rounders, Ohio State 17, and Miami 27. The biggest difference is the weeks spent at No. 1, and the difference in first round picks.
Chris Fallica (2:43 PM)
Great chatting. Again great water cooler topic and it was one of the main reasons why we did this, for the fan who thinks their programs are better than another. We just tried to come up with a fair and objective system. This is not the end all, but we think it is a pretty good system. Again, I am sure we will have our difference and there are ways to tweek the numbers, which is one of the reasons why I love college football...it's the passion of the fans! Can't wait to kick off next season. Take care!
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