I've been having fun doing research over on the CFB reddit channel, and thought I would share it here since the results have been interesting and allow us to do some sunshine pumping.
So the question at hand is... who plays for, and possibly wins, the National Title for the 2012 football year? Answers after the jump.
First, let's not talk about the Longhorns, let's talk about National Championships in the BCS era. How important is recruiting?
Here's an article doing some sunshine pumping for the Buckeyes. It's one of many and the consensus is that recruiting is very important.
CFBMatrix lists the four-year composite recruiting rankings. No one in the BCS era has won without a four year composite of about ~12. That'll be our starting point.
Another popular indicator of future success is returning starters. CFBMatrix does a nice breakdown of this year's returning starters and he determines that while returning starters are not as important as good recruits, if you fall below 6 offensive starters and 7 defensive starters you are much more likely to lose games the next season. Here's a list of teams in that position, who will not likely be making a title run.
On The Field Success
And now, for the final eliminator, we'll use a fan favorite: Previous year on-the-field success.Phil Steele breaks down what a champion looks like in their previous year statistics. This will help us account for coaching issues, or other issues that may not show across recruiting and returning starters.
(Great Recruits) - (Too Few Returning Starters) - (On the Field Trouble) = Your list of 2013 Potential Champions
- Florida State
Only four teams in the country meet this criteria, and the Texas Longhorns are one of them. Now for the bad news... Oklahoma also meets the criteria, and they do it better than we do.
However, there's a lot of hope here for an 11-1 season and BCS bowl bid for the Longhorns either in 2004 fashion or even 2008 fashion.
Probably a good bet to take the Longhorns and Seminoles as Champions for the best risk/reward odds in Vegas.
What's likely going to keep us from the title game? CFBMatrix thinks it's either going to be coaching issues or the lack of returning kickers. I think either of those might resonate with us, they are also both weaknesses that OU doesn't have... though I seem to remember they don't have a lot of confidence in their returning kicker. I don't know if returning a bad one gives them the edge. He's no Tucker/Lawrence, that's for sure.