.....And then there was one
Numbers have a way of working themselves out, of maneuvering their way into the comfortable little boxes they're used to calling home. Trends become trends for a reason.
All season we worried there would be too many undefeated teams for the system to accommodate. There were simply too many good teams, too many teams that surely would not be beaten. Just like on the flip side of this case study, where all but two teams somehow found a way to win at least one game, six likely undefeated teams managed to whittle their way down to just one.
After games were complete on November 16, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor, Fresno State and Northern Illinois held a combined record of 58-0. That group finished the year 13-5.
As it turned out, the week-in, week-out most dominant team in college football was the only team to finish the regular season unbeaten. Florida State won its 13 games by margins of 28, 55, 48, 14, 63, 37, 32, 27, 56, 56, 66, 30 and 38 points. They'll enter the BCS National Championship against Auburn as the favorite, and deservedly so.
Where does this season's one undefeated team fit in historically? Here's a list of teams to make it through the first week of December unscathed over the last 10 seasons:
2013: Florida State
2012: Notre Dame, Ohio State
2010: Auburn, Oregon, TCU
2009: Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, TCU, Boise State
2006: Ohio State, Boise State
2005: USC, Texas
2004: USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah
Of the roughly 1,200 FBS seasons played over the last decade, 22 teams managed to make it this far undefeated. That's less than two percent.
And since it's never too early to look ahead to 2014, only 2004-05 USC and 2009-10 TCU managed to go undefeated over back-to-back regular seasons.
Good luck, Seminoles.