in Football

Ranking the best Bedlam teams

Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

Kyle and Carson had a brief discussion about some of the best bedlam games in recent history on their podcast yesterday. It got me thinking — the games are one thing, but what bedlam TEAMS have been the best in recent history?

This is a highly subjective exercise, but this is where F/+ (explanation here) comes in handy — an unbiased system that can quickly give us an idea of who the best teams in recent bedlam history. I love putting current teams and players in historical perspective, so this was a fun exercise. How do the current teams stack up? Let’s take a look.

F/+ goes back to 2005, which is handy because it happens to be the first year of the Gundy era. The offensive and defensive F/+ ratings go back to 2007. This list is sorted by overall F/+ ranking among this group of 18 teams.

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In the “life’s not fair” category, only one of these teams played for a national title – and we all know it wasn’t the one at the top. Still, F/+ tells us that the 2011 OSU team is the best in this group of 18.

The 2008 OU team that lost to Tim Tebow in the BCS title game had the best offense in recent bedlam history. They had Bradford (50 TDs), two 1,000-yard rushers (Brown, Murray), and two 900-yard receivers (Iglesias, Gresham). This is the team that put up 61 in Stillwater.

How ‘bout the 2013 Cowboys making an appearance at No. 3. Sometimes I forget that we were picked to win the Big 12 — our success still seems like a bit of a surprise given how bad we looked at times early in the season and the mess at QB. F/+ doesn’t love our offense — not terrible, just nothing special (we are currently 29th in the country). But the defense is the second best in this group of 18 teams, trailing only the 2009 OU squad.

The 2013 Sooners are in the same boat offensively – above average, but not great. Unlike OSU, however, the Sooners don’t have anything special on defense either – they are currently 29th in the country in F/+ defense.

This suggests OSU should win, and so does the Vegas line. But I’m pretty sure if I could run this back to 2001 the numbers would be horrible from OSU’s perspective.

It’s Bedlam and it’s going to be freezing cold. This analysis may help you now, but it will provide little comfort when the wind comes sweeping down the plains and into Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday morning.

  • Nate

    Good stuff here. How awesome would ’08 OU vs ’11 OSU be?

    • Kyle Porter

      Titanic.

  • @okc_dave

    Quick note: the QB/RB/WRs listed by each team are the leading players in each category by yards for those seasons — I know Knight is OU’s starter this year, but Bell is the leading passer right now.

  • Blake

    It’s incredible that last year’s OSU team is above the 2010 OSU team.

    • @okc_dave

      Yeah…Kyle and I exchanged e-mails about that. I don’t agree with it. Last year’s team was better than our record indicated, but I’d take 2010 over them every day.

    • David

      Keep in mind we got hosed against UT and lost a VERY close one to OU. A 9-3 regular season sounds much better than 7-5. Also, the inexperienced quarterback carosel didn’t help, with Lunt starting the games against Arizona and KSU (which were losses). The loss against Baylor last year was simply a disgusting lack of effort/prep, though I guess Baylor has turned out to be decent this year, so maybe that was foreshadowing?

      I’m not saying last year’s squad was great, but I think they were better than we remember them, and their memory was nicked by some things that easily could’ve gone the other way.

  • @okc_dave

    I’m getting a little heat on Twitter for having the 2011 OSU team ranked ahead of the 2008 OU team. A couple things:

    1) I didn’t rank these teams – the F/+ system did. I don’t always agree with it…I’m not asking you to agree with it either.

    2) If I was ranking the teams on my own, I would put Bradford’s team ahead of Weeden’s. 2008 OU played for the title, so in a near-tie-breaker scenario I would give them the nod. As Nate mentioned, I would sure love to see the two teams play.

    • OSU-Bill

      If Weeden and the rest of the ’11 Cowboys had that big, expensive “OU” logo on their jerseys, they would have played for the national title as well.

    • OSU-Bill

      Also, as I said on Twitter, it’s clear the Sooners are getting nervous about this game. Starting to get a little defensive.

    • Jameson Reynolds

      Pretty funny commentary. People clearly didn’t read the article and just looked at the list. Common sense is hard to come by on twitter.

    • David

      I would go with ’11 OSU due to superior defense. Both teams had insane offenses, but neither team could play D at all when they faced off in 2008.

  • cavemanosu

    Great stuff! Go Pokes!

  • ChanceDM

    Great work. I’m curious what the offensive ranking is for the Chelf-only 2013 OSU team (where Chelf played a majority of the game)

  • Hunter

    The only receiver from the 2010 OU team that I remember is Hanna. :(