First look on the Historical Changes in College Football Parity

When discussing historical accomplishments the concept of “era” and the difficulty of each era is often brought up to justify the resumes of players and coaches. For this project I want to prove or disprove the notion that Nick Saban’s accomplishments carry more weight because he coached in a more difficult era. The thought process behind this notion is that there has been much more parity in college football since the start of the 2000s, and thus it is harder to have sustained success.

To answer this question I first divided the history of college football into blocks. I wanted the first block to run the length that the BCS and Playoff System have been in place. This turned out to be eighteen years. I then made every block eighteen years.

In my next step I wanted to count every late season title contender in each year, which I labeled as a “bid.” To qualify for a bid a program must have:

-Been ranked first or second in the second to last AP poll in years prior to the BCS.

-Played in the national championship game during the BCS era.

-Participated in the College Football Playoffs.

I placed these programs on a data table and then highlighted every program in red that received a bid in two consecutive years. I followed this with three additional tables with each successive table more lenient on the requirements for being highlighted. The second table highlighted additional teams that received a bid two times every three years, the third table being two times every four years, and the last table two times every five years. I then made a tally of the number of highlighted teams per block in a fifth table. The sixth table is a tally of the number of bids each program received per block. (Click on images for larger view)

Parity Project Back to Back Parity Project 2 of 3Parity Project 2 of 4Parity Project 2 of 5Parity Project ResultsBids Per Program

This project will be expanded on at a later date.


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© sportspolitico™ January 12, 2016

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  1. bobby nelson

    Instead spending time on the obvious, why not look as the disparity between the Power 5 and the Group 5, or the Big Brothers and Little Brothers. What a poster card for inequaiity!! Why not permit all conferences to contend for the national collegiate title? Research the parity between the two groups. Not as far apart when looking at resources between the cash cow Power 5 and Group 5.

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