Commentary: In 1991, Rewards came fairly close to who the voters thought should be in the top 15, but excelled at agreeing with the next 10, which produced the sixth lowest average for the top 25 correlation from 1990-2006. 11-2 Penn State was voted as the #3 team, but Rewards ranked them as #9. Penn State defeated 9-3 Tennessee 42-17 in the Fiesta Bowl, but also lost to 3-8 Southern California in the early part of the season, so the polls were probably influenced more by the large win at the end of the season than that early loss. The 10-2 Tulsa team was ranked 6 positions higher by Rewards (#15, not #21 as in the polls), and they did defeat 10-2 Texas A&M by a score of 35-34, and the Aggies were voted as the #12/#13 team in the country at the end of the season by the pollsters, so the Rewards ranking does not seem to be all that out of line in this particular case. Rewards ranked 9-3 Oklahoma as #24, where they were #14/#16 in the polls, but the voters were probably swayed more by the 48-14 victory over 8-3-1 Virginia in the Gator bowl. (This also happened to be the "strongest" team that Oklahoma defeated this year, which is probably why they weren't ranked higher by the Rewards system.)
This year is one where there were co-National Champions: Miami of Florida finished #1 in the AP poll, and the coaches voted Washington as the top team in that poll. Miami held the slimmest of margins over Washington before the bowl games were played (in the Rewards ranking - a scant 0.0078!), but Miami finished 0.0604 ahead of Washington after their respective bowl games, which is still the fourth smallest difference between the top two teams, as determined by the Rewards system, from 1970 to 2006. Needless to say, both teams proved themselves worthy of being designated as #1; too bad they weren't able to play against each other in a bowl game that year.
(This page last modified February 26, 2007 .)