Commentary: In the top five, only #2 and #3 were switched in the ranking generated by Rewards (in comparison to the polls.) In fact, nine of the top ten teams ended up either in the same position in the ranking produced by Rewards, or plus or minus one from where the vote total placed them, so it is not surprising to see the average disagreement between these two rankings to be only roughly half a position different after all the bowl games were played. In fact, from 1990-2005, 1996 has the lowest average differences for the rightmost four columns in the table above; fifteen of the top 25 teams in both polls were within plus or minus one position in the Rewards ranking, and that also is the best over that fifteen year period. (Rewards matched the top four teams in the polls exactly, before the bowl season began.) The only top 25 teams that were more than three positions away in the Rewards ordering than their rank in the polls, after the bowl season, were: Kansas State (#17 in the polls, #24 according to Rewards) and Texas (#23 in the polls, #31 as determined by Rewards). Kansas State was placed there by Rewards probably because its best win was only against 7-4 Texas Tech. Texas on the other hand, had five losses, which was more than any other team ranked above them by Rewards (except Virginia who actually defeated Texas in 1996), and Texas did also lose to Oklahoma (3-8), which accounts for a significant penalty applied to their rating.
Since Florida defeated Florida State, and vice versa, their other wins determined who would claim the top spot in the Rewards final ranking. Florida finished only 0.0616 ahead of FSU, which is the fifth smallest difference between the top two teams in post bowl rankings produced by Rewards from 1970-2006.
(This page last modified February 26, 2007 .)