Two years ago, I pulled the stats on the records of teams the year after a winless season. Last year, I did the records of teams two years after a winless season. Well, a hard drive crash cost me my list of schools that had a winless season. Sorry. Rather than recreate the list, I thought I would go in another direction.
A 5-6 team is a funny thing. Perhaps it is on the brink of being a successful team; perhaps it is a bad team topping out at its potential. Myabe that team will break through the next year and maybe it will slip back into the bottom of its conference. I was curious. How well do teams that finisha year 5-6 do the next year?
I took a sample. The schools I used were every Big XII team; every C-USA team; every SMU nonconference opponent this year and the past five years. That includes every team in Texas. I went back to the beginning of college football; if one of the teams finished 5-6 in 1917, it is included.
78 teams in the sample finished 5-6. That is surprisingly low to me. Some teams, however, never finished 5-6 in their history. Such is the case with Houston. On the other hand, Rice has the record with eight 5-6 finishes.
Of the 78, exactly half, 39, finished with a record better than 5-6 the next year. Six teams repeated their 5-6 performance (7.7%). The remaning 42% did worse.
SMU, for those that are curious, finished 5-6 seven times. On three occasions, SMU improved the next season.
Hypothetically, the odds that SMU will win more than five games are in SMU's favor, if only because it is a 12 game season.
Again, read the headline.