2011 LSU Tigers: Why They Are the Most Accomplished Team Ever

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Jordan Jefferson #9 of the LSU Tigers rushes upfield against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With their blowout of the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs yesterday, the LSU Tigers beat their eighth ranked opponent of the season. This got me to wondering if there was a record for an undefeated team against ranked opponents.

After all, if we were going to rank teams all-time, it makes sense to use the same criteria we do to rank them from year to year. 

So I went through the schedule of every undefeated team since 1976—as far back as rankings were kept from week to week—and looked for teams who had the most wins against ranked opponents.

I kept track of wins against ranked teams, top-10 teams, average points scored and allowed and point differential for each of the teams who had beaten six ranked teams or more. 

There are only five teams who have beaten at least six teams: the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners, the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers, the 1997 Michigan Wolverines and the 1987 Miami Hurricanes.

Here is a table showing the teams, the number of top-25 teams they beat and the number of top-10 teams they beat. It also shows the average points scored on the season, points allowed and average scoring differential.  


Top 25

Top 10

Avg For

Avg All

Avg Dif

2011 Tigers






2000 Sooners






1998 Volunteers






1997 Wolverines






1987 Hurricanes






What might be surprising here is that LSU , by 3.5 points per game, has the highest-scoring team of any of the teams listed in spite of the most games ranked teams, eight.

While they have slightly fewer against teams who are top-10, they do have a game against No. 2 to come, which will also be the Tigers' ninth game against a ranked opponent. It's also true that should they win the BCS National Championship game, they would have the most wins against top-three teams with four. 

They also have the second fewest points against, with the 1997 Wolverines—who had the second most games against ranked opponents—having the fewest with just 9.5. That team scored considerably fewer points, averaging over 10 points a game less in points scored. 

In terms of point differential, the Tigers were by far the most impressive, despite having played the most games against ranked teams. In fact, if they win the National Championship, they will retain that lead regardless of the margin. Even if they only win by one point, their average differential would be 25.7. 

Perhaps the most impressive thing is that the Tigers have far and away the most blowouts of any of these teams. They have won nine of their games by at least four touchdowns. The Sooners and Hurricanes had five, the Volunteers had four and the Wolverines had two. 

The Tigers also had the fewest one-score games, with only one. While all five teams had at least one more game settled by a field goal or less, only the Tigers had no other games settled by single digits. 

The Hurricanes and Sooners had three close games; the Wolverines and Volunteers had four.

The Tigers have arguably had the most accomplished regular season in the history of college football, not just in terms of the number of quality teams they've beaten, but in terms of how they've beaten them.

Should they win the BCS National Championship, the 2011 LSU Tigers deserve consideration not only as the No. 1 team this season, but as the greatest single-season team in the history of college football.