Top 5 Big 12 teams of BCS era

The 2005 Texas Longhorns lead list of best Big 12 teams since 1998

Updated: August 6, 2014, 9:40 AM ET
By Brian Fremeau | ESPN Insider

Sam BradfordJames D. Smith/Icon SMIThe Oklahoma Sooners made the list twice -- but for which standout years?

As a final farewell to the BCS era, I used my opponent-adjusted FEI ratings to identify the five best individual team seasons in each of the Power Five conferences. The ratings reward dominant victories combined with strong competition, which are key elements that we expect the College Football Playoff committee to take into account as well.

Plenty of realignment has occurred since 1998, and I decided to count seasons played by the current members of each league. In other words, West Virginia and TCU made BCS bowl runs before they joined the Big 12, but those seasons are grouped here in comparison with other Big 12 seasons.

(Note: Due to the lack of available play-by-play and drive data, FEI ratings have been calculated only since 2003. For the 1998 to 2002 seasons, we produced an alternate set of ratings based on opponent-adjusted final scores. The alternate ratings have a 0.95 correlation with FEI.)

Here are the five best Big 12 teams from the BCS era:

1. 2005 Texas Longhorns (Record: 13-0)

Vince Young's heroics erased a 12-point deficit with less than seven minutes left in the Rose Bowl to take down the previously undefeated USC Trojans and win one of the most memorable games of the BCS era. Texas won a tight game against Ohio State on the road in September, one of two losses for the Buckeyes all year. In the BCS era, Texas is the only team to post victories over both the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the end-of-year FEI ratings in any given year.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com