Top 25 Teams of 2004 - 2009
#12 – 2004 Cal
Why They’re Top Fifteen:
They were generally dominant against a pretty tough schedule (ranked 9th), played in the top-rated league in 2004, and one of their losses was a nail-biter on the road against a fantastic USC team. They had a fantastic game at Corvallis, totally destroying a legitimately good Oregon St, on the road no less. They were underrated at the time (they were more dominant against a tougher slate in the regular season than Texas, who was voted above them), and appear to be extremely underrated in retrospect (Colley had them 9th in 2004 and 46th out of all teams in the last six years, and Sagarin had them 38th, both of which were just silly; they didn’t make Billingsley’s top 100 all-time [perfectly reasonable omission, even if this model disagrees], so it’s unclear where they rate with him).
Why They’re Not Top Ten:
They lost twice, including a Holiday Bowl embarrassment against Texas Tech. A nail-biter home win against Oregon, and surprisingly close win at USM didn’t help their case for a Rose Bowl at-large berth, and they didn’t help their rating on this list either.