Which Power Conference Football Teams Are At-Risk with the 2013-14 APR

APRLast week I looked at which power conference men’s basketball teams were in danger of receiving APR penalties in 2013–14. This week is football’s turn, although with two significant differences. First, football’s APR is less volatile than basketball’s so only teams with a 2012–13 APR below 940 were studied. Second, there is no single source of football departures like Jeff Goodman’s basketball transfer list and football’s APR issue tends to be more on the eligibility side than the retention side. So it is harder to look at what happened over the last year and point to football teams who are in even more serious trouble.

Oklahoma State University

2012–13 Multiyear APR: 929
Single-Year APR Scores:
2009–10: 913
2010–11: 903
2011–12: 947
2012–13: 934

Oklahoma State avoided a postseason ban this year but is not out of the woods next year. Dropping the 913 from 2009–10 will help, but a 903 sticks around for 2013–14. Oklahoma State has never had a good APR; their highest multiyear score ever was 945 in 2008–09, which was one of only two times the Cowboys scored above the 50th percentile for Division I football (FCS and FBS). The last two years are better, but OSU needs a stronger turnaround to climb out of the danger zone.

Texas Tech University

2012–13 Multiyear APR: 932
Single-Year APR Scores:
2009–10: 940
2010–11: 928
2011–12: 937
2012–13: 923

Like Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team, TTU football is actually in worse shape than schools with lower 2012–13 APR scores because of the single year scores that make up that number. While Oklahoma State drops its lowest score, Tech drops its highest. On the plus side, Tech is not carrying any really bad (sub–910) years at the moment. Simply replacing that 940 with something similar should be enough. But like OSU, Tech has never posted a really good (950+) multiyear APR, and needs to head in that direction to avoid APR worries becoming an annual event.

University of Tennessee

2012–13 Multiyear APR: 932
Single-Year APR Scores:
2009–10: 921
2010–11: 934
2011–12: 909
2012–13: 962

The big difference between Tennessee and Texas Tech is the 962 Tennessee posted in 2012–13, which their multiyear APR shows was critical in avoiding penalties this year. In basketball, a single big number is less revealing than in football. Football’s large cohort and better retention numbers overall mean Tennessee’s big 2012–13 is better evidence of a real change rather than a statistical blip. The Vols now have a platform to get out of APR danger and move toward posting very good scores.

Arkansas

2012–13 Multiyear APR: 935
Single-Year APR Scores:
2009–10: 935
2010–11: 935
2011–12: 924
2012–13: 944

Arkansas illustrates the difference between basketball and football. A sub–920 score would put a team with these scores in serious risk of a postseason ban. A sub–910 score would almost guarantee it. To score 920 takes losing just five points from a basketball team with a full cohort. A football team needs to lose 28 points from a full cohort of 340 possible points. Not that Arkansas wants to hang around in this neighborhood, but it shows how the sheer size of football teams protect even at-risk football programs. And like the teams above, Arkansas has never had an exception APR, never posting a score above 940 and that was during the APRs first year in 2004–05.

Kentucky

2012–13 Multiyear APR: 937
Single-Year APR Scores:
2009–10: 944
2010–11: 941
2011–12: 929
2012–13: 932

Kentucky’s biggest problem is the worrying downward trend. After four years in the high–940s/low–950s, UK started dropping in 2011–12. Kentucky should be OK this year, but another year like the last two will put the Wildcats very close to a postseason ban.

California

2012–13 Multiyear APR: 938
Single-Year APR Scores:
2009–10: 921
2010–11: 923
2011–12: 923
2012–13: 969

Like Tennessee, Cal has a year on the books that shows a significant turnaround is underway. But Cal is even better shape because the Golden Bears are not carrying a sub–910 score and have posted the only 960+ multiyear scores in this group, topping out at 970 in 2007–08. While most of the other teams here need to improve from their long term levels, Cal’s recent APR scores look like the anomaly, albeit an extended one.

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