Last year we introduced the Pigskin Rating System here at Sports Unbiased as an attempt to aggregate the most important facets of college football into one weighted ranking that evaluates relative strength across the spectrum of geographic, scheduling, and talent disparities that span what was then 127 full FBS members. This year the addition of Charlotte to the list brings that number to an even 128 teams.
Before we dive into this year’s rankings, here are a few things worth noting from the 2015 preseason rankings that will help illustrate how the PRS rankings can be used to determine the course of the upcoming season:
- Three of the four teams that reached the College Football Playoff bracket last year were ranked in the top eight of the 2015 preseason PRS rankings. Alabama begins its second straight season atop the PRS rankings, while Big Ten champ Michigan State was fourth and ACC champ Clemson started the season at seventh. The outlier, Oklahoma, was ranked #24 in last year’s preseason projections. It is unlikely that we will see anyone from outside the top 25 contending for the national championship this year, either…
- Of the teams that filled out the other four Group of Six bowl games, there was a wild variance in where each team began the season. Of the seven major-conference teams that played in the consolation bowls, 2014-15 national champion Ohio State (#3) began the season with the highest expectations while Ole Miss (#11), Notre Dame (#14), Stanford (#22), Florida State (#28), Oklahoma State (#54), and Iowa (#58) all were expected to be teams in the top half of FBS. Houston (#99) benefitted from a tougher-than-expected AAC slate to power its way up the rankings through the season and snag the Access Bowl position granted to the top mid-major squad.
- Georgia Tech (#19) and South Carolina (#20) were the highest-ranked teams that missed out on a bowl game during the 2015-16 college football postseason. The Yellow Jackets and Gamecocks both finished 3-9 on the season. (Whether that means anything for UCLA and Oklahoma State, the two teams sitting 19th and 20th in this year’s projections, is anyone’s guess.)
- All of the top five teams, and nine of the top 10 in this year’s preseason rankings, were among the top 25 teams in last year’s preseason projections as well. In total, 16 of last year’s top 25 returned to those heights in this year’s preseason rankings.
If you are interested in learning more about the methodology behind the PRS rankings, click here.