We’re two weeks from Rivalry Week and three from the conference championship games. We still have seven unbeaten teams (five in power conferences) and eight primary CFP contenders. Things still feel awfully uncertain (in a good way). But the top three teams in the country seem awfully certain. Michigan, Georgia and Ohio State began 2023 pretty far ahead of the field. Oregon remains within striking distance at No. 4, but No. 1 Michigan is about the same distance from No. 5 Penn State (8.7 points) as PSU is from No. 19 Ole Miss. We certainly know who the best teams in the country have been this season.
Below are this week’s SP+ rankings. What is SP+? In a single sentence, it’s a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. I created the system at Football Outsiders in 2008, and as my experience with both college football and its stats has grown, I have made quite a few tweaks to the system.
SP+ is indeed intended to be predictive and forward-facing. It is not a résumé ranking that gives credit for big wins or particularly brave scheduling — no good predictive system is. It is simply a measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football. If you’re lucky or unimpressive in a win, your rating will probably fall. If you’re strong and unlucky in a loss, it will probably rise.
Here are the full rankings: