One of the more esoteric of the many college football rankings systems is Jeff Sagarin's ratings. At the outset of the 2011 season, the first Sagarin ratings have Alabama on top.
The Crimson Tide come in first, with a rating of 92.53, and are followed by Oregon (90.78), Ohio State (90.55), TCU (89.84), and Oklahoma (89.52) in the top five.
The Sagarin ratings work by assigning point values to a team based on Sagarin's proprietary formula, and the output numbers are used to determine how much a team should be favored over another team, with a three-point home field advantage added or subtracted. For example, Alabama would be a seven-point favorite over Oklahoma in Tuscaloosa, but the Sooners would be just one-point underdogs in Norman. The Sagarin ratings are also one component of the BCS formula.
The ratings also have a few surprises: Florida, coming off an 8-5 season and entering its first year under Will Muschamp, is sixth; USC, which has been cast out of the formal college football power structure while under NCAA sanctions, is 10th; South Carolina, seen as a top-10 team with legitimate SEC championship aspirations, doesn't even make the top 25, coming in at 26th.
Here are the top 25 teams in the first Sagarin ratings of 2011:
Full poll is as follows:
- Ohio State
- Boise State
- Virginia Tech
- Florida State
- Oklahoma State
- West Virginia
- Oregon State
- Penn State