In a season full of flawed elites, it would make sense that Alabama stands atop the pile. The Crimson Tide are more flawed than normal, but their stubborn refusal to fall victim to the kind of duds and eggs that have beset almost everybody else in FBS makes them a very fitting No. 1 team.
Below are this week’s S&P+ ratings. You can find full unit rankings (and a yearly archive) at Football Outsiders.
I’m guessing the first thing people will notice about this list is the No. 2 team. Some notes and explanations on these are below.
(Also, if the chart below isn’t loading friendly on your mobile device, that Football Outsiders link should work.)
Week 13 S&P+
|San Diego State||9-2||4.4||45||49||4|
|New Mexico State||4-6||-1.4||80||73||-7|
|San Jose State||1-11||-17.9||129||128||-1|
After a thoroughly embarrassing performance against Iowa, Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes fell only to second overall.
This doesn’t mean Ohio State should be No. 2 in the CFP rankings or has the second-best list of defeated opponents; it only means S&P+ would pick Ohio State to slightly beat the teams right below it in a Week 11 neutral-site game, based on the full season so far.
It’s important to point out the difference between rankings and ratings. The Buckeyes might have barely fallen in the latter, but they lost more than three and a half points in the former.
- The Buckeyes were 3.7 points ahead of Georgia last week. This week: 0.4.
- They were 5.1 points ahead of Washington last week. This week: 0.3.
They still maintain an overall edge because of the dramatic upside they so consistently showed between the loss to Oklahoma and this past Saturday. But Saturday revealed a downside we haven’t seen from a Meyer team since ... maybe ever? I’m still a little stunned by what I saw.
Ratings are also why much of the heavy movement came just outside the top 30. Teams continue to be absurdly bunched together. The difference between No. 20 Washington State and No. 46 NIU is about five points, the same amount that separated Ohio State and Washington last week. A little bit of a shift in your ratings can result in a big shift in your ranking.
The best conference is nobody
FBS conferences, ranked by average S&P+ rating:
- Big Ten (+4.7, down 0.3 from last week)
- SEC (+4.5, no change)
- Big 12 (+4.1, down 0.3)
- Pac-12 (+3.4, down 0.1)
- ACC (+3.4, down 0.4)
- AAC (-0.1, up 0.2)
- Mountain West (-1.9, up 0.1)
- MAC (-2.1, up 0.2)
- Conference USA (-2.8, up 0.2)
- Sun Belt (-3.8, up 0.5)
Looking at conference averages, only about 1.3 points per team separates the top power conference from the bottom. It is just staggering the kind of parity we’re seeing this year, and one reason it hasn’t been even more noticeable is stubborn old Alabama refusing to conform.
The week’s top movers (good)
- Middle Tennessee (up 20 spots, from 100th to 80th)
- Vanderbilt (up 14 spots, from 84th to 70th)
- UAB (up 13 spots, from 69th to 56th)
- Boise State (up 12 spots, from 37th to 25th)
- Houston (up 12 spots, from 44th to 32nd)
- San Diego State (up 12 spots, from 59th to 47th)
- Eastern Michigan (up 12 spots, from 67th to 55th)
- Purdue (up 11 spots, from 49th to 38th)
- Utah (up 11 spots, from 51st to 40th)
- Temple (up 11 spots, from 98th to 87th)
Hello again, Boise State. Since the surprising blowout loss to Virginia, the Broncos have allowed just 4.4 yards per play and 13 points per game. Meanwhile, further removed from the injuries that held him (and BSU) back in September, quarterback Brett Rypien is looking like his old self again. In back-to-back 41-14 wins over Utah State and Nevada, he’s completed 72 percent of his passes with a 183.4 passer rating.
BSU has made a habit of tripping over itself when on the precipice of the MWC title game, but that will be difficult to do this time around. The Broncos would have to lose two of their final three games (at Colorado State, Air Force, at Fresno State), and while that is not out of the realm of possibility — CSU is decent, Fresno is downright good, and Air Force has beaten BSU three straight times — odds are on Boise’s side. Especially with the recent level of play.
Top movers (bad)
- Air Force (down 22 spots, from 77th to 99th)
- Western Kentucky (down 16 spots, from 79th to 95th)
- Minnesota (down 15 spots, from 66th to 81st)
- Oregon (down 14 spots, from 45th to 59th)
- Tulane (down 13 spots, from 88th to 101st)
- Florida (down 13 spots, from 90th to 103rd)
- Wake Forest (down 12 spots, from 24th to 36th)
- Arizona (down 12 spots, from 30th to 42nd)
- Navy (down 11 spots, from 56th to 67th)
- UCLA (down nine spots, from 64th to 73rd)
Granted, Missouri is smoking hot — the Tigers almost made the Top Movers (good) list again this week and have jumped a staggering 47 spots in three weeks — but Florida got absolutely rocked in Columbia on Saturday morning.
To say the least, it’s rare to see a team with a top-15 recruiting profile fall into the triple digits, but two SEC East teams have managed to do it in two weeks: Tennessee stumbled to 103rd last week before rebounding slightly (the Vols are up to 96th after a turnover- and penalty-aided win over Southern Miss), and now the Gators fill the same spot. Goodness.