Alabama is good. Really good.
In fact, if the undefeated Crimson Tide keep rolling the way they have been, a debate could quickly pop up — are they the greatest college football team ever?
According to one advanced metric created by Neil Payne and Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, Alabama was quickly closing in on that distinction prior to this week’s 31-3 win over Chattanooga.
The metric is called the “Elo rating” and here’s how it works. It’s similar to ESPN’s Football Power Index in that it also predicts future success of a team. The rating is equivalent to points per game, allowing you to take two teams’ ratings and get a point spread if they were to face off.
Before this week’s victory, the Crimson Tide had an Elo rating of 33.4, just 0.5 shy of the 1995 Nebraska team for the highest ever. For comparison, last year’s Alabama squad has the No. 3 rating all-time of 32.8, which it reached after winning the national championship with a victory over Clemson.
Time will tell if the Crimson Tide end up as the greatest team ever. They play Auburn in the Iron Bowl next week, then face Florida in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 3.