Sometimes, humans and computers just can’t agree. While Alabama is the consensus No. 1 team in virtually every human-based poll, the Crimson Tide is still playing catch up in a popular formula-based ranking system.
Nine weeks into the football season, there would seemingly be enough data on each team to iron our which team is the nation’s best. And according to the S&P+ rankings produced by Football Outsiders, Michigan remains the nation’s top college football team.
Not familiar with the S&P+ rankings? Per the Football Outsiders website, “the components for S&P+ reflect opponent-adjusted components of four of what Bill Connelly has deemed the Five Factors of college football: efficiency, explosiveness, field position, and finishing drives. (A fifth factor, turnovers, is informed marginally by sack rates, the only quality-based statistic that has a consistent relationship with turnover margins.)”
With those parameters in mind, Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines outrank Alabama, which is No. 2 on the list, by a 36.1 to 33.7 margin in the scoring. Alabama actually moved from No. 3 on the list to No. 2 during its bye week, surpassing Louisville after a near-loss to Virginia.
Other notable SEC teams in the rankings:
16. Texas A&M
19. Ole Miss
The Aggies, which are the consensus No. 2 SEC team in the human polls, fall behind LSU, Auburn and Florida in these rankings. Ole Miss, which has a 3-5 record on the season, still sits comfortably in the Top 25 of the S&P+ in spite of its losing record.