Every year Bill Connelly, aka Bill C., aka The Nerd With The Numbers That Hates Your Team, puts out his SP+ (formerly with an &) predictive rankings in the preseason and every year people are big mad about them. In reality, they are quite good at predicting what’s going to happen in a given college football season and, quite frankly, are fun to discuss.
With this year set to be the strangest year of college football that any of us have ever been alive for it is nice to settle into normalcy and argue about rankings. Connelly, like the AP Poll, is including every FBS team in his preseason rankings and will adjust them as the season goes on by removing teams whose conferences have postponed their seasons (like the Big Ten, Pac-12, MAC, etc.).
Here is the updated top-15 according to Bill C. and The Computers.
Connelly explains the “average wins” column here:
I’m including both the number of scheduled games and average projected wins for each team planning to play this fall. Those projected wins are based on teams’ win probabilities for each game, and those probabilities are using only a one-point home-field advantage for reasons discussed here.
These average win totals are, by nature, extremely conservative. If you have an 80% chance of winning, it counts as 0.8 wins, and 60% counts as 0.6 wins. Using these average totals, you’ll see no one projected to go unbeaten or winless. Alabama is a projected favorite of at least 9.5 points in nine of 10 games, but the Crimson Tide’s average win total is only 8.0. Please don’t yell at me personally on Twitter for “predicting” them to go 8-2, then demand to know whom I think they’re losing to. It’s just the way these projections work.
The B1G has three teams ranked in the top-15, No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes, No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions and No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers, while the Pac-12 has two, No. 12 Oregon Ducks and No. 15 Washington Huskies. After Week 0, which is this weekend folks, those teams will disappear from the rankings. However, it is useful to see where these teams WOULD have been ranked were this a “normal” season.
The Badgers are predicted to have the No. 5 defense in the nation behind only Georgia, Oregon, Florida and Ohio State, while the revamped UW offense is rated No. 17 in the country.
As far as the rest of the B1G is concerned they are ranked:
No. 20 Minnesota
No. 21 Michigan
No. 28 Iowa
No. 32 Nebraska
No. 33 Indiana
No. 49 Michigan State
No. 50 Purdue
No. 52 Northwestern
No. 61 Illinois
No. 77 Maryland
No. 106 Rutgers