ESPN's SP+ top 25 tells a different story than AP Top 25
In 2019, Bill Connelly’s metric-based rankings have a new name. What were the S&P+ rankings are now SP+ rankings with Connelly being at ESPN.
For those unfamiliar with Connelly’s rankings, here’s his explanation:
What is SP+? In a single sentence, it’s a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. I created the system at Football Outsiders in 2008, and as my experience with both college football and its stats has grown, I have made quite a few tweaks to the system.
Media members, fans and bettors – especially bettors – paid close attention to the S&P+ rankings over the years because of their “52 to 54 percent success over a full season” against the Las Vegas point spread.
- Penn State
- Ohio State
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
- Notre Dame
- Washington State
- Appalachian State
The differences start right at the top with Alabama being rated higher than Clemson. SP+ also puts LSU higher than the AP voters did on Tuesday and even ranks Missouri after the Tigers lost to Wyoming in Week 1. If you follow the SP+ rankings, they will differ from the AP throughout the season because SP+ is not concerned with resume, but measures the most predictable aspects of play, according to Connelly:
SP+ is intended to be predictive and forward-facing. That is important to remember. It is not a résumé ranking that gives credit for big wins or particularly brave scheduling — no good predictive system is. It is simply a measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football.
Connelly’s full SP+ rankings of all 130 FBS teams can be found in the article here.