Surprise! Ohio State now tops an important ESPN metric

There’s no denying the fact that the Ohio State football team has looked light years better than what we saw during the first couple weeks of the season, and it looks like ESPN’s SP+ Rankings agree. To be fair, even with the loss to the Ducks, the Buckeyes never really fell that far in the special sauce formula the ratings are calculated upon, but now after last week, OSU is on top, just ahead of Georgia, largely because of an improved defense and an offense that no other team comes close to.

It’s important now to take this time to tell you what the SP+ rankings are all about. According to ESPN, the rankings are “a tempo and opponent adjusted measure of college football efficiency, and intended to be predictive and forward-facing.”

What does all of that mean? Basically, it projects a teams performance based on factors like teams’ and their opponents’ performance to date in combination with returning players, etc. That’s the best that we can describe it for you without getting out a protractor, compass, and computer.

But back to the rankings. After last week’s performance, Ohio State rating is 28.5, just ahead of Georgia who has a rating of 27.9. Rounding out the top ten is Alabama (25.5), Clemson (21.6), Florida (20.9), Wisconsin (20.5), Michigan (19.6), Texas A&M (18.4), Pittsburgh (17.8), and Penn State (17.3).

We’ll state the obvious here and point out that clearly the SP+ rankings aren’t perfect. I mean, there’s no way Clemson should be anywhere near the top, let alone in the top 25. And yeah, having Wisconsin, Penn State, and Florida in there is also suspect.

Still, we can at least thump our chests a little bit that OSU is on top of one set of rankings, albeit an imperfect equation nobody really understands except the guy that created them. Right?


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