Week 9 of the 2022 college football season began in funky fashion, with three underdogs winning outright in five Thursday and Friday games and the two others, Virginia Tech and Washington State, losing by a combined five points.
Chaos week coming? Nope. Once Saturday kicked off, order set in. All five unbeaten teams in action not only won but did so by an average score of 40-19, and while there were some surprises — Tennessee destroyed a ranked Kentucky team, while two AP top-10 teams (Wake Forest and Oklahoma State) lost by a combined 96-21 — the top of the college football food chain remained basically the same. Aside from Georgia and Alabama trading places, the top of the SP+ rankings went unchanged as well.
Below are this week’s SP+ rankings. 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.
SP+ is indeed intended to be predictive and forward-facing. 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. If you’re lucky or unimpressive in a win, your rating will probably fall. If you’re strong and unlucky in a loss, it will probably rise.