For the second straight week, the computers love Michigan the best.
The Wolverines remained first in the S&P+ rankings, the newest edition of which was released by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly on Sunday morning. Their continued reign at the top was expected after they outscored Illinois, 41-8, and out-gained them, 561-172.
The S&P+ rankings are a college football ratings system that is derived from play-by-play data, eliminates garbage-time possessions, and adjusts for the quality of opponents. It is a ratings system that looks deeper than the score of a result or the record of a team to evaluate how good that team is and project the rest of its season.
Two teams that S&P+ do not regard as highly as it did last week are Ohio State and Michigan State. Michigan’s two main rivals suffered losses on Saturday as Ohio State was shocked by Penn State in Happy Valley, 24-21, and Michigan State dropped its fifth straight game — this one to Maryland, 28-17. As a result, the Buckeyes fell slightly from No. 3 to No. 5, while the Spartans continue their freefall towards the bottom:
B1G in S&P+ Rankings - Week 9:— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) October 23, 2016
Hate Week has begun, which means Michigan and Michigan State clash next weekend and the Spartans will bring the best version of themselves to the field. However, according to the computers, the Spartans are similar to Michigan’s most recent foe.
Oh, and one other tidbit: Eastern Michigan is higher than Michigan State. Yeah:
What is that I see in the new S&P+ rankings? No, it can't possibly be: pic.twitter.com/HkJVHNj50N— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) October 23, 2016
The other teams joining Michigan in the top five of the S&P+ rankings are the same as they were last week. Just in a different order. Rising from No. 5 to No. 2 is Louisville after it smoked a good North Carolina State team. As a result, Alabama slips one spot from No. 2 to No. 3 despite beating Texas A&M by 19 points. Clemson remains constant at No. 4, and, as aforementioned, the Buckeyes slid two spots from No. 3 to No. 5.