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Michigan still leads the way in the S&P+ rankings

The Wolverines are clinging on to a slim lead after Week 8.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Michigan Wolverines rank No. 1 in the S&P+ rankings. Released by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly earlier on Sunday, a tight win against Michigan State was enough to keep the Wolverines in the top spot. The S&P+ ratings uses play-by-play data and eliminates garbage-time possessions. It also adjusts for the quality of opponents, and is typically a strong predictor of future performance.

Alabama jumped up to the No. 2 spot, despite being on a bye, and are neck-and-neck with Michigan ahead of the pack. The next four teams are Louisville, Clemson, Washington, and Ohio State, who all are seeking out playoff berths as the last month of the season approaches.

A few of Michigan’s past opponents have been climbing up the S&P+ rankings since falling to the Wolverines. Wisconsin sits at No. 10 after defeating Nebraska, Colorado is up to No. 12, and Penn State has also joined the top 15. Michigan State moved up after a tough battle in East Lansing, but they still sit at just No. 73 overall.

Michigan’s next opponent, Maryland, is ranked at No. 68 this week. Future matchups with Iowa (No. 41) and Indiana (No. 46) are slated to be top-50 affairs, while Ohio State slid back to No. 6, although they could very well creep forward again.

Despite showing some issues in stopping the Spartans, the Wolverines still rank first overall in Defense S&P+. With a 1.7 ranking, no team is even close to this level of defensive efficiency. The offense moved up from 17th to 15th this week, but the special teams ranks at an abysmal 110th.