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Michigan remains in top spot of ESPN’s SP+ rankings heading into OSU game

The gap is closing fast, but the Wolverines are still at the top.

Michigan v Maryland Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Following an ugly road win over Maryland, the Michigan Wolverines stand at 11-0 on the season with another high-stakes edition of The Game on deck.

Saturday’s game was out of the ordinary given what we’ve seen from Michigan this year, but fortunately for the Wolverines, they’re still in the good graces of ESPN and Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. After defeating Maryland, Michigan remains in the top spot of the SP+ rankings, a position that it has held since Week 4.

For those of you unfamiliar with the SP+ rating, Connelly describes it as, ”a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency” that takes into account a team’s efficiencies on offense, defense and special teams. These are taken together and boiled down to one metric that can be used as an alternative form of ranking college football teams by determining how many points a given team would beat (or lose to) the “average” college football team by on a neutral field.

For example, after Week 12, Michigan has an SP+ rating of 31.4, meaning it should defeat the “average” college football team by 31.4 points. Despite Michigan’s performance, that is actually an improvement from last week’s mark of 30.8.

Even though Michigan improved in the rankings, so too did the teams behind it. Following a dominant road win over Tennessee, the red-hot Georgia Bulldogs remain at No. 2 with a rating of 30.0. Additionally, Ohio State remains in the No. 3 spot after defeating Minnesota and now holds a rating of 27.8.

Oregon had an impressive showing against Arizona State, winning by a final score of 49-13 and boosting Bo Nix’s Heisman stock in the process. The Ducks remain in the No. 4 spot for this week. Florida State also had a big win, which helped move the Seminoles into the No. 5 spot, but a big injury to quarterback Jordan Travis could cost them down the stretch.

Heading into The Game against Ohio State, Michigan holds a narrow three-point edge over the Buckeyes. The Wolverines have been favored by SP+ in every game so far this year, and home field advantage (which is worth 2.5 points) should make the Wolverines a 5.5-point favorite in the contest.