Michigan defeated Rutgers, 31-7, on Saturday, and the performance has the Wolverines moving up Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. In fact, after Week 4, they moved all the way to No. 1 on the list with a rating of 26.7.
According to Connelly, SP+ is, “a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency.” The measure can be used to predict how well teams stack up compared to “the average” team in college football. For example, Michigan’s rating of 26.7 would mean the Wolverines are 26.7 points better than the average team in college football.
The rating takes into account offensive, defensive and special teams efficiencies to get an overall rating. It can be considered an alternative method of ranking teams that goes deeper than simply looking at a team’s record. It also takes into account performances in each game, regardless of winning or losing.
Michigan’s efficiency ratings were all among the nation’s best as the offense came in at No. 13 (36.8), defense at No. 1 (10.4), and special teams at No. 16. The Wolverines’ rise to the No. 1 spot on the ranking comes after they were No. 3 in last week’s edition. They were ranked behind only Georgia and Ohio State, who come in this week at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
Despite the rise in the ranking, Michigan’s rating actually fell, as it was 28.2 following Week 3.
In addition to Michigan and Ohio State, a few other Big Ten teams are ranked high, as Penn State checks in at No. 10 and Wisconsin is No. 27. Nebraska, Michigan’s opponent for its next game, checks in at No. 59 on the list with a 1.9 rating, suggesting Michigan should win comfortably next Saturday.