The polls may have Alabama ranked No. 1, but the advanced analytics say Ohio State is the nation’s best team, and by a considerable margin.
Through games of Oct. 1, the Buckeyes (4-0) are ranked No. 1 in the Football Outsiders’ S&P+ Ratings with a 29.4 S&P+ margin, well ahead of Alabama (26.0), Michigan (25.5), Clemson (22.4) and Louisville (21.4). Wisconsin is ranked No. 18 and Nebraska is ranked No. 23 in the S&P+ Ratings.
According to Football Outsiders, “The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play and drive data of all 800+ of a season’s FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays).” From there, the ranking adjusts for what football reporter Bill Connelly calls the “Five Factors of college football”: efficiency, explosiveness, field position, finishing drives and turnovers.
Ohio State, ranked No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, has wins over Bowling Green, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rutgers this season.