College Football Rankings Vs. KFord Most Deserving: Top Of AP Poll Is Wrong!

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Written By Kelley Ford | Last Updated
college football rankings

Georgia should not be the No. 1 team in the country, and Michigan should not be ranked No. 2 in this week’s AP poll. There, I said it. At this point, voters should be elevating those with the best resumes. Even when the College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee’s weekly top-25 rankings come out, it often does not accurately represent the most deserving teams. The best college football betting sites adjust weekly to CFB rankings, but the Bulldogs and Wolverines don’t deserve the top spots right now. Several other college football teams are not getting the respect they deserve, either.

In today’s environment of advanced statistics and more sophisticated mathematical models, better ways exist to rank college football teams. Enter the KFord Most-Deserving Rankings.

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MOST-DESERVING COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAMS

To summarize, my Most-Deserving (MD) Rankings are a results-oriented (résumé-based) metric that describes how a team has performed against its schedule (including scoring margin) relative to how the average top-25 FBS team would be expected to perform against that same schedule.

For a full explanation of the inputs and concepts to keep in mind, refer back to my first CFB rankings post of the season. Which teams are the most over- and under-ranked by the AP Poll, according to my MD Rankings? Let’s discuss.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS: KFord MOST DESERVING After Week 7

OVERRANKED College football teams

No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0): +8 spots

Results

  • W 48-7 vs FCS UT Martin
  • W 54-3 vs No. 114 Ball State
  • W 24-14 vs No. 40 South Carolina
  • W 49-21 vs No. 103 UAB
  • W 27-20 at No. 30 Auburn
  • W 51-13 vs No. 31 Kentucky
  • W 37-20 at No. 97 Vanderbilt

Georgia is the two-time defending national champions and has only lost one game since November 2020. So why not rank the Bulldogs No. 1 in the polls, right? Wrong! Those are program accomplishments, not team accomplishments. Why should the 2023 Georgia team be rewarded for what the 2021 and 2022 Georgia teams accomplished? There are teams – eight to be exact – that have accomplished more (relative to expectation of the average top 25 FBS team) on the field in 2023 than Georgia. Yet, the Bulldogs remain No. 1 in the AP Poll. It’s simply wrong.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 9
  • REC: 35%; No. 8 (season-best)
  • SM: 6.2; No. 10

No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (7-0, 4-0): +9 spots compared to KFord MD

MICH

Michigan Wolverines
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MSU

Michigan State Spartans

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Results

  • W 30-3 vs No. 84 East Carolina
  • W 35-7 vs No. 85 UNLV
  • W 31-6 vs No. 105 Bowling Green
  • W 31-7 vs No. 47 Rutgers
  • W 45-7 at No. 62 Nebraska
  • W 52-10 at No. 50 Minnesota
  • W 52-7 vs No. 87 Indiana

Michigan has shown up on this list twice previously. After Week 4 (+23 spots) and after Week 5 (+15). Last week, the Wolverines were my No. 4 overranked team (+11), so they weren’t featured in the article. This week, Michigan returns to the list – in the No. 1 spot, no less – but the main takeaway is the Wolverines are improving their MD ranking. No. 35 after Week 3, No. 25 after Week 4, No. 17 after Week 5, No. 13 last week, and now No. 11. Ideally, you’d like to see the AP Poll voters move Michigan up as their résumé improves, relative to all other teams, instead of just leaving them in their preseason position of No. 2 because “they haven’t lost yet.”

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 11 (season-best)
  • REC: 48%; No. 12 (season-best)
  • SM: 12.8; No. 5 (season-best)

No. 9 Oregon Ducks (5-1, 2-1): +8 spots

WSU

Washington State Cougars
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ORE

Oregon Ducks

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Results

  • W 81-7 vs FCS Portland State
  • W 38-30 at No. 29 Texas Tech
  • W 55-10 vs No. 121 Hawaii
  • W 42-6 vs No. 59 Colorado
  • W 42-6 at No. 101 Stanford
  • L 33-36 at No. 8 Washington

Oregon is a really good football team. I have the Ducks at a season-best No. 5 in my power ratings. I’d still make Oregon a 1.5-point favorite on a neutral field against Washington if they played again this weekend. But as I’ve written before, the fundamental purpose of a poll is to rank teams, not power rate them. The reality is that while Oregon has demolished their opponents, on average, the Ducks have only one win against a team with a power rating better than No. 59 and already have a loss (albeit to a top 10 power-rated team) already. That is not a résumé worthy of a top 10 ranking at this point in the season.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 17
  • REC: 65%; No. 20
  • SM: 14.8; No. 3

UNDERRANKED College football teams

No. 24 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1): -12 spots compared to KFord MD

MINN

Minnesota Golden Gophers
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IOWA

Iowa Hawkeyes

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Results

  • W 24-14 vs No. 86 Utah State
  • W 20-13 at No. 39 Iowa State
  • W 41-10 vs No. 122 Western Michigan
  • L 0-31 at No. 4 Penn State
  • W 26-16 vs No. 63 Michigan State
  • W 20-14 vs No. 54 Purdue
  • W 15-6 at No. 23 Wisconsin

Iowa was my No. 3 underranked team last week (-10 spots) and is now somehow being even more disrespected following a win on the road against a top-25 power-rated opponent. It makes no sense. This is a Power 5 team that began the year ranked No. 25 in the Preseason AP Poll (aside: How can you even rank teams in the preseason? They haven’t played any games? Based on what are you ranking them?) and are 6-1 on the year with their only loss being at AP Poll-ranked No. 7 Penn State. By all accounts, this is a team the AP Poll voters would usually – and in this case, should – rank much higher than they are. As I wrote last week, all I can come up with is the voters are unjustly downgrading the Hawkeyes résumé (which is nonsensical) because this offense isn’t any good (which it isn’t, but that’s beside the point of résumé rankings).

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 12 (season-best; up from No. 24)
  • REC: 41%; No. 10 (season-best; up from No. 20)
  • SM: -7.4; No. 38 (season-best; up from No. 46)

Receiving Votes (No. 26) James Madison Dukes (6-0, 3-0): -8 spots

JMU

James Madison Dukes
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MARSH

Marshall Thundering Herd

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Results

  • W 38-3 vs FCS Bucknell
  • W 36-35 at No. 94 Virginia
  • W 16-14 at No. 49 Troy
  • W 45-38 at No. 86 Utah State
  • W 31-23 vs No. 53 South Alabama
  • W 41-13 vs No. 63 Georgia Southern

The good news for James Madison is they were underranked by 14 spots last week and are only underranked by eight spots this week. The bad news is they are still fighting two inappropriate stigmas assigned to them by AP Poll voters: “G5” status and “eye test.” The fact is the Dukes should have been ranked last week. They weren’t. They’ve added a win against a top-65 power-rated team, and their résumé helped by previous opponents Troy (+11) and South Alabama (+3) rising in the power ratings. The conclusion drawn by the AP Poll voters? James Madison still is not ranked. Rank the Dukes!

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 18 (season-best; up from No. 20)
  • REC: 52%; No. 14 (season-best; up from No. 17)
  • SM: -10.5; No. 47 (season-best; up from No. 64)

No. 19 LSU Tigers (5-2, 4-1): -6 spots

ARMY

Army Black Knights
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LSU

LSU Tigers

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Results

  • L 24-45 vs No. 7 Florida State (in Orlando, FL)
  • W 72-10 vs FCS Grambling State
  • W 41-14 at No. 28 Mississippi State
  • W 34-31 vs No. 33 Arkansas
  • L 49-55 at No. 13 Ole Miss
  • W 49-39 at No. 31 Missouri
  • W 48-18 vs No. 29 Auburn

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the defending SEC West champions are being disrespected by the AP Poll voters. With four wins over top-35 power-rated teams and the only blemishes coming against teams with a top-15 power rating, LSU has put together one of the most impressive records, relative to what was expected, given the schedule, in the entire country. LSU deserves to be the highest-ranked two-loss team, not Notre Dame.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 13 (season-best)
  • REC: 51%; No. 13 (season-best)
  • SM: 5.7; No. 12 (season-best)

Full College Football FBS Most-Deserving Rankings

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