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The Projected Final Top 25 [50] for 2014

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It’s not hard to figure out the thinking behind the final college football rankings.
Rule 1: Teams with the most wins get ranked the highest.
Rule 2: Tie breakers of equal wins go to the teams from the stronger conferences and fewer losses.
Rule 3: On average four mid majors make the final top 25 each year.
Rule 4: Over the last 20 years, the only rankings that mattered were No. 1 and No. 2.

LISTEN IN WITH DAVE: Audio review of the CFBMatrix Top 25 [50]

Now all that matters is the opinion of the 13 people that counts, and even then, only the top four spots are meaningful. Nevertheless, I do believe that the playoff committee will use the AP and USA Today rankings as a way to gauge public sentiment. Unless instructed otherwise, I expect them to want to be very close to public opinion.

For my top 25, I have provided a number of different metrics for you to consider. My rankings are based on the above rules and are in relation to my projected finish for each team. There are no mid-majors in the rankings. (Our previews focus only on the major teams and if the playoff committee holds even slightly to its word on strength of schedule, there will never be a mid-major in the playoffs).

Ohio State is No. 1. The Buckeyes have the best combination of talent, coaching and ease of schedule. Let’s compare OSU and Alabama across the board, for reference. OSU has a projected record of 12-0 and Alabama 11-1. Both teams’ talent are ranked in the top 10 in the CFB Matrix, coming in at No. 6 and No. 1, respectively.

Ohio State’s strength-of-schedule is No. 56, compared to No. 3 for Alabama. This is a big reason why the projected records are a game different. Both Alabama and Ohio State have top 10 Coach Result rankings.

The last metric I used was a combination of talent and coaching: Ohio State is No. 3; Alabama No. 1. The top eight teams in my 2014 ranking have top 10 talent/coaching combination. Use these rankings to help see where teams could be over or under ranked and where surprises lurk for different reasons.

Regular Season Final top 50 Projections 2014


  1. John Vieira

    May 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    This list is refreshing, bold and very interesting but it does not reflect the conf championship games, which in 2013 started a 2 game slide for both Alabama and Ohio St. The chart assumes AL and UGA will play for the SEC Champ giving one of them 2 losses and a slip in the rankings.

    The distribution of conferences in the top 25 may need some tweaking as it reflects 6 teams for the Big 10, 5 for the SEC and PAC12, and 4 for the Big 12 and ACC.

    If FSU is undefeated in the ACC, this assumes they will lose to one of Ok St (neutral site), ND (@FSU) or FL (@FSU). Which one beats FSU?

    • Dave Bartoo

      May 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      With all teams playing 12 regular season games, I felt it best to stop there on even ground for all teams. I like the top 25 distribution as the Big Ten’s division plan is a perfect way to gain exposure, ranked teams while providing a competitive East division. Rankings are about wins and the teams in the West, with four OOCs and three division cupcakes are set for 8-9 wins. I was a bit surprised when it turned out that way, but I like the contrarian view it provides. Might not be any of those that beat FSU. They are the favorite in all the games right now as seen in the preview magazines pro oddsmakers projections. However, back to back undefeated seasons is against the odds.

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  3. Thomas Brown

    May 29, 2014 at 12:57 am

    3 comments, but only seeing 2 ? How is it even ground for all teams to not consider that the Conference Championship Games feature, according to this list, #2 Alabama vs # 3 Georgia – with # 7 LSU # 8 Auburn # 11 South Carolina ? There are not 5 other teams from any other conference listed in the Top 11, as the most from any other conference in your Top 11 are just 2 such teams.

    So, if # 3 Strength of Schedule plays # 6 Strength of Schedule in The SEC Championship Game, wouldn’t that make those teams SoS # 2 and # 1 ?

    Coach Results Rank is unexplained ? It seems clear since Mark Richt is # 2 in NFL Draft Picks 2001-2014, # 9 in average Scout.com Recruiting Rankings 2001-2014, and # 8 win percentage 2001-2013 at 126-45, that something other than the coach’s win percentage for his tenure there is being indicated, but what ?

    Dave Bartoo, I have never read your articles before. This is a fine example of what you write, and I look forward to reading more from you ! I will try to remember to come to your site. It seems I have been here before http://cfbmatrix.com I marked several other just now I want to read, seeing hot spots for ACC recruiting – maybe I will find URL Link there to SEC hot spots for recruiting ?

    Dave Bartoo, you make an EXCELLENT POINT that won/lost records are MOST IMPORTANT with the teams with the MOST WINS ranked the HIGHEST.

    That might seem trite to some, but not to me ! That’s a great point. Where is Boise State, nowhere listed on the Top 50 ? Washington maybe 9-3, or the 10-3 listed as only team showing 13 ?

    Dave Bartoo, you list Five (5) SEC teams in a ROW, consecutive showing just after the Top 29 :

    Texas A and M # 31
    Ole Miss # 31
    Mississippi State # 31
    Florida # 31
    Missouri # 31

    Showing their five (5) # 31 teams 2014-2015 season as Talent + Coach Result Column Rank as :

    # 12 Florida
    # 17 Texas A and M
    # 29 Mississippi State
    # 33 Missouri
    # 39 Ole Miss

    It is fairly easy to see where you get talent rank from looking at the Recruiting Rank of Scout.com over the current 5-year period including redshirts of the teams this up-coming season.

    It is fairly obvious how you determine Strength of Schedule rankings with Georgia SoS # 6 in the nation before playing # 2 Alabama in The SEC Championship Game with Georgia’s games against your # 8 Auburn, # 9 Clemson, # 11 South Carolina, just as starters; but I would love to have been able here, to click the Coach Result Rank column and see that ?

    And, Coach Result + Talent Column and click that column and see that, if that is possible on future columns, please Dave Bartoo. I have seen your name too, through the years, Dave Bartoo.

    I am not suggesting any bias here on your part, Dave Bartoo, because your analysis is impartial and thorough with probably few real errors of any relevance, but what team do you root for Dave Bartoo, please sir ?

    I root for Georgia, so I know a great deal about Georgia.

    I see UCLA has the # 1 Strength of Schedule, yet given your statement I agree with 100 % that the MOST WINS gets ranked the highest, that you have UCLA ranked # 12.


    I have no examples I can draw on of the # 1 Strength of Schedule nationally being ranked # 12.

    Perhaps you do not take into account the actual games vs the teams you have ranked here ? Or, interject something not discussed – such as just won/lost record without regard to team ranked playing team ranked on your own analysis here, Dave Bartoo.

    I can appreciate you might consider this a lot of nitty-gritty about your article, picking it apart; but, I obviously am engaged in what you say here, and LIKE IT !

    # 3 Georgia playing # 6 Strength of Schedule with # 9 talent # 8 actual won/lost win percentage at his school compared to all other schools in his tenure here is going 11-1, but is ranked the # 27 Coach Results ? Not sure I have ever seen an analysis on that point, but I do know Mark Richt is # 27 in Won/Lost Record most recent 4-year period and # 22 most recent 6-year period, so I am guessing that it is based on 4-year win percentage. Might be best to explain the columns.

    But, you have Ohio State listed as # 1 and Oregon listed as # 10 when Oregon is # 1 in win percentage most recent 4-year period and Ohio State is # 12. Alabama is # 2 and you have them listed at # 5. All this paragraph for Coach Results. ?

    Can I suggest that for my team, Georgia, to be # 3 this season, according to this analysis :

    # 3 Georgia
    # 6 Strength of Schedule
    # 9 Talent
    # 27 Coach Results
    plays :
    # 2 Alabama according to you in our next game based on your table
    # 9 Clemson
    # 8 Auburn
    # 11 South Carolina
    # 44 Tennessee
    # 31 Florida
    # 31 Missouri

    The # 27 Coach based upon his RESULTS will lose 1 of these games, not counting # 2 Alabama ?

    That would make Mark Richt the # 1 Coach in America, right, Dave Bartoo ? I just do not see Mark Richt losing just 1 of these 7 or even 6 games. And, I certainly do not expect Mark Richt to end up # 3 and then beat # 1 Ohio State and # 4 Florida State, not as the # 27 Coach Results.

  4. John Vieira

    June 1, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Give it a rest Thomas Brown, and appreciate it for what it is. It’s an opinion of CFBMatrix and is the most favorable for UGA I have seen this year. Dave’s Matrix is big on AL, Aub, FL, GA and LSU as 5 SEC teams among 10 CFB teams which line up in his Matrix as having the best odds of making it into the playoffs and possibly the NCG.

    After FSU, UGA is my favorite CFB team. I expect UGA to beat Clemson in your opener, and if UGA is able to beat SC, the Dawgs will play in the SEC championship, hopefully with better results than you had in 2012, which brings up one of the coaching questions about Mark Richt. Richt waived off Murray’s desire to spike the ball to set up the final play(s)which would have provided the best opportunity to beat BAMA and then beat ND for the NC.

    Richt’s recruiting ability is a reflection of what a good man he is, and his priorities of Faith, Family and Football, in that order, make the results he has achieved truly special; however, those priorities do not necessarily compete well with SEC coaches with equal talent whose priorities are football, football and football. Richt has a counter-balance in Pruitt, which should serve UGA well for whatever time he is with you.

    Hope UGA makes it to the playoffs and one of the match-ups is FSU/UGA.

    • Thomas Brown

      July 21, 2014 at 1:25 am

      John Vieira, sir, just perhaps you can utter why it is that I must give it a rest, but you can then, thereafter, go on and on about your opinions ? What in the blazes did I say that made you the damn guru son to tell me to shut-up, followed by your long essay yourself sir ? I’ll wait on that reply.

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  6. Adam Crain

    July 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

    I understand the logic, and I like it.. far better top 25 than any I have seen yet, but is this intended to be the final 25 after the national championship or after the regular season?

    • Dave Bartoo

      July 21, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Just after the regular season. Most teams are not in champ games so I feel it was the best spot with everyone playing 12 games to project a top 25. – Dave

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  8. Paul Barnes

    August 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Why do you list Ole Miss’ talent rank below Miss. State here, while elsewhere you opine that MSU has less talent than Ole Miss? Just curious

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  10. anthony

    August 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Dave- Enjoyed meeting you at Autzen last year for the Tenn game. My question is this; You have Oregon going 10-2/ 8-1 in conference, I’m guessing the OOC loss to be MSU. BUT- you also have MSU going 9-3/ 6-2 in conference, I’m guessing MSU only loss OOC to be Oregon.. How can that be? Am i missing something here? 10-2 for Oregon would mean 1 OOC loss and 1 PAC-12 loss. MSU 9-3 would mean 1 OOC loss and 2 B1G losses… Please help

    • Dave Bartoo

      August 20, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      There are two parts to predictions. The first, the talent/sked only, breaks down teams by each game. For Oregon that is 11-1 with the sole loss at UCLA. For the win totals, I add or subtract coach effect. For Helfrich it is -1 game, forcing me to choose 10 or 11 total wins. For the total I went with 10. Middle would have been 10.5 and than puts them #1 in the North. For week to week predictions though, I will only use the 11-1 picks in the magazines.

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