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National Title Contenders – 2016-17

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National Title Contenders – 2016-17

The First Word of 2016

The core.  The heart. The beginning.  This is where this CFBMatrix journey all started 11 years ago.  I have always enjoyed solving what was perceived to be complex questions with simple answers.  The question I started with was talent and it’s ability to define the BCS National Championship game.  In the last few years there have been many people trying to copy the simplicity and draw like conclusions.

Using the formula to look back, it has missed one team in the National title game.  In the 10 years since the first pool was published, every winner and loser of the national title game has come from this annual group of 9 to 12 teams that share 5 numbers.  This century, including Ohio State and Oregon this year, who I called a ‘strong bet’ for the title game and Oregon, ‘the last one in’, 28 of the last 30 and every National Champion since 2002 has come from this little pool of teams.  One simple formula, one simple answer. OFTEN IMITATED, never duplicated.

 “Dave came on our show last year (2013) and went through his National Title list.  No Oregon. No A&M. No South Carolina. No Stanford. But he had Auburn and Florida State.  He even said the Iron Bowl would be one of the best games in CFB in 2014.  We all thought he was crazy.  Yes. He. Is.”  Ryan Fowler, Host – The Game – Tide 99.1 in Tuscaloosa

The first college football playoff season has passed, and I was, once again, fortunate to find not only both National Title Game competitors in the pre-season pool, but all four teams that made the playoff were listed.  That won’t happen every year, but it was fun, nevertheless.

While many feel the 4 team playoff will benefit the less programs, I feel this limits their ability to make a run to a title.  A national title took just 11 wins less than 2 decades ago, this year it could be 15.  Every game played increases the odds of a loss, and of injury.  The teams with lesser depth and lesser talent no have tougher odds, in my opinion, of winning the title.

Note to self: Never play the Field on a NCG bet.

The 4 Favorites

In past years, I pooled together the top 10 teams to win it all in a single group.  However, I have been utilizing my work on scoring efficiencies for both offenses and defenses.  In the last 10 years, teams that won the national title were top 20 the previous season* in CFBMatrix offensive/defensive scoring efficiency totals with the exception of the wild years of 2010 and 2013 for Auburn.  Every team in the ‘pool’ was in the top 40 of total scoring efficiency in 2014 except Texas, South Carolina and UCLA.

LINK: Entire Rankings of 2015 Season End Scoring Efficiency


  • Alabama*
  • Florida State*
  • Ohio State*
  • Notre Dame*

The 6 Other NC Contenders (to win)

  • Florida 
  • LSU
  • Georgia 
  • Auburn
  • USC

Runners Up – Make it but not Win it

Some teams have the metrics that match the losers of all the National Title Games, but not enough to be in the group to consider them competing to win it all.  What they lack is a high enough level of talent and recruiting.  They are good bets to get into the playoffs but not win it all.

  • Ole Miss*
  • Texas
  • UCLA
  • Clemson
  • Texas A&M
  • Oklahoma*

Last 2 out

These are the teams right on the edge of the lowest ranked teams to make a national title game in the last ten years.  They might be a dark horse to get to the playoffs, but not to win a playoff game.

  • Tennessee
  • Michigan (#2 BIG recruiter with elite Coach Effect HC so….)

Other Notables on the Edge of Championship Talent: None – The top 15 class ranking have been dominated by the top 15 teams.  Everyone outside these top 17 teams are, barring and unreal and unprecedented run, are years away for contending for a national title game.

Got a question about a team not on here and if they are close?  Tweet me.  Email me.  Invite me to your forum. email: dave@cfbmatrix.com twitter/Instagram/Pinterest @CFBMatrix 

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