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The first step in preparing for the season is to use data from a number of sources to plug into an algorithm originally created in 1982 to determine the pre-season Power Rating (PR) for each Football Bowl Subdivision team (FBS and formerly known as Division 1A).  Based on the PRs using this formula and each team’s schedule, I then predict conference and overall records for each team during the regular season, and I prepare my Top 25 rankings for the end of the season after the bowl games and College Football Playoffs are completed.

Below you find two tables: 1) my prediction of the season-end Top 25, and 2) the pre-season Power Ranking for each of the 128 FBS schools.

Predictably, Ohio State is the Formula’s #1 team, and TCU is #2.  The complete Top 25 list with a brief commentary is immediately below.  Below that are the pre-season Power Ratings for each team, and you will note that the Power Rating and Top 25 have numerous differences.  The reason for that obviously is the wide variation in Strength of Schedule for the 128 teams.

 2015 Pre-Season Top 25

1 Ohio State Defending national champions are loaded, have an easy schedule and Urban Meyer
2 TCU Very talented team coming into 2015 off of 42-3 win over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl
3 FSU A bit of a sleeper, but ND transfer Golson will help and schedule is manageable
4 Alabama Defense should be world class while Saban and Kiffin work with QB issue
5 UCLA Another sleeper, but if frosh QB Rosen is solid the team has all the other pieces in place
6 Michigan St. Very strong team although recent injuries on D temper enthusiasm a bit
7 OLE MISS A long shot, off-the-radar pick.  If they get decent QB play they could win 10 games
8 Notre Dame If QB Zaire is solid the Irish are set with what should be a huge upgrade on D
9 Baylor Loss or two in brutal last 5 games: @Kansas St., Oklahoma, @OKST, @TCU, Texas
10 Oregon QB transfer Adams should be fine.  Play @Michigan State, WK 2 and Arizona St. and Stanford
11 USC The “Sarkisian Thing” is a distraction, but this is a powerful team.  Play my #3 toughest schedule
12 LSU SEC West is loaded, but QB Jennings improves Tigers will be excellent.  @Alabama 11/7
13 Oklahoma 2014 was a major disappointment for Sooners, but don’t count them out of Big XII title chase
14 Boise St. Loaded team coming off 12-2 season, but do have a question at QB.  My #106 schedule
15 Stanford Get 5 PAC 12 home games and 3 of 4 away games are @WSU, Colorado and Oregon State
16 Wisconsin WK 1 v. Alabama at Cowboy Stadium but next 11 winnable.  Get Maryland and Rutgers from East
17 Georgia Tech Potential ACC OPOY in QB Thomas and coming off 11-3 season.  Do play my #6 toughest schedule
18 Georgia Need to settle questions at QB and Center on O, but this is another strong Bulldog team.
19 Penn State O line has to be better with experience and strong with Hackenberg at QB.  Schedule is soft.
20 Missouri 23-5 last 2 years and B2B SEC East Champion and they have as good as schedule as can be SEC
21 Virginia Tech Beat Ohio State by 2 TDs and lose to Wake Forest?  D should be stellar and skip FSU and Clemson
22 Auburn Lots of talent, but my  #4 schedule with games @LSU, Arkansas, A&M and as always close v. Bama
23 Clemson Major questions on OL and D front 7, but lots of talent.  Play only my #12 ACC conference schedule
24 West Virginia A sleeper team, with a major hurdle: 5 B12 road games + only team to play TCU, Baylor and OU on road
25 Tennessee Game 2 v. Oklahoma, Games 4-7 @Florida, v. Arkansas, v. Georgia and @Alabama.  Lots to like, though

 

ACC 4 FSU, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Clemson
BIG 10 4 Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State
BIG XII 4 TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, West Virginia
PAC 12 4 UCLA, Oregon, USC, Stanford
SEC 7 Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia, Missouri, Auburn, Tennessee
INDIES 1 Notre Dame
MTN WEST 1 Boise State

 

2015 Pre-Season Power Ranking

1 Ohio State
2 TCU
3 Ole Miss
4 LSU
5 USC
6 Alabama
7 Arkansas
8 UCLA
9 Baylor
10 Oregon
11 Tennessee
12 Auburn
13 Georgia
14 Michigan State
15 Stanford
16 Texas A&M
17 Notre Dame
18 Georgia Tech
19 West Virginia
20 Oklahoma
21 FSU
22 Oklahoma St.
23 Virginia Tech
24 Boise St.
25 Utah
26 Penn State
27 Arizona State
28 Cal
29 Missouri
30 Wisconsin
31 Arizona
32 Michigan
33 Mississippi St.
34 Clemson
35 Nebraska
36 Minnesota
37 North Carolina
38 Kansas State
39 Pitt
40 Texas Tech
41 Texas
42 Western Ky
43 No. Car. State
44 Northwestern
45 Western Mich
46 Louisville
47 Cincinnati
48 Florida
49 BYU
50 Colorado
51 Temple
52 Miami
53 LaTech
54 Wash. State
55 South Carolina
56 Memphis
57 Utah St.
58 Kentucky
59 Appy State
60 Purdue
61 Illinois
62 Colorado St.
63 Indiana
64 Toledo
65 Iowa
66 Washington
67 Duke
68 Virginia
69 San Diego St.
70 Marshall
71 Northern Ill.
72 Ohio
73 BC
74 Middle Tenn. St.
75 Vandy
76 Ball State
77 Iowa State
78 Bowling Green
79 Navy
80 East Carolina
81 Tulane
82 Arkansas St.
83 UCF
84 Houston
85 GA-Southern
86 Rutgers
87 Wake Forest
88 Maryland
89 Nevada
90 Tulsa
91 Oregon State
92 San Jose St.
93 UMASS
94 Air Force
95 Florida Int’l
96 Fresno State
97 Kent St.
98 SMU
99 Texas St.
100 Hawaii
101 Rice
102 New Mexico
103 Syracuse
104 UTEP
105 La.- Lafayette
106 South Florida
107 Old Dominion
108 Florida Atlantic
109 Southern Miss
110 La.-Monroe
111 Central Mich
112 Troy
113 Buffalo
114 Miami, OH
115 UCONN
116 Wyoming
117 Georgia St.
118 Kansas
119 Akron
120 New Mexico St.
121 South Alabama
122 North Texas St.
123 UNLV
124 Idaho
125 Charlotte
126 Army
127 Eastern Mich
128 UT-San Antonio

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