With the very odd college football season now upon us, ESPN’s Bill Connelly just released his updated SP+ preseason rankings and your University of Kentucky Wildcats cracked the top 25. The Cats are No. 22 in the rankings, which predict how a team will perform in the future instead of judging them by what they did in the past.
For the preseason list, Connelly included all 130 FBS teams even though many aren’t playing this fall. Once the season starts, he’ll only include those currently playing. The ratings have been updated to reflect all transfers and opt-outs and are based on three factors: returning production, recent recruiting and recent history. Kentucky’s offensive production ranks 34th, the defensive production 26th, and the average wins predicted are 5/10, although Connelly notes that the win totals are extremely conservative. “If you have an 80% chance of winning, it counts as 0.8 wins, and 60% counts as 0.6 wins. Using these average totals, you’ll see no one projected to go unbeaten or winless.”
Here’s where all of Kentucky’s opponents rank, along with their projected SP+ (Kentucky’s is 13.0):
- 2. Alabama (29.0)
- 4. Georgia (25.5)
- 5. Florida (23.8)
- 11. Auburn (20.0)
- 19. Tennessee (15.0)
- 36. South Carolina (9.0)
- 38. Ole Miss (7.8)
- 44. Missouri (4.9)
- 48. Mississippi State (4.2)
- 110. Vanderbilt (-11.6)
Using the SP+ ratings, Auburn should be an 8-point favorite vs. Kentucky (20-13 + 1-point home field advantage), which is consistent with the lines we’ve seen thus far. If you take out the teams not playing this fall, Kentucky would actually rank 14th. Not too shabby.
Check it all out, with a better explanation of how the SP+ works, at the link below.