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Ohio State's lead atop Preseason FPI narrows

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Urban Meyer, Cardale Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes remain atop the preseason FPI rankings Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Sixty-three days remain until the college football season kicks off, and ESPN’s Stats & Information Group has rerun preseason FPI and its projections to account for changes to teams’ returning starters during the spring.

In looking ahead to the coming season, preseason FPI looks back at teams’ data. The model takes into account the last four seasons of performance using ESPN’s efficiency ratings, with the most recent season counting most; information on offensive and defensive returning starters, with special consideration given to a returning starting quarterback; a four-year average recruiting ranking of four systems (ESPN, Scouts, Rivals and Phil Steele); and head coaching tenure.

This version of the projections will last the majority of the summer, but we will rerun the projections again in August to incorporate improvements in how FPI handles games against FCS opponents and updated information on returning starters (resulting from injuries or discipline, for example).

Our initial preseason FPI was run March 31. Since then, Notre Dame lost Everett Golson, Washington quarterback Cyler Miles retired, and many teams’ offensive and defensive starters were adjusted. All starter information (and corresponding updates) was supplied by Phil Steele.

Below are notable changes in FPI rankings compared with the March 31 version and why they likely occurred:

• Notre Dame fell from seventh to 18th after it lost a returning starter at quarterback.

• Baylor gained a defensive starter and jumped over TCU, now ranking third in preseason FPI.

• Ohio State remains first in preseason FPI, but the Buckeyes lost two offensive starters. Instead of being about four points better than any other team on a neutral field, it is now two points better.

• Georgia and Texas A&M each rose three spots after gaining a starter. Both teams now rank in the top 10.

Below is the updated preseason FPI, including FPI ratings and rankings for offense and defense.