Post-spring Top 25 projection
Alabama favored to top rankings ahead of Pac-12, ACC challengers
We wrapped up conference projections for each of the Big Five conferences last week, but it is now time to turn our attention to the national scene. The post-spring FEI projections are a function of five-year program ratings, returning starters, recruiting success and quarterback reliance -- statistical indicators of teams that may take a step forward or a step back next season, all of which figure prominently into the projection model.
For each team in the projected Top 25, we provide the team's projected regular-season and conference record and their opponent-adjusted offensive and defensive projection. We also identify each team's likelihood to position itself for a berth in the inaugural national championship playoff, and highlight the three toughest games on the schedule according to these projections. The likelihood of victory in each of those games is listed as well.
Here is the post-spring projection for college football's Top 25 teams:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1 overall; 7-1 conference)
Opponent-adjusted projection: No. 4 offense, No. 3 defense
Chance to finish 11-1 or 12-0: 59 percent
Toughest games: Oct. 4 at Ole Miss (76 percent chance of victory), Nov. 8 at LSU (59 percent), Nov. 29 vs. Auburn (78 percent)
The last time Alabama lost its last two games in a season, it ran the table the following year (2009) and claimed three of the next four BCS national championships. Coming off consecutive losses to Auburn and Oklahoma in 2013, will the Crimson Tide respond the same way this fall? Alabama has ranked among the top three in our end-of-year FEI ratings in each of the last five seasons, and the 2014 schedule features eight opponents against which the Tide have at least a 90 percent win likelihood.
To see the rest of Brian Fremeau's post-spring projection of the top 25 teams in college football, you must be an ESPN Insider.
Brian FremeauESPN Insider
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Kiffin to remain Bama OC, won't jump to NFL
- Ohio St. celebrates title in front of 45K fans
- Abdullah leads North by South in Senior Bowl
- Irish's Hardy to transfer after academic inquiry
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
College Football on Insider
Todd McShay breaks down the top NFL prospects at the Senior Bowl. Read »