College football rankings 2023: Top 25 CFP teams ordered by strength of record in Week 12

Here is what the College Football Playoff rankings would look like based on strength of record.

Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes
Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes / Ben Jackson/GettyImages

A lot of components go into the College Football Playoff rankings. Those include conference championships, head-to-head victories, how you did in the non-conference, etc. One other component that is definitely factored into the equation, but is not deemed as important as others is strength of record. Like, how impressive is your record on the year, given the teams you have played?

If this were the lone driving force towards playoff inclusion, everybody in the Power Five would only schedule other Power Five teams and the Group of Five would be left in the dust. Of course, you never really know how good a team will be in a given season because many of these games are scheduled way in advance. Plus, teams' conferences schedule who they will be playing for them, so there is that.

So what we are going to do today is take a look at what the College Football Playoff rankings would have looked like entering Week 12's games, based strictly on each top 25 team's strength of record. Obviously, taking a look at this measure might be baffling. There are plenty of great teams getting the shaft, whereas teams who are just okay are being elevated far beyond their levels of competency.

Behold! The College Football Playoff rankings for Week 12, based entirely on their strength of record.

College Football Playoff rankings for Week 12, plus strength of record

For those who need a refresher, here are the College Football Playoff rankings ahead of Week 12.

College Football Playoff rankings for Week 12

  1. Georgia Bulldogs
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Michigan Wolverines
  4. Florida State Seminoles
  5. Washington Huskies
  6. Oregon Ducks
  7. Texas Longhorns
  8. Alabama Crimson Tide
  9. Missouri Tigers
  10. Louisville Cardinals
  11. Oregon State Beavers
  12. Penn State Nittany Lions
  13. Ole Miss Rebels
  14. Oklahoma Sooners
  15. LSU Tigers
  16. Iowa Hawkeyes
  17. Arizona Wildcats
  18. Tennessee Volunteers
  19. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  20. North Carolina Tar Heels
  21. Kansas State Wildcats
  22. Utah Utes
  23. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  24. Tulane Green Wave
  25. Kansas Jayhawks

Of the teams inside the top 10, nine of them have any shot of making the four-team field. Entering Week 12, those teams are Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten, Florida State and Louisville in the ACC, Alabama and Georgia in the SEC, Texas in the Big 12, and Oregon and Washington in the Pac-12. Missouri ranked at No. 9 is the best team who cannot make the playoff, as the Tigers have two losses.

College football rankings: Top 25 CFP teams ranked based on strength of record

Since you love to break your brain too, here are the playoff teams ranked based on strength of record.

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes
  2. Washington Huskies
  3. Florida State Seminoles
  4. Michigan Wolverines
  5. Texas Longhorns
  6. Georgia Bulldogs
  7. Alabama Crimson Tide
  8. Ole Miss Rebels
  9. Oregon Ducks
  10. Missouri Tigers
  11. James Madison Dukes*
  12. Penn State Nittany Lions
  13. Louisville Cardinals
  14. LSU Tigers
  15. Oklahoma Sooners
  16. Liberty Flames*
  17. Utah Utes
  18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  19. Iowa Hawkeyes
  20. Tulane Green Wave
  21. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  22. Tennessee Volunteers
  23. Kansas State Wildcats
  24. Oregon State Beavers
  25. Kansas Jayhawks
  26. North Carolina Tar Heels
  27. Toledo Rockets*
  28. USC Trojans*
  29. North Carolina State Wolfpack*
  30. Arizona Wildcats

* = Not ranked in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

There is so much to unpack from this exercise. Perhaps the biggest is No. 1 Georgia comes in at No. 6 based on strength of record. Of course, the Dawgs still have to play Tennessee and Alabama before Selection Sunday, two teams who are ranked inside of the top 20 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. There are also five teams that the Selection Committee did not rank ahead of those it did.

The weakest strength of record of anybody ranked inside the top 25 this past week is No. 17 Arizona. The Wildcats have the 30th-best strength of record in college football. No. 20 North Carolina is six spots worse than its ranking with the 26th-best strength of record. So who does strength of record favor considerably? Of the playoff contenders, Washington gets the most love up to No. 2 from No. 5.

No. 6 Oregon and No. 10 Louisville get the least amount of love, as the Ducks and Cardinals come in with the ninth and 13th-best strength of record, respectively. Strength of record also favors undefeated Group of Five teams like James Madison and Liberty, who are not ranked by the Selection Committee. JMU is not eligible for the postseason this year, but Liberty could win the Group of Five.

Ultimately, strength of record is a great way to attempt to eliminate some of the biases we have in putting together top 25s. Admittedly, they do get stronger as the season progresses with more and more data points to be collected. However, strength of record does not care about conference championships, being eligible for the postseason and certainly the eye test. Those are all important.

If these rankings did anything for me, it showed me Washington may be underrated as a contender.

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