College Football Rankings 2020: Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West, MAC Begin Play

Iowa and USC are both back soon (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Nearly two months after other conferences began play in 2020, the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West, and MAC will make their returns over the next few weeks. These conferences will now be eligible for the bowl games and the College Football Playoff.

As a result, for the first time, we’ve created “preseason” rankings for a bunch of teams about to start play, even though the college football season has been underway for a while.

In this post, you can also see where we would slot the teams from these conferences in with the preseason rankings for other schools that have already been playing, by looking at our updated TR Top 25.

If you’d like to learn about the methodology behind our mostly data-driven preseason team ratings, make sure your read our post on How We Make College Football Preseason Rankings.

The Updated 2020 TeamRankings College Football Top 25

Jump to rankings for all Big Ten, MAC, Mountain West and Pac-12 teams

Back in August we published our original 2020 Top 25 preseason college football rankings, which considered the 77 teams that were planning to play a 2020 fall season at the time. That list excluded the teams from the conferences that had announced they would not play in the fall.

Now that other schools are going to play and we’ve compiled preseason ratings for all of them, you may be curious about where we would have slotted all teams into our preseason rankings before any team played a game.

Here is what our preseason Top 25 would have looked like if all college football teams had started at the same time this year. Yes, Ohio State would have been above Clemson and Alabama.

TR RankTeam2020 RatingLAST YEARPROGRAMRETURNINGLUCKMARKET
1Ohio State30.628.96.1-1.1-3.40.0
2Clemson29.323.35.82.5-1.3-1.0
3Alabama27.121.56.7-3.3-0.83.0
4Georgia21.816.62.9-2.1-0.55.0
5Oklahoma19.913.24.5-3.51.84.0
6Wisconsin19.517.84.14.5-1.0-6.0
7Louisiana State18.824.43.3-9.8-2.23.0
8Penn State18.816.54.62.0-1.3-3.0
9Notre Dame17.814.62.7-2.3-0.33.0
10Texas A&M16.88.82.03.50.52.0
11Oregon16.614.90.80.8-2.93.0
12Florida16.414.91.6-0.3-0.81.0
13Auburn15.615.64.02.1-1.2-5.0
14USC15.46.03.16.02.3-2.0
15Texas15.19.41.62.00.12.0
16Michigan13.714.04.8-2.0-0.1-3.0
17Central Florida13.510.31.93.5-0.2-2.0
18Oklahoma State13.46.03.15.50.9-2.0
19Boise State11.64.21.81.30.44.0
20Minnesota11.29.21.1-0.60.51.0
21North Carolina10.26.70.44.6-1.50.0
22Iowa State9.87.21.0-0.10.71.0
23Baylor9.110.80.0-1.9-1.82.0
24Kentucky8.64.90.32.8-0.31.0
25Washington8.49.44.8-3.4-0.5-2.0

While we encourage you to read our full preseason rankings methodology, here’s a quick reminder of the factors we currently use in our preseason ratings:

  • LAST YEAR: How good a team was last year
  • PROGRAM: How consistently good a team has been in recent history (excluding last year)
  • RETURN: A measure of how much performance in key stat areas last year came from players returning this year
  • LUCK: A measure of how likely a team is to improve in higher-variance metrics like turnovers
  • MARKET: An adjustment made if our initial projection is far off the AP Poll and/or betting market

Updated College Football Preseason Rankings Highlights

  • Ohio State would have been our preseason No. 1, and this was largely driven by their power rating from last season.
  • USC has both the largest returning starter adjustment and luck adjustment, which would have had them at No. 14 in our preseason rankings, and is why the Trojans are expected to compete for the Pac-12 title coming off a disappointing 8-5 season in 2019.
  • Wisconsin was our biggest downward market adjustment, by 6 points, meaning that our raw ratings were actually six points higher but we made that adjustment to move toward the betting markets. Still, Wisconsin comes in at No. 6 with that adjustment.

Updated 2020 Full TeamRankings College Football Rankings (Now Including Big Ten, MAC, Mountain West, and Pac-12)

Finally, here are our initial “preseason” 2020 college football ratings for every team. All the teams from the conferences starting play late are now included.

Keep in mind that in the table below, we’re showing the preseason ratings for some teams that have already played several games. So, some numbers may be surprising for teams that have played much better or much worse than expected so far (e.g., Oklahoma and LSU are no longer 5th and 7th in our current rankings).

But the point here is to compare apples to apples, and have a record of our preseason rating for every team, before any of them played a game this year.

If you want to see where the new teams slot compared to all other FBS teams now, and get the most current predictive ratings, you can check out our NCAA College Football Predictive Rankings and Ratings page.

TR RankTeam2020 RatingLAST YEARPROGRAMRETURNINGLUCKMARKET
1Ohio State30.628.96.1-1.1-3.40.0
2Clemson29.323.35.82.5-1.3-1.0
3Alabama27.121.56.7-3.3-0.83.0
4Georgia21.816.62.9-2.1-0.55.0
5Oklahoma19.913.24.5-3.51.84.0
6Wisconsin19.517.84.14.5-1.0-6.0
7Louisiana State18.824.43.3-9.8-2.23.0
8Penn State18.816.54.62.0-1.3-3.0
9Notre Dame17.814.62.7-2.3-0.33.0
10Texas A&M16.88.82.03.50.52.0
11Oregon16.614.90.80.8-2.93.0
12Florida16.414.91.6-0.3-0.81.0
13Auburn15.615.64.02.1-1.2-5.0
14USC15.46.03.16.02.3-2.0
15Texas15.19.41.62.00.12.0
16Michigan13.714.04.8-2.0-0.1-3.0
17Central Florida13.510.31.93.5-0.2-2.0
18Oklahoma State13.46.03.15.50.9-2.0
19Boise State11.64.21.81.30.44.0
20Minnesota11.29.21.1-0.60.51.0
21North Carolina10.26.70.44.6-1.50.0
22Iowa State9.87.21.0-0.10.71.0
23Baylor9.110.80.0-1.9-1.82.0
24Kentucky8.64.90.32.8-0.31.0
25Washington8.49.44.8-3.4-0.5-2.0
26Tennessee8.33.40.52.01.41.0
27Virginia Tech8.22.12.61.6-0.12.0
28Appalachian State7.97.20.83.7-0.7-3.0
29Miami7.71.83.0-3.9-0.37.0
30Memphis7.29.41.6-0.50.8-4.0
31Texas Christian7.04.82.00.60.7-1.0
32Nebraska7.02.90.5-0.41.03.0
33Cincinnati6.86.9-2.01.8-1.01.0
34Louisville6.51.32.63.40.2-1.0
35Indiana6.25.30.62.70.5-3.0
36Navy6.18.70.6-1.2-2.00.0
37Iowa5.911.22.50.2-1.0-7.0
38Utah5.812.51.8-5.7-1.8-1.0
39California5.81.20.31.7-0.43.0
40Kansas State5.76.11.80.31.5-4.0
41Wake Forest5.41.00.9-2.4-1.17.0
42Florida State4.91.12.50.50.80.0
43Mississippi4.83.20.41.50.7-1.0
44Arizona St4.62.30.2-1.3-0.64.0
45Air Force4.06.2-0.40.7-0.4-2.0
46Stanford3.7-2.02.72.30.70.0
47Virginia3.64.2-1.0-3.80.34.0
48Houston3.4-1.21.05.11.4-3.0
49South Carolina3.33.40.1-1.20.01.0
50Pittsburgh2.7-0.91.10.20.32.0
51UL Lafayette2.66.7-3.21.8-1.8-1.0
52Mississippi State2.63.21.6-2.9-0.31.0
53West Virginia2.2-3.41.91.50.22.0
54UCLA2.1-2.70.52.91.40.0
55Tulane1.83.5-1.4-2.60.32.0
56Tulsa1.7-0.9-0.13.1-0.30.0
57Southern Methodist1.74.5-1.4-2.1-0.41.0
58Texas Tech1.40.10.8-0.5-0.11.0
59Boston College1.2-2.10.31.40.71.0
60Missouri1.03.70.7-1.3-0.2-2.0
61Duke0.9-1.70.6-0.60.62.0
62Northwestern0.8-2.72.05.70.8-5.0
63Michigan St-0.23.91.3-4.2-0.1-1.0
64Purdue-0.5-0.5-0.53.40.2-3.0
65UAB-0.5-7.4-2.44.30.05.0
66Brigham Young-0.7-0.70.00.3-0.30.0
67Buffalo-0.7-1.9-2.94.9-1.81.0
68Wash State-0.84.22.4-8.51.00.0
69Illinois-1.1-0.4-2.31.2-1.62.0
70San Diego St-1.6-1.61.01.9-3.91.0
71Ohio-1.9-3.2-0.12.10.4-1.0
72NC State-1.9-7.71.82.50.41.0
73Syracuse-2.8-3.0-0.6-3.31.03.0
74Western Kentucky-3.0-2.2-0.2-1.00.40.0
75Georgia Southern-3.6-3.7-2.21.50.80.0
76Army-3.8-3.80.1-0.50.30.0
77Georgia Tech-4.0-9.41.25.5-0.2-1.0
78Southern Miss-4.2-4.2-1.50.60.90.0
79Maryland-4.3-4.0-0.5-0.30.50.0
80Temple-4.6-2.60.6-0.6-1.0-1.0
81South Florida-4.6-6.91.02.5-1.30.0
82Arkansas-4.7-7.4-0.3-0.51.32.0
83Colorado St-5.2-8.4-0.52.43.3-2.0
84Arizona-5.2-4.9-0.6-0.11.4-1.0
85Wyoming-5.3-1.3-0.30.0-1.6-2.0
86Oregon St-5.50.5-1.7-2.3-2.10.0
87Colorado-6.1-2.51.5-2.10.0-3.0
88Kansas-6.2-7.3-3.2-1.40.65.0
89Miami (OH)-6.2-6.8-1.62.10.10.0
90Florida Atlantic-6.75.5-2.0-10.3-3.94.0
91Toledo-6.9-11.40.82.00.71.0
92W Michigan-6.9-3.11.1-5.0-0.91.0
93Ball State-7.1-4.1-4.03.4-0.4-2.0
94Troy-7.2-8.00.20.20.40.0
95Rutgers-7.9-13.4-2.62.51.54.0
96Louisiana Tech-8.1-2.7-0.3-2.6-2.50.0
97Central Mich-8.3-6.6-1.91.32.9-4.0
98Coastal Carolina-8.4-8.6-3.80.60.43.0
99Marshall-8.9-4.2-2.3-1.9-0.40.0
100Utah State-9.0-4.8-0.6-3.80.20.0
101Rice-9.0-10.0-4.84.91.00.0
102Georgia St.-9.4-8.9-3.42.40.40.0
103Liberty-9.5-6.5-1.6-5.9-0.55.0
104East Carolina-9.9-10.3-3.33.10.60.0
105Arkansas St.-9.9-6.0-0.7-3.60.30.0
106Charlotte-9.9-8.5-4.53.10.00.0
107Fresno St-10.2-5.4-1.1-1.20.6-3.0
108Middle Tennessee-11.1-6.5-1.60.6-0.6-3.0
109UL Monroe-11.3-8.4-3.80.20.80.0
110North Texas-11.4-9.0-2.3-1.10.90.0
111Vanderbilt-12.0-8.3-0.1-0.5-0.1-3.0
112N Illinois-12.1-10.1-0.6-3.00.81.0
113Hawaii-12.5-2.5-3.2-9.31.51.0
114Kent State-13.2-7.0-3.8-1.60.1-1.0
115Texas-San Antonio-13.8-15.5-2.12.31.50.0
116Nevada-14.4-13.3-2.21.60.4-1.0
117South Alabama-14.6-12.9-3.2-0.11.50.0
118New Mexico-14.6-15.6-2.01.41.70.0
119Florida International-14.6-9.0-3.1-3.40.90.0
120San Jose St-14.8-7.4-4.2-0.2-1.0-2.0
121UNLV-16.0-12.5-2.51.60.4-3.0
122E Michigan-17.2-8.2-1.2-5.6-0.2-2.0
123Texas State-21.8-14.1-6.0-2.30.60.0
124Akron-26.4-27.6-2.52.60.01.0
125Bowling Grn-27.1-22.6-3.8-1.20.50.0
126Texas El Paso-29.8-20.9-5.3-4.91.30.0
127U Mass-35.8-33.0-2.9-0.70.90.0