ESPN Asigns Prestige

College football ended about 5 minutes ago, and already is diving head-first into one of their off-season features in order to generate hysteria among college football purists, and those of us who just can't fit our love of the game into a 5 month-long season.

The latest feature is called, essentially "Prestige". has devised a system in which they are able to asign a point value to every Div-1 school. The higher the points, the more prestigeous the school. Simple, right?

The rankings begin with the 1936 season. Why 1936? Because that was the first year the AP poll was used to rank teams. Only teams recognized as "major college programs" are ranked in this study. Basically, all FBS teams.

So how does ESPN arrive at the point totals for each team? Via:

National title: 25 points
The full 25 points were awarded to any team that won one of the two major poll titles (AP, UPI or coaches) that season. No season had more than two title winners.

Berth in one of the major bowls: 10
Major bowls were defined as every Rose, Orange and Sugar Bowl since '36; every Cotton Bowl from 1940-94 (when it started taking the SWC champ until it was booted from the Bowl Alliance); and every Fiesta Bowl since the '86 season when the historic No. 1 Miami-vs.-No. 2 Penn State game changed the landscape of college football.

Major bowl win: 10

Best win/loss record in conference regular season: 10
These points were awarded to every team that had at least a share of the best overall record in a major football conference, regardless of divisional alignment. Independent schools were awarded the bonus if they were ranked ahead of at least three of the big six conference champions in a final regular-season poll that season.

Final AP top-5 finish: 10
All final poll points were awarded for the final poll put out by the AP that season.

Heisman winner: 8

Final AP top 6-10 finish: 6

Conference title championship-game bonus: 5
This bonus was only given to a school that didn't already get credit for having the best record in its conference's regular season.

Final AP top 11-25 finish: 4

Bowl appearance: 3
This was awarded for any NCAA-sanctioned bowl, and would be added to the previously mentioned major bowl points.

Bowl win: 3

10-win season: 2

Week as AP No. 1: 2

Win over AP No. 1: 1

Each consensus All-American: 1

First-round NFL draft pick (since '70): 1

Losing season: minus-2

There were lots of variables for when a school was handed penalties by the NCAA for infractions. Those penalties were graded as such:
Each year of television ban: minus-1
Each year of postseason ban: minus-2
Each year of overall probation: minus-1
Each year of financial-aid penalty: minus-1
Each year of recruiting penalties: minus-1
Each penalty of "show cause action:" minus-2

So far, they've ranked everyone up to #11. All but two Big Ten teams have been ranked so far. I'll let you figure out which two Big Ten schools have made it into the top 10.

#11 Penn State (1,088)
#26 Michigan State (454)
#30 Iowa (368)
#33 Minnesota (341)
#34 Wisconsin (317)
#49 Illinois (219)
#50 Purdue (210)
#80 Northwestern (60)
#102 Indiana (-8)

Bummer for Indiana. Showing up negative really sucks. But I would also say that it's a bummer that rankings didn't start in 1995, otherwise Northwestern and Minnesota could just swap places.

If I had to venture a guess...simply off the top of my head, I'd say both Michigan and tOSU are going to show up in the top 5. I'll say the top 5 will look something like:

#1 Michigan
#2 Notre Dame
#3 Texas
#4 tOSU
#5 Nebraska

Again, what do I know? For a complete rundown of 119 through 11, clicky clicky. Tomorrow, 6-10 and Friday will be the top 5. Check back for more.

1 comment

  1. You're dreaming if you think ESPN will rank Michigan #1 in anything. Be content with somewhere in the top ten.