Diamond Rankings

Top 25 College Football Teams

Top 25 Teams Synopsis by Diamond Rankings

December 20, 2023

By Patrick B. Fisher, MA

Diamond Rankings, by SportsMeasures, Inc., is a sports team-ability measurement service. We can measure all teams in all sports from high school varsity (nationally and then break that down state by state with all teams being measured with the same units of measurement - i.e. inches) to the professional ranks. We also can measure judged competitions (diving, gymnastics, figure skating, etc) while detecting bias by judges. Our measures are all data-driven and objective. No human opinions enter into our process at any point.

The 2023 College Football regular season is complete with Bowl Games beginning this weekend (as of 12/15/23). The College Football Playoff is also set, despite the rampant controversy surrounding it all.

While my intent is not to add to the controversy, that is exactly what my work will do – especially in 2023.

As stated above, these measures are constructed using only the game results data. We use the Rasch Model (www.Rasch.org), an educational measurement model developed in the 1950s by Georg Rasch, a Danish mathematician. I am an acknowledged expert in its application. In addition to using it for sports performance analysis since the late 1980s, have used it in high-stakes certification testing for over 20 years for medical and dental specialty and sub-specialty certification boards. There is even a legal precedent for using the Rasch Model in the State of Texas where the state successfully defended itself against a bias claim in their state standardized education tests. This is a rigorous, comprehensive scientific process. No opinions, guesses or any kind of human input is included or allowed. Honestly, it just isn’t necessary.

So, onto the regular season analysis. These measures were constructed in the wake of Championship Weekend (Dec 1-2).

The top four teams after the dust settled are Michigan, Florida St., Alabama, and Ohio State, with Michigan being the best team in the land. In all the years, I’ve been doing this (since 2009), I don’t recall seeing so many teams so closely grouped after the top team. No. 2 Florida St (100.91) through No. 9 Washington (98.27) are separated by only 2.64 units of measure, which is less than the standard error of measurement. That means that those eight teams could play one another and in theory, they would all end up with 3-4 and 4-3 records. Why? Because teams within a SEM of each other have a 50-50 chance of winning.

So, onto the controversial parts. The College Football Playoff Committee selected 1. Michigan (#1), 2. Washington (#9), 3. Texas (#6), and 4. Alabama (#3). Remember, these are scientifically constructed measures. There are some big problems with two of the four teams in the CFP. Only two of the four belong. Even the order in which the CFP Committee has placed them is wrong. Even though Alabama’s and Texas’ measures are within 0.47 of each other, everyone agrees that Alabama is playing very well at the right time and that the Michigan vs. Alabama game is going to decide the national title. If either of them loses to the Texas-Washington winner, it’ll be seen as a huge upset.

The big story here though is that Florida St has a 100% legit argument. The Seminoles are the #2 team in the country. They’ve been in the Diamond Rankings top four for nearly all of the season. Similar to Michigan, FSU’s SEM is higher (as is Washington’s) because all three teams are undefeated. Liberty’s (also undefeated) is even higher because of their weak schedule. Speaking of Liberty, if this were a 12-team playoff (2024 season), Liberty would definitely be in the discussion of being in the CFP – the ONLY Group of 5 schools to legitimately be in the conversation.

If we are truly looking for the BEST four teams in college football for the CFP, it should look like this:

#1 Michigan

#4 Ohio State


#2 Florida State

#3 Alabama

The bottom line is that if an undefeated Power 5 team should be complaining about being left out, it should be the Huskies. Unfortunately for them (in this scenario), they are at the bottom of the group of very good teams – any of which could have made the playoffs in most any other year. Fortunately for them, they are undefeated, unlike Oregon.

Just have to say this again. These measures are data-driven ONLY. The measures do not reflect my opinion or wishes. If you have a beef with the measures, that’s on you because the data do not lie.