NCAAF Power Rankings: Week 1

By Jesse Schule - Covers Expert

With the return of college football is just around the corner, we release our first power rankings of the NCAAF season. However, unlike like most, Covers is going against the grain by having Clemson ranked No. 1 ahead of Alabama. What do you think and where does your favorite program rank?

ncf Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L-T (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-25 Clemson
The Tigers came up just short of a national title last season, losing 45-40 to Alabama in the Championship Game. Quarterback Deshaun Watson returns, and he's widely considered to be the nation's top signal caller. After a school record 14 wins in 2015, Clemson looks like a playoff team once again this season.
2 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-24.5 Alabama
Alabama loses a lot of talent from last year’s championship team, especially on offense. They need to replace a starting quarterback, but their biggest losses come in the backfield with the departure of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Several defensive stars have also moved on to the NFL, and it remains to be seen if another strong recruiting class can fill all those holes.
3 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-24 Oklahoma
The Sooners are in good shape with Baker Mayfield returning at quarterback, a year after he threw for 3700 yards and 36 TDs. If they can plug a few holes on the offensive line and keep him upright, Oklahoma will be the team to beat in the BIG12.
4 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-23.5 Ohio State
It was the Buckeyes rivals Michigan that made all the headlines this off-season, but Ohio State returns quarterback J.T. Barrett, and with a strong recruiting class he'll be surrounded by plenty of talent.
5 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-22 Florida State
The Seminoles will start a freshman at quarterback, but they are stacked on defense and they have a Heisman candidate in the backfield. Their schedule will be a little tougher this year, opening the season against Ole Miss, and facing Louisville and Miami on the road before they play Clemson at home at the end of October.
6 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-21.5 Tennessee
The Vols lost just four games last season, and all four of those games were decided by five points or less. With most of their starters back in 2016, this team appears to be poised to take the next step.
7 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-20 Stanford
Christian McCaffrey set an NCAA record for all purpose yards last season, and he's one of the favorites to win the Heisman in 2016. Stanford will have a new quarterback, and a tough schedule with road games at Washington, Oregon and Notre Dame will make it difficult to repeat as conference champs.
8 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-19.5 Mississippi
The Rebels are coming off a 10-win season that saw them upset Alabama for the second straight year. They have a stud at quarterback, with Chad Kelly who led the SEC in passing last season, and he threw a conference best 31 TD passes.
9 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-19 Michigan
While Jim Harbaugh completely turned this program around, going from 5-7 in 2014 to 10-3 last year, many of those wins came against cupcakes. The road to a BIG10 title will be tough, with road games at Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State.
10 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-18.5 Louisiana State
Expectations are high in Baton Rouge, and the pressure will be on Leonard Fournette to carry the load offensively. He got off to a great start last season, putting up huge numbers against some of the weaker teams in the country. He managed just 230 yards and two TDs in losses to Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. If the Tigers are going to be a true contender, Fournette will have to perform better against elite teams.
11 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-18 Michigan State
The Spartans lose their starting quarterback Connor Cook, along with several other key starters on both sides of the ball. The good news is that they have a fifth year senior in Tyler O'Connor stepping up to replace Cook, and their defense looks like it should be solid. Playing the Wolverines and the Buckeyes at East Lansing will help.
12 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-17.5 Notre Dame
The Irish won 10 games in 2015, but they were just 2-3 versus ranked teams. Their two wins versus Top 25 teams came against Georgia Tech and Temple, who are both unranked heading into 2016.
13 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-17 Texas Christian
All Kenny Hill did was throw for 511 yards and three TDs in his debut for Texas A&M two seasons ago. Things didn't work out for Hill at College Station, but he'll get another chance here with the Horned Frogs in 2016.
14 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-16.5 Washington
The Huskies are a popular pick to win the Pac-12 this season, returning 17 starters in Chris Peterson's third year as coach. Washington should be a contender this season, but will need to win tough road games at Utah and Oregon.
15 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-16 Oregon
The Ducks won their final six games of the 2015 regular season, including road wins at Washington and Stanford. They have to replace Vernon Adams at quarterback, but they still have plenty of explosive offensive weapons, including Royce Freeman in the backfield.
16 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-15.5 Texas A&M
The Aggies have won their first five games in each of the last two seasons, but have fallen apart against the top teams in the conference in October and November. The defense that allowed 21.6 points per game in 2015 should be even better with Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall looking to improve on last season’s total of 19/5 sacks combined.
17 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-15 UCLA
The Bruins return 12 starters including sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen. Expectations are high, but they'll have to do better against the run. In a 56-35 loss to Stanford last year, Christian McCaffrey ran for 243 yards and four TDs.
18 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-14.5 Iowa
The Hawkeyes benefited from a soft schedule in 2015, running the table until a 16-13 loss to the Spartans in the BIG10 Championship Game. They'll have a chance to do the same thing this year, with their toughest games coming at home to Michigan and Wisconsin.
19 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-14 North Carolina
The Tar Heels led the nation last season in yards per play (7.28). Despite bringing in a new quarterback, Larry Fedora still has plenty of weapons, including one of the top running backs in the country (Elija Hood).
20 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-13.5 Houston
The Cougars won 13 games last season, and they edged out Florida State in the Peach Bowl 38-24. This year's schedule will be a lot tougher though, beginning with a neutral site game versus Oklahoma in Week 1.
21 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-13 Georgia
The Bulldogs come into the 2016 season with a new coach, as Kirby Smart replaces Mark Richt after a disappointing 2015 season. Star running back Nick Chubb is back and expected to be 100% after a horrific knee injury he suffered halfway through last year.
22 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-12.5 Louisville
The Cardinals return 16 starters from last year's team that won six of it's final seven games. A favorable schedule could be enough to open the door for Louisville to emerge as a contender in the ACC.
23 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-12 Southern California
The Trojans open the season with a tough game against defending champions Alabama, and new head coach Todd Helton has his work cut out for him as he attempts to navigate a difficult schedule with an inexperienced quarterback.
24 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-11.5 Utah
They say defense wins championships, and the Utes might just have the best defense in the Pac-12.
25 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-11 Oklahoma State
The Cowboys won 10 games last year with a relatively young team, and they return 16 starters in 2016. This team has all the pieces in place, but ultimately a tough schedule could prevent them from challenging the likes of Oklahoma and TCU in the Big12.
26 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-9.75 Florida
27 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-9.5 Baylor
28 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-9 Boise State
29 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-8.75 Washington State
30 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-8.5 Miami
31 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-8.25 Northwestern
32 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-8 Wisconsin
33 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-7.7 Texas
34 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-7.5 Auburn
35 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-7.4 Nebraska
36 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-7.2 San Diego State
37 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-7 Arkansas
38 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-6.9 Pittsburgh
39 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-6.7 Mississippi State
40 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-6.5 Arizona
41 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-6.3 West Virginia
42 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-6 Brigham Young
43 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-5.5 Marshall
44 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-5.4 Duke
45 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-5.3 South Florida
46 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-5 Navy
47 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-4.7 Northern Illinois
48 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-4.5 Memphis
49 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-4.2 Western Kentucky
50 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
-4 Toledo
51 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Air Force
52 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Akron
53 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Appalachian State
54 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Arizona State
55 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Arkansas State
56 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Army
57 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Ball State
58 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Boston College
59 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Bowling Green
60 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Buffalo
61 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 California
62 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Central Florida
63 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Central Michigan
64 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Charlotte
65 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Cincinnati
66 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Colorado
67 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Colorado State
68 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Connecticut
69 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 East Carolina
70 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Eastern Michigan
71 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Florida Atlantic
72 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Florida International
73 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Fresno State
74 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Georgia Southern
75 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Georgia State
76 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Georgia Tech
77 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Hawaii
78 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Idaho
79 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Illinois
80 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Indiana
81 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Iowa State
82 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Kansas
83 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Kansas State
84 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Kent State
85 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Kentucky
86 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Louisiana Tech
87 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Maryland
88 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Massachusetts
89 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Miami (Ohio)
90 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Middle Tennessee
91 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Minnesota
92 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Missouri
93 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Nevada
94 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 New Mexico
95 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 New Mexico State
96 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 North Carolina State
97 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 North Texas
98 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Ohio
99 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Old Dominion
100 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Oregon State
101 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Penn State
102 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Purdue
103 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Rice
104 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Rutgers
105 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 San Jose State
106 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 South Alabama
107 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 South Carolina
108 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Southern Methodist
109 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Southern Mississippi
110 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Syracuse
111 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Temple
112 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Texas El Paso
113 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Texas State
114 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Texas Tech
115 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Texas-San Antonio
116 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Troy
117 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Tulane
118 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Tulsa
119 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 UL Lafayette
120 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 UL Monroe
121 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 UNLV
122 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Utah State
123 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Vanderbilt
124 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Virginia
125 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Virginia Tech
126 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Wake Forest
127 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Western Michigan
128 same 0-0-0
(0-0-0)
0 Wyoming

Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.