The purpose of the College Football Future Power Rankings project is to answer the following question: Which college football programs will win the most over the next three seasons?
We didn't define winning by simply running a win total projection, but instead defined it as the teams with the best chances to contend for and win conference and national championships.
To answer the question we had our panel of experts -- Travis Haney, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill, Todd McShay and Mark Schlabach -- rate college football's top teams from 1-10 (1 being the worst, 10 being elite and 5 being average) in five different categories: Coaching, Current Talent, Recruiting, Title Path, Program Power.
Here are the criteria for each category and the value of each category as it pertains to the overall rankings:
This category covers each part of a team's coaching staff over the next three years, with a primary focus on the head coach. Stability matters in this category, as panelists took into account the possibility of future coaching changes when rating each team.
Value: 27.5 percent
2. Current Talent
This section consists not only of the players on teams' two-deep rosters for the 2013 season, but the young players already in the program who might not have an impact until 2014 or 2015. It takes into account the possibility of early NFL draft departures.
Value: 27.5 percent
There are two components to this section: players already committed and targeted for the 2014 class, and the school's general recruiting trajectory and momentum.
Value: 15 percent
4. Title Path
In this section we are answering the question "How likely is this team to play for conference and national championships?" by doing two things: measuring the level of resistance each team will encounter and lowering their rating accordingly, and measuring the likelihood that each team could be selected for the BCS title game in 2013 or four-team playoff in 2014 or 2015 and increasing their rating accordingly.
Value: 10 percent
5. Program Power
This section takes into account factors like program history, fan and school support, resources, facilities, recent and historical success and any other intangible factors (e.g., NCAA sanctions) that affect the chances for each team to continue to win in the next three seasons.
Value: 20 percent
We then averaged each panelist's votes together to give every team a single score in each category, and weighted them based on importance.
The weighted category averages were then added up and represented on a 100-point scale to create the final team score. It was based on those scores that we produced our top 25 ranking for the next three seasons.