College football SP+ preseason projections for 2022

Ohio State sits atop the SP+ preseason projections thanks largely to an unusually high amount of returning production for a blueblood program. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The 2022 recruiting class is in the books, transfer portal activity has slowed down at least a hair, and coaches are taking brief vacations before gearing up for spring football. That must mean one thing: It's time for SP+ projections!

Here's how SP+ saw the world at the end of 2021. Now let's see what's changed since then. I base these projections on three primary factors, weighted by their predictiveness:

1. Returning production. The returning production numbers are based on rosters I have updated as much as possible to account for transfers and attrition. The combination of last year's SP+ ratings and adjustments based on returning production make up more than two-thirds of the projections formula.

2. Recent recruiting. This piece informs us of the caliber of a team's potential replacements (and/or new stars) in the lineup. It is determined by the last few years of recruiting rankings in diminishing order (meaning the most recent class carries the most weight). Beginning in 2022, this category also is impacted a bit by the recruiting rankings of incoming transfers. This is a new thing, and I'm not giving it much weight right away, but it will have a slight impact. This piece makes up about one-fifth of the projections formula.

3. Recent history. Using a sliver of information from previous seasons (two to four years ago) gives us a good measure of overall program health. It stands to reason that a team that has played well for one year is less likely to duplicate that effort than a team that has been good for years on end (and vice versa), right? This is a minor piece of the puzzle, but the projections are better with it than without.

I will update these numbers in August, once further transfers, injuries and more can be taken into account. But these are the estimates to date.

A reminder on SP+: It's a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a résumé ranking, and, along those same lines, these projections aren't intended to be a guess at what the AP Top 25 will look like at the end of the year. These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date.

Here are the full rankings: