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Ballot Type: hybrid

Overall Rationale:
I rank teams using two different models; one win-based, the other score-based. Teams must be in the top 40 of both models and the top 30 of the aggregate model and can be placed only within five positions of this aggregate ranking. Computer ranking in parentheses. First N Out - Mississippi State (27), West Virginia (29), Pitt (33)

Rank Team Reason
1 Clemson Tigers Yikes; Clemson put away both Notre Dame and Alabama en route to their national championship. (1)
2 Alabama Crimson Tide A mondo oof for Saban and Co. (2)
3 Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State took care of Washington in the Rose Bowl and is this year's iteration of "But what about _____?" (3)
4 Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma didn't look great against Alabama, who didn't look great against Clemson, but they still come out as one of the top teams in the country. (7)
5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Losing by 27 to Clemson doesn't look as bad now, huh? (5)
6 Georgia Bulldogs Maybe it was just as well the Bulldogs lost to Alabama and missed out on playing Clemson. (4)
7 Michigan Wolverines I'd really like to have Michigan lower than this, but, as we'll soon see, I can't. (6)
8 Kentucky Wildcats Kentucky managed to hold off McSorely and completed a tremendous season; their position is capped by my model. (13)
9 Washington Huskies The Huskies almost mounted a successful comeback against Ohio State; their position is capped by my model. (14)
10 Texas Longhorns The Bevo-led Longhorns took care of business against the Bulldogs; their position is capped by my model. (15)
11 Florida Gators Florida absolutely annihilated the Wolverines to close the season out in style; their position is capped by my model. (16)
12 Penn State Nittany Lions Penn State almost managed to pull off the come-from-behind victory, but their effort fell just short. (9)
13 Northwestern Wildcats The Wildcats played well against a good Utah team to finish out a very strange season. (8)
14 Iowa Hawkeyes Iowa managed to put together an impressive season and finishes inside the top 15. (10)
15 Texas A&M Aggies The Aggies dismantled NC State en route to a top 15 finish. (11)
16 LSU Tigers Given how little we know about UCF's overall abilities, it's hard to know where to put LSU, but this seems as good a spot as any. (12)
17 Fresno State Bulldogs Fresno State knocked off Arizona State to end an impressive 2018 campaign. (18)
18 Washington State Cougars Washington State couldn't put together the win it needed most, but it ends with a solid season. (17)
19 UCF Knights The Knights didn't manage to put together another undefeated season, but it was still a good one. (24)
20 Auburn Tigers The Tigers absolutely eviscerated Purdue to cap their 2018 season. (19)
21 Utah Utes Utah had a strong showing in 2018 and will look to continue that next season. (25)
22 Missouri Tigers Missouri needed a couple more games to go their way, but they still had a strong season overall. (20)
23 Stanford Cardinal Stanford ended 2018 on a high note; they beat Pitt in the Sun Bowl. (22)
24 Cincinnati Bearcats The Bearcats break into the top 25 after knocking off Virginia Tech. (28)
25 Syracuse Orange A bowl win, a contract extension for Dino Babers, and a top 25 finish should bring a smile to Syracuse football fans. (30)

Submitted: Wed 09 Jan 2019 02:59