College football just put together its first truly nonsensical week of the 2019 season. Three teams that had less than a 15% chance of winning, per SP+, won: Illinois beat Wisconsin (8%), Vanderbilt beat Missouri (8%), and Georgia Tech beat Miami (13%). We also had Georgia State beating Army (26%), BYU beating Boise State (32%), and eight other at least partial upsets.
Wisconsin's loss was the only one that really impacted the national title race to any major degree, but there were still lots of opportunities for shakeups in the overall FBS landscape.
We indeed see lots of shaking in this week's SP+ rankings. Whereas only six teams moved up or down more than 10 spots last week, this week saw 14 teams do so -- eight up, six down.
Biggest movers up: UAB (up 17 spots to 75th), UL-Lafayette (up 15 spots to 53rd), Appalachian State (up 14 spots to 40th), Fresno State (up 12 spots to 64th), Virginia (up 11 spots to 35th), Air Force (up 10 spots to 59th), San Diego State (up 10 spots to 69th), Louisiana Tech (up 10 spots to 83rd).
Biggest movers down: Arkansas (down 13 spots to 88th), Stanford (down 13 spots to 76th), Arizona (down 13 spots to 58th), Northwestern (down 12 spots to 74th), Rutgers (down 10 spots to 107th), Hawaii (down 10 spots to 94th).
Wisconsin, dominant for so much of the season, slipped from fourth to seventh following its upset loss in Champaign, while Missouri tumbled eight spots, from 10th to 18th, after its Nashville no-show. Even worse, their respective division title hopes took enormous hits. Mizzou now has the third-highest projected conference win total in the SEC East (the Tigers were first last week), and Wisconsin's has fallen behind Minnesota's in the Big Ten West.
The top three remain the same, though, and the overall title hierarchy mostly survived Week 8's bloodiness intact.
Note: What is SP+? In a single sentence, it's a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. I created the system at Football Outsiders in 2008, and as my experience with both college football and its stats has grown, I have made quite a few tweaks to the system.
SP+ is intended to be predictive and forward-facing. That is important to remember. It is not a résumé ranking that gives credit for big wins or particularly brave scheduling -- no good predictive system is. It is simply a measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football. If you're lucky or unimpressive in a win, your rating will probably fall. If you're strong and unlucky in a loss, it will probably rise.