A few years ago, I thought to myself, "I could do a better job than some of the BCS computers". As I recall, at the time I felt Mizzou was underrated. The BCS rules stated margin of victory cannot be used, so I thought I'd stick to that. I put together a convergence algorithm, in which I initially rank the teams by record (so all the undefeated teams start tied at #1), then calculate each team's strength of schedule based on the current rankings of its opponents, and re-sort based on that strength. I run through this process until 2 consecutive iterations give the same result, or there is a loop. So, if iteration 10,002 gives the same rankings as iteration 10,000, then each subsequent iteration would fluctuate between the rankings in 10,000 and 10,001. I average those rankings to come up with the final rankings. It is still possible - but generally unlikely - that teams can tie for a final ranking. Now that the BCS is dead, I'll just consider these rankings my advice on #1 to #4 to the College Football Playoff committee.
Due to most teams playing other teams in lower divisions at times, and a lack of desire on my part to delve so deeply that I have to track down NAIA schedules, I've decided to count all games listed on ESPN's college football site, which includes all FBS, FCS, and Division II and III schedules, and any of their lower-tier opponents, but only when those opponents play at least a Division III team. (i.e., an NAIA team will be listed when they play against a Div III team, but the rest of their games won't be listed, resulting in a lot of 0-1 teams mixed into my system). I then filter the final results to only the FBS schools.
In week 1, there are only 2 possible situations for a team*. First is to be 1-0, having defeated an 0-1 team. Second is, unsurprisingly, to be a 0-1 team, having lost to a 1-0 team. For this reason, in week 1, all 1-0 teams will be tied for #1, and the rest tied at N+1, where N is the number of #1 teams. Did your team choose to beat up on an FCS (formerly known as Division 1-AA) team? Congrats, you're #1 this week!
* - Normally this is true, but this year, Hawai'i decided to have a pre-Week-1 game, as well as one in Week 1. So they're 0-2, and there's just the slightest bit of extra gradation in the rankings. California and Michigan are the worst of the 1-0 teams, having beaten an 0-2 team instead of everyone else who beat a 0-1 team. I was a little concerned when I saw Hawai'i only ranked #127, but that's because Marshall hasn't played yet. You don't get a ranking until you play.
I believe the FBS stayed steady at 128 teams this year, which is just begging for a 7-round tournament, right? Anyway, no teams left or joined, but I still have to modify my filter slightly, to account for ESPN's stylistic differences in listing the teams. For example, Hawaii is now Hawai'i. A few years ago, they waffled between "Mississippi" and "Ole Miss". I try to keep up with any adjustments, but if you notice your FBS team missing, leave me a comment and they'll be there next week. I think I'm good, because I have 127 teams represented and the aforementioned Marshall still to add.
Every year, someone makes me tweak my software a little, because I wrote it awhile ago and it's not very dynamic. The previous long school name was "Southwestern Assemblies of God", but this year there's now "University of Texas of the Permian Basin". Good ol' UTPB.
Now onto the slightly less-meaningless-than-usual Week 1 rankings for 2016.
|1||Texas San Antonio||1-0|
|1||San Diego State||1-0|
|84||San Jose State||0-1|
|84||New Mexico State||0-1|