Predicting college football's best, worst teams in 2024

The best, and worst, teams in college football in 2024 according to the updated rankings created by the ESPN Football Power Index.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A key date on the preseason calendar has arrived as ESPN revealed its annual Football Power Index analytics, creating the complete 134-team college football rankings and strength of schedule model coming into what will be an historic 2024 season.

Read More: ESPN reveals preseason college football rankings

As expected, the SEC and Big Ten were featured prominently among the best teams in the rankings and in the College Football Playoff predictions, with nine of the 10 highest-ranked teams hailing from those two conferences, with independent Notre Dame being the 10th.

And five of those schools are projected to be at least 20 points better than what the index calls an average team playing on a neutral field, the principal means by which FPI creates its rankings.

Three SEC teams meet that criteria — Georgia, Texas, and Alabama — while two Big Ten squads — Oregon and Ohio State — do. Penn State sits just outside that group, but not by much.

What college football teams are considered the best and worst nationally this preseason?

The worst team in college football

According to the index, that unfortunate honor falls on Kent State, which the FPI predicts will be an estimated 18.6 points worse than an average team on a neutral field.

The computers predict the Golden Flashes will win just 3.3 games this season, compared with an expected loss total equaling 8.8 games. So, if we round it out, a 3-9 regular season record.

Still, that would be an improvement from Kent State's meager 1-11 record from a year ago, the worst overall record in college football, and that included an 0-8 mark in MAC play.

The (other) worst team in college football

Kent State's win total projection was not the worst on the index, but it earned last place in the rankings owing to its expected point margin per game mark.

Temple debuted in the 2024 preseason rankings with the nation's worst win total prediction, at 3.0 games, against an expected 9.0 losses.

But the Owls avoided being ranked last overall thanks to its projected scoring margin per game, as FPI expects they will be 17.7 points worse than an average team.

The most average team(s) in college football

As ground zero of this year's historic college football realignment, the Big Ten is expected to dominate the competition for the expanded playoff.

But it's also home to the teams thought to be the most average in the nation.

FPI listed Illinois as 0.2 points better than an average team, and Minnesota ranked just ahead by an expected 0.4 points better in comparison. Both are estimated to win 5.3 games this season.

Illinois debuted at No. 62 in the rankings, while Minnesota came out at No. 61 in the poll.

Arizona State, now in the Big 12, is another banner of averageness in the preseason rankings, checking in just below the Illini, at No. 63 nationally, and is projected to be 0.4 points worse than an average team on a neutral field, and estimated to win 4.7 games.

The best team in college football

It appears to be just about unanimous: Georgia is the best team in college football, as FPI concurs with most other predictions and early top 25 rankings in 2024.

FPI predicts the Bulldogs will be 26.8 points better than teams on the same field and projects they have the best chance to make and win the expanded College Football Playoff.

The index projects Georgia will win the SEC championship with 32.8 percent likelihood, make the playoff with 79.1 percent probability, and win the national title at 21 percent.

FPI estimates the Bulldogs will win 10.3 games, second nationally behind leader Oregon, which the index ranked No. 2 in the poll, and expects to win 10.8 games.

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James Parks

JAMES PARKS

James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.