An Elite Team is a team that finishes in the Top 5 of the AP Poll or any team in the Top 15 that has defeated another Elite Team.
I use one rule and two factors as the basis for this definition.
The one rule is that “Only elite wins change elite perception.“
This is the main culprit for the ongoing disrespect of non-elite programs like UCF, TCU, Boise St., and Washington. Winning games can earn an opportunity, but what happens with that opportunity defines the program and sometimes an entire conference for years. Often, it takes multiple wins over multiple years to raise the perception from non-elite to elite.
The two factors that determine an Elite Team are “Collective Opinion” and “The Circle of Proof.”
Collective Opinion is represented in the Final AP Poll. I start with the top 5 as the agreed upon elites nationally. The Circle of Proof, also known as the transitive property, questions the AP Poll and brings in checks and balances based on what happened on the field. The Circle of Proof says that any top 15 team that has proven on the field that they can beat an elite team is, therefore, also elite.
These two factors work together to quantify the accepted truth that nestles itself in the “gut” of fans, playoff committee members, AP voters, media, recruits, and athletic departments. I use the term “gut” to explain that place where we can internalize truths that our conscious minds cannot always explain or confirm to be true.