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Learn the Biggest Secret in College Football

When the College Football Playoff rankings come out, why is there no consistent logic as to how teams are ranked? Well, what if I told you that there is completely consistent logic to the rankings, and I show it to you on this website. This logic works every time to show you why teams are ranked the way they are. This logic is called “Eliteness.”

My name is M. Shanklin Wilson (TheKraken on Vox Media), a former Clemson football blogger with Shakin’ the Southland and Clemson Paws. I specialized in detailed football Xs and Os, talent evaluation, and film reviews. This site, however, consists of over 20 years of research into “Eliteness.”


This site reveals the true definition of the term “Elite” as oft used by fans and media alike in the college football conversation and why attaining it matters more than anything else to your team.


I started with the truth that every year, some programs at the top are given more credit than others for winning the same amount of games. Other teams are given less credit and are left out of the College Football Playoff. Every year, we are told falsehoods for why this happens. We’re told it came down to the “strength of schedule,” “they’re a conference champion,” “style points,” or the “eye test.” However, all of these are bogus excuses that are not consistently applied in all situations. On this website, I will show you what is actually going on.

To find this missing component, I dove in and researched the history of college football (1905-2022). I set out to accurately show the moment when our collective perception about a program changes, as well as, how long that perception will last.

The explanation can be found by clicking on the static menu links at the top of the page (i.e. CFB Playoff, Elite Seasons, etc). All of the information here is cumulative starting from the left at the top and moving to the right. I suggest starting on the left as it helps if you understand one concept before moving to the next. Eventually we will use the system to rank programs all time, show how Eliteness affects a team’s talent level, and use it to rank head coaching ability.


There are advantages to being an Elite Program and disadvantages to not being one. No matter what team you’re a fan of, knowing what it takes to create the perception of Eliteness is important.

When I first started, the primary motivation was to show other Clemson fans how winning against weaker competition was no stepping-stone to national respect. Programs aspiring to be Elite have to schedule Elite Teams and Programs in order to change their national perception. During the Tommy Bowden era of the mid-2000s, many Clemson fans were blinded by the enjoyment of watching their rivals underachieve. They did not understand that this also meant that Clemson failed to prove they could win on the highest level and that when they did lose, well, see the term “Clemsoning” circa 2008.

Only winning at the highest level will make a program elite.

College Football is a perception sport and the math is simple on why it HAS to be. There is no 130-team round-robin tournament where everybody plays each other. Even with the internet and on-demand viewing, nobody is watching 1,500 games a year. A team’s schedule has 12 games and only 11 FBS matchups. Each team plays just 8.5% of the available competition (it’s 37.5% in the NFL). Most of those games are confined to 10-16 team conferences. That means that only 2.3% of all games played can be used to determine the strength of one conference vs. another (it’s still 37.5% in the NFL). You would have to know strength of conference to accurately assess wins and losses so you can rank teams.

In other words, statistically, previous year’s games on the highest level are a more reliable indicator of who belongs at the top than the 2.3% of out-of-conference games from the current season.

For that reason, we are more likely to believe that the teams that have already proven they can win on the highest level are the best teams. That’s Eliteness. What programs are Elite and why? Explore the site and find out.

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