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Elite Season

An Elite Season (or 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.

Elite Teams can be identified using “Collective Opinion” and “On the Field Proof.”

These two components work together to form beliefs that are nestled in the “gut” of fans, playoff committee members, AP voters, media, recruits, and athletic departments. They become the internalized truths that we know, but our conscious minds cannot always explain.

Collective Opinion is represented in the Final AP Poll. The top 5 resonate as the agreed upon elites nationally after the dust settles on a college football season. “On the Field Proof,” sometimes referred to as the transitive property, questions the AP Poll based on what we saw happen on the field. “On the Field Proof” says that any top 15 team that has proven that they can beat an Elite Team also resonates as an Elite Team. Just winning a lot of games is not enough though, and the phrase I like to use to get this point across is that “only elite wins change elite perception.“

Not winning on the highest level in previous years is the main culprit for the past disrespect of non-elite programs like UCF, TCU, Boise St., Baylor, Oklahoma St., and Washington. Winning games can earn an opportunity for a team, but what happens with that opportunity defines the program. Often, it takes multiple elite wins over multiple years to change the program perception from non-elite to elite.

Here are the Elite Seasons from the past season:

Elite Team Fact Chart