FAYETTEVILLE — ESPN’s Bill Connelly has released the SP+ rankings for the upcoming football season this fall.

A familiar team is at the top with Georgia ranked No. 1. In all, the SEC has 13 teams in the top 33 with only Vanderbilt at 71 outside that group. Arkansas comes in at No. 29 which is only ahead of Missouri (32), South Carolina (33) and Vanderbilt.

Connelly explained how the rankings are determined. Returning production which is based on the rosters is one of the tools.

Connelly wrote, “I have updated as much as possible to account for transfers and attrition. The combination of last year’s SP+ ratings and adjustments based on returning production make up about half of the projections formula.”

Recent recruiting is another part of the equation to determine the rankings. Connelly also explained how the recruiting is factored in.

“This piece informs us of the caliber of a team’s potential replacements (and/or new stars) in the lineup. It is determined by the past few years of recruiting rankings in diminishing order (meaning the most recent class carries the most weight). Beginning this season, I am also incorporating transfers — both the quality and the volume — in a different way. After last season’s transfer-heavy recruiting shift, I’ve got a bit more data for how to handle that. This piece makes up about one-third of the projections formula.”

The third part of the rankings is based on recent history which Connelly also explained.

“Using a sliver of information from previous seasons (two to four years ago) gives us a good measure of overall program health. It stands to reason that a team that has played well for one year is less likely to duplicate that effort than a team that has been good for years on end (and vice versa), right? This is a minor piece of the puzzle — only about 15% — but the projections are better with it than without.”

Connelly noted he will update these rankings in May and August. That makes sense since the next transfer portal window is April 15-30.

Here’s the rankings as regarding the top 10 and entire SEC.

  1. Georgia
  2. Ohio State
  3. Michigan
  4. Alabama
  5. Penn State
  6. Tennessee
  7. LSU
  8. Oregon
  9. Texas
  10. USC

Texas A&M (17), Ole Miss (18), Florida (20), Mississippi State (23), Kentucky (25) and Auburn (26), Arkansas (29), Missouri (32), South Carolina (33) and Vanderbilt (71) round out the SEC.