Who’s a national power: Son of Montana Project final tally

Without any further ado

(The percentage is based on the total number of votes cast, 3849.)


  • Honestly, overall this came out almost exactly where I thought it would for the top teams.  You can draw a line where you see fit separating the kings from the rest of Mandel’s feudal classes, but to me, it’s certainly fewer than the eleven he came up with.
  • So, having said that, where would you draw the line in defining a national power?  After the top three?  After the four with more than 10% of the votes cast?  After seven, which would include every team that got at least 100 votes?  I’m thinking six, max.
  • Are you surprised by any team’s finish?
  • I’m not sure which amuses me more, that Georgia received more votes than Alabama (you homers know who you are) or that Georgia Tech received any votes at all.  With regard to the latter, don’t assume those three votes were simply the result of mistaken votes for Georgia.  The first ballot I saw that had a GT vote also had a Georgia vote.
  • Looking at that list, which team would you be most strongly convinced will be in a much higher spot five years from now?  Which team would you expect to see drop in five years?  (And why is it USC and Oklahoma, respectively?)  Or do you think little will change over the next half decade?

Thanks to all of you who took the time to participate.  And, as always, thanks to my approval voting partner in crime, Peyton, without whom this never gets off the ground.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, GTP Stuff

42 responses to “Who’s a national power: Son of Montana Project final tally

  1. originaluglydawg

    It pains me to say this, but I expect Texas to move way up that list in pretty quick fashion. They’ve got the $$$$$$.
    They sit in a talent rich area.
    And letting them into the SEC is going to give them their past prestige back on a silver platter.
    TAM bought a Super-Roster? Texas says, “Hold my beer”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gastr1

      That’s one of the reasons Mandel had them in his top tier too.
      And you have to have Michigan in there, too, really. Below Oregon? No way.


    • Russ

      I’d be inclined to agree if they weren’t moving to the SEC. They’re going to take some beatings in the SEC and their fanbase won’t accept that. Therefore, I expect Sark to be recycled for the next great thing in 3 years or less. Rinse and repeat.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. originaluglydawg

    And whoever voted for GT…please don’t drive or operate any dangerous machinery until you get help.

    Liked by 11 people

  3. stoopnagle

    I took the approach of thinking who has made the playoff and who could conceivably make the playoff by 2025. I didn’t have all the teams here, but I can see an argument for all but UW and Tech. The kings to me are the ones with the combination of history and blue chip ratio. How anyone left OU off is beyond me. They’ve made the CFP 4 times, right? Irish have been in twice and took all we had to win those two games.


    • Alkaline5

      #5 OU’s coach just went to #8 USC, and #6 ND’s coach just went to #7 LSU. So I think they would roughly agree with my rationale for leaving them off my ballot: they had hit their ceiling in the CFP. And with the turnover I now expect a decline.

      Liked by 3 people

      • stoopnagle

        I guess. But they got a good coach, they still have players, and they’re a true blue blood. They’re not like Nebraska – they’re sticking close to Texas which is where they get their players, so there’s a fair chance the recruiting keeps up over the next 5 years. We don’t know what Venebles will be, sure, but if I were betting on a coordinator making the jump successfully from this last class, I’d put my money on him.


        • Alkaline5

          Yeah, things could line up right for them in the coming seasons. I do like Venables chances short-term to win the Big 12 while they’re still in it, at least.
          But they’ve gone 0-4 in the CFP so far under Riley, and now that the Dawgs have finally gotten the monkey off their back with a victory over ‘Bama, I think I’ve transferred my “prove-it” sentiment to the Sooners (and to ND) until they get that first semi-final victory.


  4. Derek

    The top 7 is the 7 I picked. What do I win?

    “National power” would be that 7 for now.

    USC is too damn high given how the question was framed. They have to prove it first.

    The two texas teams and usc are the most likely risers.

    I’m bearish on Clemson until they replace Dabo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ASEF

      This we know for sure: Dabo’s cashing in all his “but I won 2 natties!” credits. General attitude among most Clemson fans: “he’s earned the right to try it his way.”

      Clemson fan was so sure they’d permanently leveled up after dismantling Alabama in 2018. Then they get blown out by LSU. Then Ohio State. Then last year’s debacle. Then Oklahoma raids their defensive brain trust. Then Dabo bets it all on in-house promotions.

      Fortunately for him, their schedule is pillow-soft.

      Liked by 1 person

      • whb209

        Mr. ASEF,
        Who is playing QB for Clemson??
        They need to find one real quick.

        Liked by 1 person

        • ASEF

          Trevor. Tua. Bryce. DJ came out of high school with that level of hype. Everyone assumes he couldn’t run the offense. But he did fine the year prior.

          I think their offense was just dumb and easily defended without first round talent at RB and WR just beating the guy assigned to them


    • Derek

      I would also suggest that with the move to the sec and with what NLI is doing to their south, Oklahoma’s future could be grim indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • PTC DAWG

      You’ll get nothing and like it.

      Agree on Clemson.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. ASEF

    3 teams that lap the national field in recruiting.

    Then 3 teams with “path enhancers” that raise their odds above the pack of 12 (give or take) teams at that next recruiting level.

    Texas and USC could move way up this list if they ever find a coach capable of harnessing their booster wallets minus the meddling that usually comes with those donations. But history says “not likely and never for long if it does happen.”


  6. Doubt it would change the result, but it would be interesting to see a percentage based on number of ballots cast.

    Same 5 as I had. Oklahoma is most likely to move down with their entry into the SEC. USC most likely to move up if the Boy Wonder gets them aligned followed closely by LSU. Texas isn’t going anywhere with Steve Sarkisian as head coach (excellent coordinator … so far, not so great head coach).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rank Team # % of Ballots
      1 Georgia 809 98.8%
      2 Alabama 803 98.0%
      3 Ohio State 786 96.0%
      4 Clemson 568 69.4%
      5 Oklahoma 360 44.0%
      6 Notre Dame 235 28.7%
      7 LSU 115 14.0%
      8 USC 90 11.0%
      9 Oregon 72 8.8%
      10 Michigan 70 8.5%
      11 Texas 47 5.7%
      12 Texas A&M 40 4.9%
      13 Utah 17 2.1%
      14 Florida 16 2.0%
      15 Michigan State 12 1.5%
      16 Miami (FL) 11 1.3%
      17 Penn State 9 1.1%
      17 Auburn 9 1.1%
      19 Oklahoma State 7 0.9%
      20 Wisconsin 6 0.7%

      Liked by 2 people

    • miltondawg

      Texas is an interesting case. Can Arch Manning raise their recruiting even higher? Sark probably ensured he gets a few extra years if Arch follows through and signs on the line come December and gets a few of the top skill position recruits to join him. Personally I am hoping that Quinn Ewers, who was the #1 QB in last year’s recruiting class before reclassing and going to Ohio State early, has a tremendous year with like 4,000+ yards, 30+ TDs, and just a few INTs so that there is real strife and angst in Austin when Arch walks on campus.

      Oklahoma is to me the more interesting case though. Should they take a step back entering the SEC with the schedule they’ll have to play? Yes. Basically all comes down to whether or not Venables is a great head coach and can recruit at an extremely high level. While OU isn’t Texas or TAMU, OU has plenty of booster money (a.k.a. oil money) to spread around themselves for NIL.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. RangerRuss

    I expect to see Bama drop in the next five years.
    Hey, Bama’s so soft, man.
    The whole state.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. The best part of this for me:

    1) UF and Auburn behind Utah
    2) Tennessee completely absent

    Liked by 3 people

  9. waterswv

    How many Texas votes came in After the Arch announcement?


  10. Hobnail_Boot

    LSU could drop. Kelly a a good coach but that’s a tough neighborhood.

    MSU could rise. Penn State is shaky and Harbaugh has only had one good year (and lost to MSU that year). Spartans are all in on Mel Tucker.


  11. thenewandimprovedtronan

    Texas and Florida are the biggest underachievers on this list. They both have ample potential to be regular contenders but for various reasons – not least crazy-ass boosters – currently aren’t. Bama and Clemson are the biggest overachievers. They’re both in lightly populated and poor states that aren’t top recruiting grounds yet manage to be in contention year after year. Bama’s pulled this off for the better part of several decades, Clemson for a few years. As we’ve seen most notably with Nebraska and FSU, past success is no guarantee of future rewards, though. It’ll be interesting to see the national landscape in a decade.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. David K

    Notre Dame’s existence on this list is only because they’re an independent, and yes I voted for them because they can squeak their way into the playoff every now and then. But they’re not a national power, they’re a team that has a workable path to getting into the playoff occasionally. USC making this list is only because Lincoln Riley went there. Take this same poll 6 months ago and they’re down around #13 with Utah.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Alan

    I lean towards Miami for being in a much higher spot in five years. I’m assuming Mario Cristobal got assurances that he gets what he wants and that he’ll be the one who cleans up in Florida recruiting.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. W

    This framing of who’s a national contender in 2022 and using that to label national powers, generally, doesn’t seem right.

    Is Utah a bigger power than Florida, FSU and Miami bc they’re better today? That’s just a 2022 preseason ranking.


  15. Biggen

    My top 4 was close except I had Clemson out and OU in. I don’t have any faith in Clemson when they don’t have the #1 QB pick in the draft. I expect the same results from Un’gugoogaga this year as last year.

    As far as the Tech vote is concerned, you know this blog is a wealth of information when even those fans come here looking for tidbits.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. dawgphan34

    USC and Texas are kings of college football. Top 10 seems right for the Kings list, but I would swap Texas for Michigan.

    Maybe slide Oregon down to 10th.


  17. If a team can’t get at least 10% of the people don’t think they should be listed. And USC being 8th is a joke.


    • sniffer

      Why is USC a joke? True blue blood of CF, easy place to recruit, an innovative coach, boosters are happy to give $$ and they play in the easiest P5 conference. Of the seven above them, only Clemson plays a relatively soft schedule.


      • stoopnagle

        Yeah, remember when Jarvis Jones got here? He was automatically the best player on our team. Literally beat Mizzou all by himself – just an amazing game. Luckily, the roles are reversed now — I don’t think a 5* LB from GA is going to go to USC over UGA these days, but it is an indicator of what is possible at USC.

        Just wait: if they even smell like they’re going to be good, the hype train will crank up; if they can manage to go undefeated up to their game at Utah? You don’t have to have half a brain to realize what ESPN or Fox is going to do with that information. They don’t have the LOS to deserve it, but when your schedule is so soft…


  18. prosticutor

    Baylor. Not that I would’ve voted for them using my methods here, but I’m surprised they aren’t somewhere on this list.


    • rigger92

      I considered them because I think that Baylor and OU are the only teams that could win their conference at the moment.

      My ballot was based on who I thought could win their conference with 1 loss or less in the program’s current state as I know it, which doesn’t say a lot but it’s my idea of the question posed to the commentariat.

      I think I did vote for USC but it’s based on a meh program health and a meh conference health. Riley could put together a dominant season out of the gate but I don’t know jack about his staff, he did bring a lot of field talent with him.

      The SEC is the only league with the balls to get two teams in the playoff by virtue of sending two undefeated teams into the champ game. B1G can pull it off but they just get whalopped in the semi’s by the SEC.

      Clemson is one I included just out of respect for their talent level, I do expect them to fall out if we do this poll again next summer.

      I didn’t vote ND, they only get in if they go 12-0 and need help on top of that, depends on SEC runner up record and/or the PAC champ record and/or B12 champ record and/or how Clemson finishes.


  19. I’d put it at 5 currently. Notre Dame can’t seem to reach that level when the post season begins, and I think Kelly is a bad fit at LSU. Hard to say who the up and comers might be, be I’m looking at USC, and possibly Miami.


  20. ZeroPOINTzero

    Please “read only” whoever picked Tech. Someone that brain dead shouldn’t have posting privileges or be allowed to serve on a jury.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. pansythedawg

    Notre Dame’s overrated, and the sky is blue.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Austen Bannan

    Teams that are regularly in contention for a playoff spot heading into the last couple games of a season could be considered national powers for now. You won’t have to be in contention every single year but need to be most years. The top 4 might be the only ones that can WIN a title now, but national power doesn’t mean “elite.” It’s more like the halfway point between the concept of elite title contenders and traditional blue blood powers.